Hollywood is a place full of more or less famous celebrities but among them there’s one special person, who stole our hearts from the very first time we saw her back in 2010. From an inspiring actress to a rising star, she’s not only extremely beautiful but also the sweetest and most positive woman we know. Despite her young age she’s already had a huge impact on many people’s lives all around the world including ours. Today is her 30th Birthday and as she says: the best is yet to come.
1. Who is Shay Mitchell?
Shannon Ashley Mitchell was born on April 10, 1987 in Mississauga, Ontario. Because of her roots (her father is Scottish-Irish and her mother is Filipina) she always felt different among her friends. During her school years she was often bullied, so much she even tried dying her hair blonde, wearing colored contacts and hiding from the sun because she didn’t want to stand out. It took her some years to finally realize that being different is what makes us special and we should embrace it rather than hide it.
From the very young age Shay knew what she wanted. Mitchell admitted her friends always said: “Shannon’s gonna take over the world or die trying.” She started dancing at age five and then as a teenager she signed a contract with international model agency. She spent some time modeling in countries like Thailand or Hong Kong but eventually she came back to Toronto and decided to pursue acting career because as she said in the interview for Maxim: “A beautiful photo is amazing, but just walking into a room and being judged on your physical appearance, without being able to be yourself, or even say anything- that was very frustrating to me.” For some time she juggled waitress job and going to auditions. At first she managed to score few small roles in several national commercials, teen series Degrassi: The Next Generation and Sean Paul’s music video Hold My Hand. But everything changed in 2009.
2. Pretty Little Liars
The turning point in Shay’s career was Pretty Little Liars audition. Initially she tried out for the role of Spencer Hastings but eventually she was chosen to portray openly lesbian character Emily Fields, which is one of the five main characters of the series. The show originally premiered on ABC Family (currently Freeform) on June 8, 2010 and after just a few episodes became a huge success. Since then it was renewed for seven more seasons. Growing popularity gained her tons of dedicated fans with whom she has a great connection (she always replies to some of Facebook comments or tweets, especially during famous #PLLayWithShay).
Playing Emily Fields was a challenge for Shay not only in terms of acting. Portraying a gay character was not a big deal for actress herself because as she says: “When I first got the part of Emily, the writers were very clear about her being gay. I was 100 percent on board from the beginning. I loved the script. I thought it was a great, complex role. Of course I wanted to do it! But I think the producers were so prepared for whichever actress they chose to need convincing, or to have a little bit of a problem with it. But there was only one thing about Emily that I had a problem with: her shoes” but it definitely was for PLL fans. Soon, she started being perceived as a “gay icon” but she admitted not feeling like one at all, though she understands the impact of her role and uses it to support LGBT community. Along with Sasha Pieterse, who portrayed Emily’s love interest Alison DiLaurentis, she developed a great on-screen chemistry called by fans EMISON. She’s inspired many people to be proud of who they are and always finds it incredible to hear their stories.
Throughout the years a strong bond formed between the whole cast of PLL but for Shay the show brought one of a kind friendship with her co-star Ashley Benson who played Hanna Marin. Whenever those two are together it’s a promise of a lot of fun videos and pictures. They were always inseparable on set and call themselves #ButtahBenzo.
3. 50 Shades of Shay
Obviously being an actress is not enough for Shay. Having many different interests our star loves trying new things. A while ago she started her own Youtube Channel where she posts videos on various topics (she even recorded a parody of Beauty and the Beast ;)). Her another passion is travelling, she always finds a new destination to go. Mitchell already visited many places around the world documenting her voyages on Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube series called SHAYCATION.
Shay’s definitely the queen of social media. If you follow her you must have seen how hard she works out at the gym. Whether it’s boxing, cross training or something else you can find her there several times a week. Some time ago she even created fitness clothing line Fit to Wander.
Despite her hectic schedule she found time to write a novel called Bliss along with Michaela Blaney. Other than that she collaborated with companies like American Eagle, Quay, BaubleBar, Biore or Smashbox.
Shay is known for her charity work. She supported Somaly Mom Foundation and worked with The Trevor Project, NOH8 Campaign, WE Charity and GLAAD.
4. Beyonce, Sunglasses and Pizza
If you ask Shay’s fans what is the first thing that comes to their mind when they think about her, the answer would probably be: Beyonce, Sunglasses and Pizza. She’s never pretended to be a girl who eats salad for dinner (not if she can choose pizza instead ;)). Those who follow her on social media often see her dancing and laughing and of course having a pair (or 100 pairs) of sunglasses with her 🙂 There are thousands reasons why we love Shay, some of them you can find here: 29 Reasons Why We Love Shay Mitchell.
There’s no way to write about Shay without mentioning her assistant – Sammy (after all she has one of the best jobs ever). It’s rarely seen that celebrity is friends with her assistant (if we ever get to see the assistant though). Those two are definitely a dream team! We’re proud to say that Sammy wore a shirt that was made by us and was one of the first projects from our upcoming clothing line 🙂
6. More than a Pretty Little Liar
Besides playing Emily Fields, in 2016, Shay made her debut on a big screen in the comedy Mother’s Day where she starred along Jennifer Aniston. She also appeared in Nick Jonas’ music video for Under You. After filming the last season of Pretty Little Liars she landed a role in a thriller called Cadaver. The actress has big plans for the future and we’re sure it’s just a matter of time until we see her in action.
Back when she was living in Canada, Shay Mitchell made something many of us underestimate – a vision board. One by one she carefully placed there everything she fantasized about: the Hollywood sign, red carpets, places she wanted to visit. While she was still working as a waitress she already acted like she was in a movie, she said that: “I was already successful actress in my mind“. Now, she replaces things she’s already done with new dreams. The star admitted believing in power of visualization and throughout the years she proved that if you want something really bad then you’re gonna get it but of course only if you work hard.
“The message I’m trying to put out there is that you can do whatever you want to do, and if I’m going to say that, I need to do it myself. If I want to become a singer and drop a single next month, I’m going to do that.”
The thing we love most about Shay is that she’s always positive. It’s hard not to smile when we see her no matter how bad we feel. She’s a great inspiration not only for us but also for many people around the world. It wasn’t easy but she kept focused on her goal and the vision board she created. She just KNEW her dreams will come true. Today, on her 30th birthday and near finale of Pretty Little Liars, we’re sure it’s just the beginning of even greater chapter in her life.
Shay’s definitely Bigger Than Limits. SO ARE WE.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAY!
Karolina and Anna ‘Bigger Than Limits’