“Today, Shay Mitchell appears as one of the most popular and confident young actresses, but the popular Pretty Little Liars star and former model used to, well, lie about her look.
The 27-year-old brunette actress, who is of Filipino and Caucasian descent, recalled in a recent interview how when she was younger, she changed her appearance to try to look more like the majority of people in her hometown in her native Canada. Mitchell grew up in Toronto and Vancouver, where approximately half the population is white.
“It was the first thing people noticed. They’d say, ‘Are you the daughter of my nanny?’ Mitchell told Yahoo! Style in comments posted on Thursday. “I hated being asked who I was and all my friends had blond hair and blue eyes.”
The outlet reported that the actress dyed her hair, wore colored contacts and stayed out of the sun to try to make her skin pale, quoting her as saying that she “wanted to be something she wasn’t.” Mitchell, Yahoo! Style reported, hated high school, where “mean girls” bothered her, and even ate her lunch in the bathroom.
Nowadays, Mitchell has more than 2.52 million followers on Twitter and many Pretty Little Liars fans look up to the actress, who plays a gay teenager named Emily on the ABC Family show.
“I don’t feel like a gay icon,” she told Yahoo! Style. “I don’t feel like an icon at all.”
She added, “I know kids are watching it with their families. If someone can say, ‘Oh Mom, I relate to her,’ then the conversation can begin.”
Mitchell has made similar comments about her past attempts to alter her looks. ELLE Canada quoted her as saying in 2013 that when she was in high school, she dyed her hair blonde and wore blue, green and gray contact lenses over her dark brown eyes to try to fit in with her peers.
The actress embraced her natural look after she began modeling professionally in Thailand and Hong Kong.
“I was getting cast because I didn’t look like anyone else,” she told ELLE Canada…”