Shay Mitchell proud of her Filipino roots

Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields in "Pretty Little Liars". (Photo courtesy of ETC)

“I know people here are so amazing and I just can’t wait to explore.”
This is what “Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell said during a press conference held in Makati Shangri-la on Monday, December 17.
Shay, who has a Filipino mother and Irish-Scottish father, arrived in Manila to promote the third season of the suspense-drama “Pretty Little Liars,” which  premieres on ETC on January 12, 2013.
Although she has a very tight schedule, Shay is excited about “going to the islands.” She enjoys Filipino dishes such as sinigang, halo-halo, pansit and turon, which she usually eats back in Canada.
“I think I have to come back here next year to check out more places and take my family here,” she said.
Shay also revealed that her co-star Lucy Hale, who went to the country for a retail brand endorsement, had the “best things to say about the Philippines.”
Shay also cracked a joke about not being chosen to endorse the retail brand.
“Yes, what’s up with that? I’m the one half on the show! Like, really?”
She added, “I don’t know why she (Lucy) didn’t stay longer to explore the islands, but she flew in flew out. She said she had a great time and people were so wonderful. So, her experience was really good.”
On her Filipino ancestry
Shay, who is proud of her Filipino ancestry, appreciates the people’s happy disposition. She said that her friends love coming to their family gatherings, which Filipinos are very fond of.
“They love coming for family barbeques, you know the big Filipino ones in the park. They’re like, ‘When’s the next one?’ they want to be Filipino too. One thing, we’re just generally happy people and positive. Those are two good traits to have.”
After seeing the skin whitening advertisements around the city, Shay has a bit of advice to Filipinas who are “morena” like her.
“I think it’s nice that I hope girls would embrace their color because it’s a beautiful color. Trust me, many people in the world don’t have what we have.”
“Pretty Little Liars” casts Shay as Emily Fields, a gay girl who struggles over the loss of her girlfriend, Maya.
On her role as Emily Fields
Shay doesn’t mind playing a gay role, believing that “love is love.”
“It never matters to me. I think love is love, that’s how I was raised, that’s what I believe. For me to play a character that struggles with that is so important to me. Because a lot of fans’ reactions was ‘Thank you so much for playing this character and standing up for something.’ Like I said, love is love and I wouldn’t play anybody else.
Shay also offers pieces of advice to Filipino fans who gave her gifts during the press conference.  

“I think you have to live a very authentic life and be true to who you are because that is gonna shine through. I’m comfortable with who I am and I think that’s what’s important. That’s what I want to tell other girls to have confidence with themselves.”

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