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Shay Mitchell

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Shay Mitchell
Shay Mitchell 2019 by Glenn Francis.jpg
Mitchell at the IHeartRadio Music Awards in 2019
Born
Shannon Ashley Garcia Mitchell

(1987-04-10) April 10, 1987 (age 34)[1]
Occupation
  • Actress
  • model
  • entrepreneur
  • author
Years active2007–present
Partner(s)Matte Babel (2017–present)
Children1
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Shannon Ashley Garcia Mitchell[2] (born April 10, 1987) is a Canadian actress, model and entrepreneur. She rose to prominence as Emily Fields in the mystery thriller drama series Pretty Little Liars (2010–2017), which earned her nominations for a People's Choice Award and six Teen Choice Awards.[3][4] She has garnered wider recognition for starring as Peach Salinger in the psychological thriller series You (2018) and as Stella Cole in the Hulu comedy series Dollface (2019–present). In 2021, she was cast in the role of Alexandra Trese in the Netflix animated series Trese.[5]

After appearing in a series of short films, Mitchell made her feature film debut starring as Nicole in the musical drama film Dreamland (2016). She went on to appear as Tina in the comedy film Mother's Day (2016), and headline the thriller film The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018) as Megan Reed. Aside from her acting, she is recognized for her media image and activism. In 2014, Esquire magazine dubbed Mitchell the "Sexiest Woman Alive", and in 2015 she appeared on the Maxim Hot 100 list.

Early life[edit]

Mitchell was born in Mississauga, Ontario,[6] the daughter of Precious Garcia and Mark Mitchell. Her father is of Scottish and Irish descent and her mother, who is Filipina, is from the province of Pampanga,[7] and left the Philippines at age 19.[8] She is a first cousin-once removed of Lea Salonga, a singer and musical theater actress.[9] She attended Rockridge Secondary School and then later transferred to West Vancouver Secondary School where she graduated.[10] By her late teens, Mitchell had successfully modeled for a variety of companies in cities as varied as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Barcelona, eventually returning to Toronto to study acting.[11]

Career[edit]

2009–2015: Early work and Pretty Little Liars[edit]

The cast of Pretty Little Liars at Paleyfest in 2014

Mitchell began acting in 2009, making cameo appearances on the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation[12] and the police drama series Rookie Blue. Also in 2009, she appeared in the music video for "Hold My Hand" by Jamaican rapper Sean Paul.[13][14]

Mitchell was cast as Emily Fields in the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars, an adaptation of the book series of the same name. She initially auditioned for the character Spencer Hastings,[15] for which she was rejected and the part was instead given to Troian Bellisario;[16] thereafter she tried for Emily Fields and was cast in the role.[17] On portraying Fields, she wrote: "I think for me, it's one of the best characters that I may ever play because of the [impact] she had on so many different people. So I'm very fortunate I was able to be the one to bring Emily to life."[18] Pretty Little Liars opened to positive reviews,[19][20] and obtained a cult following.[21] Mitchell garnered widespread recognition and praise for her performance, with many lauding the characterization she applied to the role.[18] She earned several accolades for her acting, including winning a Young Hollywood Award in 2011, earning a nomination for a People's Choice Award and receiving six nominations from the Teen Choice Awards. The role additionally established her as a sex symbol.[22][23][24] In 2014, she was named the "Sexiest Women Alive" by Esquire magazine,[25] and in 2015, she was included on the Maxim Hot 100 list.[26]

In 2010, Mitchell appeared in a four-episode arc on the Disney XD series Aaron Stone, as Irina Webber.[27] In 2011, she signed a contract with Procter & Gamble to be the spokesperson for the Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo line.[28] In the same year, Mitchell created a YouTube channel, where she is best known for her lifestyle-type videos.[29][30] In 2012, Mitchell made a publicized cameo on the musical drama series Glee, where she drew comparisons to actress Naya Rivera.[31] In this period, Mitchell frequently took on fewer roles to focus on Pretty Little Liars; these were mostly roles in short films. In 2015, Mitchell co-authored the young adult novel Bliss with Michaela Blaney,[30] which is her writing debut. HelloGiggles reviewed the book, writing that "It's definitely a must-read, and we couldn't be more excited for Mitchell and Blaney."[32]

2016–present: You, Dollface, film roles and other ventures[edit]

In 2016, Mitchell made her feature film debut with the musical drama film Dreamland, starring as Nicole,[33] which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.[34] That same year, she headlined the comedy film Mother's Day, where she played Tina. The film was a moderate commercial success,[35] and marked Mitchell's film breakthrough, albeit it was panned by critics.[36]

Mitchell at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2018

In 2018, Mitchell was cast in the former Lifetime television thriller series You, in the role of Peach Salinger, a wealthy and powerful socialite, which she played in the shows' first season.[37] The series premiered in September 2018, and received critical acclaim.[38][39] It earned spots in several critic year-end lists,[40] and the performances of the ensemble cast, including Mitchell, were praised; it is her highest-rated work. Also in 2018, Mitchell founded the production company "Amore & Vita Inc." and signed a contract with Warner Bros. Television.[41] She was subsequently cast in the ABC television pilot The Heiresses, adapted from the book of the same name,[42] which was in production until 2018, when it was announced that the show was cancelled.[43]

