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BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast

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With her husband Ned Mochel, which Lesley hosts along with her PRETTY LITTLE LIARS co-stars and friends Holly Marie Combs and Nia Peeples

BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast

A native Californian, Lesley Fera is perhaps best known for her role as Veronica Hastings on the hit television series "Pretty Little Liars" and has been featured in recurring roles on 'Southland," "24," "C.S.I. Miami" and "Justice." But she is also well-known as an active member of Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, as well as working in numerous regional theaters. In fact, last November I reviewed Lesley in Stephen Adly Guirgis' award-winning play "Between Riverside and Crazy," brilliantly directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos with a "brutally honest understanding of human emotions fully on display by a talented cast of seven" at The Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

Combining her television and stage experience has led Lesley and her husband Ned Mochel to create the podcast, Pretty Little Wine Moms, producing new episodes every Wednesday. Lesley hosts the show along with her Pretty Little Liars co-stars and friends Holly Marie Combs and Nia Peeples.

BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast

"Pretty Little Wine Moms" co-hosts Holly Marie Combs, Lesley Fera, Nia Peeples
Photo by Danny Brown

But it isn't your ordinary podcast. During each installment, Combs, who played Aria's bohemian mother, Ella Montgomery; Fera, who starred as Veronica Hastings, high-powered lawyer and protective mom of Spencer; and Peeples, who played Emily's uber uptight and devoted mother, Pam Fields - each with a favorite drink in hand - break down a complete episode of the fan-favorite TV series for listeners, revealing little-known facts and behind-the-scenes tidbits during each episode, which also includes an in-depth interview with special guests from the series and a quiz show testing everyone's knowledge of the episode.

Shari Barrett (Shari): I understand the idea to create "Pretty Little Wine Moms" came when you were stuck at home with your husband during this year's COVID-19 pandemic. Please tell me more about what led to the series creation.

BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast

Lesley Fera (Lesley): In March, my husband, Ned Mochel, and I decided to start podcasting. We were sheltering in place due to Covid-19 and wanted to find a way to stay creative. The podcast was called "Homeward Bound: Surviving the Coronavirus." It was a comedy podcast that explored the early days of the pandemic - we discussed how we were coping with our new Covid-19 reality. We interviewed guests as well. On one of our later episodes, we had the Wine Moms from "Pretty Little Liars." The response from fans was overwhelming. Since Ned and I were about to go on hiatus from our podcast, it seemed like an auspicious time to produce a PLL re-watch podcast. We couldn't believe there wasn't one already in existence. I called Nia and Holly, they jumped on board, and the rest is history!

(Shari): What has surprised you the most while doing the show?

(Lesley): I think what has surprised me the most is the overwhelming love and support we've received from the "Pretty Little Liars" fandom as well as the graciousness of our PLL cast and crew. BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS PodcastWe've been blessed with so many wonderful guests who have been willing to come on our show this season. It's a testament to the "family" that was formed through seven seasons of "Pretty Little Liars" and just how special the show was to the fans. During a pandemic, we've managed to bring entertainment to our loyal fans and make their days a little brighter. That is everything.

And my friendships with Holly (photo by Vicki B.) and Nia have deepened greatly. We were co-stars but now we're full-fledged friends and I adore them. I feel so grateful to a) be able to work from home b) work on a podcast (I can wear my pajamas and go sans makeup if I want to - a definite plus!) and c) and work with two amazing women who make me laugh and expand my heart with every episode.

(Shari): Will audience members who are not familiar with "Pretty Little Liars" be able to catch on to the subject matter, characters and/or story line?

(Lesley): Definitely. We have strived to do a thorough job. The podcast definitely stands alone - you don't need to know the show to follow it.

(Shari): Are plans in place to present the show as a staged production when theaters re-open? No doubt fans of both shows would love that!

BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast

Nia Pebbles, photo credit Maria Rangel

(Lesley): Not currently. The ladies and I have spoken about how much fun it would be to do a live podcast at a "Pretty Little Liars" convention in the future. Lately, I've been consumed with "Pretty Little Wine Moms." We don't have a big production company behind our show; we have a very small, loyal team. So it's been all-consuming for us. But I also love to write and I've been auditioning a lot lately, so I'm constantly working on something.

(Shari): What future television or theatrical productions are on your schedule?

(Lesley): I have an episode of "Animal Kingdom" coming up soon. Be on the look out. Sadly, I have no theatrical productions on the horizon. I really miss live theatre. But I'm so grateful that Stephen Adly Guirgis' "Between Riverside and Crazy" at The Fountain Theatre was my last theatre experience. That show ran for four months, so as a cast we really bonded. The production ended in late January, right before all the madness with Covid-19. It was one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever been a part of and was soul-satisfying creativity. The memories from that show have certainly stayed with me during this dry spell.

BWW Interview: Lesley Fera on Creating the PRETTY LITTLE WINE MOMS Podcast(Shari): You must miss live theatre as much as I do. What inspirational thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on while promising to return back to the stage as soon as possible?

(Lesley): I miss live theatre so much; I miss being on stage as well as seeing live theatre. To all of the theatre patrons who miss theatre and to the theaters struggling to stay alive - never give up! Theatre is essential - it holds the mirror up to humanity, connects communities, lets us know we're not alone in our challenges, makes us laugh, makes us cry, and shines the lights on communities that need some much-needed attention. Anyone who can donate to your local theaters - please consider it. They need all the assistance they can get, especially the 99-seat theaters in Los Angeles. It would be very sad to see a majority of the smaller theaters fold due to this pandemic. Theatre needs to live on and on. Simply put - it makes us better people.

(Shari): I absolutely agree with you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

To hear previous episodes of "Pretty Little Wine Moms," grab a glass of your favorite adult beverage and go to www.PrettyLittleWineMoms.com, Apple Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are available. Then be ready for future episodes featuring special guests:
• Sept. 16, 2020: Bryan M. Holdman (writer/producer)
• Sept, 23, 2020: Lisa Cochran Neilan (UPM, executive producer, line-producer)
• Sept. 30, 2020 Tyler Blackburn (Caleb Rivers)
• Oct. 7, 2020: Ashley Benson (Hanna Marin)
• Oct. 14, 2020: Joe Dougherty (writer/executive producer/director)
• Oct. 21, 2020: Sasha Pieterse (Alison DiLaurentis)
• Oct. 28, 2020: Lucy Hale (Aria Montgomery)



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