Janel Parrish is an actress, singer and Broadway performer who currently stars as Mona Vanderwaal on the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars. Though she is best known for playing Jade in the 2007 film ‘Bratz: The Movie’, she has ventured into various fields, landing movie and TV roles simultaneously after her first foray into acting.
Parrish was born on October 30, 1988 in Oahu, Hawaii, to Mark Parrish, who is of European descent, and Joanne, who is of Han Chinese ancestry. She attended the Moanalua Elementary and Middle Schools. She has played the piano since age 6 and is an accomplished songwriter, is a very talented singer, and has been on Broadway. In Hawaii, she is called Hapa, which is a term for being half Asian. Janel is half Chinese, half Caucasian.
Parrish got her first off-stage acting break in the four-part miniseries Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke in 1999. Eventually, she landed the role of Hina in two episodes of Baywatch before being featured in Disney's made-for-TV live-action incarnation of the Pinocchio story entitled Geppetto. On stage, though, she got her first break when she was cast as "Young Cosette" in the National Touring Company of Les Miserables, and later in the Broadway production as well.
A force in two major entertainment arenas during the mid- to late 2000s, Hawaiian vocalist-cum-actress Janel Parrish emerged as both a pop star ascendant and an actress with the release of the 2007 comedy drama Bratz. As a live-action cinematic rendering of the Bratz doll phenomenon that hit American households like a tidal wave shortly after the turn of the millennium, the film told of four young women and their issue-ridden transitions from middle school to high school.
Parrish lingered on the TV circuit as she appeared as Vanessa in the short-lived sitcom The O'Keefes, as well as appearing in many Disney shows and made-for-TV movies on the Disney channel. She also landed a role in the NBC series Heroes as the character May.
Parrish began playing piano at the age six. At age 14, on January 3, 2003, she appeared on the 2003 remake of Star Search, performing the song "On My Own". The judges were Naomi Judd, Ben Stein, Carol Leifer, and Jack Osbourne. Stein gave her four stars, along with Osbourne who simply called her performance "good" and also gave her four stars. Leifer remarked that she had a "great Broadway voice" giving her three stars. Finally, Judd was the least generous, stating "You have a future in musicals, but you have some work to do. You've got some practicing to do" and giving her two stars. Parrish was eliminated after this performance in favor of competitor Tiffany Evans who received a perfect five stars from all four judges.
In 2007, Parrish was signed to Geffen Records to produce her first album. Her first single, "Rainy Day", one that she has written, along with its music video, was released on July 7, 2007, and was also featured on the Bratz Motion Picture Soundtrack. She also makes a brief appearance in Prima J's "Rockstar" music video, which is also on the soundtrack. She also made an appearance in NLT's "She Said, I said" music video. She provided background vocals for the song.
She made her music debut in the Bratz: The Movie credits, with her electro-pop song "Rainy Day".
Janel has several tattoos, including:
“Earth laughs in flowers” on her ribcage
“Free” on right foot
“Made in Hawaii” on her left foot
A heart on her thumb
“Passion” on her wrist
An unknown tattoo on her other wrist
a treble clef behind her ear
A symbol near her elbow
Flowers/leaves on her side
Text on her shoulder
Janel Parrish’s boyfriend is Payson Lewis. Or, as Janel refers to him, he is the “best boyfriend ever.”