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.


Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
Updated 17 January 2021

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
  • Egyptian archaeologist says discoveries will rewrite history of region

CAIRO: An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara area near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt has discovered dozens of archeological finds, including a Pharaonic funerary temple.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the discoveries —  made by the joint mission between the council and the Zahi Hawass Center of Egyptology — include wooden wells and coffins from the New Kingdom, dating back to 3000 B.C.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the council, said that the discoveries are located at the Saqqara necropolis, near the pyramid where King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, who ruled Egypt between 2323 and 2291 B.C., is buried.

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and head of the mission, said that these discoveries will rewrite the history of the region, especially during the 18th and 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which time King Teti was worshiped.

Hawass said that the mission found the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, part of which was uncovered in the years prior to the mission, as well as three mud-brick warehouses on the southeastern side, used to store offerings and tools that were involved in a revival of the queen’s creed.

The mission also discovered 52 wells, ranging in depths between 10 to 12 meters and containing more than 50 wooden coffins from the New Kingdom era. This is the first time that coffins dating back to 3000 B.C. have been found in the Saqqara area.

The surfaces of the coffins depict various scenes involving the gods who were worshipped during this period, in addition to texts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased pass on to the other world.

Inside the wells, the mission found numerous artifacts, such as statues of the deity Ptah, as well as a four-meter-long papyrus, representing chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead, with the name of its owner recorded on it. The same name was found on four statues.

Other finds included a set of wooden masks; games for the deceased to play in the other world, one of which is similar to chess; and statues and a shrine of Anubis, the god of death.

The mission also discovered a bronze ax, indicating that its owner was one of the leaders of the army in the New Kingdom era, and paintings inscribed with scenes of the deceased and his wife and hieroglyphic writings.

A large amount of pottery dating back to the New Kingdom was found, including pottery establishing trade relations between Egypt and Crete, as well as Syria and Palestine.

Hawass explained that this discovery confirms that the Saqqara antiquities area was not used for burial during the Late Period only, but also in the New Kingdom.

The mission studied the mummy of a woman who was found to be suffering from a disease known as Mediterranean fever or swine fever, which comes from direct contact with an animal and leads to a liver abscess.

Hawass asserted that the archeological discovery is one of the most significant ones of this year and will make Saqqara an important tourist and cultural destination. It will rewrite the history of Saqqara in the era of the New Kingdom and will confirm the importance of the worship of King Teti during the 19th Dynasty.