April 18, 2019 WMN role models: Yara Shahidi WMN role models: Yara Shahidi

WMN role models: Yara Shahidi

A great young activist

By Claudia Matrisciano

Posted in

Perhaps to many this name will say nothing, yet, Yara Shahidi is one of the millenials to watch over the next few years.

Young, beautiful, intelligent, fashionable, she has all the credentials to break into the world and, not only that of Hollywood, where she is now one of the undisputed queens.

But who is Yara Shahidi?

Yara Shahidi was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 10 February 2000, in a particularly creative African-American and Iranian family. The mother was an advertising actress and her father works in the world of cinema. Certainly that of becoming an actress was not really a dream for Yara, but a real destiny.


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Her ascent in the world of Hollywood was almost fast: at the age of 9 he made her big screen debut alongside Eddie Murphy in the film “Imagine that” and shortly after, at the age of 14, until today, she joined the cast of one of the most followed ABC sit-coms in the last period, “Blackish”.

The series deals with the vicissitudes of an Afro-American family of our day: over the seasons, contemporary social issues are dealt with, very close to us and, moreover, ironic about the clichés of traditional African-American families.

In the series Yara plays Zoey, one of the three daughters of the protagonist couple. Zoey is a millenial, just like Yara is in real life, almost at the end of her high school and ready to enter the adult world, starting to attend university.

Just his university path is narrated in the spin-off of the series, currently aired, entitled “Grown-ish” and which sees it as the protagonist.


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Thanks to her interpretation, Yara has taken the strong character and ideals of her character out of television screens.

At the age of 16, in fact, she was cleverly able to exploit her notoriety, starting to talk about thorny issues for American society. The Gun Control, the right and the importance of voting, women’s empowerment and economic inequalities in the world of Hollywood. He began to fight for the voice, needs and rights of so many American boys and girls to be heard.

Yara did not simply write a Tweet or post photos on Instagram in order to underline whether or not she adhered to certain campaigns, but she herself decided to do something concrete. For this reason, today at the age of only 19, she has been called a philanthropist and has entered, by right, the ranking of Forbes of the 30 most influential Under 30s in the world.


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Today she is the head of the two foundations she created: “Eighteen x 18”, in which she is championing the importance of voting in society, looking, above all, at the world of millennials. She was particularly exposed to the last elections, against what at the time would have been the future Trump presidency, and still today she is an active militant of the “I vote” movement.

The second foundation is called “Yara’s Club” and is a program mainly aimed at promoting the importance of education, especially for those social groups that do not have the possibility to send their children to prestigious colleges.

And speaking of education, Yara also managed to enter, and is still attending, Harvard University, where she is studying sociology and studies on African-American culture.

Ah, I forgot to tell you a very small, tiny detail: her letter of recommendation was written by the former First Lady Michelle Obama who had the pleasure of meeting the young Yara during her “Let’s Girl Learn” initiative, or let it girls learn.


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Well, surely Yara has learned from one of the best!

Looking at his Instagram profile, reading and listening to his interviews or his speech at the “TedxTeen”, I noticed that Yara is perfectly aware of being an important piece in society, but he is also aware of his young age. She is perfectly aware that what he says and does is monitored by millions of girls and boys and that, therefore, she has a certain weight. She is perfectly aware of his role and what she has built.

Perhaps he seems all too aware of where he came from and what she is building and building.

I admit that when I discovered her age I was quite appalled. In a short time this girl has managed to stir the thoughts of millions of kids and get them closer to issues that are often pretended to talk or at least, topics for which we think that only a post on Instagram or Twitter can really count.

She is fighting for the right to education, for the importance of our electoral vote, for poverty and for a more just world for all women, of any color, nationality and gender identity.


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Yara has had the opportunity through her work and also her charisma and family background, to be able to meet socially active characters, like Michelle Obama or Oprah, and use her acquired popularity to give her thoughts to society.

In a few years this girl has found her voice and is helping, concretely, whoever a voice has never had or is looking for.

She is almost the emblem of the perfect girl and therefore who more than her can be defined a role model?


Click here to discover the last WMN role models episode.




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