Shay Mitchell was dominating social media before King Kylie even got her first iPhone. Now with a multimillion-strong following across Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, the Pretty Little Liar isn’t just a star, she’s a multiplatform, 360-degree experience.
On taking the plunge: “I like to do things that scare the hell out of me,” she explains. “There are certain things I know I have to achieve in my life before it’s my time. When I’m looking out over the edge, I just remind myself, ‘It’s not my time.’”
On the fickle quality of social media: “People are like, your life is so great. Yes, but remember I’m not putting up a photo of my shitty day,” she says. “You’re looking at my highlight reel. You’re not seeing me crying because I got my period and dropped a jelly bean on the floor…It was important for me to have a brand that was Shay Mitchell, so you got to know me.”
On fangirling over Julia Roberts on the set of Mother’s Day: “I called my mom and was like, ‘Julia [Roberts] and Jen are talking about my character! So [Julia] has to know who I am! It was awesome to see somebody so successful who still has respect for the crew. That’s what I look at, how you treat the people bringing you your fruit plate.”
On the lessons she learned from her first jobs, waitressing and bartending: “I have so much respect for waiters, waitresses, girls who work in clubs. It’s tough,” she says, shuddering. “I’d have old guys saying ‘You’re so pretty, why are you working?’ or ‘Come live with me, honey.’ Like, what, so I can be taken care of? That’s the last thing that I want. What I wanted to say was, ‘I so I will never end up with someone like you…I might have a couple times.”
On what she looks for in a guy: “I want someone who doesn’t know what Snapchat is,” she says. “I find it so unattractive when a guy’s scrolling through Instagram. Let that be something that I do. You can do it sometimes but, like, go outside and chop wood. Stop going on your phone!…I announce at the beginning of a relationship ‘I’m not going to be sharing this with anybody. If that’s what you’re hoping for, there is the door. And if you’re offended, I don’t want to be with you anyway because that’s f#@*ing weird. You’re crying about me not putting up a photo? For whose consumption? You’re here with me right now. That’s what’s important.”
On being comfortable in your own body: “When I started, people were like, ‘What are you?’ I’m like, right now I’m dating a guy. I don’t know what it’s going to be in three years. You love who you love. Black, white, polka-dot, that’s what my dad always said. I’m never going to label myself…If I started dating a girl tomorrow, I could text my dad, ‘Bringing new girlfriend over.’ It wouldn’t even be deserving of a phone call.”