Mostly recognised as Zoey Johnson from intersectional socio-political TV sitcoms Black-ish and Grown-ish, our July/August cover star, Yara Shahidi, has forged a celebrity persona that is not too different from the character she portrays on TV.
At just 18 years old, she’s formed Yara’s Club, a partnership with The Young Women’s Leadership School. The club encourages discourse around social-justice issues amongst high-school students, guiding them on how to take action for the causes that matter to them. Yara has also worked on Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn education initiative – not to mention that the former First Lady wrote the letter of recommendation that accompanied Yara’s successful Harvard University application. So… not just a gorgeous face, right?
Of course not. It’s 2018 and we all know that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive traits. But how has this powerful combo of social currency catapulted Miss Shahidi to the status of leading celebrity activist of her generation? Seeing as Marie Claire‘s Power Issue is all about ‘career women, entrepreneurship, gender equality, activism and the collective power of women’, it’s rather apt that our cover girl be someone like Yara, who often uses her interviews as a platform not just to tell us who she is, but to be vocal about what is happening in the world around us. She may be young, but she’s definitely going to shape the future.
These are the three most impactful speeches and interviews she’s given:
On performing the trapeze act of fame and young womanhood
On the protests in Iran
‘It’s really about the people that are affected and the idea that they are in a very similar situation in which they were sold an economic plan that does not benefit them…. It is one of those things in which we have to look at the interconnectivity.’
On grasping the concept of being ‘born free’
Yara often uses Instagram to address political issues (with strikingly beautiful pics of herself in between):
“ We are members of an international community of people of Color, we must see our struggles as connected within that light” – Audre Lorde, Apartheid USA ————————- The inundation of human rights violations perpetrated by our government through the enforcement of policies okay- Ing the detaining and separation of children from their parents AND the gun violence and murder of my brothers and sisters at the hands of the police must not desensitize us, but motivate a global fight to disarm reconstruction era discrimination and demand the creation a whole new system all together
We must take action now ❗In the U.S. we have seen the detrimental/fragmented/insidious effects of slavery, even 152 years later. The fact that immigrants in Libya STILL endure being brutalized and dehumanized is terrifying and we must globally unite in stopping this atrocity. (Link in instastory and organizations to support tagged in picture)
This 18-year old does indeed stay true to her ‘remain dharma (purpose), driven and undefined’, life motto. To learn more about how our July/August cover star, Yara Shahidi, is making Hollywood great again, pick up a copy of the issue – on shelves now.