Pretty Little Liars Star Shay Mitchell Interview

January 8, 2011

Shay Mitchell’s, star of Pretty Little Liars, life changed last summer when the show became an instant hit. The show and Shay are back for more secrets, lies and drama that will no doubt keep fans in suspense. Learn more about Mitchell when you read the below interview as well as check out some pictures and a video.

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I recently had the pleasure of participating in a Q&A session with Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell. She plays Emily Fields, a teenager who is not only keeping a big secret with her three friends but is also struggling with her sexuality. Shay is an extremely talented actress and it was a pleasure to get the chance to speak with her.

Q. How important are social networking sites to the promotion of shows like Pretty Little Liars, that’s still kind of new?
A. They are getting increasingly more important, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, each play a very big part of the whole marketing strategy. I think the reason for that is because you can reach so many more people from across the world. For example on Twitter, I don’t even know how many fan pages we have but there are some in Brazil, Australia, everywhere. It’s bringing the world a little bit closer. So, yes, it’s extremely important for the marketing team to be on top of those pages and have their own pages so you keep up with everything else that’s moving so fast.

Q. The show is a huge hit. How do you deal with popularity of it and all the attention you’re getting now?
A. I still have my friends that I had in Toronto before the show, before everything. I still talk to my parents every single day and catch up with them. So I haven’t really noticed it as much. I think it’s the same with all of the girls just because we’re working so much and we’re on set. We wake up, we go to work, we go home, we hang for a little bit and then go to sleep. We’re not really realizing what’s going on outside of the studio unless we travel outward. In that respect it’s change by more people coming up and recognizing you.

Q. What draws people to keep tuning in to watch Pretty Little Liars?
A. I think it is the fact that each character is so relatable. If you don’t feel that you connect completely or totally understand one character, you can kind of find yourself in each of them. And I think because a lot of the issues that we deal with quite possibly happen on a day-to-day basis. You either have it happen to you or you know someone that it has happened to, it makes the show not so dreamy and far fetched. It brings it to a very realistic kind of world and situations that happen in it.

Q. You and Ashley Benson have a page. Can you talk a little bit about that real quick?
A. Yes, it’s really cool. You can link up and follow a bunch of people like Nicole Richie for example. I love her style. It’s really neat because you just log onto and see her page. There you kind of see her style, different things that are on her wish list and her favorite items. It makes shopping online a lot easier because I really love the way that she dresses so I see the things that she picks and then I can just click off that and get it too. It’s really cool. You get to see the exact things that stars want, their favorite items, their style, and it’s almost like shopping with them in a way.

Q. How does your fashion sense differ from Emily’s?
A. It differs quite a bit. They always say it’s kind of cool to come to work and be in someone else’s shoes, really live in someone else’s shoes, as the saying goes. I honestly feel like when I come to work and when I’m in Emily’s wardrobe, I turn into her. It’s great because it helps me so much. My style is completely different from hers and not for any bad reason or anything, just because I’m so girly and I love playing dress-up. I love sequins, bright dresses and high-heeled shoes. I like having fun with fashion. My closet’s a little bit brighter, whereas Emily’s is more comfortable. She’s pretty athletic, so she always has running shoes galore. She would choose comfort over a trendy outfit that was not so comfortable for her, whereas I would probably get the trendy outfit. I’m just the opposite.

Q. What else helps you get into character as Emily besides wearing her type of clothes?
A. Hanging out with the girls, every scene that we have with the four of us is really cool because now I’ve really gotten to know each of the other characters as well. It’s interesting because even now I’ll be shopping or I’ll be with one of the girls from the show and I’ll be like this is a piece that Aria would wear. And I say that to Lucy and she’s like “Yes, I know. Oh my gosh, this is what Emily would wear.” It’s weird. We’re really getting to know each of the characters so much better obviously than when we first shot. Our relationships are getting closer as cast members as they are characters, so it’s really neat.

Q. What is it like for you to play a character in the closet when television has quite a few openly gay characters now?
A. I was very excited to play it that way. I think it was important to play a character who is still discovering herself because there are a lot of characters now in television who are out. But there weren’t so many that were in my age group and even in other age brackets that were still trying to figure themselves out. I’ve gotten such great response from the fans and people around the world that have said, “Finally somebody I can relate to because I’m confused. I don’t know what to label myself. Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I bi?” And I think with Emily’s character, she wasn’t trying to define herself. She didn’t feel like she had to put a label on herself. And I think that’s what makes it unique, I think that’s what makes it so great is that she didn’t have to explain herself to anybody. It’s kind of cool to have a character on TV who has discovered herself and doesn’t want to quite put herself in one category.

Q. How will the show change now that A has moved from threats to attempted murder?
A. It’s definitely raised the stakes. It’s made the girls a lot more aware of everything that goes on around them. Now they know that he/she wasn’t really messing around before, but when he/she hits your friend with a car meaning to probably kill you, you definitely are a lot more careful with everything. Like I said, it kind of brings each of the girls closer to one another because this traumatic event happened. All of the girls are on more of an intense mission to try and figure out who A really is.

Q. What ways, if any, do you relate to Emily?
A. Definitely the swimming aspect. Emily feels this huge competitive swimming and doing the best on her team. Not that I was one of the best on my team, but I definitely was in the pool at a very young age. As soon as I could walk, I was thrown into the pool. So I share that love for the water like my character does. I would definitely say that I’m competitive, so I can understand Emily wanting to be the best on her team. I also relate to the character’s amazing respectable qualities about her. One of the things that I respect about her the most is her loyalty to each of the girls. I would say that’s the characteristic that I share with my friends, and I think it’s hugely important and a good one to have.

Q. What’s been the coolest experience for you personally since Pretty Little Liars started?
A. I think on-screen, the next couple of episodes are some of my favorite scenes up to date. I was really, really happy with everything, and that was kind of the best moments for me on screen. Off-screen I would say just driving up to Warner Brothers Films and getting to go to work with amazing girls and an amazing crew. It’s become such a great big family, so it’s lovely. There is really too many things to list but those are a couple of them.

Q. What do you want fans to take away from your character Emily when they watch the show?
A. I want them to see themselves, I don’t think there’s anything more important than being true to who you are and living an authentic life. Be you, live your life and don’t be afraid about what anybody else says.

Q. Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on or see you working on in the future?
A. I have a different kind of project that I am working on which I would love to tell everybody right now about but I have to keep my own secrets, too. It’s hard to do these interviews because I want to tell everybody what’s happening, but we have to be very tight lipped around here, so I’m trying my best.

If you aren’t watching Pretty Little Liars and Shay Mitchell then you need to start. Shay is not only an amazing actress but the show is fantastic too. I was hooked from the get go. Be sure to check out the below pictures and video of the fabulous Shay.

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Photos: M. Barraza/Apega

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5 Responses to “Pretty Little Liars Star Shay Mitchell Interview”

  1. 1
    Stacy Says:

    She sounds like an awesome person!

  2. 2
    Joan Says:

    Nice questions as usually Rachelle. You are quite the interviewer.

  3. 3
    Jeanette Says:

    What an awesome interview, Rachelle! Loved reading all about Shay!

  4. 4
    Sandy Says:

    That’s so cool!

  5. 5
    Miriam Says:

    Really Cool indeed, great job R