Yara Shahidi

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Actress, Producer & Change Agent

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Yara Shahidi: Biography at a Glance

  • Yara Shahidi is an award-winning actress, producer, change agent, and breakout star of ABC’s Emmy-and Golden Globe-nominated series black-ish.
  • Shahidi is now the executive producer and lead of its Freeform spinoff series, grown-ish, where she plays Zoey Johnson, an ambitious, fashion-forward college student, on her journey of figuring out adulthood.
  • She has been highlighted on TIME Magazine’s annual 30 Most Influential Teens list as well as Forbes 30 Under 30.
  • She won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a comedy series, was nominated for a Teen Choice Award, and was the recipient of a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakthrough Role. 
  • In 2022, Yara graduated from Harvard University after studying Social Studies and African American Studies.
  • Shahidi founded "Yara's Club," a bi-monthly digital meet-up for Yara and students to discuss societal issues, self-improvement, and higher education. 
  • She served as the spokesperson for DoSomething.org and 3M's "Science Sleuth" campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and technology resources in Minnesota and St. Louis. 
  • Shahidi is the international thesis advisor for Ghetto Film School, the free, multi-year visual storytelling course for young artists in New York, Los Angeles, and London.

Videos

Biography

Yara Shahidi is an award-winning actress, producer, change agent and breakout star of ABC’s Emmy-and Golden Globe-nominated series black-ish. Shahidi is now the executive producer and lead of its Freeform spinoff series, grown-ish, where she plays Zoey Johnson, an ambitious, fashion-forward college student, on her journey of figuring out adulthood. When the series first premiered in 2018, it became the cable net’s best comedy series launch in over 5 years, drawing 4.5 million viewers in its first three days. As Shahidi focuses on utilizing her platform to empower and inspire others, she continues to be one of Hollywood’s most heralded talents.

Shahidi’s film career spans from childhood favorites such as, Imagine That, opposite Eddie Murphy, to the timely socio-political romance, Sun is Also a Star, centering around immigration and inclusion. Other film credits include Unthinkable, Salt, Butter, and Alex Cross. Shahidi has recently been tapped for the iconic role of Tinkerbell for the 2022 Disney live-action reimagination of Peter Pan & Wendy. Shahidi recently expanded her relationship with ABC by signing a multi-year producing deal with her business partner and mother, Keri Shahidi, under the moniker: 7th Sun Productions.

Off-screen, Yara is a full-time student at Harvard University where she is earning a B.A. in Social Studies and African American studies. She is a champion for inclusive media programming, and an advocate for equity. Shahidi is a sought-after public speaker, in conversation with university peers and thought leaders such as: Dr. Angela Davis, President Obama, Harry Belafonte Jr., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Cornell West, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock. Inspired by her extensive work with President and First Lady Obama, Shahidi founded Eighteen x 18, now called WeVoteNext, to shine a light on Gen Z and BIPOC inclusion in the political process.

Labeled as one of the stand-out voices of her generation and identified as a leader of the New Hollywood guard, Shahidi has received numerous accolades for her work outside of entertainment, such as TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens, Forbes 30 Under 30, British Vogue Forces for Change, Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year and Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood to name a few

Topics

Womens & Girls Empowerment
Diversity in Media
STEM & Computer Science
Girls in STEM
How Being Multi-Cultural Has Shaped Her World
The Lack of Quality Roles for Diversity in Hollywood
Youth Civic Engagement
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Yara was absolutely incredible! Our board and the audience were extremely impressed with how poised, articulate, and confident she was, especially for someone of her age. Her remarks also aligned perfectly with the conference's theme and purpose. Overall, we were extremely grateful and pleased that she was the keynote speaker for the conference.

Georgetown University
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