Janel Parrish

Janel Parrish

Parrish in 2013
Born (1988-10-30) October 30, 1988
Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer, songwriter and dancer.
Years active 1998–present
Television Pretty Little Liars

Musical career

Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 2007–present
Labels Geffen Records
Website Official website

Janel Meilani Parrish (born October 30, 1988) is an American actress, dancer, singer and songwriter. She is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars. She is also known for the role of Jade in the 2007 film Bratz: The Movie.[1] In 2014, Parrish participated in the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars, taking third place.

Early life

Parrish was born on October 30, 1988 in Oahu, Hawaii, to Mark Parrish, who is of European descent, and Joanne, who is of Chinese descent.[2] She attended the Moanalua Elementary and Middle Schools.



Parrish first achieved fame in Hawaii as the winner of local talent contests. She got her start as a professional entertainer when she was cast as "Young Cosette" in the National Touring Company of Les Misérables, and later portrayed "Young Cosette" in the Broadway production as well; the role showcased her acting and singing abilities. She subsequently appeared in several community theater productions in Hawaii—most notably as "Scout" in Manoa Valley Theatre's revival of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1998.[3] Parrish got her first off-stage acting job as a minor role in 1999's four-part miniseries Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke. Shortly after, she appeared in two episodes of Baywatch as a young girl named Hina.

In 2000 she was featured in Disney's made-for-TV live-action incarnation of the Pinocchio story entitled Geppetto. She then went on to appear as the character 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. Along with appearances on The Bernie Mac Show, Zoey 101 and The O.C..[4] Parrish performed in Bratz, as one of the main characters, Jade. It is her first role in a theatrical motion picture as well as her first starring role. She also landed a recurring role in the hit NBC series Heroes.[5]

Parrish has a recurring role as Mona Vanderwaal in the hit ABC Family TV series Pretty Little Liars based on the book series by Sara Shepard. Mona is a formerly unpopular girl at Rosewood who longed to be accepted by Alison DiLaurentis's group despite being continuously mocked by her. After Alison's disappearance, Mona befriends Hanna Marin and they undergo an "extreme makeover" together. As a result, they both become popular students. However, Mona is secretly jealous of Hanna's friendship with the other Liars (Spencer, Aria and Emily) which leads her to do drastic things. In March 2012, Parrish was promoted to series regular for the third season. In August 2013, she won the "Choice TV Villain" award at the Teen Choice Awards.[6]

Parrish returned to her theater stage roots in Over the Moon Productions' intimate presentation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening as Anna, and understudying for Lindsay Pearce, former contestant of The Glee Project, as Wendla.[7]


At the age of six, Parrish entered and won a statewide singing contest.[8] While studying acting, Parrish continued training vocal and learned to play the piano as well as dancing.[8] 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 commented that she had a "lot of talent, but not quite up to the top rank", giving 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.[9] Parrish began writing her own music and eventually becoming the lead singer of a three piece girl group, Impulse.[8]

In 2007, Parrish was signed to Geffen Records to produce her first album.[10] 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.[11] She made her music debut in the Bratz: The Movie credits, with her electropop song "Rainy Day".[12]

Other ventures

On September 4, 2014, Parrish was announced as one of the celebrities who will compete on the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy.[13] During week three "Movie Night", the couple became the first couple to earn a perfect score with their Jazz dance and also hold 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 finals of the show but ended up in third place, behind Sadie Robertson and Alfonso Ribeiro who took second and first place, respectively.[14]

Dancing with the Stars performances

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Hough Tonioli
1 Jive — "Bang Bang" 7 7 7 8 Safe
2 Foxtrot — "Call Me Maybe" 9 8 8 9 Safe
3 Jazz — "America" 10 101 10 10 Safe
4 Rumba — "How Will I Know" 9 92 9 9 Safe
53 Burlesque — "Mamma Knows Best" 8 84 8 9 No Elimination
6 Samba — "La Vida Es Un Carnaval" 8 75 9 9 Last to be called safe
7 Viennese Waltz — "Secret"
Team Freestyle — "Black Widow"
8 Contemporary — "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" 10 10 10 10 Safe (Immunity)
9 Quickstep — "Hey Boy! Hey Girl!"
Trio Salsa6 — "Morning Drums"
10 Paso doble — "Blame"
Argentine Tango — "Blame" (acoustic version)
11 (Night One) Samba — "La Vida Es Un Carnaval"
Freestyle — "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
Bottom Two
11 (Night Two) Foxtrot/Paso doble — "Hideaway" 10 10 10 10 Third Place



