Shay Mitchell talks Season 7 of “Pretty Little Liars” and sexual fluidity


There are a lot of questions going into Season 7 of Pretty Little Liars, but the biggest one undoubtedly is whether Shay Mitchell’s Emily will see some action. Last season was a romantic drought for our favorite PLL lesbian, but with Marlene King telling us there will be more sexy time, and knowing that Lindsey Shaw is returning later in the season (episode 8, to be exact), we can keep hope alive.

All that said, it was time to get the scoop from Shay herself, who talked with AfterEllen earlier today about the new season.

IHeartRadio MuchMusic Video Awards.via Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

AfterEllen: Last season was a romantic dry spell for Emily. Why was that and will it be changing in Season 7?

Shay Mitchell: I think so. I think this season is more romantic for everyone including Emily, hopefully, and I think we’ll see a little bit more romance than last season. And I agree! I was so used to this revolving door of beautiful women, and then it all dried up!


AE: At least we’re getting Lindsey Shaw back as Paige later in the season.

SM: Yes, of course!


AE: What do you think is different about the Emily and Paige coupling that people love? I mean, the Emison fans are there, too, but people get real excited with Paige shows up! 

SM: Yeah, they do! I think because knowing how it all started off in the beginning with Paige trying to drown Emily [laughs], and then they definitely did a 180. I think that people are very happy just seeing how far the relationship has come. And obviously recognizing even though Paige was like that at the beginning, they’ve really come to love her and love how much her and Emily help each her out. 


AE: We saw how much it affected Emily in the season finale with Alison, how do we see it affect her emotionally going into the new season since Alison is not in a good place.

SM: No, she’s not and it’s really tough because Emily and Alison are so close together but a situation like that is difficult. When a friend drops you off at a psych ward, it’s kind of like, “I hope you come back and visit,” so I think out of everybody I think Emily is definitely the friend that you’d want to come back and check up on you.

SHAY MITCHELLvia Freeform/Eric McCandless

AE: Do we see Emily lean on anybody that we haven’t seen her lean on before at the start of the season?

SM: You’ll be finding out in the first half of Season 7 who Emily goes to and shares things with, but everybody needs that person so you’ll be finding out who that is soon. It’s kind of a surprise but obviously, the girls have each other to lean on, but there’s also someone outside of the circle and unbiased to go to.


AE: There are so many people we know we shouldn’t trust like Mona but is there anybody we should trust? What do you think?

SM: I don’t think you can trust anybody on our show! That’s what I’ve learned over the seven seasons. I don’t know that you trust anyone! There are some familiar faces that come back, but I don’t know. I think you want to keep people at an arm’s reach.


AE: We’ve talked about Emily being an LGBT character on this mainstream show that a lot of people are watching and with everything going in the world like Orlando, why do you think having LGBT characters and stories is important especially now?

SM: I think it’s important to educate [and] to show everyone that it’s not a big deal. It shouldn’t be such a huge thing. The beautiful thing about all this is when I first started the show, every single interview was always about “What’s it like kissing a girl?” or “What’s it like playing a gay character?” So much was based on that when I was asked a question, but you’re not asking Lucy Hale what it’s like kissing Ian [Harding] so why are we doing this?

To be honest, I don’t really get asked that question anymore, which is great, so I feel like we’re moving in a positive direction and in the right direction. Obviously with the horrible events that took place in Orlando, there are still people that aren’t understanding of it. But with shows like this and more TV shows and characters, I think it’s great, and I think more than anything it’s educating everyone that love is love, and that’s what we need to focus on.


AE: Hypothetically, Marlene comes to you and says you get to cast Emily’s next love interest, and it can be anyone you want—who do you pick?

SM: I’d say that Rihanna comes to town! I would say Rihanna, hello!

SHAY MITCHELLvia Freeform/Eric McCandless 

AE: Hopefully you knew that the world shook a little bit when you said in the Cosmo interview when you could see yourself dating a woman someday.

SM: I think for me it’s so much less about labeling. I don’t like labels for anything unless they’re my bags, let’s be honest! [laughs] But I think as far as love is concerned, I just don’t ever want to say to the world when they ask, “Are you straight? Are you this? Are you that?” I don’t know. In the future when I’m living wherever I’m living, you can come over and meet my girlfriend or whoevermy partner. I just don’t know! I’m falling in love with the soul of the person. Has it happened yet? No. Will it happen in the future? I don’t know so I’d just rather not label myself. I fall in love with the soul.


AE: And when you hear the term sexual fluidity, it’s not so taboo anymore. It’s kinda hot!

SM: Yeah, that’s another thing that I love about the show. It wasn’t oversaturated with this sexiness of two girls kissing each other. It’s not even about that either. It’s just about Emily falling for this other person and I think the same thing about fluidity. I like that. I just don’t want to label it.


AE: Anything else coming up outside of PLL?

SM: I’m really excited about the movie that I’ll be shooting after the show wraps in November. It’s called Cadaver. I got a movie that I get to play on and it’s a thriller so I’m super stoked about it!


Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Freeform.

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