Parrish in 2007
|Born||Janel Meilani Parrish
(1988-10-30) October 30, 1988
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Partner(s)||Chris Long (engaged)|
Janel Meilani Parrish (born October 30, 1988) is an American actress. She is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the Freeform mystery drama series Pretty Little Liars. She is also known for portraying Young Cosette in the Broadway production of Les Misérables (1996), and Jade in the teen comedy film Bratz (2007). In 2014, Parrish participated in the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars, taking third place.
Parrish was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Joanne (née Mew), who is of Han Chinese descent, and Mark Phillip Parrish, who is of European descent. She has one sister, Melissa Nohelani, who is eight years older and served in the U.S. Army. Her parents were former bodybuilders, and her mother worked for a Honolulu health club.
At age six, Parrish saw a production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center and fell in love with the idea of performing. She began playing the piano, and within a year was also studying acting, singing, tap and jazz dance. She entered several talent contests, and became well known to local Oahu residents. At age 14, she appeared in the 2003 remake of Star Search, performing the song “On My Own” from Les Misérables. She attended Moanalua Elementary School, and Moanalua High School for her freshman year. Parrish lived in Kaneohe, Hawaii until the age of 14, when she and her family moved to Burbank, Los Angeles so she could pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Parrish was then homeschooled in order to accommodate her work schedule.
Parrish began her acting career when she was cast as Young Cosette in the National Touring Company of Les Misérables, and later portrayed the role for two months in the Broadway production at the Imperial Theatre. She subsequently appeared in several community theatre productions in Hawaii – most notably as Jean Louise “Scout” Finch in Manoa Valley Theatre’s revival of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1998. In 1999, Parrish landed her first substantial television role in NBC‘s action series Baywatch, appearing in two episodes as Hina, a young girl whom Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) saves from drowning.
In 2000, Parrish was featured in Disney‘s live-action television film based on the Pinocchio story, Geppetto, portraying the role of Natalie. She then went on to appear as Vanessa in The WB‘s short-lived sitcom The O’Keefes. Parrish also appeared in shows and made-for-television films on the Disney Channel, and also guest starred in Fox‘s sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, Nickelodeon‘s children’s comedy-drama series Zoey 101, and Fox’s teen drama series The O.C.. Parrish then portrayed Bratz member Jade in the 2007 live-action film Bratz. The role was her first in a motion picture, as well as her first starring role. In May 2007, shortly before the release of Bratz, she was signed to the William Morris Agency. She then landed a recurring role in the NBC supernatural drama series Heroes.
Parrish played Mona Vanderwaal for the duration of the Freeform teen drama series Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series by Sara Shepard. Mona is introduced in the first season as a teenage outsider who uses her intelligence and resources to torment others anonymously. In March 2012, Parrish was promoted to a series regular for the third season, and stayed a regular for the remainder of the series. For her performance as Mona, she won Choice TV – Villain at the Teen Choice Awards four times from five nominations.
In February 2012, Parrish returned to her stage roots in a production of the musical Spring Awakening. She portrayed Anna, while also understudying the lead female role of Wendla Bergmann. That same year, she had a supporting role in the romantic comedy-drama film Celeste and Jesse Forever. She subsequently guest starred in the CBS drama series Hawaii Five-0, playing the role of Rebecca Fine, an ambitious and strong-willed chemistry student, and made a guest appearance in Lifetime‘s fantasy legal drama series Drop Dead Diva as cheerleader Chelsea Putnam. Also in 2014, Parrish led the cast of the Lifetime thriller film High School Possession as Lauren Brady. The following year, she had a guest role as villainess Jillian Havemeyer in NBC’s comedy-drama series The Mysteries of Laura. In 2017, she guest starred in Fox’s procedural drama series Rosewood, playing Selena Monet, a young popstar. In November 2017, Parrish began portraying Sandy Dumbrowski in a Toronto production of Grease, alongside Katie Findlay.
Parrish will co-star with Mickey Rourke in the boxing drama Tiger, and portrays Lisa Wagner in the upcoming romance film Until We Meet Again, alongside Jackson Rathbone. She will also co-star as Margot Covey in the film adaptation of Jenny Han‘s young adult romance novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, with Lana Condor and John Corbett. Parrish will then appear alongside Angela Trimbur and Fairuza Balk in the home-invasion thriller Hell Is Where the Home Is. She is set to reprise her role as Mona Vanderwaal in the upcoming Pretty Little Liars spin-off drama series titled, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.
