Emily Fields Shay Mitchell. Her beautifully curated Instagram, which she’s used to take fans across the globe with her, has been the only thing that’s given me any type of consolation since Pretty Little Liars ended last year. But Shay is preparing for a comeback in 2018: she’s part of an important campaign to inspire women to know their birth control; she’s starring in a new Lifetime series alongside Penn Badgley, and gearing up for a horror film debut later this year; and there’s a slight chance she’s already writing her next book—or she’s at least in the initial planning stages.
Her Campus spoke to Shay about her involvement with Allergan’s Know Your Birth Control campaign, what it was like talking to her mom about birth control for the first time, her character in Lifetime’s You, her tips for healthy eating, and more.
Her Campus: You’ve teamed up with Allergan for their Know Your Birth Control campaign, why is this so important to you?
SM: Whether it is due to a lack of education, stigmas associated with birth control, or fear of not knowing how to speak to their healthcare providers, women may not be pursuing knowledge about birth control the way they might inform themselves before making other healthcare decisions. Women may have questions about how the pill works, which option is right for them, where to get it, how to take it, and what the side effects might be. Despite this, many women are still not seeking the answers to these questions. I was fortunate to have had related conversations time and time again, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. Even growing up learning about pregnancy prevention, I find that I still have questions about my birth control options, similar to many other women. The Know Your Birth Control campaign is testing my knowledge through an online trivia quiz that I’m hoping many women will take as well. Our goal is to inspire and encourage women to ask their healthcare providers about the different birth control options available, just like I do! Ultimately, I’m teaming up with this campaign to encourage women to get informed!
HC: Do you remember the first time your mom spoke to you about birth control? What was that experience like?
SM: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had open conversations with my healthcare providers, parents and friends about the different types of birth control options. My parents made my home a safe space and starting place for conversations about effective pregnancy prevention and brought me to my doctor when the time was right. I feel strongly that that’s the way it should be. We should all be educated about our options and feel informed before making any decisions.
HC: What would you say to a young woman who is still debating about whether or not to get on the Pill?
SM: I would say you can never ask too many questions and that you should do your research. No matter what aspect of my life I’m seeking to improve, I do my research through trusted sources and lean on expert advice. I recommend women seeking birth control options do just that. If you are looking for effective pregnancy prevention, talk to your healthcare providers to help you choose the option that is right for you.
HC: We’re so excited to have you back on our screens again this fall in Lifetime’s You. What can you tell us about your character Peach Salinger?
SM: I can’t wait for everyone to meet Peach and can’t say too much without giving anything away but Peach is definitely…passionate. Going to have to tune in to find out more.
HC: In addition to this upcoming role, what else has changed for you since leaving your PLL days behind? What do you miss most about working on the show?
SM: The biggest change for me has been not seeing our cast/crew on a daily basis. Those people were our family for 7 years and it’s moments in between takes or lunch breaks that I miss the most, just laughing with everyone.
Today we let Aria, Alison, Hanna, Emily, and Spencer go while the rest of us tried to cope by eating cake. Thank you everyone for this incredible ride. I’m trying to breathe and soak it all in and I’m just so full of gratitude that this was my life for so long. Rosewood Forever, xoxo Em. I mean Shay ?. #PLLForever
HC: You’ve always really been into keeping fit. Do you have any tips for young college women who lack the motivation and feel like they don’t have time to workout but want to?
SM: There are times when I only have 25 minutes to work out, literally, so I make every minute count. If you are limited on timing, I suggest doing high intensity interval training to maximize the amount of time you have! Even if you can’t motivate for an intense workout, at least get outside, go for a walk…
HC: A lot of college students battle poor eating habits. What are your top tips to achieving healthy eating?
SM: I think planning meals a bit really helps rather than just going to the cafeteria or randomly heading to the grocery store, have a plan! I love Pinterest for recipes and shopping lists and I know they even make lists specific for college students!
HC: When you’re stressed or have a jam packed day, what do you do to sort of center yourself?
SM: Honestly, nothing calms me more than exercise. If I’m stressed or anxious, getting my heart rate up and going for a run or seeing my trainer helps to get my mind back in the right place.
HC: We loved Bliss—when can we expect another book from you and do you have any idea yet what the next would be about?
SM: Oh I have an idea…stay tuned.