Shay Mitchell may seem like the picture of confidence now, which she shows off through her widely-followed social media accounts and bold red carpet looks, but the Pretty Little Liars star says she didn’t always feel so self-assured.

In a new interview with PeopleStyle for our “5 Questions” video series — watch it above! — the 29-year-old says reveals that she went on a personal journey to find the confidence often seen on her massive platforms (she has 14 million followers on Instagram alone). “Growing up I always tried to be somebody that I wasn’t,” she says. “I think as I got older I sort of look back and if I could tell myself, my younger self, or anybody younger than me or older or whatever, I think it would be just really to embrace what you’re born with.” 

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For Mitchell, it’s advice she likes to remember daily. “I think celebrating your uniqueness is something that we sometimes forget to do,” she says. “We always look at somebody else and we’re like, ‘Oh, I wish I had her dot dot dot.’ I think instead of looking inwards and trying to make yourself a better person and appreciating what you were born with.”


One thing that’s making her feel especially confident these days is a one-piece swimsuit. “I think they’re great,” she says. “When I’m on vacation I like to eat a lot and have a couple cocktails so I don’t want to have to worry about squeezing into a two-piece. And I think a one-piece is just, I don’t know. I enjoy them. I think now with all the different styles and designs, there is so much to choose from and I think they’re almost even sexier in a way. I think it almost leaves more to the imagination and it’s just very flattering on any body type.”

Watch the video to hear more from Mitchell, including her top tips for taking selfies, her favorite Snapchat filter and what she really thinks about cutting off her hair. 

Pretty Little Liars airs on Tuesdays at 8pm ET/PT on Freeform, the new name for ABC Family.

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