Shay Mitchell Complate Biography

Shay Mitchell, born Shannon Mitchell 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. Shay 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.

Shay Mitchell Fast Facts:
  • Enrolled in dance classes as a toddler.
  • Family moved to Canada when she was 10 years old.
  • Began modeling career at 15, which allowed her to travel to international locales and spend time in Asia after high school.
  • Made TV debut on Degrassi: The Next Generation in 2009.
  • Appeared on several episodes of the Disney XD series Aaron Stone in 2010.
  • Featured in Sean Paul's 2010 music video for "Hold My Hand".
  • Originally tested for the role of Spencer on the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars, but changed direction and won the part of Emily.
  • Became a spokesmodel for Pantene Haircare products in 2011.

I did it from an early age. I started when I was like 15 and it allowed me to travel around the world. I got to go to some really cool jobs and live in different places. After I finished high school I went to Hong Kong and Thailand and spent some time there. Just to get that whole experience of being out of the bubble that I was in from high school in Vancouver, to be able to travel around and be on your own was an amazing experience. It really allowed me to see a lot of the world that I might not have seen that soon.

  • Shay Mitchell Relationships:
  • Lea Salonga - Cousin
  • Precious Mitchell - Mother
  • Mark Mitchell - Father
  • Sean Mitchell - Brother

At the age of 10, Shay's family moved west to 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. Shay was one of the girls selected.

By her late teens, Shay 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.


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