THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR
YARA SHAHIDI (Natasha Kingsley) is an actress, model, activist and breakout star
Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series "Black-ish." She stars as popular
Johnson, an ambitious, technologically infatuated high school student. Shahidi
currently stars on
the "Black-ish" spin-off "Grown-ish," which explores Zoey's transition into
adulthood as well as
issues facing both students and administrators in the world of higher education.
Since "Black-ish" launched in 2014, Shahidi has been awarded a NAACP Image Award
Outstanding Supporting Actress, a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakthrough Role
recently, highlighted on TIME Magazine's annual 30 Most Influential Teens list,
as well as Forbes
30 Under 30 in 2017 and 2018, respectively on behalf of her television
humanitarianism. Shahidi is one of Hollywood's most heralded young talents as
to use her platform to empower and inspire others.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shahidi received her start alongside her mother,
appearing in several international commercial and print campaigns. Her first
major film came
when she was offered the opportunity to audition for the role of Olivia
Danielson in the film
"Imagine That," opposite Eddie Murphy. She quickly took to the role of the
creative and happy-go-lucky daughter to Murphy's character, bolstering her love
Shahidi's extensive film credits include "Unthinkable," as the daughter of
Jackson's character; "Salt," opposite Angelina Jolie; "Alex Cross," as the
daughter of Tyler Perry's
title character; and the "Butter," where she starred opposite Jennifer Garner.
Off-screen, Shahidi continues to use her platform to inspire others. Engaged in
she launched Eighteen X 18 last year to educate and motivate first-time voters
to turn out for the
2018 mid-term elections. She also created Yara's Club in partnership with The
Leadership Schools in NYC-a digital meet-up for high school students to discuss
self-improvement and higher education. She served as a spokesperson for
3M's STEM campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and
and she worked with the Obama White House around STEM initiatives.
Shahidi is an advocate for women's issues, including diversity in media and
education, has worked with the United Nations Girl Up initiative, and was
spotlighted in the New
York Times Variety's Youth Impact and Next Big Thing issues. The young star was
profiled in The
Hollywood Reporter's Young Hollywood issue last fall, in which she was
identified as one of the
new Hollywood guard. She was awarded the Daily Point of Light Award from the
Points of Light
organization and was honored at Essence Magazine's 10th Black Women in Hollywood
and received the BET's Young Star Award in 2017 in 2018.
Shahidi graduated with honors from The Dwight School in New York and currently
sociology and African-American studies. A lover of Greek mythology, history and
she spends her free time reading classic novels, rock climbing and traveling
with her family.
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