US actress Yara Shahidi opens up about life lessons from her parents

US actress Yara Shahidi opens up about life lessons from her parents
Yara Shahidi stars in 'Grown-ish' and attends Harvard University. (File/ Getty Images)
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Updated 29 November 2020

US actress Yara Shahidi opens up about life lessons from her parents

US actress Yara Shahidi opens up about life lessons from her parents

DUBAI: US actress Yara Shahidi has opened up about the values taught to her by her parents — and a host of other off-beat topics — in a new interview with Vogue magazine.

The “Grown-ish” actress took part in Vogue’s “73 Questions With” series in her home in Los Angeles and covered a variety of topics, from whether pineapple belongs on pizza (a strong no), to her current book of choice (“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin).

The accomplished star, who is a karate black belt and a student at Harvard University, also shed light on her relationship with her parents and how they influenced her career choice.

Shahidi, whose father is Iranian-American and whose mother is African-American, started off as an actress in commercials.

“I started in print and commercials with my baba, who is a (director of photography) and my mother, who is a commercials actress, and my brothers and it was really just like a fun family affair, it didn’t take me out of school or any of my other passions,” she said.

When asked who she credits with her famous work ethic, she replied “both of my parents are very focused, so both of them.”

The 20-year-old also credits her parents with instilling her with a sense of responsibility for those who are less fortunate, saying, “it came from when my brother and I started making money from working at a young age, they sat us down and they had three jars — one for saving, one for spending and the most important one was for donating because their basic premise that we live by is that in order to receive you must constantly be giving.”

While giving the presenter a tour of her house and heading into the garden for a game of cornhole, the actress also opened up about what it was like to grow up in the public eye after she started acting on TV show “Black-ish” at the age of 14.

“It’s definitely different, but if there’s any set to grow up on I’d have to say it’s the ‘Back-ish’ set. Everyone from our crew to our cast is so supportive and even with some of the hate that we got for covering topics like police brutality or politics, we all have each other’s backs.”

Shahidi is no stranger to airing her political views and publicly stood against US President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration ban in 2017, saying “if my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama” in a tweet at the time.

The star’s desire for diversity also came to the fore in 2019, when she spoke about her decision to walk away from a magazine shoot over its apparent lack of diverse models.

It was “totally uncomfortable and totally important,” Shahidi told Vogue of the experience, adding that it was an “important lesson to go through at that age in making sure that my voice and my values are front and center in everything that I do.”

Shahidi is set to play Tinkerbell in Disney’s “Peter Pan and Wendy,” marking the first time a person of color has filled the role that has traditionally featured a white actress.

In her conversation with Vogue, the star admits that she’s excited about the prospect.

“I’m actually excited by the prospect of flying,” she said of the possibility that she would have to strap on a harness for the role.


Actress Yara Shahidi to produce new comedy series

Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram
Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram
Updated 50 min 7 sec ago

Actress Yara Shahidi to produce new comedy series

Shahidi is the youngest network producer ever. Instagram

DUBAI: Actress Yara Shahidi is set to produce a new single-camera comedy series “Smoakland” for Freeform via her production company 7th Sun. 

The “Grown-ish” star announced the exciting news via Instagram by posting a screenshot of a Deadline article about the series. 

“IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO … Proud #TEAM7THSUNMOMENT (sic)” she wrote to her 5.5 million followers. 

According to Deadline, Smoakland, which was written by Jewel Coronel and Zahir McGhee, “the show will explore love, family expectations, and other issues.”

Coronel, known for drama series "The Chi", will also pen the new project. 

The part-Middle Eastern star, and her mother Keri Shahidi, announced the launch of their new production company, 7th Sun, back in July and signed an exclusive overall deal with ABC Studios which will see them develop television projects for streaming, cable and broadcast.

The 20-year-old shared the exciting news via Instagram, writing, “The vision is set. The slate is built.” She added: “Grateful to my ABC family & excited to join the television landscape to collaborate and push forward the stories of our many intersections.”

In addition to her critically-acclaimed roles on “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” the young mogul’s other acting credits include shows like “The First Family” and “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia.” 

The US-Iranian star is also set to play Tinkerbell in Disney’s “Peter Pan and Wendy,” the studio’s latest live-action adaptation, joining a cast that includes Jude Law as Captain Hook, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and newcomer Ever Anderson, who will play Wendy.