The Stunning Transformation Of Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell isn't just a talented actress and model — she's also accomplished so much else in her life. Mitchell has starred on hit TV series, acted in movies, gotten involved in a hit Netflix drama, and, in 2019, became a mom. Basically, Mitchell is killing it, but she wasn't always as successful as she is now. 

Back before Mitchell first appeared in Pretty Little Liars a show that's totally binge-worthy — she had a handful of different jobs far from the kinds of gigs she has these days. And, as could be expected, it took her a while to secure her spot as a major power player in Hollywood. From TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and You to films like Mother's Day and everything else in between, Mitchell has demonstrated top-notch acting skills in her projects, but, looking at the stunning transformation of the mom, it's clear that there's so much more to Mitchell than meets the eye. 

Shay Mitchell struggled with her ethnicity as a child

One of Shay Mitchell's most defining characteristics is her good looks. According to Cosmopolitan, Mitchell has a Filipina mother and a Scotch-Irish father, which would explain her gorgeous, unique facial features. And while Mitchell is certainly beautiful and one of a kind, she didn't always feel comfortable with her ethnicity when she was a kid. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Mitchell described how she struggled at school because of her cultural background.

"I was so uncomfortable being Filipino," Mitchell told the magazine. "I'd get 'Oh, is your mom a nanny?' It's like, No, f**ker, but even if she was, do you know how hard that is? Could you do it? No.'" Mitchell explained that she felt so bullied at school that she didn't even eat in the cafeteria during lunch. "Out of sight, out of mind," she explained of her decision to hide from the mean girls. "You wouldn't think about me if you didn't see me, so I didn't go into the cafeteria."

Shay Mitchell waitressed before making it big

Just as many actors have to work side-jobs and hustle hard while trying to make it big in Hollywood, so did Shay Mitchell. Since it can be a long time and a difficult journey before someone can land a big, well-paying acting role, a flexible job like waitressing, dog-walking, or nannying is ideal for someone who is trying to make it in the entertainment industry. In an interview with Self, Mitchell explained that right before she landed the role of Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars, she was a cocktail waitress at a bar in Toronto. 

Speaking of her time waitressing, Mitchell explained that she constantly told herself she was on the brink of greatness. "I would walk around as though I were in a movie," she told the magazine. "I was already a successful actress in my mind." Obviously, Mitchell's positive mindset worked out in the end, as she soon landed the PLL gig and her life was forever changed. 

Shay Mitchell acted before Pretty Little Liars

Though Pretty Little Liars was arguably the show that made Shay Mitchell famous, she actually did some acting work before then. As Mitchell told Self, she was waitressing while going on a lot of auditions for acting roles back in 2009. According to Mitchell's IMDb page, she appeared in a few roles before her break-out role as Emily Fields in Pretty Little Liars. 

Specifically, Mitchell appeared in an episode of Degrassi: Next Generation, a Sean Paul music video, and the TV shows Rookie Blue and Aaron Stone. Although Mitchell definitely had a knack for acting before Pretty Little Liars, the show is definitely what launched her to fame. Surprisingly, Mitchell almost didn't even land the role on PLL. As showrunner I. Marlene King told Seventeen, "We saw two [actors] on videotape, and I was inclined to go with the other person. But in the room, Shay just owned the character of Emily. She changed our minds in the room and got the role."

In 2016, Shay Mitchell made her big-screen debut

As Pretty Little Liars started to get more and more popular, the show's stars also gained popularity and star power, something Shay Mitchell took full advantage of. In 2016, Mitchell made her big-screen debut in the film Mother's Day. In the movie, Mitchell plays Tina, the very young second wife of the ex-husband of Jennifer Aniston's character. Mitchell was extremely excited to get to work with Aniston. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Mitchell explained, "I'm playing a stepmom to Jennifer Aniston's kids!" When Mitchell saw the film's trailer, she told the magazine, "I called my mom and was like, 'Julia [Roberts] and Jen are talking about my character! So [Julia] has to know who I am!"

It's clear that Mitchell loves being able to work with such famous actors. She definitely came a long way from her waitressing days to be able to star alongside A-listers like Aniston, Roberts, and Kate Hudson in Mother's Day. 

