"I eat Filipino food that my mom cooks. I love to eat halo-halo, lumpia and pancit. We had Filipino ladies that looked after us when we were young and taught me how to sing 'Dahil Sa 'Yo.' Unfortunately, I can't remember it anymore," says Shay Mitchell when asked about the Filipino in her.

Photo: Courtesy of Shay Mitchell

Isa sa mga bagong hit TV series ngayon sa U.S. ay ang teen mystery drama na Pretty Little Liars na ipinapalabas sa ABC Family Network. Kasama  sa lead cast nito ang isang Filipina-Canadian na nagngangalang Shay Mitchell.

Ginagampanan ni Shay ang role na Emily Fields, isang athletic teen who is struggling with her sexuality. Ang iba pang nasa lead cast ay ang teen Hollywood stars na sila Lucy Hale (Privileged) as Aria Montgomery, Ashley Benson (Bring It On) as Hanna Marin, Troian Bellisario (NCIS) as Spencer Hastings, at Sasha Pieterse (House) as Alison DeLaurentiis. Kasama rin sa cast sina Ian Harding, Holly Marie Combs, Chad Lowe, Laura Leighton, Bianca Lawson, and Janel Parrish.

Ipinanganak si Shay (Shannon Mitchell in real life) noong April 10, 1987 sa Toronto, Canada. Filipino ang kanyang mother at Irish-Scot naman ang kanyang father. Bata pa lang si Shay ay mahilig na siya sa performing arts kaya at the age of five, nag-aral na siya ng dance lessons at nakipag-compete na sa ilang dance competitions.

Noong 10 years old siya ay lumipat ang family ni Shay sa Vancouver at doon siya lumaki bilang teenager hanggang kinuha siya ng isang international modeling agency.

As a teen model, she has traveled to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Berlin, and Barcelona. Pero bumalik si Shay sa Toronto to study acting, and also marketing and photography at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Shay later on signed with an agency na nagbigay ng kanyang first acting assignment sa hit series na DeGrassi: The Next Generation and Rookie Blue. Shay also landed a recurring role in the Disney series Aaron Stone and did several national commercials such as Joe Fresh, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Honda. Na-feature din siya sa music video na "Hold My Hand" ng international recording artist na si Sean Paul.

FACEBOOK CHAT WITH SHAY. Sa pamamagitan ng Facebook ay nakapanayam ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Shay Mitchell. May ilang katanungan kami na sinagot naman niya.

Napag-alaman namin na first cousin ng kanyang ina ang international Filipina star na si Lea Salonga. Kapatid naman ng kanyang ina ang host ng Divine Design sa HGTV channel na si Chico Garcia.

How is the Filipino in her since she grew up in Canada?

"As Filipino as I can be. I eat Filipino food that my mom cooks. I love to eat halo-halo, lumpia and pancit. We had Filipino ladies that looked after us when we were young and taught me how to sing 'Dahil Sa 'Yo.' Unfortunately, I can't remember it anymore," sabi niya.

Isa raw sa pinakagustong pastime ni Shay na very Pinoy ay ang mag-karaoke.

Paano siya nakapasok sa modeling at sa TV acting?

"When I was younger, I was into modeling. I was in the modeling industry, and I always took acting classes. I never had an agent. I knew what I wanted to do and that was to be a part of the entertainment industry. I've known that I wanted to do this for a long time. I worked with an acting agency in Toronto about two years ago and introduced me to my manager. I went through a lot of auditions and lucky enough to get this one," kuwento niya.

How did she get the part of Emily in Pretty Little Liars?

"My agent in Toronto sent my audition tape to my manager. Then, they called me to audition again in Los Angeles at Warner Brothers Studio and the rest, as they say, is history."