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Yara Sayeh Shahidi (Persian: یارا سایه شهیدی‎‎, Persian pronunciation: [jɑːɾɑː sɑːje ʃæhiːdiː]) (born February 10, 2000) is an Iranian-American actress and model, best known for playing Zoey Johnson on Black-ish and its spin-off Grown-ish.

Biography

Retrieved from abc.com
Yara Shahidi is an actress, model, activist and breakout star of ABC's Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated comedy series Black-ish. She stars as ambitious, technologically infatuated Zoey Johnson, a role for which she has been awarded an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress and a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakthrough Role. In 2017, Freeform announced the Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish, which also stars Shahidi and explores Zoey’s transition into adulthood.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shahidi's first major film came when she was offered the opportunity to audition for the role of Olivia Danielson in the Paramount film Imagine That, opposite Eddie Murphy. She quickly took to the role of the creative and happy-go-lucky daughter to Murphy, bolstering her love of acting. She went on to appear in television series such as ABC's In the Motherhood with Cheryl Hines and Megan Mullally, CBS' Cold Case, Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place, FOX's Lie to Me and The Finder, to name a few. Shahidi also guest-starred on hit series Scandal as the young Olivia Pope and as Maddie on Freeform's The Fosters. Her extensive film roles include Sony Pictures' Unthinkable, as the daughter of Samuel L. Jackson; Columbia Pictures' Salt, opposite Angelina Jolie; Summit Entertainment's Alex Cross, as the daughter of Tyler Perry; and the Weinstein Company film Butter, where she starred opposite Jennifer Garner.

As a young scholar, Shahidi has combined her love for education and empowerment through the formation of "Yara's Club", a partnership with The Young Women's Leadership Schools (TYWLS) in New York. "Yara's Club" is a bimonthly digital meet-up comprised of high school students that discuss societal issues, self-improvement and higher education. A STEM advocate and technology enthusiast, Shahidi served as a spokesperson for DoSomething.Org and 3M's STEM campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and technology resources in St. Louis and Minnesota. Her love for STEM also led her to the Obama White House to participate in STEM initiatives, including the White House Science Fair where she co-hosted several integrations throughout the event. In addition to academics and service, she has been an advocate for women's issues, diversity in media, girls' education and, most recently, worked with the United Nations Girl Up initiative.

Shahidi has been spotlighted in The New York Times, Variety's Youth Impact and Next Big Thing issues, and was named No. 3 on the Celebs to Watch for DoSomething.Org's 2016 Celebs Gone Good. Highlighted on TIME Magazine's annual 30 Most Influential Teens list on behalf of her television contributions and humanitarianism, the standout teen was also awarded the Daily Point of Light Award from the Points of Light organization in Detroit, honored at Essence Magazine's 10th anniversary Black Women in Hollywood Awards and honored with the BET's Young Star Award at the 2017 BET Awards.

Shahidi graduated with honors from The Dwight School in New York and was accepted to Harvard University where she plans to double major in 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. Shahidi resides in Los Angeles with her parents and two young brothers.

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