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Shay Mitchell on the Pressure to Look Perfect on Instagram

Shay Mitchell Would Like a Word With You About Her Instagram Photos

Shay Mitchell on the Pressure to Look Perfect on Instagram

Shay Mitchell could tell you that curating a covetable Instagram feed, shooting the sh*t with Lucy Hale or John Stamos, and having a pretty little trophy collection from her role on Pretty Little Liars is cool and all, but she would like to make one thing clear: the path to self-love and acceptance has been long and hard.

You see, the Filipino actress wasn't always so confident. Growing up in Toronto, Mitchell noticed that her darker features looked far different from those of her classmates — a truth she worked diligently to hide. "When I was in high school, all my friends were blond with blue eyes, so to be more like them, I would dye my hair lighter, straighten it, wear contacts, and stay out of the sun so I wouldn't get any darker," Mitchell admitted in an interview with POPSUGAR. "Now, everything I do beauty-wise is to enhance what I was born with. So this is what I will say to younger girls: Being unique is beautiful — celebrate that. Be you; don't try to change."

Of course, she's not completely impervious to the fact that social media — and the pressure to look "perfect" that comes with it — makes this piece of advice especially difficult. "I realize there are a million different filters, and I would never lie about using the beauty filter on Instagram, but at the same time, it's important to remember that photos on social media are a highlight reel," Mitchell said. "That's not real life. I'm not taking photos when I feel sick and coughing all over the place. These are moments that are very curated and edited to perfection, so I know that when I look at photos. I just try to live my life and have the most fun in real life. IRL."

In that same spirit, Mitchell wants to make like The Real World and start getting real — about the beauty treatment she'll never do, her solitary travel rule, and a few brilliant tips she's picked up along the way.

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