Shay Mitchell is an all-around angel. When the talented Toronto native, and former Maxim cover girl, isn't busy playing cat-and-mouse with the elusive 'A' on ABC Family's hit series, Pretty Little Liars, she prefers to dabble in an eclectic mix of endeavors to keep herself occupied.
Her thriving lifestyle blog, titled Amore & Vita, documents her passions in life, ranging from beauty basics to her favorite cooking tips. As an avid adventurer, Shay documents her world exploration and gives her fans a behind-the scenes look with her expanding YouTube channel, which has gone on to garner almost 800,000 subscribers (with a whopping 15.6M+ views to boot). As if that doesn't set her apart as her own form of celebrity, the rising star recently debuted her own fitness line, 'Fit to Wander,' as well as finished up the final touches to her future best-selling novel, 'Bliss,' set to hit stores later this year.
More recently, Shay lent her expertise over to the guys at Stella Artois and their 'Host Beautifully' campaign, hoping to up the ante for anyone in the weeds when it comes to preparing a solid shindig. Clearly, she's the proper candidate to dole out any advice. If her 8.4M+ Instagram followers tell you anything, it's that fans have fallen head over heels, and we don't blame them.
Before setting sail with Stella Artois for their 'Bon Voyage to Summer' party, Shay told me about playing her own age, her dominating social presence, and how to properly host a party.
Did you ever expect Pretty Little Liars to be on the air for as long as it has?
I mean, you can only hope, right? That’s always the dream for any show. You’re like, “I don’t know…” but every single year when you get picked up you’re like “Yay, another year!” I didn’t know what to expect at all but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s been going on for as long as it is and we have our fans who are amazing and with every season finale there’s another crazy reveal. And now we’re going to be playing five years older, which is going to be fun. I can change my coffee for beer.
What are you hoping for now that you'll be playing a character a little closer to your actual age?
I think being more mature and being stronger in her decisions she makes. She already was on that road but I just feel that even more so, really owning who she is now. She’s had that time off, she’s left Rosewood, all the girls have. They’ve done their own thing for a minute. And now they’re coming back and I just want her to be extremely confident in the choices she’s made, good and bad choices that she’s made. So it’s going to be interesting to see what all the girls have been up to.
Aside from being a talented actress, you're also an avid lifestyle enthusiast. What made you want to lend your expertise over to Stella Artois?
Well, I have a lifestyle blog, 'Amore & Vita.' And on there we’re always talking about the perfect setting - table setting, and how to host different things, and so the “Host Beautifully” campaign that Stella was doing just fit perfectly. They already know that I love beer, I have a beer fridge in my house and it’s my favorite drawer. I was able to give my tips on how to entertain, and I think that’s kind of the thing I want to go at. I know everybody loves going out to restaurants but I also think that it’s important to have people over to your place. Even if you’re in a small New York apartment, have a picnic on the floor. And pairing their beer with little appetizers and dishes that I do on the regular, like this couldn’t be more organic.
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:18pm PDT
So what's a signature 'Shay' move when you're hosting?
For me it’s a cheese plate. I’m a crazy cheese plate person. But I also like it because I feel like it’s a conversation starter. They’re like, “What’s this? What’s that? Oh, have you tried this?” I’m also big on family, like sharing, so I’ll have a bunch of different dishes. I’m not a chef by any means so I’m not going to give everybody their own plate, instead you go up, you make your own like a buffet. It saves me some time on having to make everything and at the end of the day it’s just about conversation, good, cool drinks and good food. Music, having a playlist. All of that.
You seem to have your hands on a little bit of everything. How do you manage to keep it together and not go crazy?
Between my fitness line, new book, and the blog, it’s just about keeping myself busy. I love what I do and I have so much fun doing it. This is my life, and if I die tomorrow I want to know that I enjoyed my life as much as I could. And if that means having a whole pizza to myself, then that’s what it is. With the fitness line, Fit to Wander, I was really excited about it because I got to incorporate positive quotes and affirmations and all of the different pieces I love to work. It’s also been a really neat experience with the book launch in October, because it's something that's a lot racier. I mean, I’m 28, so this is not the same demographic that I play on the show, and it covers sex and relationships and fuck-ups and getting back on your feet. All of that. So it’s going to be interesting to have that put out there.
Was there every a moment when you thought you'd stop and focus on just one aspect?
Yeah, but I love working on different things all the time. Yes, I have a blog, I have a book, I have a clothing line, and this partnership, and it's great to be able to pull what I’ve done on 'Amore & Vita' and hosting and all of that into meeting a bunch of people and talking about it further. It’s fun for me and I like having my hands in a bunch of different pots and doing it all together. If I just focused on one thing, I’d be missing out on something else and I learn from all the different things I’m doing in my life. It all helps one another.
You tend to share a lot with fans and your presence on social media is so dominating, almost seductive. Where does the desire stem from to reveal so much?
When people say I put a lot of my life out there, I do, but there’s also a lot of my private life that no one does know about. But whatever I put out there on social media, feel free to ask me about. I’m giving you guys what you want. And I also enjoy taking my fans on the experiences I’m lucky to have. So when I travel, that’s where the whole YouTube 'Shaycations' started. There’s a lot of people who have never been on a plane before. Well, great, come with me, I’ll show you what Morocco looks like from my view, and you can pick and choose the places you want to go to in the future. I’ll show you all different aspects of my life so that you can kind of come along with me.
With so much going on in your life, where do you ultimately want to end up?
Honestly, I just want to continue being as happy as I am. I want to continue working on things I’m passionate about and that definitely means more movies with great scripts. I mean, with working on Mother's Day, my first with Garry Marshall and Jennifer Aniston, playing a completely different character. I play Timothy Olyphant’s wife and a step-mom to his kids, which wasn’t hard, but also playing across from Jennifer Aniston and getting to work with her was a dream. I mean it’s such an amazing experience. Where will I be a year from now? I don’t know. But I’m going to be having fun with whatever it is I’m doing.
Photos by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Stella Artois