'Pretty Little Liars' Star Shay Mitchell Is 'Proud' Emily Isn't Afraid To Put Her Sexuality Out There

This day and age on TV, a storyline involving a high school girl flip-flopping over her sexuality isn't that unheard of (see "90210" and "The O.C." as examples), but the problem with the portrayal often comes with how incredibly easy it seems for said female co-ed to date and/or makeout with another girl and then in the next episode go back to being straight again. For that reason, we're applauding how real the Emily Fields storyline on "Pretty Little Liars" seems.


Shay Mitchell, who plays the positive-yet-introverted swimmer on the ABC Family series, does a great job of painting a picture to us viewers at home what it feels like to be a teen girl who is terrified and excited by her sexuality all at the same time. In fact, she told Hollywood Crush this week that she owes her chops to the fact that the she believes the role is making a difference.

"I feel very proud to be a part of a show that's examining this further and not afraid to put it out there," Shay said. "The comments that I get from girls that are going through this, who aren't quite sure of their sexuality — they're wondering if they are the only person, but then they can watch the show and see that there's somebody else that's dealing with it, too."

And while it's easy to want to call Emily a lesbian (she is basically dating Maya now) by definition, Shay doesn't think we should all be so quick to want to place Emily into a specific box. "Growing up [we] always thought you had to be put in one category or the other — what's your sexuality? Are you gay? Are you straight? My character is just kind of like, 'I don't know! I don't know what I am, it's great. How do you define that?'"

According to the actress, the most important part of Emily's journey is that she's learning more about herself because she doesn't want to be defined by her preference for boys or girls. Insists Shay, "That's the key thing here."

What do you think of Emily's storyline on "PLL"? Do you agree that Shay does a good job in her portrayal? Why or why not?