updated 12/03/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/04/2012 AT 7:15 AM ET
Lucy Hale is no stranger to playing a risqué role on camera.
But the actress, 23, who stars as Aria Montgomery on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, says that because of her strict Christian upbringing she used to be so sheltered she had to sneak around just to watch Britney Spears’s ” Baby One More Time” video.
“I was like, ‘Who is this really pretty girl in pigtails and why is her stomach showing? And what is she doing and why do I want to be like that?’ ” Hale tells Nylon magazine in its December/January issue.
Fast-forward more than a decade and Hale is now pursuing her own pop star dreams, but she’s taking a different route than her one-time inspiration.
“It’s absolutely terrifying,” she says of recording her album, which she has said will be comprised of country songs. “You only get one album. You only get one single. You get one shot in music. But I have a million different dreams. Why can’t I go out and try to achieve them all? Who are you to say I can’t?”
Of her guitar-driven jams, she says, the music is “going to be me. It’ll be raw. That’s definitely the joy of songwriting.”
“I’m 23. I’m a woman, but I’m not fully the person that I think I will be,” she tells the magazine. “We’re all just trying to figure it out. Some of us just have to do it publicly.”