This up-and-comer is already a crazy cool activist too.
You probably recognize her as the oldest daughter Zoey Johnson on ABC’s hit show Black-sh, but Yara Shahidi is so much more than that. She’s an activist, a feminist, a role model and we an all-around awesome teen.
For those of you who don’t have your google alerts set up for Yara Shahidi yet (we highly recommend it), here are a few need to know facts on the coolest kid on the block.
8. She’s all about fighting black stereotypes on TV.
“If you turn on the television and only see black drug dealers or black people in poverty, it shapes your opinions. I think it is part of our duty as content creators and people within the entertainment industry to challenge those stereotypes.”
7. She’s involved with non-profit DoSomething.org, which encourages young girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.
“What’s so amazing is seeing young girls empowered in STEM fields because there is an overwhelming lack of a female presence. … I feel like it’s so important that somebody’s love or interest in STEM isn’t squashed by this idea that ‘Well, I’m not a man, this is not appropriate for a woman.'”
6. She’s super proud to be a part of Black-ish.
The show, which often covers heavy topics like using the N-word to police brutality, has become a pro at highlighting current issues in the black community without a heavy-handed message.
“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.”
5. She attended Oxford University for a bit
Passion and brains? Yeah, we’re pretty sure this girl is unstoppable
4. She recently signed with powerhouse talent agency CAA
After winning a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakout Role, we’re not surprised that one of the top talent agencies wanted to snag her.
3. At 15, she was honored by the Young Women’s Leadership Conference
“Life as a teenager can be downright chaotic. We must also realize that it is up to us whether these years will feel like a melancholy struggle or an opportunity for growth or experiences of a lifetime.”
2. She’s launching a mentoring program
Called Yara’s Club, the online mentoring program will be backed by the Young Women’s Leadership Conference.
“Giving back is not just something you do as an adult.”
1. She’s proud of her heritage (in case you couldn’t tell)
“I am black and I am [Persian] and I will always rep that. I will never hide that.”
Yeah, we’re pretty sure Yara is one of the most amazing women under 20 we’ve ever seen. Any objections? We didn’t think so.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.