Shay Mitchell on Her New Show 'You' and Avoiding Asian-Specific Roles

Shay Mitchell has finally returned to the small screen and it was so worth the wait.

Shay stars in the new Lifetime series You, based on the novel of the same name.

The series follows Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) as a bookstore owner who becomes obsessed with a beautiful girl named Beck. Shay will play Beck’s BFF Peach, who, according to Shay, is kind of a bitch. She told Elite Daily,

“Peach is maybe not the nicest person in the book, but she does care very deeply for Beck, the main character, and she’s just very protective of her, so sometimes it might come off a bit snarky, and maybe she is sometimes… but, you know, with every main girl she deals with her own set of insecurities.”

So it sounds like Peach will be super different than Mitchell’s previous role of Emily Fields. But we’re totally game to see Emily flex her acting chops. Plus, we’re glad to see that Shay hasn’t been typecast, which is something a few of the other Liars worried about.

And by the sound of it, Shay has specifically tried hard not to pigeonhole herself, and that includes looking outside Asian-specific roles (Mitchell is half Filipino). She told StyleCaster,

“I don’t know if I looked particularly for Asian roles. I wanted to immerse myself in any role I found interesting. I think strong, independent female-driven characters are things I tend to lean towards. But I don’t know if ethnicity is an issue with me. I try to ignore that and go in for a character more than their race.”

That was actually an issue for Shay when she was originally cast as Emily, who was described in the books as a pale-skinned redhead covered in freckles.

“People who were big fans of the books wanted to see that character that they had imagined in real life. Frankly, I was the complete opposite.”

As we know, there are not nearly enough roles written with Asian American women in mind, so Shay is smart to go for any role she finds interesting.

You can currently stream all of season 1 of You on Netflix.

Photo: Shay Mitchell / Instagram

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.