Yara Shahidi is only 14, but she already has an impressive acting career brewing. From portraying young Olivia Pope on Scandal, to acting alongside Angelina Jolie in Salt, Yara proved at a young age she was ready for the big leagues. This fall she will be starring alongside Anthony Anderson, Tracee Lee Ellis and Laurence Fishburne in the new comedy, Black-ish.


The show follows the antics of Dre, who realizes his upper-class family may have lost its cultural roots and seeks to restore their “black-ness”. Yara, who will be playing Zoe, told Madame Noir that despite the show’s reference points of race and class, “it addresses a lot of problems and not just for the African American community, but for people of any ethnicity.”

As her career soars, Yara is dead-set on remaining in school and achieving academic excellence. Maintaining a 4.0 is important for this teen because she is very aware of her interests constantly changing and wants to make sure many opportunities are available to her in the future.

For instance, advertisement is an area Yara is passionate about. “One thing I’ve always been concerned about is the objectification of women in ads and that’s one thing where I was like, well, if I become a part of advertising, I could change that.” Another big interest of hers is history, so of course, she took some courses at Harvard this summer.

Having Nas as a cousin also doesn’t hurt as far as opportunities go. “I’ve been fortunate that he’s called me up and been like, ‘You want to go to Harvard?’ And I’m like, ‘sure!’”

Ultimately, Yara understands that education will be a key factor in pursuing her dreams, whatever they turn out to be, not discounting her love of acting. “I love acting but school for me, because I’m so interested is so many other areas, it would be a shame to not pursue school and miss out on the opportunities that I have now.”

This summer, Yara visited both Oxford and Harvard, schools which seem to be weighing heavy on her mind. “One thing that used to worry me is that the fact that it seemed like Harvard was this big scary thing where I would have to spend all my time studying just to get in. But getting to go to both campuses of Harvard and Oxford and getting to meet some of the professors was absolutely amazing.”

Whatever she decides to go after, it seems she will have no trouble attaining.

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