What One TV Star Wants Her Young Teen Fans to Know

As a star of the hit series Pretty Little Liars, 30-year-old Canadian actress Shay Mitchell has become a role model for teens, including 3.63 million Twitter fans, 2.2 million YouTube fans, and 17.6 million Instagrammers. Here, Mitchell shares the 10 things she wants her young fans to know about pizza, acne, and living in the moment.

I know it’s tough to be a teen.

Courtesy Michael Simon/ startraksphoto.comBeing a teenager is one of the hardest stages of life, according to Shay Mitchell, of the hit show Pretty Little Liars. “You’re trying to figure yourself out and things are changing so fast,” she says. “I had a hard time in high school going through all that too.” That’s why Mitchell tries to use social media to encourage her fans. “It’s amazing to post pretty photos but it’s important to have lots of different messages to help inspire people,” she says. “You never know what will be motivating.”

I try to follow a plant-based diet.

Before her morning coffee, Mitchell starts the day with water and lemon and tries to work more vegetables into her daily diet. “I find that I feel better when I eat this way,” she says. Check out the many health benefits of a plant-based diet.

But sometimes I fall off the wagon.

Courtesy Michael Simon/startraksphoto.comYes, it’s ideal to have a healthy, plant-based diet, but Mitchell also urges her fans to live life to the fullest. “I enjoy the pizza I eat and then I work out,” she says. “But it’s not necessarily to burn off the pizza—it’s because I enjoy it!”

I want teens to worry less.

“It’s no good to stress about everything going into your body and worry about how to burn it off,” she says. “I have a different approach to stress. I think it’s important to feel different emotions. Stress and/or worry makes me feel alive and reminds me that I care strongly about things. I want people to have a different outlook on being nervous and then do what I do: When I’m nervous. I’ll go outside and take a walk. I find this really helps to clear my mind.” Did you know that stress can actually have health benefits?

I like to mix up my workouts.

03-Give Back- Courtesy Michael Simon:www.startraksphoto.comCourtesy Michael Simon/startraksphoto.comA boxer for the past five years, Mitchell always looks for new ways to stay fit, including trying Pilates and other fitness classes. “I think it’s all about switching it up and confusing your muscles,” she says. “I love the festival Propel does that’s coming up in mid-August because it combines music with hard workouts. Anything we can do to get people to get outside and stay active is great!” Remember jumping rope, roller skating and all those fun things you did as a kid? Here’s how many calories you can burn doing those favorite childhood pasttimes.

I know acne is annoying.

Mitchell is no stranger to pimples. “Your body is changing and your hormones are fluctuating. I know it’s hard but I always try to tell people to remember that everyone goes through it.” Including Mitchell herself. “With the weather change and the stress of being on a new show, I definitely had acne when I came to LA,” she says. “Luckily I have an amazing friend and facialist. She’s a skin magician. That and being a Biore spokesperson isn’t too bad—I get to try out all of their products.” Here’s how to get rid of acne for good.

I feel that essential oils can help.

“When I was on set, I’d use a few drops of peppermint,” she says. “I think lavender is nice to put on my wrists to help me go to sleep. When you’re getting a massage or going on a flight, essential oils are great to help you relax.” These are the best essential oils for anxiety.

I believe it’s important to give back.

“It’s really important to find ways to give to others, whether that’s donating time to the ASPCA or visiting kids at a children’s hospital,” Mitchell says. “It makes you feel better too, and just as important: You don’t have to announce that you’re doing it. It’s something you can just do.” Check out these creative ways to volunteer and really make a difference.

I get that you have ups and downs.

With social media, it’s easy to feel upset about when you see amazing party pictures or vacation photos, Mitchell says. “You look at Instagram and think that’s a reality,” she says. “But it’s actually a highlight reel—I’m not posting photos of me on a sad day.” If you’re active on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, here how to have a healthy relationship with social media.

I want you to live in the moment.

Ask Mitchell and she’ll tell you: It might be a good idea to put down your phone once and awhile. “When I don’t take a photo at a party that means it’s really fun,” she says. “I want teens to live in the moment instead of constantly trying to capture the moment.” Use these simple mindfulness tricks to help you live in the moment.

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