Belfast Telegraph

Shay Mitchell: ‘Celebrate yourself’

Shay Mitchell appreciates being offered her Pretty Little Liars role, despite looking nothing like how her character is described in the books.

Shay Mitchell has urged people to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness.

The Pretty Little Liars star has been open about her struggle to accept her looks over the years, even previously admitting to dying her hair blonde and wearing blue contact lenses as a teenager. But now she’s finally accepted and grown to love herself, Shay hopes others will follow suit in no longer changing their facade.

“They (fans) say, ‘Oh, you look similar to me. I’ve always stood out, and it’s nice seeing someone who is of mixed heritage too,’” she told Teen Vogue.

“It’s important to celebrate the fact that there is only one of you. Embrace the things you may not be as happy or as confident with right now. In the end, you will be.”

Shay, whose mother is Filipina and father is of Irish-Scottish decent, rarely related to people as a youngster in regards to appearances, thus leading her to feel the need to alter her exterior.

However, as mentioned above, she finally learnt to celebrate her uniqueness and ditched the dye and coloured lenses in favour of being natural.

In hit TV show Pretty Little Liars the 29-year-old plays Emily Fields, and little did she know until she auditioned that her casting would mark an important step forward for her in terms of her appearance.

"I auditioned for a part that was supposed to be the girl next door, and in the book she looks completely opposite of what I look like,” she explained. "I was really appreciative of the fact that the studios took that in.”

She isn’t against occasionally experimenting though and has been rocking a blonde wig as of late. Quizzed by Refinery29 on whether she has more fun with a different hair tone, Shay insisted it’s down to the person, not the shade.

“Well, you really have more fun based on your attitude and the people you’re with; I really don’t know that it’s because of hair colour,” she laughed.

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