You star and BÉIS Co-founder and Creative Director, Shay Mitchell, reflects on entrepreneurship, what inspires her, and how she's taking part in the women's empowerment movement.


What issue in the women's empowerment movement resonates most with you?

Shay Mitchell: There are so many things that women are fighting for, but something that I find really important is economic justice. Discrimination in the workplace and unfair, unequal wages because of someone's gender need to be an issue where we should all be trying to effect change.

What kind of challenges do you and other women in your industry face? How have you been supported in pushing back?

People are only recently starting to realize how unjust the pay gap between men and women is, but the fact is, women in the entertainment industry have been trying to change it for years. Women around the world are making amazing progress and change while bringing light to this issue and I am thrilled to support them. 

As a female entrepreneur I feel that it’s so important to support other young women and help them to become leaders as well.

Who inspires you?

I find whenever I am asked this question, Malala [Yousafzai]'s face — her soulful eyes and kind smile just appear in my mind. I am truly inspired by her every single day.

Congratulations on the recent launch of your travel collection, BÉIS! We noticed that you've committed to share some of the proceeds from your sales from the collection with Girl Up. Why did you choose to support this organization?

Thank you! As a female entrepreneur I feel that it's so important to support other young women and help them to become leaders as well. That's why partnering with Girl Up felt perfect. They have a leadership development initiative to help girls become leaders in the movement for gender equality.

You're known for your flair for entrepreneurship — where does it come from?

From a very young age I was told I could be whatever and whoever I wanted. My parents instilled that mantra in me very early on and it drives me every day. I always knew I wanted to do something in the travel industry, as it's my number one passion in life, and I'm thrilled that BÉIS has finally taken off.

I think people need to realize that even the most confident women have doubts. Not everyone is totally confident in their abilities to make it all happen all the time, and that’s okay!

What would you tell the younger version of yourself?

I would tell her that all that stuff on her vision board will come true with enough hard work, dedication, and self-love.

What advice would you give to young women who may lack confidence in themselves?

I think people need to realize that even the most confident women have doubts. Not everyone is totally confident in their abilities to make it all happen all the time, and that's okay! What's important is that you stay clear-headed and focused on the big picture of what you want your life to look like, and that you only make decisions that will bring you closer to that success.