Shannon Ashley “Shay” Mitchell is a Canadian actress, model, entrepreneur and author.
Mitchell was born in Mississauga, Ontario to a Filipina mother, Precious Garcia, and a Scots-Irish Hispanic father, Mark Mitchell. Her parents work in finance. Her mother, who is from Pampanga, left the Philippines at age 19. She has one younger brother, Sean, who is a lot younger than her, born in 1996. She is a second cousin-niece of Lea Salonga, singer and Tony Award-winning theater actress well known for originating the lead role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon.
Even as a young child, Mitchell was interested in performing arts, declaring to her parents that she would pursue such a career. Mitchell began dance lessons at the age of five, and she and several of her classmates toured the city to compete with a variety of other dance schools. At the age of 10, Mitchell’s family moved to West Vancouver, British Columbia. Within a year of their arrival, an international modeling agency held an open casting call for teen and pre-teen girls who were vying for representation. Mitchell was one of the girls selected. She attended Rockridge Secondary School and then later transferred to West Vancouver Secondary School where she graduated.
By her late teens, Mitchell had successfully modeled for a variety of companies in cities as varied as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Barcelona, but she later returned to Toronto to study acting. After signing with her first theatrical agency Mitchell appeared in the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation and booked several national commercials. Mitchell guest starred in the Global series Rookie Blue and appeared in the music video for “Hold My Hand” by Jamaican rapper Sean Paul. In 2010, Mitchell appeared in a four-episode arc on the Disney XD series Aaron Stone as cheerleader Irina Webber.
In December 2009, Mitchell was cast in the Freeform adaptation of the book series Pretty Little Liars. The series centers on four friends up against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal all their secrets whilst unraveling the mystery of the murder of their best friend. Mitchell portrays the role of Emily Fields, the “jock girl” of the group, the role she is well-known for.
In January 2011, Mitchell signed a contract with Procter & Gamble to be the spokesperson for the Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo line. Subsequent endorsements include American Eagle, Nike and Biore.
She coauthored the novel Bliss with Michaela Blaney in 2015.