In a retro-wallpapered mansion in Beverly Hills,Yara Shahidi is teaching younger brothers Sayeed,14,and Ehsan,9,her basic style rules."I do a robot test," theBlack-ishstar says."If you can't do the robot in your dress,then it's either too tight,too short,or too long." Clearly she missed the memo that teen stars are supposed to be the worst-ish.At only 17,Yara's at the forefront of a new guard of intellectually minded,politically inclined,and socially aware actresses.When she's not advocating for girls' education with Michelle Obama,you'll find her lip-syncing to more than 600,000 followers on her sometimes playful,often thought-provoking Instagram feed,@yarashahidi."I am the result of love," she posted in February after President Trump's first executive order on immigration."If my Baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago,he would have never fallen in love with my mama."
"Baba" is Yara's father,Afshin Shahidi,who left Iran for the U.S.when he was eight years old.In 1992,while working in Minneapolis as a director of photography,he spotted grad student Keri Salter at a local lounge."She ended up stalking me," Afshin,now 47,jokes.His wife confirms: "Did he tell you I stalked him?Because I stalked him." Following a move to Los Angeles in 2004,每个家庭成员发现了一个在娱乐圈:克里,47,an actress,has appeared in commercials with her kids;Afshin,who was Prince's personal photographer,has a book of images coming out in the fall;Ehsan played O.J.Simpson's son Justin inThe People v.O.J.Simpson: American Crime Story;and Sayeed has guest-starred onBlack-ish.Yes,the Shahidis often work together."We're so involved in one another's lives," says Keri,who documents their life @chocolatemommyluv."It may look like helicopter parenting,but in black culture and Iranian culture,that interconnectedness is deeply important."
It's also a huge factor in the way the family communicates through clothing.Keri,a former athlete who grew up wearing "all-black sweats and earrings" and considers her look "more Stella McCartney than Louboutin," often finds herself remixing her daughter's wardrobe."Yara has a similar aesthetic," she says."I think she got it from me,but she rocks it so good that I borrow from her.We've walked downstairs in the same pants before."
No upbringing could have better prepared Yara to play Zoey Johnson,the clothes-loving,tech-savvy daughter of a black father (Anthony Anderson) and biracial mother (Tracee Ellis Ross)."I'm lucky to have landedBlack-ish," she says,"because I'm quite literally blackish." Next up: a reported Zoey spin-off.Yara,who is debating new frontiers herself—equipped with a letter of recommendation from Michelle Obama,no less—is prepared."Now that I'm getting ready to go to college,the questions are: What do you want to be?Who do you want to become?" she says."My parents taught me that it's not a monolithic answer.You can be anything."