#WCW: Yara Shahidi
a voice for activism
Actress Yara Shahidi is most recognized from her character, Zoey on ABC's show Black-ish and the spin-off Gown-ish, which follows Zoey as she embarks on her college life. Similarly, Yara herslef has recently been accepted into Harvard, where she plans on studying social studies and African studies. As if that's not an impressive enough feat, her recommendation letter came from none other than former First Lady, Michelle Obama. Next to acting, Yara has made a name for herself in fashion, from her collaboration work with Tory Burch and Chanel, and a campaign she stared in for Beyoncé's Ivy Park. At only 18, this seems like enough to have on one’s plate, but next to her obvious acting and fashion chops, Yara has used her platform as an activist, working with initiatives like her own, Yara's Club and Eighteen x '18, which works to get young people involved in voting.
At 18 years old, Yara has not only found a voice, but she has used that voice for the better good and to help her peers. Her experience as an Iranian African American has shaped her interest in the multicultural world, which she says helps her see how connected we are, compared to the differences we use to divide our selves from others. Hence, her ultimate goals have revolved around bridging intersectionality gaps. She wants to show people that we are more alike in our beliefs and that most of our ideals stem from similar origins. It's not just Yara's youth that makes her inspiring, but rather her confidence in where she stands and her optimism that we are becoming better.
Instead of falling trap to Hollywood, she has used her position to talk about race and women's rights, while being smart enough to realize that her story doesn't encompass entire groups of people. That we need to keep working towards inclusivity and getting a balance of representation when it comes to gender and race. When most teens and young adults tend be selfish during this point in their life (which to be fair, is somewhat necessary when learning about ourselves), Yara has dedicated a growing social media presence not just to selfies and fame, but to educating her followers about issues in our society. Her talent as a young and posed actress, as well her growing interest in fashion hails in comparison to the work she's doing for her generation and the ones to come.