Yara Shahidi is a young face of Hollywood, drawing media attention as she plans to attend Harvard in the fall while maintaining a career in entertainment. The actor, model, and activist is famous for her role as the outspoken daughter Zoey Johnson in ABC's hit sitcom 'Black-ish' and as the star of its spinoff series 'Grown-ish' which follows her character to college. How does Shahidi empower others and embody paradoxes?
(Yara Shahidi on Instagram @yarashahidi)
Shahidi's Instagram portrays an assortment of glowing selfies, made-up looks, and magazine covers, dispersed with adorable throwback pictures, personal role models, and clips of her speaking at conferences. At 20 years old, Shahidi has already acted alongside stars like Angelina Jolie and Eddie Murphy, is friends with former first lady Michelle Obama, and even has Oprah's endorsement as a future presidential candidate! Shahidi also plays the lead in recent teenage rom-comThe Sun Is Also A Star,based on the hit novel.
Shahidi's interests extend beyond the screen, and she has been called the voice of a generation. In response to this description in an interview withThe Guardian, Shahidi humbly responded, saying, "I am beyond proud of being a part of a generation that no one person could be the face of. I'm grateful to be one of many voices." The young activist is deeply invested in politics and isn't afraid to articulate her views on social media. She is a vocal advocate for gender and racial equity, speaking on panels and at the Obama summit in 2019. Shahidi also co-foundedEighteen X 18, an organization committed to encouraging youth voter turnout. On the website, Shahidi expresses the power of political engagement, with a quote by herself saying, "We vote for not only ourselves, but for "all sons and daughters" and every layer and intersection of identity. We vote for each other."
(Yara Shahidi on Eighteen X 18 website)
In 2019, Shahidi partnered with cosmetics company Bobbi Brown and thePretty Powerful Fund in a campaign for gender equity and to encourage civic engagement among girls. This partnership has helped create opportunities for women throughGirls For Gender Equity (GGE), a Brooklyn-based organization that addresses problems girls experience around racialized and gendered violence, providing physical, psychological, social, and economic support.
Shahidi is an inspiration for young women as she confidently speaks her mind and pursues her varied passions. She discussed her personal goals and how she balances what others may view as contradictions in an interview withHollywood Reporter.In her college application essays, she stood out as she focused on "this idea that people perpetuate that you have to choose between education and entertainment," as well as her love of chocolate and NPR podcasts. An avid reader and podcast enthusiast, Shahidi believes in the importance of education. Girls who look up to Shahidi see a role model who wears makeup and attends award shows, maintains a career while pursuing a college degree, and is respected for her voice and opinions: unapologetically embracing paradoxes.
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