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Bratz: The Movie Jade Co-lead role
2009 Fired Up! Lana
April Showers Vicki
2010 Triple Dog Cecily Gerber Direct-to-DVD
2011 One Kine Day Leilani
4 Wedding Planners Hoku
2012 Celeste and Jesse Forever Savannah
2013 To Those Nights Audrey Short film
Something Wicked Ronnie Short film
2015 The Concerto Lisa Wagner
2017 Heavenly Charm Kayla Ford Starring role


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Baywatch Hina 2 episodes
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Uncredited TV Movie
2000 Geppetto Featured TV Movie
2003 The O'Keefes Vanessa Episode: "Party"
2004 The Bernie Mac Show Laura Episode: "Being Bernie Mac"
2006 Zoey 101 Sara Episode: "The Silver Hammer Society"
The O.C. Leah Episode: "The Summer Bummer"
2007–08 Heroes May 4 episodes
2009 True Jackson, VP Kyla Episode: "Flirting with Fame"
2010–present Pretty Little Liars Mona Vanderwaal Recurring role (season 1-2); Main role (seasons 3–present); 81 episodes
2011 Hawaii Five-0 Rebecca Fine Episode: "Kapu"
2014 Drop Dead Diva Chelsea Jones Episode: "Cheers & Jeers" [15]
Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant on Season 19, Third Place
High School Possession Lauren Brady TV Movie
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Jillian Havenmeyer Episode: "The Mystery of the Crooked Clubber"
2016 Rush Hour Nina Sloane Episode: "Wind Beneath My Wingman"


Year Film Song Notes
2007 Bratz: The Movie Rainy Day Writer/Performer
2008 Guiding Light Won't Let You Go Writer/Performer; uncredited
2009 April Showers I Won't Cry Performer
The Kings of Appletown I'm Changing Performer
2010 Triple Dog Rush Performer
2014 Pretty Little Liars Gravity by Sara Bareilles Cover
2015 The Concerto Heart Made Of Stone Performer
The Concerto Senseless Performer

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Title Outcome
2008 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actress Bratz Nominated
2012 Teen Choice Awards[16] Choice TV: Villain Pretty Little Liars Won
2013 Teen Choice Awards[17] Choice TV: Villain Won
2013 TV Guide Awards Favorite Villain (Shared with: Keegan Allen) Nominated
2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Villain Nominated
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Villain Won


  1. http://half-asians.com/janel-parrish
  2. Lee, Diane S.W. (2007-07-25). "Former Hawaii girl to star in 'Bratz' movie". Honolulu Advertiser.
  3. "8 Things to Know About Janel Parrish, Pretty Little Liars' "A"! - Teen.com". Teen.com. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  4. "Mona Vanderwaal". ABC Family. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  5. Floroskop. "Janel Parrish to Guest Star on Heroes". TV Fanatic. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. "Teen Choice Awards 2013: List of winners". CBS News.
  7. Lipton, Brian Scott (2012-02-17) Lindsay Pearce to Star in Over the Moon Productions' Spring Awakening. Theatermania.com. Retrieved on 2013-03-19.
  8. 1 2 3 Parrish, Janel. "Janel Parrish - Officialsite - Biography". Janel Parrish.com. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  9. Tiffany Evans & Janel Parrish. CBS
  10. Janel Parrish Interview. Popculturemadness.com. Retrieved on 2013-03-19.
  11. "NLT: She Said, I Said". janelparrish.com. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  12. "Rainy Day". VEVO. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  13. Elizabeth Wagmeister. "'Dancing With The Stars' Season 19 Cast — 'DWTS' Celebrities Announced - Hollywood Life". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  14. "'Dancing with the Stars' Season 19 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...". buddytv.com. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  15. "'Drop Dead Diva' taps 'Pretty Little Liars' vet for guest spot". ew.com. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  16. Matt Webb Mitovich (May 18, 2012). "Teen Choice Nominations: Vampire Diaries and Idol Lead Pack, Linda Hunt Eyes Repeat Win". TVLine.com. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  17. Ng, Philiana (May 22, 2013). "Teen Choice Awards: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Leads First Wave of Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
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