Model Diaries with Shay Mitchell
Interview by JILL WINKLER
You are clearly a style icon among today’s generation. To what or who do you attribute your style inspo?
I would say I get my style inspiration from many different places that I travel to. If I’m in Morocco or Africa, I’m inspired just by the culture and the way that women carry and dress themselves. I would say that it’s probably from traveling where I gather most of my inspiration for my style.
You are always on the go and traveling to different places – what are a few staple fashion pieces that are go-to items for a girl on the go?
Of the few staple fashion pieces I carry, is probably a pair of good jeans. You never know when you’ll need them even if you’re going to a hot place…and I’ve been on many vacations where it hasn’t always been the hottest and has ended up being a little cooler. So, I always say pack a good pair of jeans. I also always have a good black dress that can carry me from day into night when I’m on trip. I would say on airplanes for me, it’s very important to travel comfortably. I like to pack loose clothing and most of the time I would say I wear layers, just for when I get hot, or I get cold.
You also just recently launched a collaboration for 7 new eyeshadow palettes with Smashbox! What were the different influences behind the pigments in each palette and how are they unique?
I collaborated with Smashbox on the launch of their seven new eyeshadow palettes, which I was so excited about. I’ve always been a huge fan of makeup and getting to play around with creating different looks. These eyeshadow palettes were really fun just to be a part of celebrating the launch for them.
What are some fashion and beauty tips that you follow that never fail to create your kind of chic polished and sophisticated look?
I mean when I usually travel, I don’t like to do that much makeup. I think that’s something that’s so much a part of my life when I’m in LA. I’m always in hair and makeup, which I love. But when I do travel, I tend to bring a lot less with me and I like to be very minimal. Obviously, we were doing a really fun photo shoot here, so I had to pack my whole makeup bag. It’s fun though to switch up the lip colors and the looks in subtle ways.
What is your #1 Beauty tip?
I would say my biggest tip is less is more, and I truly mean that. Especially when you’re in warmer climates, you don’t want your face to melting all over the place. I would say a primer is very important. I do love the Smashbox primer. That is something that I’ve always had in my makeup bag, and I just really feel like it keeps your makeup intact regardless if you’re on a safari in Africa or wherever you may be. I take a primer and powder, powder, powder.
What are 3 of your holy grail make-up products?
My three holy makeup grail products would be #1 a good foundation. I have this one by Jouer that I really like. It has a tinted moisturizer in it and sunscreen. I just feel like those two combined kind of saves me from bringing a few products and it gives you great coverage. Sunblock is very important to wear every single day, no matter where you are. #2 I would say mascara Covergirl Lashblast is my favorite mascara. I always have that with me. And I’d say #3 coconut oil. I bring that with me everywhere I go. . I use it in my hair, lotion, lip gloss. You name it.
What are some of your go-to style pieces?
I would say accessories go a long way, especially when you’re traveling. I like to have sort of simple looks like a nice, crisp white shirt or black jeans– your go-to basics. Then I like to kind of dress it up with accessories. I’ll have different jewelry and different accessories that kind of fit perfectly for that place.
Now we of course need to talk about your hit show Pretty Little Liars that is about to begin its final season. What do you think makes the show so successful?
I think what makes Pretty, Little Liars so successful is that no matter where you are in the world, you can relate. I think the most important part of our show is the relationship that the girls have with one another. The relationships that they have on a romantic level and the the ones that they have with their parents and family. That’s probably what I’ve heard the most. I think also the fact that there’s drama. There’s mystery. There’s romance. There’s all of that. It really does make our show so exciting and on the edge of your seat every single episode.
How are you similar to your character that you plan on screen?
I would say I’m similar to my character Emily as she’s extremely competitive. I played sports too and I danced when I was younger, so I think I have a little bit of that in me. Just the fact that she’s sort of that friend that all the other girls go to. They need someone to listen to them or they trust her to not share their secrets. I think that’s someone that I am in my group of friends. We both kind of share that.
What is one of your favorite parts of being on set?
My favorite part of being on-set is just the family that we’ve created on this show. Seven years with the same crew for the most part, cast and everybody, it’s just been so lovely to be able to share this experience with them all. We spend more time together than we do with our own families. These past seven years, it’s been amazing creating something that’s been this successful with such a great group of people.
What are you going to miss most about the show?
For me, what’s going to be most sad is definitely not being able to see my second fam anymore. Luckily, I can still call them and meet up though, so I’m not that worried.
Can you tell us any hints of what might we should expect in the last 10 episodes?
It’s the most intense season we’ve ever had and the most romantic, I’d like to say. This is the season for our fans. We are really answering every single question that they’ve ever had on the show. I promise you guys, that you will find out who A is and all of your questions will be answered.
