Shay Mitchell: JJ Spotlight of the Week (Exclusive!)
The 26-year-old actress stars on the hit ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars, which is currently nearing the end of the first half of its fourth season.
Shay chatted with us about her love for blogging, preparing to run a half-marathon this fall, her favorite music, and of course the scoop on Pretty Little Liars.
“It is so crazy. We had a table read recently and the whole room just gasped all together,” Shay told JJ about the shock value of the show. “Every single episode, there’s something that happens. I like to say that it’s like a small movie because there are just so many things that happen. Especially in [the episode that aired this week] – absolutely crazy one. But I say that about every one because they really are all so great. And it’s only getting bigger and better.”
Make sure to catch Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family on Tuesday nights at 8/7c. The mid-season finale airs on August 27!
Click inside to read our interview with Shay Mitchell…
JustJared.com Interview – Shay Mitchell
JustJared: Let’s talk about Pretty Little Liars first. Emily is going through a tough time right now and it always seems like “A” is targeting her more than the other liars. Why do you think that is?
Shay Mitchell: I don’t know! In the beginning, they always quoted her as being the “weakest link,” but clearly I don’t feel that way about Emily, especially because she’s taking charge and taking the lead on hunting down “A.” But I think they are each dealing with their own things. The really crazy stuff does happen to Emily, but I think over the course of the seasons, it will probably be equal.
JJ: Emily’s future is kind of uncertain right now with her injury. Will we see her swim again?
SM: I hope so because that’s like breaking ballerina’s foot, you know what I mean? Especially because that’s something she’s so passionate about. For Emily, that’s all she wanted to do. She wanted to get a scholarship and go to school. There were so many plans based on this one blueprint of an outline she had on her life, and now that’s been taken from her. But as with life, we all have our trials and tribulations we have to go through and sometimes things don’t work out as we planned, but you have to move on, get back up, and figure it out. And I think she’ll be able to do that.
JJ: Paige has been a little MIA lately. Will their relationship make it through this hard time Emily’s going through or is trouble ahead?
SM: I think so. I think there’s always trouble, especially with relationships in Rosewood. But I do have a lot of great scenes coming up with Lindsey [Shaw] and their whole arc takes a turn. I love scenes with Lindsey and I think her character is so important, especially with Emily and everything that she’s going through. Yes, she has her mom and yes, she has her group of friends. But she also needs that other person to be that ear she talks to, you know? Paige is there for Emily and we’ll be seeing some really good scenes between them.
JJ: There are always big shockers on this show. Do you still get surprised by scripts, even a few years in?
SM: It is so crazy. We had a table read recently and the whole room just gasped all together. Every single episode, there’s something that happens. I like to say that it’s like a small movie because there are just so many things that happen. Especially in [the episode that aired this week] – absolutely crazy one. But I say that about every one because they really are all so great. And it’s only getting bigger and better.
JJ: What’s been some of your favorite moments over the last couple of seasons?
SM: My favorite episode was probably when I got chased up in the lighthouse. I say that because I love doing stunts and there was a lot of stunt work in there – with all the fight scenes, and I was running terrified. Having someone chase you, whether it’s a fake knife or not, it’s so scary (laughs). So that was one of my favorite episodes that I’ll never forget.
JJ: Is it bittersweet with Tyler [Blackburn] leaving for Ravenswood?
SM: It is. I’m so happy for him and couldn’t imagine anyone else taking on another show. He’s such a wonderful person and actor, and we have so many good times with him, so it is sad that he’s not going to be here anymore. But who knows? He could come back and do another episode, which I’m crossing my fingers for. And if not, I’m sure Ashley [Benson] and I will be heading over to New Orleans soon to visit him and visit Ravenswood.
JJ: The PLL fans are so diehard and obsessed with the show. What are some things that you’re really passionate about?
SM: Probably traveling. We always bring our computers to work and one thing I’m always doing is looking at different places I want to go to next, planning it out when I have my hiatus, thinking about where I want to go. I read travel blogs and I’m very passionate about going to different places and making sure when I do have off time, I go somewhere and I experience another culture and other people. I think you grow so much from those experiences.
As far as TV shows, I can relate because I’m very excited about Breaking Bad coming back. It’s one of my favorite shows. I can’t wait. I also need to catch up on Homeland, and I did start Orange is the New Black. I think I got a lot of people on set to watch that as well. It’s really cool being able to use Twitter and social media platforms to reach out to fans, and hear their thoughts and ideas – the fans that are watching the episodes with you, it’s such a cool experience.
JJ: You also have a blog where you share a lot of your favorite things. Tell us about that.