After Pretty Little Liars ended, Shay Mitchell got more active on YouTube

Even as Shay Mitchell was seriously busy filming Pretty Little Liars and other projects, the actress still managed to take the time to develop a YouTube presence. When Pretty Little Liars came to an end in 2017, Mitchell was still doing YouTube videos, and her channel became hugely popular. In fact, as of 2019, Mitchell's YouTube channel had over 4.2 million subscribers, which is obviously impressive. 

In an interview with PopSugar, Mitchell explained that she enjoyed making YouTube videos because she wanted to share her life with her fans, but she also to inspire them to live their best lives. "I want to inspire people. ... It's important for me to get out there and show other people they can do it, too," she said. "There [are] a lot of things that I'm excited about that are around travel, production, and different things that I've had a taste of with YouTube." No matter what she does, it's obvious Mitchell crushes it. 

Shay Mitchell's social media presence is almost like a side hustle

In addition to her massive YouTube following, Shay Mitchell also has an impressive social media presence, specifically on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. On Instagram alone, Mitchell has an astounding 26.5 million followers. But, with her fame, Mitchell made sure to organize the perfect social media accounts, something she is mindful of.  

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Mitchell wanted to point out that even though her life might look perfect on social media, that's only part of the story. "People are like, your life is so great," she explained. "Yes, but remember I'm not putting up a photo of my s**tty days. You're looking at my highlight reel. You're not seeing me crying because I got my period and dropped a jelly bean on the floor." 

Mitchell also told the magazine that running her social media accounts was almost like her second job. "It was important for me to have a brand that was Shay Mitchell, so you got to know me," she said of being active on social media once PLL started to gain traction. Clearly, Mitchell knows what she's doing. 

Shay Mitchell never wants to define her sexuality

As fans of Pretty Little Liars know, Shay Mitchell's character on the show, Emily Fields, is gay. Obviously, because of that, Mitchell has been asked about her own sexuality quite a lot. However, the actor hasn't really ever defined her sexuality, and, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, she explained why she didn't ever think she would. 

"Right now I'm dating a guy," she said. "I don't know what it's going to be in three years. You love who you love. Black, white, polka-dot, that's what my dad always said. I'm never going to label myself." Mitchell continued, explaining that she might one day date a woman, so she wasn't' going to label herself as straight. "I could be 50 and dating a woman and then what? I said I was straight and now I'm not?" Mitchell doesn't like labels — that much is obvious. It's pretty clear that she's going to date whoever she wants, no matter the person's gender.

Shay Mitchell joined the thriller You

In 2018, Shay Mitchell continued her acting career shortly after her hit series Pretty Little Liars came to an end. In fact, Mitchell started acting in the hit drama You, based on the Caroline Kepnes' bestselling novel of the same name. The series, in which Mitchell starred alongside Penn Badgley (who played the worst character on Gossip Girl, Dan Humphrey), premiered on the Lifetime channel, but the show soon moved to Netflix for its second season (via Deadline). On the streaming giant, the show experienced a renaissance of sorts and became popular with viewers, as noted by the Chicago Tribune.

When asked about the transition of going from Pretty Little Liars to You, Mitchell explained that both shows were pretty dark, but that You was a lot more realistic. "Some of the things that happened in PLL were way out there, and I love that," she told Entertainment Weekly. "But I also like the realism that takes place in You and I think the viewers will appreciate that."

Shay Mitchell continued her film career with The Possession of Hannah Grace

In addition to starring in You, Shay Mitchell took to the big screen in 2018. Sticking with her theme of appearing in shows that are a bit dark, Mitchell starred in The Possession of Hannah Grace as Megan Reed. The movie was definitely a creepy thriller, and, in an interview with Collider, Mitchell explained that she started to heavily relate to her character when it came to anxiety. 

"There was a lot of pressure," she said. "What was I gonna do next? Can I carry a film of a completely different genre? I started to lose it a little bit, and I really started to second guess every single thing that I did," she said. "I had so many panic attacks, in those first three weeks of shooting, and it was only a four-week shoot." Mitchell continued, saying that she almost didn't recognize herself on screen. "I feel like I was truly feeling what I think that character must have been going through," she shared. Hopefully, Mitchell was able to learn what anxiety attacks do to the body and learned ways to help feel less anxious.

