There’s no doubt that Shay Mitchell is one of today’s hottest stars. With a lead role on ABC family’s Pretty Little Liars, a lifestyle website Amore & Vita, a new book, Bliss, a popular YouTube channel, and an Instagram following of nearly 10 million, the 28 year old actress is just getting started.
With a budding romantic comedy that’s set to release in April and a clothing line Fit to Wander in the works, Shay has a lot on her plate- though you would never sense it when you meet her.
Shay showed up to shoot with a willingness “to embody a different personality with each of the looks [we did], so they would all end up different,” she tells us as we prepared for the day.
So when Patrick Ta started working on her makeup and Jen Atkin embarked to transform her hair, Shay Mitchell quickly transformed into ‘Lil Shay’ quite naturally. “Everything was really organic,” says Jen. “Shay was feeling adventurous and was willing to try something fun and new, so we went there! I brought a lot of wigs with me to the shoot and I let her pick what she was feeling.”
Her usual long locks were extended to dramatic lengths and thickness with the help of clip in extensions and were smoothed super slick with a Kardashian Beauty flat iron, hair oil, and hairspray.
Not surprisingly, her mane took on a life of it’s own and Shay was quickly whipping it back and forth in front of the camera. “And let me tell you- it was a good time!” she says.
Inspired by one of Jen’s favorite models, Freja Beha Erichsen, Shay’s next look was all about a heavy fringe and shag like texture. Though she wore a wig, the hair was ‘bent’ with a flat iron to mimic a natural wave pattern.
“The reason I have so much fun with wigs is because I’m not brave enough to cut or color my own hair. I do that same thing pretty much all the time with my hair, which is just what I’m comfortable with. Down and a beach wave. Sometimes I’ll switch up the wave a little bit and I feel like that’s me being really crazy. My hair is my security blanket. I love that there are so many different alternatives you can use now to have fun and switch up your look without committing to anything permanent. Wig it out! That’s what I always tell my friends who want to experiment with their look.”
The next look, ‘Bianca’ was a more lively take on the above, with shorter lengths, more curl, and added texture, thanks to GHD curling irons and a pomade mousse.
Taking inspiration from her ultimate beauty icon, Rihanna, who she admires for always taking risks with her image, Shay embraced each new wig the entire day, trusting Jen to work her magic. “Shay has such a great personality,” says Jen. “Because she’s such a great actress, she can really embody the characters of each of the wigs.”
The final look of the day- ‘Svetlana,’ was a futuristic plum colored blunt wig with heavy fringe. Though each of the looks were different and new for the PLL star, “I really did fall in love with all of the girls,” she says, “though Bianca was my favorite.”
Much like her attitude for the day, Shay trusts in her glam team and the people working around her, admitting that she doesn’t even have a single favorite hair care product. “I switch it up always,” she says. “I never commit to just one thing. That’s what’s so much fun about my job. I get to work with so many different hairstylists and they all swear by something different. So I’ve taken their recommendations and added them to my shelves.”
Exuding a radiant, welcoming, and charismatic energy on set, it’s no surprise that the star is able to juggle so many projects at once. “I like to stay busy,” she tells us, “so I have a lot of passion projects- like my book, Bliss. It’s about 3 girls in their 20’s on their way to finding their own bliss. It talks about all of life’s journeys that we can all relate to: traveling, boyfriends, career, relationships.. I feel like at one point in my life I definitely had a mid-20’s breakdown and I think this book really deals with that. It’s also so important to me because it’s loosely based on my own life experiences. I plan on having 3 books in the series and I feel like right now I’m living book 3- and let me tell you, there has been a lot that has happened since the first book, so I’m excited to write it all down and let people guess what’s real and what’s not.”
But having the right business partner is key. Co-author and bestie business partner Michaela Blaney helps manage Amore & Vita as the two attempt to be Martha Stewart. “Our blog is honest, we’ll try out a recipe, but if we burn a batch of cookies, it’s no big deal, and we move on. The message with the site is that if I can do it, you can do it. My partner, Michaela, she is an avid chef and I love entertaining and decorating, so we’ve put it together. I’ll set the table while she cooks. That’s how we wrote the book as well. She based one of the characters after her own life and we’ve even added recipes to the book as well.”
Muse: Shay Mitchell @shaym
Hair: Jen Atkin @jenatkinhair
Photography: Mike Rosenthal @mrmikerosenthal
Makeup: Patrick Ta @patrickta
Nails: Stephanie Stone @stephstonenails
Styled by: Johnny Wujek @jwujek
Produced by: Andrea Berk @aaahndrea
Art Direction: Desirae Cherie @desiraecherie
Written by: Justine Marjan @justinemarjan