An Impressively Accomplished Young Star Who Has Broken Stereotypes Both On and Off-Screen
At only 18 years of age, Yara Shahidi has achieved more than expected in the past ten years. She is one of the few Iranian-American faces who have appeared on mainstream U.S. television.
Yara has made waves in a show that is not about terrorism, plastic surgery or other stereotyped themes. Her work confronts prejudices that have subjected African-American actors to regular exclusion from American pop culture. Her influence spreads further, both on-screen and off-screen. She is making an impact by increasing awareness about social justice issues and racism.
Yara has courageously spoken about political topics during a period when many famous Iranian-Americans are avoiding sounding political, for fear of criticism.
Yara has most recently played a major role in a sitcom, Black-ish, that deftly explores issues of race, class and gender in the United States through the eyes of an upper middle-class African-American family.
Through social media, she has frequently blasted Eurocentric beauty expectations and standards that have been set for young women of color. She has even spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, criticizing the prejudiced representation of African Americans in the media, courts of law and the court of public opinion.
Yara was recently honored by Young Womens Leadership Network for her efforts in helping under-privileged students succeed.
Yaras career began when she was six years old, in print advertisements for The Childrens Place, McDonalds, Ralph Lauren and others. From then on, she acted in many films like Scandal, Imagine That, Rip City and Alex Cross. Yara has participated in numerous television projects like Entourage, Cold Case, The Trollhunters and Wizards of Waverly Place.
Fromthe start of her acting career, Yara hasbeen highly recognized for her performances. She got a Young Artist Award nomination for the best performance in a feature film category for her role in Paramount Pictures Imagine That.
Yara played a role as the daughter of President William Johnson in the television series The First Family in 2012. She won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy for her performance Black-ish.
Yara signed with New Yorks Women Management Modeling Agency as a model, doing this to provide a foundation to see more women of color in diverse roles.
She was nominated for 2017 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Comedy TV Actress. She won the BET Award for Young Star this year.
This year, ABC announced that Yara would be acting in a Black-ish spin-off, Grown-ish, slated to premiere in early 2018.
Yara has taken on every task effortlessly even when African Americans have struggled to be recognized as more than just a representation of stereotypes.
Follow Melanie on Instagram@yarashahidi
Follow Melanie on Twitter @YaraShahidi
Follow Melanie on@yarashahidi