Lyla is everything you want her to be. She's beautiful, sharp, pleasant, eager to please, and the sort of person who knows when to shut up and when to be entertaining. This description is usually enough for most; she has plenty of friends who see this version of her alone and, for the most part, that's exactly how she likes it. But it's far from who she really is, as under the surface there's a lot more calculation and comprehension behind her actions than she lets on.
She's a meticulous planner, first off, and not just in the sense of what she'll wear that day or what she plans to do with the rest of her life. That perfectionism extends from the way she applies her eyeliner that morning all the way to the convenient time she'll slip and fall in front of a man she's heard a bit about. Now don't get her wrong-- sure, she's willing to play victim (or just about any other role to get her way, really), but it's all about the manipulation and the power behind it. Romance is a joke to her; cynicism might as well be her middle name, even if very few people know this side of her. The idea of love is a silly game. She fully intends to marry and have children, of course, but in her mind it's more of a business arrangement. She values the security and politics of it more than the emotional connection by far.
Truth is, her views of the world are quite skewed thanks to her upbringing. Growing up in a wealthy family, she experienced (and still does) a lot of pressure for her to be perfect. To be the exact daughter they wanted. During childhood she was mostly left to her devices along with her older brothers. In the beginning she was as boyish as little sisters came-- dirt and climbing trees, insects and loud cars, rough sports and video games-- but the moment her mother paid enough attention to catch sight of that, she was quickly snapped out of it. That day she was taught an extremely important lesson-- power. And women didn't attain power (at least among the families she grew up among) by being themselves or some other hippie bullshit. They attained power through marriages, through manipulation, through carefully crafting their faces to be drop dead gorgeous every morning.
Of course, it didn't take long for Lyla to realize that power was still a rare thing among the women in her neighborhood. For a while she tried to mock that side of her mother, but eventually she started to see that the men carried the power either way. And while that might have stirred up some sort of rebellion in other young women, she simply took it as a reason to be even more calculating, even more manipulative, as she thought the only way to counteract it was to gain the upper hand.
Needless to say, she has a thing for power. She'll do just about anything to attain it, too, though she's very intelligent in the sense that she doesn't allow her masks to slip off. Rarely do people realize that she's manipulating them at all, as she's got a smile that turns heads and a laugh that could charm the heart of almost any man. By the same token, she could easily be construed as materialistic, as her expensive items represent her status both socially and financially.
To some extent she's narcissistic, too, but this doesn't come naturally to her; while she doesn't have difficulty thinking of herself first, she still has a desire to reach out and be something more. Underneath that extremely fake Lyla is a girl who is trapped in a prison of status and smiles and perfection. When she was younger she simply embraced that-- she assumed that was how life was for everyone-- but as she gets older she's starting to realize that it's an almost pointless existence. It terrifies her. She doesn't even know who she is. Not only that, but lately she's become insanely self-conscious, being overly critical of herself every time she sees a grade or looks at herself in the mirror. The list of things "wrong" with her keeps getting longer.
She'll crack. Eventually.