Yara Shahidi is simply stunning! And underneath all those luscious curls, is a beautiful mind and a girl on her grind!
The 15-year-old actress who plays the popular older sister "Zoey Johnson," on ABC's Black-Ish, has been making rounds in the industry for years now, but it's only recently that she's found herself on our faves radar.
Although on TV she acts as the somewhat self-absorbed "Zoey," Yara herself is everything but. The teen star, who in real life enjoys math and science, is extremely grounded and all about making the right moves. According to her shoot with Teen Vogue, Yara recently teamed up with DoSomething.org and 3M to become the face of 'Science Slueth," a text-message style game and app that encourages teens to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). According to Yara:
"Science, math, and technology, to me, are the cornerstones of potential advancement. New discoveries, cures for diseases, and ways to help our world feel more like a community all happen because of these areas.I want young people to know that our communities need us to keep learning and contributing so that we can help solve crises like world hunger and disease."
Well said! Check out 7 interesting things on Yara below!
1. She just recently did a college tour of Harvard... and she's only 15!
Beauty and brains! Even though the actress has a pretty demanding career, that hasn't stopped her from prioritizing. The teen star, who doesn't even have a license to drive yet (although she admits she is the "queen" of jet-skiing), is currently enrolled online in a total of five Advanced Placement classes at Dwight School in New York City.
Just recently, she revealed to Teen Vogue that she's in the middle of touring colleges, with both Brown and Harvard being at the top of her list!
"I actually just visited Harvard, and I spent the day with [writer and professor] Jamaica Kincaid and some other professors, and it was incredible. It's such a cool campus too, and at first it seems so unattainable, but it had such a good community feel. I'm also looking at Brown. Tracee [Ellis Ross], my TV mother, got her honorary doctorate from there, which was very cool!"
Even as a teen, Yara understands the importance of image and cultural representation. The 15-year-old, whose mother is African-American and her father Iranian, Huffington Post last month that she turned down many roles before Black-Ish in order to steer clear of any negative stereotypes or poor portrayals of Black people.
"Before Black-ish, I got offered a couple roles that were just, you know, they just didn't portray black people very well, teenagers very well, me very well [or] anything like that, so I ended up turning them down. But Black-ish was perfect and timely. It was kind of what America needed at the time. It's great that there are actors of color that are working and doing a brilliant job, but it's still important to have a positive image or role model."
3. Speaking of Family-- She Got Her Start in Hollywood Thanks to Her Actress Mom!
Yara got her start in the business at a fairly early age. At only six months old, baby Yara was featured in an ad for insurance. And as a kid star, she's had her share of TV and movie roles (Butter, Imagine That, Salt, Alex Cross, etc.) However, Yara's introduction to Hollywood was by way of her actress mom.
Yara's mother, Keri, is a successful commercial actress and her father, Afshin, was singer Prince's longtime photographer. Yara's younger brothers are also set to be up next on TV: "I have two younger brothers — 12 and 7 — and they're fantastic. My 12-year-old brother, Sayeed, is going to be starring in a new show called Uncle Buck on ABC.. And my 7-year-old brother is going to be on a new show called American Crime Story. He'll be playing Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s son!"
4. Her Cousin is Rapper Nasir Jones
Yara's mother Keri and Nas are first cousins, making Yara and Nas second cousins. The rapper is constantly spotted showing love to his little cuz on Instagram, and Yara and Nas' daughter Destiny are really good friends as well, with the actress recently modeling for Destiny's Lipmatic Lipgloss line. Yara revealed :
"My momma grew up with [Nas]. He got his genealogy done at Harvard and Henry Louis Gates Jr. did his entire family background. I was a flower girl at his wedding."
Aside from being a Comic book fan-girl (Yara admits she keeps up with everything Marvel), the teen says that if she wasn't an actress, she'd be fighting crime-- in real life!
"I'm a detective show junkie. Law & Order SVU or Criminal Intent are two of my favorites. I just met Pablo Schreiber, who had a two season arc on Law & Order, and I was so excited I had no words. I'm pretty sure I freaked him out. We were at an Emmys event, and my mother had to tell him that I'm an actress, too, and not just some weird fan. If I couldn't act, I'd want to run the CIA or FBI."
6. Her style icon is Kerry Washington
Which totally makes sense seeing as to how Yara played "Young Kerry" in Season 2 of Scandal! The stylish teen said she's in love with Kerry's more classic fashion, and is also not afraid to get daring in the dude's section at "Brooks Brothers."
"Kerry Washington is definitely a style icon of mine, she's pretty fabulous.
I also love Brooks Brothers, it's one of my favorite stores. I always shop in the boys' section. One of my favorite outfits was a Brooks Brothers pantsuit with oxford heels, so I like mixing and matching like that. I wear oxfords for everything through, they're my favorite style of footwear."
7. She Speaks Farsi!
As mentioned before Yara is half-Iranian and grew up speaking Farsi fluently. However, she may need to brush up on it just a bit!
"I'm half-Iranian, I can understand Farsi, and I used to be able to read and write it too. I'm starting up classes this year in school so I can be fluent again."
Yara recently shot with Teen Vogue for an amazing #HairGoals shoot. Check out the photos in our gallery, as well as an important hair tip on how she maintains her healthy hair:
“Protective hair styles. I try not to put heat on it until it comes to event or work. My hair is a bun most times, wash and goes with deep conditionars and twist-outs is my favorite style… and after a long day I put my hair in a 'pineapple' bun at the end of the day and my twist out will last for 5 days. Pineapples work!"
Catch more pics in the gallery below!