If you’re not a dedicated Pretty Little Liars fan, you probably only peripherally know Shay Mitchell. Her name might ring a bell from movie and/or TV appearances as well as magazine covers and modeling jobs. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will know Shay well from her time as Emily Fields, but there’s something you might not think of when hearing her name. Turns out Shay Mitchell’s real name isn’t actually Shay.
What’s the Canadian actress’ real name? Shannon Mitchell.
In a 2012 interview with OK! magazine Mitchell talked about why she goes by Shay. She told the tabloid that she started working at a sports bar and didn’t want the customers to know her real name so she used “Shay.” What kind of sketchy bar was she working at that she needed to be anonymous? Yikes. But now Mitchell recently revealed another reason why she goes by Shay and it has to do with no one other than Jennifer Lopez.
During a Facebook Live stream with Glamour magazine, Mitchell talked about her name switch. She credited her love of J.Lo growing up with the moniker and said, “When I was in high school, people would be like, ‘Shay-Lo,’ and then ‘Shay’ kinda stuck. We dropped ‘Lo,’ because no one can be J.Lo.” Mitchell is right. No one else can be J.Lo except for J.Lo herself.
Mitchell must have been obsessed with J.Lo for people in her high school to craft a nickname inspired by the singer, but either way, the nickname is super catchy and clearly stuck.
Mitchell said changing her name also helped with auditions. During the live stream she said, “When I was auditioning, I would go into rooms, and because it was a unique name, they’d ask me about it,” said Mitchell. “So that would get me another minute in the room, which is always great.”
I’m not saying that Jennifer Lopez launched Shay Mitchell’s career, but she definitely helped. Thanks, J.Lo!