On the ABC show “black-ish,” Yara Shahidi stars as Zoey, a popular 15-year-old student who’s obsessed with social media. Shahidi, who’s also 15, could be mistaken for playing herself — but she’s quick to point out that art, in fact, doesn’t imitate life totally.
Whether Zoey, the character, is totally like Shahidi or not, though, the role has proved popular in real life, too. The actress received an NAACP Image Award nomination last year for her role in the show. It’s the kind of nod she takes to heart — she says her role in “black-ish” is both about representing a new America, and about finding the commonalities in everyone’s experience.
Shahidi herself, meanwhile, is not your typical teen. She’s taken history courses at Oxford University and items on her Christmas lists have included a typewriter, record player and vintage pocket watch. So, clearly, counting up all of this, she’s one of the coolest people we’ve ever met.
We caught up with Shahidi and talked about her interests, playing young Olivia Pope on the popular “Scandal,” and her time on “black-ish.” Check it out — and catch more of Shahidi in “black-ish” on ABC (one of Fusion’s parent companies), Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET.