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Shay Mitchell on conquering YouTube’s male-dominated travel space

The former Pretty Little Liars star talks with Fast Company about how launching her own YouTube channel in 2014 has helped her live life to the fullest.

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Most YouTube stars aspire to break into TV or film projects one day. Shay Mitchell has bucked convention by going the opposite route.

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The enterprising actor got her start on Freeform’s hit thriller series Pretty Little Liars, which ran until last summer. In 2014, Mitchell decided to launch her own YouTube channel, which has opened up a bunch of new doors for her.

It’s not that Mitchell has given up acting (she’ll soon be starring in the Netflix series You), it’s that having a YouTube channel afforded her the chance to pursue interests like food, fitness, and travel–with brands endorsing her all the while. It’s something other stars have begun to glom onto as well lately, including The Rock and Will Smith.

Among the beauty tutorials and other various vlogs, though, Mitchell is most excited about her travel series, Shaycation, where you might one day find her riding a camel in high heels, while lounging poolside in Greece the next. The star travels around the world with just a videographer, a photographer, a producer, and herself, creating top-quality content with a modest team.

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“The travel genre is really male-dominated,” Mitchell says, explaining why she created her channel’s flagship show. “There was that missing sort of relatability factor, so I wanted to take the charge on that.”

Mitchell paused from her globe-trotting adventures to speak with Fast Company‘s Chris Allen for our recent video series, Passion Project, which you can also find on our YouTube channel.