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Janel Parrish Says ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Fans Immediately ID’ed Her on ‘The Masked Singer’ (Exclusive)

Janel Parrish Says ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Fans Immediately ID’ed Her on 'The Masked Singer'
The Masked Singer’s Gazelle. Michael Becker / FOX

Janel Parrish successfully hid her identity from the panelists throughout season 10 of The Masked Singer, but there was one group who couldn’t be fooled: Pretty Little Liars fans.

Parrish, 35, who played Mona on the Freeform teen drama, exclusively told Us Weekly that PLL viewers quickly suspected she was behind the Gazelle mask after digging up old clips of Mona singing on the show.

“I saw a hilarious comment from one of the PLL fans,” she recalled ahead of the Wednesday, December 20, season finale. “They were like, ‘You can’t hide, Mona, we know it’s you!’ I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Those PLL fans, they’re little sleuths! They know what’s up. … There’s a whole network of PLL fans who were like, ‘We know it’s you, Mona!’”

One of Gazelle’s clue packages included a test paper with an A-minus on it, leading savvy viewers to suspect that Parrish was behind the mask. (Mona was the original A on PLL, which ran from 2010 to 2017.)

Janel Parrish Says ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Fans Immediately ID’ed Her on 'The Masked Singer'
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Parrish’s family, however, didn’t need the clues to figure out it was her. Contestants on The Masked Singer are sworn to utmost secrecy about their participation in the show, but no amount of denial could convince Parrish’s aunt that she wasn’t Gazelle.

“She said she thought that it was my voice, but then when she saw my mannerisms, even as Gazelle with the filter on my voice, she knew that it was me just from my body mannerisms,” Parrish told Us. “I did a lot of lying — apparently some bad lying to some family members who were like, ‘I know you’re lying, but it’s fine, you probably can’t tell me.’”

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While fans primarily know Parrish as an actress from her roles in PLL and the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before film franchise, she’s also worked in musical theater, appearing in productions of Grease and Spring Awakening.

“My first job ever was as Little Cosette on Broadway in Les Misérables,” she told Us. “I thought that my career would become theater because I was a kid and I thought that’s where the course of my life was going to take me, and as fate had it, it led more toward TV and film, and as that happened, I did less and less singing. So, it sort of became a little bit of a fear and a vulnerability. Like, ‘I was a kid singer — am I still a singer?’”

Janel Parrish Says ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Fans Immediately ID’ed Her on 'The Masked Singer'
Michael Becker / FOX

After making it to the season finale alongside musical heavyweights Ne-Yo and Macy Gray, Parrish can rest assured that she’s still got it. (She was the only contestant to be saved this season by the “ding dong keep it on” bell, meaning her performance so impressed the judges that they didn’t want her to go home the night she was originally set to be eliminated.)

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“This show really gave me the opportunity to conquer that fear anonymously, with no preconceived notions about who I am or what I do or whether or not I am a singer,” Parrish gushed to Us. “I got to come out and sing and find my voice and find that courage, and I was met with nothing but love and positivity. It gave me so much confidence to be able to sort of say, ‘You know what? I am a singer.’ And that meant so much to me. I just feel so grateful that this show gave me the stage to do what I love in a very non-scary way by coming out as this creature and seeing what happened.”

After The Masked Singer, Parrish is focused on producing “some really fun projects that are near and dear” to her heart, but she’s also thinking it might be time to plot a return to her musical roots.

“I kind of hope that I can go back to doing some music stuff like I did when I was a kid,” she told Us. “To go back to Broadway as an adult would be a dream come true.”

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