by: Tasha L. Jordan

Meet Yara Sayeh Shahidi. 

You’ve probably seen her as the oldest sister on Black-ish Zoey.  Yara was born right here in the Midwest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Not only is she an amazing actress but, Yara uses her platform to spread knowledge to others—especially young people!  She just goes to show you that you can be a #boss at any age!

Yara started her career when she was 8 and starred alongside Eddie Murphy in Imagine That for which she received a Young Artist Award nomination. In 2014, Shahidi began her career on Black-ish.  In 2018, Yara will begin her role of Zoey on FreeForm’s “College-ish” as we follow Zoey to college.


Some fun facts about Yara: 

1.      She has a fashion icon.  According to xoNecole, Yara’s fashion icon is Kerry Washington.  Shahidi played young Washington on Scandal. 

2.      Yara has a famous cousin.  Nas is Shahidi’s cousin on her mother’s side.  She was the flower girl at his wedding. 

3.      She is an advocate for diversity.  In 2016, Shahidi signed to be a model with New York’s Women Management modeling agency with the hope to promote seeing more women of color in diverse roles.

4.      She thinks her name translation is "pretty cool". Her full name is Yara Sayeh Shahidi.  She says: “My full name is Yara Sayeh Shahidi. I am half Iranian, and it’s an Iranian name. Yar—the root of it is Arabic and Farsi, and it means friend; Yara means someone close to your heart. Sayeh is shadow, and Shahidi means witness. So my name is Someone Close to your Heart Shadow Witness"

5.      Shahidi is serious about being represented right.  Yara has turned down various roles that didn’t “portray black people very well, teenagers very well, me very well.”

6.      She's not JUST an actress.  Not too long ago, Yara cooridinated with DoSomething.org and 3M (formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) to become the face of “Science Slueth”. 

7.     Shahidi values education.  Yara will be attending Harvard alongside Malia Obama in 2018.  Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote one of her recommendation letters.  


Yara is an inspiration to young people everywhere to always be true to herself and to always speak out.