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PARADOX PROFILE: YARA SHAHIDI

by Alex Garrow 3 min read

yara shahidi smiling red carpet

       Yara Shahidi is really a girl that can do it all: she's a prominent young actress, soon-to-be Harvard student, political activist, and voice for her generation.  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.

She's accomplished so much at such a young age - so how does Shahidi empower others and embody paradoxes?

(Yara Shahidi on Instagram  @yarashahidi)

       Shahidi's Instagram portrays an assortment of glowing selfies, glamorous shots, 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. She's 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-com  The Sun Is Also A Star,  based on the hit novel. 

We love Shahidi because she's not afraid to make her voice heard.

(Yara Shahidi on Instagram @yarashahidi pictured with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey)

       But Shahidi's voice  resonatesbeyond the screen - she's even been called the voice of her generation. She told the guardian that she's "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."

Her voice's impact, however, is not understated - 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 equality, and she spoke at the Obama summit in 2019.

Yara Shahidi is particularly attuned to the challenges facing her generation. She co-founded  Eighteen X 18, an organization committed to encouraging youth voter turnout.

Shahidi knows what her generation can accomplish when they mobilize collectively - and she wants to make sure other young people understand the impact they can really make. "We vote not only for ourselves," she said, "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 the  Pretty Powerful Fund in a campaign for gender equity that encouraged civic engagement among girls. This partnership has helped create opportunities for women through  Girls For Gender Equity (GGE), a Brooklyn-based organization that addresses problems girls experience around racialized and gendered violence. It provides physical, psychological, social, and economic support.

(Yara Shahidi on Instagram @yarashahidi)

       Shahidi is an inspiration for young women - she confidently speaks her mind and pursues her interests with passion.

Shahidi's interests span over vast ranges, and she mentioned that some of her interests might appear contradictory. She stood out in her college application essays through her focus on "this idea that people perpetuate.... that you have to choose between education and entertainment." She does both - with equal passion and dedication. As an avid reader and dedicated student, Shahidi believes in the importance of education. Girls who look up to Shahidi see a role model who does it all - makes bold and beautiful style choices, maintains a career while pursuing a college degree, and speaks up for what she believes in.

Want to read about more women who inspire us? Check out our profile on Emma Watson. And check out our Instagram - we love using the platform to celebrate the women who inspire us.

Alex Garrow
Alex Garrow


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