Living Her Dream

For actress Shay Mitchell, the secret to success, health, and happiness comes down to one smart and simple formula: Work hard, play hard; eat a lot, work out a lot. She explains.

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For actress Shay Mitchell, the secret to success, health, and happiness comes down to one smart and simple formula: Work hard, play hard; eat a lot, work out a lot. She explains.
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Shay Mitchell is most confident not when she’s all glammed up and gorgeous on the red carpet but after an intense workout. “I’m sweaty, and I don’t have an ounce of makeup on, but that is 100 per cent when I feel my best,” says Shay, 31, who loves boxing. “It’s me in my rawest form, doing something great for my body, pushing myself as hard as I can, and it feels so good.”

That realness, along with a curiosity and passion that motivate her to discover new ventures, has earned Shay millions of loyal fans. Eight years ago, she went from working bottle service at a club to landing a role as one of the main characters on Pretty Little Liars, the popular TV show that launched her career. Today Shay is starring in the new TV series You, a romantic thriller that premieres later this year in the US; has her own production company and a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. to develop projects for TV and digital platforms; and is busy creating videos, posts, and other content for her social media empire, which includes an incredible 18.4 million followers on Instagram, 2.8 million YouTube subscribers, and 5.8 million followers on Facebook.

“I am so lucky because I get to do what I love every day—things I’ve always dreamed of,” Shay says. By sharing her life, whether it’s her Shaycation travel series on YouTube, which follows her trips to destinations around the world, or the killer workout videos she posts on Instagram, she hopes to inspire others to go after their goals. “My message is, If I can do it, you can too. If you really want something, believe in it, and have the drive and focus, you can attain it,” she says.

Here’s how Shay keeps her momentum going strong and continues to reach new milestones.
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I really love working out.

It gives me confidence to know that my body is getting stronger when I exercise.
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“For me exercise is all about getting stronger. It’s not about weight. I’ve never even weighed myself. I don’t think you can trust the scale – I can have a glass of water and be two pounds heavier at night and then wake up in the morning and be two pounds lighter. Exercise is about how I feel. I have more energy when I work out. It makes me amped for the rest of the day, and I feel strong.

“Typically I work out three times a week. Boxing is great because it keeps me in the moment like nothing else. Usually, my mind is racing with a million thoughts and ideas, but when I’m in the ring or boxing with my coach, I really can’t think about anything else, or I could get hit in the face. I also love to spin because it’s such a good sweat. And I do Barry’s Bootcamp because it forces me to run. I’m extremely competitive: If the person next to me is running at a certain speed, I’ll go even faster. I like the class environment because it makes you better than you were the class before.”


“People who know me can’t believe how much I eat. I’m not the kind of person who says ‘I eat pizza’ but then doesn’t really eat it. I eat the pizza! And I don’t stress out about it. I also have a million snacks. I’m the biggest fan of popcorn, which I eat throughout the day. Or I’ll have chips and guacamole or veggies and hummus. And there’s a sandwich in there someplace too. I’ve learned that as long as you’re moving, you can have the food you want.”


A healthy, glowing complexion comes down to the right products. I’ve used Bioré strips for years. With the amount of makeup I wear for work, and all the traveling I do, and the working out and the sweat, those strips really help my skin. I also wear sunscreen every day. And I always take off my makeup before I go to bed. I think having healthy skin also comes from being happy and having a balanced life. I work hard, I play hard; I eat a lot, I work out a lot.”

“I’m more confident and optimistic than not. Every one of us has insecurities. I have a whole bunch of them, but I don’t dwell on them. Instead, I focus on my strengths. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you try something new and it doesn’t work out? So what? You don’t know what you’re going to be good at until you do it! The same goes for travel: Explore the world; don’t be afraid of it. Get out there and be adventurous –that’s my life motto.”