Lucy Hale has been busy since Pretty Little Liars wrapped its seven-season run in 2017. In addition to roles in movies including Truth or Dare and Netflix’s Dude, she played the lead in The CW’s charming but short-lived family dramedy Life Sentence, about a young woman who discovers that her terminal cancer is not, in fact, terminal after all. Off-screen, Hale has dedicated her time and energy to various charitable and philanthropic efforts.

We caught up with the actress to chat about her career post-Pretty Little Liars, the possibility of a cameo on the spinoff, and the fun new way she’s raising money for charity.

Brit + Co: It’s been a little over a year now since Pretty Little Liars ended. Do you keep in touch with your costars? Is there a PLL group text somewhere?

Lucy Hale: [Laughs] We all sort of randomly talk to each other. I talked to Ian [Harding] the other day, and I saw Shay [Mitchell] out and about during Emmys week. It’s so cool, because we’re all in this exciting time in our careers where we’re just going off and doing really cool things, and it’s all due to that show. That show opened up all the doors for us.

We do need a reunion sometime soon. You know, they’re doing the spinoff [The Perfectionists], and Sasha [Pieterse] and Janel [Parrish] are involved with that. It’ll be hard to rally everyone together, but hopefully soon.

B+C: Is there any chance you’ll guest star on the spinoff?

LH: There’s a good possibility! I don’t know exactly what they’re doing with the show, but if there’s a place for Aria, I would absolutely do that.

B+C: Can we talk about Life Sentence for a minute? We were so sad when it was canceled.

LH: It was really, really sad. But one of the best experiences of my life, so no regrets.

B+C: What shows are you watching and loving right now?

LH: I finished Sharp Objects, which is amazing. And I watched Atypical, which is on Netflix. And I just started Maniac. Typically, I like the really, really dark stuff. I watch a lot of crime documentaries, too.

B+C: What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects your fans should know about?

LH: Yes! It’s sort of frustrating to talk about, because I can’t say the names of the projects. But I’m doing something this fall, and then something that I’m so excited about at the top of the year. I would get in a lot of trouble if I talked about it, but it’s cool to be doing some really different stuff. I’m grateful that people are giving me a chance to play some awesome characters. I took a little time [after Life Sentence] to sort of get my bearings again, chill out, and see what I want to do next, and I feel really excited about the next chapter and next year. And hopefully I can actually talk about the projects soon.

B+C: Who are some of your dream collaborators? Are there any actors or directors you’d love to work with?

LH: Oh, wow. The list is sort of endless. I love Emma Stone — I feel like she would be really fun to work with. But I think someone I really admire is Reese Witherspoon. I love that she sort of wears a bunch of different hats and tries a bunch of different things. You know, she has a clothing line and she produces shows and she’s obviously an amazing actress and a great mother. She’s someone I really look up to, so to work with her would be a dream come true.

B+C: You recently teamed up with Honey Nut Cheerios on a cool initiative to raise money for charity. How did that come about, and how can fans get involved?

LH: I’m at the point in my career and in my life where giving back is really important to me. And Good Rewards/Honey Nut Cheerios came up with this program where doing good is really fun and easy. We all have busy lives, but we can still make time for other people. You just go to your local grocery store, grab a box of cereal, go to the website, pick a team — which, hopefully, is my team — and scan the buzzcoin on the back to donate the buzzcoin to one of three charities. I’m Team Lucy, obviously, and my charity is ASPCA, which is for animals. Michael B. Jordan is for Feeding America, and [Rob] Gronk[owski] is for the Gronk Nation Foundation. We’re doing this until April, and Honey Nut Cheerios is going to donate $100,000 to whichever team has the most buzzcoin.

B+C: Why did you choose ASPCA?

LH: There are so many great organizations, but for me, I’m such a huge animal lover — I have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve had every sort of pet under the sun. I have a dog now named Elvis, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m clearly obsessed. Animals are amazing. They’re so pure and incredible. But they don’t always have a voice, and ASPCA is amazing because they are the voice for animals.

B+C: You have some tough competition in Michael B. Jordan and Rob Gronkowski. Are you a naturally competitive person?

LH: I would say absolutely yes. I was never great at sports, but if I’m playing a board game, yeah, I can be competitive. Definitely with this, I think I’ve got it all figured out. It’s going to be fun. No matter what, everyone wins — these are all great organizations and charities. Obviously, I would love for my team to win, but it’s sort of a win-win for everyone.

(photos via Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital + Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Beautycon)