After what feels like forever, Pretty Little Liars has finally returned to give us the second half of Season 6. To celebrate the revival of our guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure, we caught up with the show’s star Shay Mitchell, who has been awfully busy lately. When she’s not keeping us on the edge of our seats onscreen as Emily Fields, Shay is signing copies of her book, Bliss, which she co-authored with her best friend. You can also find her on YouTube, where her wildly popular personal channel shows she’s a lot more girly than her PLL character lets on. Our favorite episodes? The ‘Shay’s Kitchen’ segments of course, where she shows off her favorite recipes, and proves this girl actually does do it all.
What would be your ideal food day?
My ideal food day would be to wake up and have a breakfast burrito…I’m not the biggest breakfast person but I love lunchy stuff for breakfast, so if it’s in a burrito and I can throw guacamole on it, that’s my favorite thing. Then for lunch, I would have a really good tuna nicoise salad, and maybe a great turkey BLT sandwich. For dinner, I would have sushi or a good chicken paillard.
How do you always start your day?
I say thank you every single morning…I know that sounds weird, but I do. Then I continue on with my day, turning music on always. I dance while I get ready and that’s kind of my routine. My alarm ring is The Lion King theme – Circle of Life. I don’t make coffee in the morning or anything; I get that on-the-go. I try and take my vitamins as much as I can remember…and that’s sort of it. I just hit the road Jack!
What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?
Honestly, I’m a huge fan of exotic, interesting ingredients, so I love charcoal and stuff like that. I love Biore – they have a really good face cleanser and charcoal nose strips. I always take off my makeup at night. I cannot sleep with makeup on. I like to do a once a week beauty day where I do a hair mask and a mask or scrub on my face.
Do you have any go-to workout routines?
Boxing is my thing; I love boxing. I also like spinning, and I like to switch it up. I always want to try new things. There’s this new workout where you’re on a surfboard and trying to balance [Surfset Fitness] and it’s apparently really good for your core – that looks awesome. I love to dance; I love pole dancing…just different things.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
My diet is honestly everything in moderation. I actually enjoy doing two workouts a day – I’ll spin and then I’ll box – but then I also eat bites of everything I want. I’m just saying bites…I’m actually lying…I eat the whole thing! (Laughs) But I just think everything in moderation; life’s too short to be crazy about restrictions.
Where do you love to travel and what won’t you travel without?
I love Europe. Italy; I want to live there one day. Morocco was amazing. I recently went back to Africa – I’ve been there once before – and that was incredible. I want to go to Croatia; I want to go to Turkey, Prague, Iceland…Vietnam. I’m just such an avid traveler – I love going to places where I can get lost. I like things that aren’t so commercialized.
I always bring Wet Ones! I’m not crazy, but when I get on the plane I have to wipe down the whole seat. I always do that. I also keep a little bag of Kleenex because sometimes the places I travel to don’t have toilet paper in the bathrooms (Laughs). My iPad…I have all my magazines on this one app – Next Issue. They have all the magazines, so that’s what I use to travel. And a jump rope! Because you can work out anywhere. I always throw that in my bag; it’s really easy and takes up no space.
What advice do you have for women getting dressed and looking in the mirror each morning?
Everybody has their good and bad days. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you know? I think – especially nowadays with social media and Instagram – you’re always comparing yourself and looking at other people’s lives. With all that, I think that I would say to most women that there is no one else in the world that looks like you. Celebrate your uniqueness. When I was in high school, I used to be so upset that I wasn’t like my friends with blonde hair and blue eyes…and I wanted my hair to be dead straight when it was wavy. I look back at that person now and I’m like oh my goodness, if only you knew that later on you would be going back to your natural hair color, you’d want wavy hair…I think you can do little things to make yourself feel better, but I don’t think anybody should want to be anyone else.
What are your favorite cities for food and where do you go in each?
Toronto is actually incredible for food; it’s such a melting pot of ethnicities. Every time I go back to Toronto I have a list for my food tour and there are always three places that I have to hit up first. There’s this West Indian restaurant there that is my favorite in the entire world – I’ve actually had friends ship it to me overnight. It’s called Island Foods. I love this pizza place called Bitondo’s. California Sandwiches is incredible.
What would your last meal be?
My last meal would be Caesar Salad with the biggest pizza. A bottle of wine…actually last meal, like five bottles of wine. And Neapolitan ice cream for dessert. Or I’d just want to raid a Baskin Robbins!
*Shay Mitchell, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.