Yara Shahidi is grateful for the opportunities that have come her way. The young star shares the blessings of starring in two hit series, Black-ish and Grown-ish, with PEOPLE exclusively.
“I feel like what Black-ish and Grown-ish have taught me is that my opinion matters,” she says. “It’s something that I already knew, and something that my parents always affirmed, but I guess it was a re-affirmation of sorts,” Shahidi adds.
“Being on a set in which they want to hear your voice, and they want to hear your input — you know, it’s very special for an actor — but particularly, a teenager. And a teenage girl. There’s statistics done on just how subdued our voices are because we aren’t really given a space or the support.”
Yara definitely has space to express herself. In fact, the Harvard-bound actress has experienced a bit of the college life before heading to university, thanks to Grown-ish.
“Of course, I think Grown-ish college is nice, and of course, it’s taught me a whole lot about college that I didn’t know before,” Yara shares. “But it is cool to live a very alternative experience, and not feel as though my own college experience is being taken away from me, or I’m living it. I get to live a new, authentic experience that’s going to be so different from what we do on set.”