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Feeling good on the inside makes all the difference in the way Shay Mitchell tackles her day. Best known for playing Emily Fields on ABC Family's hit show "Pretty Little Liars," Mitchell is constantly exposed to the terrors of cyberbullying — a problem teens frequently face today.
While many of her fans are quick to say "I want to look like you," Mitchell's response is, "No, you don't."
"You want to look like you," Mitchell told TODAY.com Monday while toasting a new partnership with Stella Artois. "You were born that way for a reason. You are unique. There’s no one else in this entire world that looks like you, that is like you, that has the same personality. That is something in itself to be celebrating."
She urges teens to forget about that unrealistic image of the "perfect body" they've got stowed away in their minds, and focus on the positives — being a "good person" and really discovering that special something they can offer to the world.
Most importantly, Mitchell says she's always the first to disclose to her fans that a lot time is spent on hair, makeup and lighting to achieve that TV-ready look.
"I don’t look like this when I wake up. But when I do, I’m still just as confident and happy."
Confidence is something that Mitchell knows is a touchy subject, yet of high importance within the teen community watching her show. Her character, Emily, was instrumental in breaking down many of those barriers in her decision to come out as a lesbian.
"It’s one thing to be an entertaining show. It’s another thing to have a small impact on their lives by playing this character who is really strong, who stayed true to who she was."
Her role started an important conversation among those who watched the show together. It quickly became an easy segue — an opportunity to talk freely about LGBT issues in the comfort of their home.
"They realize and they learn that the people who truly do care about you are not going to focus on your sexuality. Your sexual orientation shouldn’t matter at all. Love who you love at the end of the day."
Mitchell's positive attitude transcends the lines of her everyday work — through her acting, on her social profiles, and even making a mark on her new clothing line, Fit to Wander.
The athleisure apparel line features leggings, sports bras, and graphic tees, running shorts, sweatshirts and joggers.
Because of the younger demographic she's followed by, Mitchell says the most important aspect of the pieces are positive quotes printed on the graphic tees. She hopes they'll serve as a reminder to everyone to be aware of just how they're treating others.
"You never know what somebody else is going through. So be nice and even if you’re having a really hard day, there’s always somebody else’s day who is worse than yours."