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YARA SHAHIDI (Natasha Kingsley) is an actress, model, activist and breakout star of ABC's Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series "Black-ish." She stars as popular teen Zoey 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 for Outstanding Supporting Actress, a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakthrough Role and, most 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 contributions and humanitarianism. Shahidi is one of Hollywood's most heralded young talents as she continues 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 of acting.

Shahidi's extensive film credits include "Unthinkable," as the daughter of Samuel L. 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 politics, 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 Young Women's Leadership Schools in NYC-a digital meet-up for high school students to discuss societal issues, self-improvement and higher education. She served as a spokesperson for DoSomething.Org and 3M's STEM campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and tech resources, and she worked with the Obama White House around STEM initiatives.

Shahidi is an advocate for women's issues, including diversity in media and girls' 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 Awards, 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 studies sociology and African-American studies. A lover of Greek mythology, history and public service, she spends her free time reading classic novels, rock climbing and traveling with her family.


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