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Shay Mitchell loves to broach personal topics that others might choose to keep to themselves—like the fact that she takes hundreds of photos to get the perfect posed shot for her very curated Instagram feed. Or you know, her birth control.
The actress of Pretty Little Liars fame just partnered with Allergan (the maker of Lo Loestrin, a prescription birth control pill) as an ambassador for the brand's "Know Your Birth Control" campaign. As part of the campaign, Shay stars in a birth control trivia quiz to help dispel common myths about birth control. (Related: 4 Common Vagina Myths Your Gyno Wants You to Stop Believing)
Shay says she hopes the partnership will encourage women to be more outspoken about this crucial area of their health, so they can feel confident in their decisions. "I grew up in a really safe environment and my relationship with my parents has always been amazing," she tells Shape. "I was always informed about pregnancy prevention and all of my options, but I know that isn't the case for everybody."
"This campaign is about educating women so they feel comfortable enough to have those conversations with their health care provider and aren't afraid to ask questions," she says. "It's putting information out there so that we're in control of the choices that we make."
And there are a *ton* of things women get wrong about birth control, experts say. "In my practice, it is a consistent norm that birth control will be widely used, yet poorly understood," Lakeisha Richardson, M.D., a Mississippi-based ob-gyn who's also a part of the campaign, said in a press release. "I always advocate that no question is too small when it comes to helping a patient make decisions about what is right for them." (Related: 9 Things You're Not Asking Your Gyno—But Should)
Shay says this candid, ask-questions policy is a philosophy she maintains in all areas of her life, especially when it comes to fitness and finding balance. "I always talk to my friends or other experts [like her trainer, Kira Stokes] about what they're doing so I can have as much information as possible," she says. (P.S. Here's the total-body workout Shay does when she's jet-lagged.)
Of course, she's often the one doling out valuable advice to her millions of followers when it comes to wellness and travel (through her Instagram account and YouTube travel series, Shaycation, which follows her trips around the world.) As she shared in her cover interview with Shape earlier this year, her secret to health and happiness is all about finding a workout high, banning food stress (eat the damn pizza, she says!), and being fearless.
"I'm more confident and optimistic than not. Every one of us has insecurities. I have a whole bunch of them, but I don't dwell on them. Instead, I focus on my strengths. After all, what's the worst thing that can happen if you try something new and it doesn't work out? So what? You don't know what you're going to be good at until you do it!" she told Shape. "The same goes for travel: Explore the world; don't be afraid of it. Get out there and be adventurous—that's my life motto."
And, you know, don't forget to pack your birth control.