SM: Yes, I do. I love doing that. My blog is such a passion of mine. Me and my best friend/roommate Michaela, we just have so much fun doing it. When we’re at home, after I come back from work and she’s done with work, when we’re talking about stuff, she’s either read a really great book or I’ve watched a really good documentary, and we just want to share it with other people. So I think that’s kind of where it all came from.
I’ll put some of the places I want to go to on the blog and see if any one has gone there. And then DIY crafts, stuff that we’re both interested in. We recently did a new fan feature where we have people send in ideas on one of the categories . The first week it was the DIY section and I had so many amazing submissions for really great ideas and we chose one and posted that on the blog. So I’m excited about that too because I want to get ideas as well. It’s really fun and it’s another way to reach out to the fans.
JJ: We saw your home featured in the American Eagle campaign and you have a great eye for design too.
SM: I love design! I always say, if I wasn’t an actress, I’d either be a National Geographic photographer or I’d be an interior designer. I love interior design. That’s another one of the blogs I’m always on. I’m always trying to switch up the space. I tear out a lot of sheets from magazines. If I’m on websites, I’ll put different ideas on Pinterest. And if there comes a time where, “Oh I need to renovate my bathroom,” I go through my Pinterest boards or I go through binders of ideas that I cut out from magazines.
JJ: Where do you find inspiration for your personal style? Any style icons?
SM: I think it always changes, depending on how I wake up in the morning, what the weather is like outside, or what I’m doing. That really sets the tone for how I dress that day. I am feminine and really girly (laughs), so I love dresses, heels, fashion magazines and blogs. I don’t really know if there’s any certain style that I try to emulate. I love old Holllywood glamour like Sophia Loren, I loved all of her outfits and that whole Italian look of lace and beautiful dresses. I’m also not afraid of bright colors. The brighter, the better for me. I just like to switch it up and try new things. It’s a process and I don’t know if it ever really stops.
JJ: We hear you’re a very active person. What are some of your favorite activities to stay in shape?
SM: I’m training right now for the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in San Francisco in October. I’ve always said it when people ask me about my resolution or something on my bucket list, I’ve always said, “Marathon or half-marathon, I really want to do it.” I’ve never done it and I’ve always been terrified of doing it. So this year when Nike came to me and asked if I was interested in being a part of this, I was like, “Yes! It’s now or never. Why wouldn’t I do this? It’s for a great cause and I want to be part of it.” So now I’ve been focusing on training. This past weekend, I went to Venice and ran on the boardwalk and it’s just so cool to run there. Usually I bike, but it’s been really fun. That’s my goal right now. I got up to four miles (laughs), which is good for me. So now I just need to do nine more (laughs). Nine more miles and I’ll be good!
JJ: Does music make it easier?
SM: Oh, yeah. Music is such a big part of my life, especially my workout regime. It just inspires me. Whether I’m cooking and turn on Frank Sinatra or Spanish music, or I’m running, I definitely need some pump-up music to get me going. I’m a big R&B and rap fan. I’m looking forward to Drake‘s new album coming out. I have Jay-Z‘s new album and there will always be a little Beyonce, for sure. But I mix it up. I also listen to a lot of indie bands and stuff my roommate Michaela gives me. She listens to so many different styles of music, so she’ll give me new songs that I’ll add to the playlist.
JJ: You mentioned the marathon as a goal of yours. Being on such a successful show, do you think it’s important to not get complacent? How do you go about setting goals for yourself?
SM: I have a vision board at my house and I’m always adding to that. I have the marathon on there now and when I accomplish that, I’ll take it off and put it in another book of stuff I’ve done and places I’ve already been to. And I’ll add new stuff onto it. But I think life is all about trying new experiences, doing different things, and learning. Another thing I have on my board is to learn Spanish, so once I do that, then I’ll put that away and put up Italian. I think you just have to learn as much as you can, see as much as you can, meet new people. I get inspired every day by learning new things and hearing people’s stories. I’m always writing it down, putting it on my board, and thinking about how to do it. I don’t think you ever stop having goals.
PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS (PICTURES BELOW) —–
Photo 1: Aldo boots
Photo 3: Beckley leather pants, Katie Dean Jewelry hand chain
Photo 4: Katie Dean Jewelry necklaces.
Photo 5: Givenchy top
Producer: Jared Eng (@JaredEng)
Photographer: Justin Campbell (@JustJustinNYC)
Stylist: Sophia Banks-Coloma (sophiabanksc)
Grooming: Carlene K. (@CarleneKMakeup)
Interviewer: Sharon Tharp (@sharontharp)