In 2018, Shay Mitchell experienced a personal trauma

While it may be obvious that Shay Mitchell has come a long way since she first appeared in Pretty Little Liars in terms of success, that doesn't mean she hasn't gone through more than her fair share of trauma. On New Year's Day 2019, Mitchell took to her Instagram Story to inform her fans and followers that she had recently gone through a terrible ordeal, as she experienced a tragic miscarriage.

"We all have to deal with various struggles and challenges in life," she wrote on her story, according to USA Today. "The support and affection that so many of you show me lifts me up during even my darkest days, one of which happened last year after I miscarried and lost the child of my hopes and dreams." Mitchell said that the period was an especially dark one for her, but she felt grateful for all her followers and fans who supported her.

Shay Mitchell started her own business

Shay Mitchell is far more than just an actor. The Canada native loves to travel, and many of her social media posts are filled with gorgeous shots of her many trips, stamped with the hashtag #Shaycation. So, it would only make sense that she would launch her own luggage company, Béis, in 2018. According to the company's website, Béis is all about bags and accessories that won't "break the bank," and Mitchell is passionate about the products. "After countless trips and #Shaycations, I realized that I wanted to create amazing, affordable pieces for travelers like myself and — in turn — everyone inspired to seek new places, meet new people and share the world," Mitchell wrote on the company's site. 

It shouldn't' come as a surprise that Mitchell is now her own boss. In a 2016 interview with Cosmopolitan, Mitchell explained that she had a desire to make her own money. "I'd rather have a company," she explained. "I don't want to be dependent on a call from my agent — taking projects I'm not okay with because I need to. To be honest, winning an Oscar is not one of my goals." Oscar or not, Mitchell is killing it. 

In 2019, Shay Mitchell announced she was pregnant

In June of 2019, mere months after Shay Mitchell revealed she had suffered a miscarriage the previous year, Mitchell announced that she was pregnant. Alongside a gorgeous maternity shot, she posted on Instagram, she wrote the caption, "Does this mean I'm allowed to drive in the car pool lane at all times now?" Additionally, Mitchell shared a heartfelt video to her YouTube channel, where she got more in-depth about her pregnancy, and she also started a new YouTube series all about pregnancy called "Almost Ready." 

Then, in October 2019, Mitchell gave birth to her daughter, Atlas. In an interview with Vogue about what her life was like as a new mom, Mitchell explained that her priorities had definitely shifted. "When she's awake, we just kind of have a chill moment together," she said. "I've had to reprioritize my work time with her schedule, and that's been interesting for me. Before it was all about my schedule, now I work once she falls asleep." Mitchell has adjusted to life with a baby, and motherhood looks great on her. 

Shay Mitchell starred in the Hulu series Dollface with some familiar faces

Even with everything else Shay Mitchell had going on, from being pregnant to running her own company and everything in between, she still managed to star in another TV show. In 2019, Mitchell appeared in the Hulu original series Dollface, alongside familiar faces like Brenda Song (one of many Disney Channel stars who look different today) and 2 Broke Girls star Kat Dennings. The series premiered in November 2019.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly about how she felt working on the show and how it was such a turn from her usual, dark roles, Mitchell explained that she loved that the series was so female-driven. "Truly that's why I related so much to this show because of the relationships that the girls have with one another," she said. "That's very similar to my main friend circle outside of the show. If anything ever goes down I'm calling my friends first." 

Mitchell is a busy woman, but she is also smart about what she commits to — and Dollface was a great choice. 

Shay Mitchell nearly reunited with this familiar showrunner

In addition to all her other many projects, Shay Mitchell briefly reunited with Pretty Little Liars showrunner I. Marlene King to work on a new series: The Heiresses. It was announced in 2017 that the series had been ordered, with Mitchell set to play the main character, according to DeadlineBesides King, Mitchell was also expected to be working with Sara Shepard, who authored the Pretty Little Liars books, as well as the Heiresses books. 

Per Deadline, the plot of the show follows the Saybrook family as they try to understand the tragedies that plague their lives. "The events surrounding a deadly accident a year ago drove a wedge between the once-inseparable diamond empire heiresses," Deadline reported. "But when an unspeakable tragedy brings the cousins back together, they create a truly unbreakable bond. They set out to solve the mystery of who wants the Saybrook family dead before one of them is the next target."

Unfortunately, the project never got its legs. In November 2018, Mitchell told TooFab that the show wouldn't be happening.