Spotlight on Shay Mitchell: Mother's Day

The lovely and talented Shay Mitchell is getting a lot of attention lately. The actress is not only one of the stars of Garry Marshall’s upcoming new movie, Mother’s Day but she was also chosen to fill in for Kelly Ripa yesterday morning on Live With Kelly and Michael while Kelly took some time off.

Born just west of Toronto, the 29-year old Canadian actress was interested in performing arts from a young age, telling her parents that she would pursue the arts as a career in one way or another.  Mitchell 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. At the age of 10, Mitchell’s family moved to West VancouverBritish Columbia and 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. 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, but she later returned to Toronto to study acting. After signing with her first theatrical agency Mitchell appeared in the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation and booked several national commercials. Mitchell guest starred in the television seriesRookie Blue and appeared in the music video for “Hold My Hand” by rapper Sean Paul. In 2010, Mitchell appeared in a four-episode arc on the Disney XD series Aaron Stone as cheerleader Irina Webber.

In December 2009, Mitchell was cast in the ABC Family (currently Freeform) planned adaptation of the book series Pretty Little Liars. In January 2010, the series which centers on four friends up against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal all their secrets whilst unraveling the mystery of the murder of their best friend was picked up by ABC Family. Mitchell won the role of Emily Fields, the “jock girl” of the group. The program gained quick popularity despite mixed critical reviews. It has since been renewed for a seventh season, with the sixth season currently airing.

In addition to all of her TV work, Mitchell is a  spokesperson for the Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo line, she has also amassed nearly 16 million followers on social media, released two fashion lines, and just last year she coauthored the novel Bliss with Michaela Blaney.

Now being one of the stars of Mother’s Day,Mitchell says she is still pinching herself in disbelief.  “It’s truly amazing that I am actually in a movie directed by Garry Marshall,” Mitchell told me during our recent interview in Los Angeles. “I grew up watching his movies (I watched Pretty Woman at least a million times) and his television shows are iconic.” 
She also was a bit star struck working opposite Jennifer Aniston who plays her romantic rival in the film. “When I found out that I was going to have scenes with Jennifer, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. I’m not going to lie, I was a little star-struck. Friends is one of my all-time favorite shows, so to learn from someone like Jennifer Aniston was not something I took for granted.”  

As for what comes next, Mitchell has plenty of aspirations. She hopes to eventually form a corporation that could distribute all her products, ensuring a large portion of the proceeds goes to charities close to her heart; and she would also like to open a foundation to help underprivileged women in foreign countries. Of course, she’s not giving up acting anytime soon either! 

Check out my interview with Shay Mitchell talking about her incredible co-stars in Mother’s Day and getting the opportunity to work with veteran director Garry Marshall.

Mother’s Day is in theaters on April 29th.