Mitchell also launched her travel brand, "BÉIS" in 2018.[44] The same year, the horror film The Possession of Hannah Grace was released, where Mitchell was seen as Megan Reed, a "troubled ex-cop who takes the graveyard shift in a morgue".[45][46] The project was filmed years prior,[47] and she stated that it has been one of her more difficult roles to play. She stated in an interview with Collider: "I was playing a character who was dealing with major anxiety, and to be honest with you, before this role, I hadn't really encountered anxiety in my personal life. Getting this role and being in Boston and shooting it, right after coming off of PLL, to then leading this film, there was a lot of pressure. ... I had so many panic attacks, in those first three weeks of shooting, and it was only a four-week shoot. I feel like I was truly feeling what I think that character must have been going through."[47] Upon release, it garnered a negative reception from critics, though Mitchell's performance was praised and the film was a commercial success.[48]

Since November 2019,[49] Mitchell has portrayed Stella Cole in the Hulu comedy series Dollface,[50][51] the best friend to Jules Wiley (Kat Dennings). The character initially drew comparisons to Mitchell's Peach Salinger on You, though she stated on the role that "Aesthetically, you can see a similarity but when you get to know Stella, she's really a wild spirit and a complete 180 from Peach. It was fun to go from that to this."[52] Dollface is her first leading comedy role,[52] and Mitchell, along with the acting ensemble, earned praise.

Mitchell made her voice acting debut in the Netflix animated series Trese,[53][54] where she provided the voice of the titular protagonist, Alexandra Trese.

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell at the 38th People's Choice Awards in 2012

Mitchell supported Somaly Mam Foundation, a non-profit organization that fought sex trafficking, until it ended operations in 2014.[55] She has also worked with The Trevor Project alongside the Pretty Little Liars cast and the NOH8 Campaign.[56] She works with the WE Charity, which helps communities develop educational resources,[30] and she partnered with Represent Clothing to promote tees where half the proceeds went to GLAAD.[30]

On her sexuality, Mitchell has stated that she prefers not to label it.[57][58] In a 2017 interview with Maxim magazine, she said that "People always ask me, 'You play a gay character? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you this? Are you that?' Look, Emily doesn't label herself, and I don't label myself either. I fall in love with the spirit of somebody. Love is love, and that's something that I'll keep saying."[58]

Mitchell has been in a relationship with Matte Babel since 2017.[59] She has one daughter named Atlas, born in October 2019.[60][61]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Verona Model Short film
2012 Just Yell Fire: Campus Life Herself Short documentary
2014 Immediately Afterlife Marissa Short film
2016 Dreamland Nicole
2016 Mother's Day Tina
2016 A Trip to Unicorn Island Herself Documentary
2018 The Possession of Hannah Grace Megan Reed

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Degrassi: The Next Generation Model Episode: "Up Where We Belong"
2010–2017 Pretty Little Liars Emily Fields Main role
2010 Aaron Stone Irina Webber 4 episodes
2010 Rookie Blue Cute Girl Episode: "Mercury Retrograde"
2012 Punk'd Herself Episode: "Heather Morris"
2012 Glee Girl in Yellow Jacket Episode: "Britney 2.0"
2015 Project Runway Herself Guest judge; episode: "Fashion Week: Who's In and Who's Out"
2017 Shay Mitchell: Chapters Herself Fullscreen Original Series
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Herself Guest judge; episode: "Pop Art Ball"
2018 You Peach Salinger Main role (season 1); 6 episodes
2019 Almost Ready Herself Direct-to-streaming series[62]
2019–present Dollface Stella Cole Main role[63]
2020 We Celebrate: Class of 2020 Herself Television special
2021 Trese Alexandra Trese Main voice role[64]
2021 Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail Purple Episode: "Fording the River"

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 "Hold My Hand" Sean Paul [65]
2016 "Under You" Nick Jonas [66]
2017 "Help Me Help You" Logan Paul (featuring Why Don't We) [67]
2018 "In My Feelings" Drake [68]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result Ref.
2011 Pretty Little Liars Young Hollywood Awards Cast to Watch (shared with Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale and Ashley Benson) Won [69]
Pretty Little Liars Youth Rock Award Rockin' TV Actress Nominated [70]
2014 Pretty Little Liars Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Star – Female Nominated [71]
2015 Pretty Little Liars MTV Fandom Awards Ship Of The Year (shared with Sasha Pieterse) Nominated [72]
Pretty Little Liars Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Nominated [73]
2016 Pretty Little Liars Choice Summer TV Star – Female Nominated [74]
Pretty Little Liars People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actress Nominated [75]
2017 Pretty Little Liars Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Nominated [76]
Pretty Little Liars Choice TV Ship (shared with Sasha Pieterse) Nominated [77]
2018 Herself Choice Web Star: Fashion/Beauty Nominated [78]

Publications[edit]

  • Bliss (October 6, 2015) (co-written with Michaela Blaney)

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Benson, Ashley [@AshBenzo] (April 10, 2013). "Happy birthday to my gum drop @shaymitch" (Tweet). Retrieved June 14, 2013 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Shay (April 10, 2016). "I mean is anyone really shocked at this pretty little cake?! This day feels surreal for many reasons but the fact that I'm doing press for my first movie, "Mother's Day", on my 29th birthday feels just right...lets do this!!!". Retrieved April 10, 2016 – via Instagram.[permanent dead link]
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  66. ^ Nick Jonas – Under You. Retrieved December 9, 2018 – via YouTube.
  67. ^ Logan Paul – Help Me Help You ft. Why Don't We (Official Video). Retrieved December 9, 2018 – via YouTube.
  68. ^ Whittum, Connor. "Drake's 'In My Feelings' Video: All the Celeb Cameos". Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
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