Janel Parrish is an American actress and singer probably best known for her role on the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars.” She also appeared in the film “Bratz: The Movie.” Most recently, she landed a gig on the final season of “Drop Dead Diva,” in which she’ll play a cheerleader who finds viral video fame after someone captures her meltdown on camera.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Janel Parrish is sometimes called Hapa, which is a term for being half Asian. She is half Chinese and half Caucasian.
Janel Parrish began playing piano when she was six. Her first big role was as Little Cosette in the National Touring Company of “Les Miserables.” “I was about six years old and I loved musical theatre…I had no training, no experience whatsoever, and my dad just saw that I really, really wanted to do it and from then on musical theatre was my life.” In 2003, when she was 14, she appeared on the remake of “Star Search” and was eventually eliminated.
In 2007, she was signed to Geffen Records. Her single, “Rainy Day” along with a music video, was released that same year.
Though playing piano and writing is a passion of hers, Janel Parrish hasn’t had enough time to devote to them. “Eventually, I’d love to get back into that, definitely.” She added, “Right now, I’ve just been focused on acting…I'm still writing music and working with a few people, so who knows?”
As for her evil character on “Pretty Little Liars,” Janel Parrish said she had nothing in common with her. “Thankfully, because she’s, you know, not a very nice person. But it definitely makes it fun to play a character that is 100% different from me.” She added, “I promise I’m not as mean as Mona.”
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When she’s not working, Janel spends time with her family. “I’m very close to them. Then I have a great group of friends…we like to have our movie nights, our game nights, and our beach days so I’m pretty chill.” She is a self-proclaimed shopaholic. “My friends laugh at me because I enjoy the hunt more than I enjoy the clothes that I buy. I like finding a good deal…it’s become the addiction of the actual sport of shopping.”
Janel Parrish is single and currently resides in North Hollywood, California.