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'Pretty Little Liars' star Shay Mitchell draws flak after saying she's 'half-Spanish'

By Melanie Uson Published Jun 20, 2024 7:31 pm

Shay Mitchell faced backlash online after saying that her mother is Spanish when it can be recalled that the actress declared she’s half-Filipino in the past years.

In the six-second teaser video for her show Thirst with Shay Mitchell, the actress was seen boasting her strong tolerance to alcohol, saying, “You know what my background is? My dad’s Irish, my mom’s Spanish,” she said, “I can drink a lot, and then I get f—king spicy.”

This is contrary to past interviews where she shared she has Filipino roots. 

@streamonmax Spicy Shay. #ThirstWithShayMitchell #ShayMitchell ♬ original sound - Max

In case you didn’t know, Shay’s mother is Precious Garcia, who hails from Pampanga. She is also the niece of award-winning actress Lea Salonga, who's first cousins with Precious. 

Shay also opened up about her struggles being half Filipino in the white-dominated country, noting how she had to change her looks in 2013 to fit in her hometown in Canada. 

“It was the first thing people noticed. They’d say, ‘Are you the daughter of my nanny?’ Mitchell recalled. “I hated being asked who I was and all my friends had blond hair and blue eyes,” she added. 

She later learned to embrace her Filipina features after she started her modeling career, saying that her Filipino blood is a “very big part” of who she is and that it makes her “a little bit more unique.” 

Shay also shared anew about her Pinoy roots when she was tapped to voice Alexandra Trese for the Filipino animated series, Trese, saying it helped her be “closer to her mom’s heritage.” 

“You know it was super fun, but actually pretty intense (in a good way),” Shay previously shared with The Philippine STAR.  

“My mom is Filipino so while I am definitely familiar with Tagalog, I am by no means fluent. I wanted to do the language and culture justice though by really nailing my pronunciations, the cadence and inflection,” she added. She also shared that she enjoys Filipino cuisine made by her Filipino aunt, including adobo and kaldereta.

Her half-Spanish claim did not sit well with Filipino viewers, with some expressing their disappointment with the actress for “being ashamed of being Filipino.” 

“Isn’t Shay Mitchell Filipino? Why she lying? Is she embarrassed of her heritage?” a TikTok user said in the post’s comments section. 

“Umm what? all the OG Shay fans remember the Proud Filipina Era YouTube videos and interviews,” a TikTok user wrote. 

“Shay is only Filipino when it suits her,” another one commented. 

“[S]hame on you, [Shay [M]itchell,” another one wrote.

Shay is known for her roles in the series Pretty Little Liars, You, and Dollface, among others. Outside the screens, she is also a businesswoman with her travel brand BÉIS and beverage brand Onda Tequila.