At age eight, Parrish won a statewide singing competition in Hawaii. She began writing her own music as a teenager and eventually became the lead singer of the three-piece girl group, Impulse. In 2007, Parrish was signed to Geffen Records as a solo artist to produce her first album. Her first single, “Rainy Day”, which she wrote herself, and its music video, was released on July 7, 2007. The song also featured on the Bratz soundtrack. Parrish made appearances in Prima J‘s music video for “Rock Star” and NLT‘s music video for “She Said, I Said”, which were both featured on the Bratz soundtrack. She also provided background vocals for the latter. In April 2015, she released two songs, “Heart Made of Stone” and “Senseless”, both of which she co-wrote with Vince Pizzinga.
In August 2014, Parrish was announced as one of the celebrities competing on the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy. During week three, “Movie Night”, the couple became the first to earn a perfect score with their Jazz dance, and held the record for earliest perfect score on the show (the record was later matched by Bethany Mota and her partner Derek Hough on the same night). Parrish and Chmerkovskiy reached the final but ended up in third place, behind Alfonso Ribeiro and Sadie Robertson, who took first and second place respectively.
|2010||Triple Dog||Cecily Gerber|
|2011||One Kine Day||Leilani|
|4 Wedding Planners||Hoku Wolf|
|2012||Celeste and Jesse Forever||Savannah|
|2013||To Those Nights||Audrey||Short film|
|Something Wicked||Ronnie||Short film|
|2018||Until We Meet Again||Lisa Wagner||Completed|
|The Purple Rose||Kate Riley||In post-production|
|To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before||Margot Covey||In post-production|
|Hell Is Where the Home Is||Estelle||In post-production|
|2003||The O’Keefes||Vanessa||Episode: “Party”|
|2004||Bernie Mac Show, TheThe Bernie Mac Show||Laura||Episode: “Being Bernie Mac”|
|2006||Zoey 101||Sara||Episode: “The Silver Hammer Society”|
|O.C., TheThe O.C.||Leah||Episode: “The Summer Bummer”|
|2009||True Jackson, VP||Kyla||Episode: “Flirting with Fame”|
|2010–2017||Pretty Little Liars||Mona Vanderwaal||Recurring role (seasons 1–2)
Main role (seasons 3–7)
|2013||Hawaii Five-0||Rebecca Fine||Episode: “Kapu”|
|2014||Drop Dead Diva||Chelsea Putnam||Episode: “Cheers & Jeers”|
|Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Contestant on season 19|
|High School Possession||Lauren Brady||Television film|
|2015||Mysteries of Laura, TheThe Mysteries of Laura||Jillian Havemeyer||Episode: “The Mystery of the Crooked Clubber”|
|2016||Rush Hour||Nina Taylor||Episode: “Wind Beneath My Wingman”|
|2017||Rosewood||Selena Monet||Episode: “Mummies & Meltdowns”|
|2018||Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists||Mona Vanderwaal||Main role; upcoming series|
|1996||Les Misérables||Young Cosette||National tour and Imperial Theatre|||
|1998||To Kill a Mockingbird||Scout Finch||Manoa Valley Theatre|||
|1999||Here’s Love||Susan Walker||Diamond Head Theatre|||
|2000||The Best Christmas Pageant Ever||Beth Bradley||Diamond Head Theatre|||
|2001||On Dragonfly Wings||Wendy Waterbug||Leeward Community College Theater|||
|2012||Spring Awakening||Anna||Theatre of Arts Arena Stage|||
|2015||Cruel Intentions: The Musical||Kathryn Merteuil||Rockwell Table & Stage|
|2017||A Walk to Remember: The Musical||Jamie Sullivan||Prospect Theatre|||
|Cruel Intentions: The Musical||Cecile Caldwell||(Le) Poisson Rouge|||
|2017–2018||Grease||Sandy Dumbrowski||Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres|||
|2007||Bratz||“Rainy Day”||Writer and performer|
|2008||Guiding Light||“Won’t Let You Go”||Writer and performer|
|2009||April Showers||“I Won’t Cry”||Performer|
|The Kings of Appletown||“I’m Changing”||Performer|
|2014||Pretty Little Liars||“Gravity“||Performer|
|2017||Rosewood||“Dance for Me”||Performer|
Awards and nominations
|1999||Po’okela Awards||Leading Female in a Play||To Kill a Mockingbird||Nominated|||
|2000||Po’okela Awards||Leading Female in a Musical||Here’s Love||Nominated|||
|2002||Po’okela Awards||Leading Female in a Musical||On Dragonfly Wings||Nominated|||
|2012||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV – Villain||Pretty Little Liars||Won|||
|2013||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV – Villain||Pretty Little Liars||Won|||
|2013||TV Guide Awards||Favorite Villain (with Keegan Allen)||Pretty Little Liars||Nominated|||
|2014||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV – Villain||Pretty Little Liars||Nominated|||
|2016||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV – Villain||Pretty Little Liars||Won|||
|2017||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV – Villain||Pretty Little Liars||Won|||