Even the most devoted Pretty Little Liars fan may not know that “Shay” is not Shay Mitchell’s real first name. Nay — Shay is actually short for Shannon. Mind blown, right? And even fans who already knew dear Emily Fields’ real first name probably don’t know the random reason behind the unique abbreviation.
But fear not — our girl Shay explained all in a Facebook Live interview with Glamour. And hint: Jennifer Lopez was involved.
We know, we know. How does the name Shannon, J.Lo, and the nickname Shay possibly relate? Shay breaks it down:
And it turns out, the nickname helped her in her professional life. She continued, “When I was auditioning, I would go into rooms, and because it was a unique name, they’d ask me about it. So that would get me another minute in the room, which is always great.”
Basically, Shay can officially thank J.Lo for all her success! Okay, NOT REALLY. But it’s kind of insane how such a random little detail can have unintended (and super beneficial) consequences later in life!
Mitchell also noted that the name change provided a valuable buffer between her personal and professional lives. In a 2012 interview she said,
“I wanted a barrier, if you will, and so I thought if I were to change my name, especially when I was at work, that would separate me from who I really was,” she said. “It sounds weird and crazy, but I just started going by Shay. It made me feel a little bit better and there was a little bit of separation, because they didn’t really know who I was.”
This actually makes a ton of sense — especially in an industry as notoriously difficult as entertainment.
And for our two cents: We love you girl! No matter what name you go by!