|Born||February 10, 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Net Worth||$5 million|
Yara Shahidi is an actress, model and star of Black-ish/Grown-ish, Imagine That and The Sun Is Also a Star. She has quickly become one of the most popular young talents in Hollywood known for her sharp comedic skills and ability to play diverse roles.
Early Life and Background
Yara Sayeh Shahidi was born on February 10, 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her father Afshin is an Iranian immigrant who met her African-American mother Keri while in college. Yara also has a younger brother named Sayeed who she remains very close with.
The family moved to California when Yara was very young to pursue her interests in acting and modeling. Even as a toddler, she displayed a natural joy of performing and a maturity beyond her years. Her parents were always supportive of her dreams and made sure to keep her grounded.
Rise to Fame on Black-ish
In 2014, 14-year-old Yara got the opportunity of a lifetime when she was cast as Zoey Johnson on the new ABC comedy Black-ish. She beat out thousands of other teenage actresses for the role of the privileged, popular oldest daughter in the Johnson family.
Yara quickly became the standout star of the show with her sharp comedic timing, expressive reactions and relatable teenager persona. She earned praise for bringing the character of Zoey to life in a nuanced, three-dimensional way.
Over the next four seasons, Black-ish grew into a mainstream hit and Yara received multiple awards and nominations for her performance, including two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Given Yara‘s breakout popularity on Black-ish, the network decided to launch a spinoff series in 2018 focused entirely around her Zoey Johnson character. Grown-ish follows Zoey navigating college life along with a group of friends with diverse backgrounds.
As the lead actor, Yara showed new depths as she portrayed Zoey‘s journey into adulthood dealing with issues like relationships, prejudice, and finding her voice. Grown-ish became another big hit for the network and further cemented Yara as a talented comedic and dramatic actress.
Other Notable Acting Projects
In addition to her hit shows, Yara has taken on other interesting acting projects over the years:
- Imagine That (2009) – One of her first films starring opposite Eddie Murphy
- Butterfly (2012) – Played a young orphan in this inspiring boxing drama
- Alex Cross (2012) – Appeared as Young Janelle in this crime thriller led by Tyler Perry
- The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) – Lead romantic drama film where she received strong reviews
She has also guest starred on TV shows like Entourage, The Fosters and Insecure.
Fashion Modeling and Activism
Along with acting, Yara has modeled for major fashion brands like Chanel, Prada and Miu Miu. She is a frequent face at Fashion Week and on the covers of magazines like Teen Vogue, Nylon and Seventeen.
She cares deeply about social change and has used her fame as a platform. Yara advocates for immigration reform, education access, voting rights and diversity in entertainment.
The Yara Shahidi Scholarship Fund provides financial support to disadvantaged high school students to help make their dreams of higher education a reality. She also mentors and gives inspirational talks to young people.
Despite being in the spotlight from a very young age, Yara has remained remarkably down-to-earth and centered. She credits her close-knit family for keeping her grounded.
Yara is an avid reader who loves books by Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler and Grace Lee Boggs. She enjoys listening to neo-soul and jazz music too.
She stays fit through dance, yoga and boxing workouts. Yara also speaks fluent Farsi thanks to her Iranian dad making sure she learned the language growing up.
Why We Love Yara Shahidi
There are so many reasons to admire the amazing Yara Shahidi:
From comedy to drama, Yara showcases impressive range. Her expressive acting makes her characters feel real.
Role Model for Youth
Yara empowers young people to dream big. She balances her career with activism and philanthropy.
Advocate for Change
She tirelessly fights for immigrant rights, education access, voting and more. Yara is an inspiration.
Yara walks the runways of the world‘s top designers. She uses fashion as creative expression.
Devoted to Her Family
She remains close to her parents and brother. Family keeps her humble despite her fame.
7 Fun Facts About Yara Shahidi
- Yara graduated high school at only 17 years old. She was accepted to Harvard University.
- She is trilingual – speaking English, Farsi and conversational Spanish.
- Yaraplayed the young version of Angelina Jolie‘s character in the film Salt.
- Her favorite subjects in school were history and literature.
- Yara is a talented singer and dancer though hasn‘t shown those skills on screen much yet.
- She considers James Baldwin one of her biggest literary and activism inspirations.
- Yara is close friends with young stars like Marsai Martin, Rowan Blanchard and Amandla Stenberg.
The Future is Bright
At just 23, Yara Shahidi has already accomplished incredible career success that takes others decades to achieve. And yet, she is still just getting started.
As she continues growing as an actress, role model and changemaker, there is no limit to the impact Yara can make. She has the talent, drive and compassion to be a once-in-a-generation superstar. I can‘t wait to see the amazing places Yara‘s journey takes her next!