USMagazine, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 6:00am (PST)
Ashley Benson and James Franco made headlines when their self-made parody of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" music video went viral in January. Franco quickly took the video down, but not before the 19-year-old singer got wind of it.
At the time, Bieber was nearing the end of his relationship with Selena Gomez -- Benson and Franco's Spring Breakers costar. Until recently, Benson had also been dating Bieber's "swagger coach" Ryan Good.
"I haven't heard from Selena! People thought that I was being mean, but I was just doing what the girl did in the video. It wasn't a jab at her," Benson, 23, explains in the April issue of Seventeen. "But I heard from Justin. He wasn't happy. Justin is like my little brother since he and my ex are so close. Anytime you go through a breakup, the friends get defensive. But all is well in that area now."
Benson is no stranger to controversy, as her role in the movie Spring Breakers is sexier -- and darker -- than anything she's ever done before. "We all came from a Disney background, and this was different from anything we've done," she says of costars Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. "But we wanted to prove that we're not just girls who play happy parts. It was such a crazy experience and it was character-building. I'm so proud of all of us. I'm really, really excited for everybody to see it."
The blonde star -- best known for her role as Hanna Marin on the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars -- hopes her future film roles will continue to challenge the public perception of her. "I love Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman -- those are the careers I want," she tells Seventeen. "My goal is to win an Oscar, and I'm going to take the steps to get there."