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Shay Mitchell used to mask Filipino heritage

(The Freeman) - January 20, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – 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, 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 said. “I hated being asked who I was and all my friends had blond hair and blue eyes.”

The actress dyed her hair, wore colored contacts and stayed out of the sun to try to make her skin pale, 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 her.

Mitchell has made similar comments about her past attempts to alter her looks. She was quoted 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 said.

Mitchell is the daughter of a Filipino mother and Irish-Scottish father. She also talked about her childhood in an interview with The Philippine Star in 2013 during a visit to Manila.

“I had difficulty explaining my looks,” she said. “The area I grew up in, they didn’t really know what I was. I was completely different.”

She said that being half Filipino is a “very big part” of who she is now, adding, “It makes me a little bit more unique.”

Mitchell also has a famous Filipino relative, Lea Salonga, original star of Broadway’s “Miss Saigon” and the singing voice of Disney’s “Mulan” and Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin.” She told the Philippine Entertainment Portal in 2012 that the singer used to visit her family when she was younger. “It was amazing because there she was, the voice of Jasmine in Aladdin, in my house!” she said.

FILIPINO AND CAUCASIAN LEA SALONGA MISS SAIGON MITCHELL PHILIPPINE ENTERTAINMENT PORTAL PHILIPPINE STAR PRETTY LITTLE LIARS PRINCESS JASMINE SHAY MITCHELL THAILAND AND HONG KONG
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