Teen Choice Awards 2015 - Press Room Just a few weeks ago, the long-simmering secret identity of "A," the central scheming antagonist on "Pretty Little Liars," remained such a zealously guarded secret that when the character was nominated as Choice TV Villain for the Teen Choice Awards, the nomination was given to only to the character, with no performer named.

What a difference a few days -- and a massively revealing finale episode -- makes. Actress Vanessa Ray, as the sociopathic transgender CeCe (formerly Charles) Drake, was able to walk the aqua blue carpet at the awards show, turn heads, garner cheers and, best of all, collect that surfboard-shaped Teen Choice trophy with no need for secrecy. "This is a cool moment to capture in my own personal life," Ray told Moviefone on the arrivals line, marveling at the sudden influx of attention. "I've never done anything like this before."

Moviefone: How crazy has your life become in the space of a week, since the big reveal came out?

Vanessa Ray: My life has changed crazily in a week. Even the last couple months. I mean, I filmed this episode the week I was getting married, and it was a huge surprise to me. I was like "Oh, whatever week in the summer -– I'm available these weeks." And they were like "Surprise: it's going to be right when you get married and you don't get to go on a honeymoon." It's like, "Okay." This whole last couple of months have been nuts! In this last week I went from obscurity -– like only my parents followed me on Instagram -– to having all kinds of people having commentary and opinions –- beautiful opinions, glorious opinions –- for me.

Did you start getting screams from the fans as you showed up here at Teen Choice Awards today?

Yeah, a bit, I did! Nothing like before. I feel like, "Am I in a boy band?" I would like to now join one. One Direction needs someone, right? I'm transgendered on the show -- I'm available!

Speaking of playing transgendered on the show, although this is a great moment in time for that topic, that wasn't a deliberately calculated choice in its timing, was it?

No, not at all!

To have a place in that conversation right now, that's changing hearts and minds, what's that meant to you?

It's not even about pushing the envelope. It's about finding acceptance, and what really this episode in general was about, for me, was Charles wasn't the bad guy because she was transgender. That had nothing to do with anything. It was about what can happen to somebody when you crush their human spirit. When you crush their heart so much, so early on, they can become the villain. So how delicate lives are -– If you act like a human doesn't matter, they're going to go on to treat people that way. So how we treat each other is really important, and it's been really cool to be part of that story and to have this time in life.

The big reveal comes all these years after people have been dying to know—

Oh my god – everyone was like, "WHO IS IT??" And fans were saying to me "We know it's you!" and I'm like "Don't say anything!" I wanted to talk to each of them personally and say "Please don't ruin it for everyone!"

How long did you know in advance yourself? Did they tell you a while ago or right before the reveal came?

Not right before, but by the beginning of summer I knew. I had a little time to sit and marinate in it and think about it.

And did it make instant sense to you?

It did, because I had a lot of secret stories and conversations that I had with Marlene [King] and some of the cast, like, early, early on, so when I found out I was "A" I was able to go back and track storylines and things that had been cut along and whatever they way and was able to go "Oh, now that makes sense." So it tracked for me.

I think the best thing that happened was there are so many people who are so engaged in the show, there were a lot of people who said "No! This is NOT true!"

Grumpy! Very upset!

How did you handle those... not haters, but the deniers, let's call them.

They're not haters. They're grievers, I think. They're going through the classic grieving process, which is like their candidate for president didn't win and their sports team lost and their belief that the sky was blue -– it wasn't blue. And that was really hard for them. And I'm just loving that group, because they're entitled to feel that way! They had a hypothesis, and it was shattered, and that must suck! And I know what that's like. I remember when I found out Santa Claus wasn't real--

Hey, hey—if you think you got some pointed social comments this week, you'd better brace yourself--

No -– he's real. When I found out some theories about Santa Claus... No, when your sports team loses, you're mad at the other guy. But I have seen people come around, I've gotta say. They watched the episode again and again and they see the humanity in it, and they start like "I hate you! You're a bitch!" and then later they're like "Actually, I really love you and I really get it." So it's kind of cool.

So what can you say about what's next?

Well, now we're going fast forward five years. I mean, the girls on "PLL" are just great actresses and they just really sink their teeth into everything they do, so we get to see them play this more mature side of themselves, which is really cool. And Alison dealing with this new family member that she has loved, and getting acquainted with this person.