Shay Mitchell is a Canadian actress and model best known for her starring role as Emily Fields, an athletic girl who is struggling with her sexuality and the loss of her best friend, in the teen drama mystery series Pretty Little Liars.
Mitchell, born Shannon to a Filipino mother and Irish/Scottish father, is a native of Toronto, Canada. Even as a young child, she was interested in the performing arts, declaring to her parents that she would pursue such a career.
Mitchell began dance lessons at the age of 5, 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 west to Vancouver, British Columbia. Within a year of their arrival, an international modeling agency had an open casting call for teen and pre-teen girls who were vying for representation. Mitchell was one of the girls selected.
By her late teens, Mitchell had successfully modeled for a variety of companies in cities as varied as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Barcelona.
Wanting to focus on her true passion, Mitchell returned to Toronto and began to study acting with great focus and determination. Her hard work paid off and, after signing with her first theatrical agency, she appeared in the hit series DeGrassi: The Next Generation and booked several national commercials.
She also landed a recurring role in the Disney series Aaron Stone, is featured in the music video for international recording artist Sean Paul's hit song Hold My Hand and appeared in the police procedural Rookie Blue.