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Yara Shahidi

Actress & Activist

The actress and long-time activist stands up for social justice and is a US ambassador for Chanel and Tory Burch.


A breakout TV star and social activist, Yara Shahidi has become an unofficial spokeswoman for the younger generation eager to get involved in politics and social justice. Earlier in 2018, Shahidi appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and is a brand ambassador for Chanel.

The daughter of an African-American mother and Iranian father, Shahidi started her career shooting in commercials for the likes of McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren , Disney and Target. Aged 14, she starred in ABC’s prime-time comedy “Black-ish,” which earned her the Young Stars Award at the 2017 BET Awards in Los Angeles. A year later, Shahidi appeared in the college-set "Black-ish" spin-off "Grown-ish."

Her theatrical debut came in 2009, as she starred in Paramount Picture’s “Imagine That” alongside Eddie Murphy, a role that garnered her a Young Artist Award nomination for the best performance in a feature film category.  

From her first starring role in the adaptation of the novel, “The Sun Is Also a Star”, the young actress has amassed a large social platform and uses her presence in both the fashion and film industry to advocate for social change. 

Among her generation Shahidi is known as an activist for feminism and STEM awareness, passions that spawned early and may be partly hark back to her paternal grandfather who spent time with the Black Panthers in their heyday. Shahidi’s father is a cinematographer and photographer, who had a stint as Prince’s personal photographer. Inn high-school she started Yara’s Club, a partnership with the Young Women’s Leadership Network, which provides online mentorship with the goal of ending poverty through education. For her birthday iIn 2018, the activist launched Eighteen x 18, a national initiative that encourages civic engagement and voting from young people. In 2018, Shahidi enrolled in Harvard intending to double major in sociology and African-American studies. She was supported by a recommendation by former first lady, Michelle Obama, commending Shahidi on her efforts to effect social change.

In 2016 Shahidi signed with Women Management, a New York-based agency, and she has since become known as a Gen-Z style icon for her red-carpet choices, styled by Jason Bolden , and her wardrobe as Zoey Johnson in “Black-ish,” working with costume designer Michelle Cole. Shahadi has also graced the covers of multiple notable titles, including Harper’s Bazaar Araba, Porter Magazine, Elle UK and became a US Ambassador for Chanel. She has also graced the cover of the Summer 2019 issue of Porter and has modelled for Beyoncé’s Ivy Park. The rising star is set to star in Stan Lee’s Audible drama “A Trick of Light”, as one of the platform’s exclusive audio tales. 

In 2017 she interviewed Hillary Clinton for Teen Vogue.. Her socially transformative work also extends to close ties with the NGOs such as Girls for Gender Equity and the Third Wave Fund.

Vital Statistics

10 February 2000

United States

United States
Member since

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The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.