Monday, September 8, 2014

Yara Shahidi - TV

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Yara Shahidi - TV

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
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Yara Shahidi
Adorable Teen Actress Making Her Mark!

Yara Shahidi
      There are many teens in the TV and Film business and for the most part they are pretty sharp because slouchy youngsters don’t have the metal to cut the riggers and demands of professional acting. Despite these children being as good as they come there are ranks and levels among them and every now and then you run across exceptional cases. Fourteen year-old actress Yara Shahidi easily fits into the class of exceptional amongst her peer group. The Minnesota native and now LA resident has been acting and modeling since age four. She maintains a 4.0 GPA in school, holds a black belt in Karate and recently completed a course of study over the summer at Oxford University in Oxford, England. Not many young actors can match those accomplishments. 

L-R: Yara Shahidi and Kerry Washington on the set of "Scandal"
Shahidi made her big screen debut opposite Eddie Murphy as his daughter Olivia in “Imagine That.” This was followed by roles in Tyler Perry’s “Alex Cross,” Samuel L. Jackson’s “Unthinkable,” Angelina Jolie’s “Salt” just to name some. Shahidi has major TV credits under her belt and a couple of full TV series as a regular such as “The First Family.” Shahidi really raised a few eyebrows when she played the young Olivia Pope on the #1 mega-hit TV show “Scandal.” What kind of feedback did that cause? Shadidi lights up, “The experience was that I got a positive response from people on set who were like oh my gosh you are the young Olivia Pope. And then my friends too, the media and my family, I really got a lot of positive feedback. A lot of my friends really supported me and said oh my goodness you’re going to be on “Scandal! “


Shahidi as Zoey on "Black-ish"
Shahidi is currently starring as Zoey Johnson the oldest sister from the well-to-do, affluent Johnson family in the new ABC-TV sitcom “Black-ish.” Anthony Anderson plays her dad Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross is mom Rainbow, Lawrence Fishburne is pops Dre’s dad and she has two brothers Andre, Jr. (Marcus Scribner), Jack (Miles Brown) and a sister Diane (Marsai Martin).The theme of the show is that the dad struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity in his children while rearing them in a predominately White, affluent, upper-middle-class neighborhood.
     When ever Anthony Anderson is around there is never a dull moment. How much fun and craziness is it on the set? Shahidi laughs, “It’s so much fun. Honestly, I don’t think we work. Most of the time it’s just us dancing and talking. We do rehearse and all but it’s just full of laughter and there’s so many out takes just because if we were doing anything we were laughing in the middle of it. There is so much improve it’s just an amazing set to be on.” Because the show does deal with cultural identity does that strike close to home in Shahidi’s real personal life being that her dad is Iranian and mom is an American Black? She explains, “When I think about the content of the show, it’s kind of true that any family can relate to no matter what ethnicity. There are shenanigans and all sorts of stuff that anyone can relate to. On a cultural level my parents have done an amazing job and I thank them for it keeping me connected to my roots being able to celebrate holidays. I’m interested in my Hindu culture, I have a Bible and a Quran so there has never really been a moment where I feel like I’ve kind of lost something. My parents have done a really good job.”

Cast of ABC-TV's "Black-ish." Front row L-R: Marsai Martin and Miles Brown. Back row L-R: Marcus Scribner, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Lawrence Fishburne and Yara Shahidi

What does Shahidi have to say to youth who come from racially mixed parents? She says, “It’s an honor to come from where you come from no matter what ethnicity your or where you parents grew up or whatever because every culture is so unique. I’m really proud to be half Iranian and half Black. It’s one of those things which allow me to live a crazy life and immerse myself in two cultures that otherwise I may not have had that experience. I love who I am and what I’m able to be.

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