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Lucky Office Visit: Shay Mitchell

Photo: ABC Family

While her hit show Pretty Little Liars was in its mid-season break, Shay Mitchell popped over to Lucky’s offices in between New York Fashion Week shows (“Lela Rose, Rachel Roy, Badgley Mischka … they were all amazing”) and told us about her personal style. The 24-year-old actress who plays the sweet and sporty Emily Fields on the ABC Family megahit takes her responsibility as a role model for gay teens seriously: “There wasn’t a second of hesitation when it came to playing a gay character,” she says. Mitchell even just finished a photo shoot for the equal-rights-based NOH8 campaign.

But despite her breakout and breakthrough role, the rising star says her keyword for fashion is “comfortable.” Not necessarily comfort in the orange crocs-sense of the word, but comfort stemming from self-confidence and assurance. In person, her style is “admittedly very LA.” Not surprising, considering she often consults another emerging star/Lucky favorite, Brad Goreski, for styling advice. She even mentioned always including “a pop of color” in her wardrobe.

Both beautiful and brainy, Shay successfully avoids the style trap of most young starlets: laziness. She knows how to dress for her body type, try out new trends, and not just rely on black leggings, black pumps, and black sunglasses to look stylish. And at only 24, she’s accomplished a lot: Mitchell has started her own lifestyle website, gone to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and raised awareness around modern-day slavery through the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Click through the slideshow to see how Mitchell dresses for comfort, success and self-confidence.

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One of the reasons Mitchell loves her character Emily? “Pretty Little Liars is one of the first series of its kind where you don’t know who the lesbian is by looking at her.” That said, Shay dresses nothing like Emily in person. She’s a fan of high heels, sequins and bright colors. “When I go see Brad [Goreski], I’m always like ‘Oh my god, sequins!’ but then he tries to steer me towards something new.”

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“I don’t dress anything like Emily in real life," says Mitchell. "It’s funny because I come to set all dressed-up and then slowly become more casual whereas the other girls do the opposite.” Mitchell also likes the fact that she doesn’t play an overused stereotype: “I’m not the weird girl in the cafeteria that plays a lesbian from some teen movie. [On the show] I’m a lesbian and I wear lipgloss–it’s not a big deal. So what?”

ABC Family

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After waiting until Pretty Little Liars got renewed for a second season, Mitchell bought herself the one bag she’d been lusting after since she was 17: a black, quilted Chanel chain purse. “My mom always says I should use it less often but the way I look at it is, if it gets wear-and-tear, it just adds to its story.”

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While Mitchell plays a high school teen now, she can’t wait to get her hands on an action film role. “I’d love to play a strong woman. Something like, ‘I’m wearing high heels and I can run faster than any of you!’”

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Mitchell loves simple, well-made classics like the clothes she gets from Canadian fashion Mecca Aritzia. “It used to be my Canadian secret but now I’m worried because there’s one in New York and L.A.”

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An entrepreneur, too, Mitchell and her friends launched a lifestyle website, Shaymitchell.com, instead of "just another fan site." The site features everything from fashion and beauty to "Things Mom Taught Me" (which Mitchell called "helpful reminders").

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On new runway trends she’d like to try: “I just saw some floral-on-floral and I really want to try it, but it's not for the faint of heart.”

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