Actress Shay Mitchell on her character being a lesbian on the ABC Family hit “Pretty Little Liars”
I was very impressed with young actress Shay Mitchell as she appeared before journalists at the TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena today.
She was among the cast members from the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars who participated in a morning panel and she talked about her character of Emily Fields who came out as a lesbian to her friends and family last season.
“I am getting the most amazing response from girls and guys all over the world, thanks to Twitter, and it’s been unbelievable,” said the actress. “I mean, just, you know, the response from our last episode when Emily comes out to her father. You know, some of the comments were like, “It’s given me courage. You know, your father looks so tough on the show, from the military, and if Emily could do it, you know, then that’s great.”
She added: “And then a lot of them have told me that they have found an easier time coming out to their parents, just seeing, you know, that it’s not so bad, and I think that it’s amazing. And the storyline with Emily and Maya is so sweet, and it’s great. And at the beginning, when you didn’t know yet if Emily was, you know, gay or straight or bi-, a lot of girls were finding it very relatable because they were like, “I don’t know. I have feelings for, you know, this girl, and I see this character on TV going through the same thing.” So I’ve been getting a lot of very, very positive feedback from it.”
The Canadian actress, who is 23, does not take the role and its impact on young LGBT viewers lightly: “Yeah. I mean, a — if I can represent the gay community in small way, then I’m so honored and couldn’t be more proud to do that. And I have had a lot of, you know, girls even on the street. Yes, they recognize us from the poster, but they even come up, and they’re like, “You know, do you think” — and they’re asking me for advice. And I’m like, “I don’t really know if I’m in any position to tell you, but I’m just saying be true to yourself.” And that’s what my character is doing, and I’m all on board with the decisions Emily, my character, has chosen on the show. So I’ll tell them the same thing, just to live as much of an authentic life as you can.”
“If I can represent the gay community in a small way then I’m so honored.”
She was asked what advice she would have for young kids and she stuck to the character’s attitude: “I’m just saying be true to yourself … That’s what my character is doing. … Live as much of an authentic life as you can.”
I must say, it’s awfully nice to have such a thoughtful young woman playing a lesbian character on television and to be able to grasp what it means to viewers.