You also recently announced that you will be beginning your own reality show called Shades of Shay. What aspects of your life will this show mainly focus on?
The show that I’m working on with Full Screen is going to be the real deal. It’s kind of the BTS of the BTS, which means behind the scenes. It’s me at my rawest form. Taking away the glamorous lights with the hair and makeup. It’s taking away … anything I was afraid of talking about before. I’ve always wanted to be my most authentic self to the fans and to everybody that knows me. All the different social media platforms, I’ve shown a few sides to me. I think this is sort of the other side.
What is your most used emoji?
The most used emoji is probably one eye closed with the tongue out.
What is your life’s theme song?
My life’s theme song? I don’t know. It’d probably be like Girls Just Want To Have Fun and a mix of I Was Here by Beyonce and a mix of … I don’t know. So many different songs are coming to mind. I can definitely make a good playlist with that.
You are such a jet-setter, where is one place you would like to travel to that you haven’t been to yet?
There are so many places I haven’t been to yet that are on the list. I really want to go to Vietnam. I haven’t been to Croatia or Prague yet… I mean, I could go on.
Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I’m super excited for people to see a movie that I worked on right after PLL. It’s called Cadaver. It’s going to be coming out later this year. It’s a horror movie set in a morgue. I play a ex-cop slash recovering addict. It’s going to be really, really good. I’m excited for people to get to see me play a different character in a very intense and terrifying movie.
Describe a typical day off and what you like to do.
My typical day off … pretty jammed packed. Anytime I’m not working, I like to completely fill up my day. I like being busy and I like being around people. I think that’s something that got me really interested in the field that I’m in. If I’m not working out, then I might be walking my dog outside. I live in LA and it’s, for the most part, very beautiful outside all the time. I love riding bikes, hiking, that kind of thing or have a full day in bed watching Netflix. I mean, one or the other.
Modeliste: You also recently hit 15 million followers on instagram! Congratulations! What tips do you have for creating a fun and engaging feed?
Shay: For me, Instagram is kind of like an art gallery. Every single photo that I’ve put up, definitely curated a few minutes to figure out what photo is going to go next to this one and what filter I’m going to use on it. I’d say I’m probably am pretty picky when it comes to that. It’s an extension of me and I wouldn’t trust anybody else to do it. It’s something I have fun with, putting up photos and getting to share my experiences with everybody.
What is a piece of advice that you would give your 15 year old self?
A piece of advice I would give my 15 year old self is to live more in the moment and not focus too much on the future or what has happened already. You can’t change either of those, so I think for me, especially back then, I just want to enjoy more of being in the moment. That’s a constant thing. I think I always have to remind myself of that. Sometimes you can get caught up in planning the future and planning on where you want to go next, when you should really just be enjoying where you are now.
What is your most embarrassing red carpet moment?
My most embarrassing red carpet moment is probably nip slips all the time. Falling down stairs, stuff in my teeth. I don’t know. There have been so many. But, I mean, that’s what makes it fun. You don’t want every red carpet to go smoothly, do you? The end of the day, if you get a nip slip, you get a nip slip.
Tell us about your collaboration with Songa Designs International here in Rwanda.
Sarah Sternberg, who started Songa, gave me this bracelet and I absolutely love it. Today we are going to be meeting the women who make all these beautiful pieces. This is something I’m really excited about to wear when I get back as well. Songa is such an amazing organization because they’re giving these women a platform to really be able to contribute to their community and to be able to create these tangible, beautiful pieces that everybody can enjoy around the world. The impact that it has on that community is huge. You give these women a confidence to know that they support one another and support their family. I think that in itself makes a huge difference.
What has been your favorite part of your trip to Rwanda so far?
My favorite part of the trip? I don’t know. Honestly, everything. Even when things don’t always go as planned, it’s exciting. That’s what makes it fun. I enjoy the plane ride because I love getting to get my sleep in, no distractions. I absolutely love Rwanda, this is my second time here, and it’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. I love the people, I love the culture, the food and everything. It’s exciting to get to collaborate with such talented people to create these photos that are going to be these amazing memories I will have forever and to be able to share the beauty of Rwanda with all the readers and everybody who sees it.
Why do you love Modeliste?
I love Modeliste magazine because you guys are right on those trends. I mean, the photo shoots are so fun. Where else or who else can you say you got to go to Rwanda, this beautiful country, to do a photoshoot with? When I got the call that this was going to be the destination and to see if I wanted to be a part of this, that was an obvious, “Yes.” Whenever you guys want to do a photo shoot, call me, please! I’m going to be on every single cover. I don’t care. Can I work for them?! Haha!
What would you like to say to your fans?
I would love to say thank you guys so much for supporting me, and us, and the show and everything that we do. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here. Thank you for helping me achieve my dreams.