Celebrity Highlight: Yara Shahidi

For a young hair icon and TV star, Yara Shahidi is a true phenomenon who is beautifully coming into her own as a young lady of 21-years-old! We’re excited to announce that she’s our first celebrity highlight of the month.

You can easily forget that this Black-ish star (Zoey Johnson) is just 21-years-old. She began her television career appearing in commercials as a baby. She then went on to star on an ABC hit show that further brought her into the limelight. 

Striking A Balance Between Stardom and Education

Among Yara’s many strengths is her commitment to making the best of the platform she has. With her platform, Yara strives to confront Hollywood’s discrimination against those of color, especially women.

Yara demonstrates how, even at a young age, one motivated person can accomplish so much. She keeps a full schedule and takes on concerns that are clearly beyond her age. She has the personality of an experienced woman. And, she is as committed to her activism as she is to her education. 

Yara stands out from many other child stars. They often prefer to deliver speeches at events as a guest speaker or star in movies, and their education sometimes takes a back seat. However, Yara Shahidi embraces her education as deeply as she embraces her passion.

Our celebrity highlight of the month is an ardent lover of books, and this commitment reflects her academic interests. Her education is her priority, and she has not kept that fact in the dark. Yara loves acting, and she sees this passion as an extension of her love of people and of learning in general

Yara’s T.V Lifestyle and Journey

Yara has always been on T.V. She appeared in her first print ad as a 6-week-old baby girl. It was an ad for an insurance company. 

Yara’s early entrance onto the public stage is a good explanation for her acting prowess. Considering how well she executed her role in Black-ish, her early involvement in the media industry certainly paid off.

In her own words, she says, “When Black-ish came along, I loved the satirical script and the pilot, but I didn’t even realize the commitment of a series regular until we started. And now that I’m consistently working on a comedy and living vicariously through my character, I’m already thinking about other characters that I want to play.” Clearly, Yara Shahidi is a lover of versatility.

If Yara ever features in a Nancy Drew reboot, it would be no surprise. She is a huge fan of detective shows, so it seems like only a matter of time before she gets personally involved

Life as A Biracial Actress

Even with all the attention and stardom she enjoys, Yara still faces battles of her own. Her identity as a biracial actress comes with its own challenges, and she’s keenly aware of these

She explained these challenges in an interview, saying: “There are so many roles where you have to fight to even be seen. And it’s insane that you have to say, ‘Hey, people care enough about me to go see a movie starring me. People care enough to see me on the cover of a magazine.’ But you’re not doing me a favor by checking off some diversity box when you cast one person. It’s about honestly saying, ‘We’re going to look at everyone as equals and understand the inherent disadvantages that minorities have because we didn’t all start on the same playing field.’

Yara Shahidi wears her race proudly, and she embraces her role as the poster girl in the fight against color and racial prejudice. 

Realizing the significance of her role in young women’s lives,  Yara plays a key role in the new crop of shows on ABC,  like Fresh Off The Boat and Black-ish. These shows champion the fight against cultural issues very subtly. Fresh Off The Boat, for instance, stars Constance Wu, as another step towards diversity on television. 

Yara explains that as an Iranian and African-American woman, “My race is a huge part in forming who I am, and it gave me this rich heritage that I am grateful for, but there needs to be an understanding that you cannot put me in certain boxes, or tell me what I can and cannot do — or what my peers can and cannot do — based on these pieces of identity.”

Yara Shahidi: The Hair and The Message

A centerpiece of Yara’s image is her hair, and her hairstyle expresses her personal message. African-Americans often face a momentous choice between following Hollywood beauty ideals and reflecting the image of everyday black people.

Yara has faced this choice herself. She discloses in an interview with Glamour how she’s struggled with internal conflict. According to her, “I still have moments once in a while where I feel the need to conform, but that’s also not really my—those are not my original ideas like I don’t really feel that inside. It’s just when you look around and you see people with straight hair in media, you kind of feel the need to fit in, so it’s kind of a constant battle loving my hair. It’s something that I’m continuously working on.”

Yara understands how complicated this issue is. For her, however, her black natural hair is the best choice. And, she has always worn it!

She explains how her hair journey began: “The first time I straightened my hair I was 11, and it was only because I was getting a haircut. And I thought, Oh, I like this! I’ll keep it this way, and I did until I washed my hair. I know how culturally significant hair is because curls are representative of my people, but I’m also a teenager who wants to experiment with hair and see what it looks like differently without being viewed as a sellout.”

True to her words, she has accomplished so much with her hair, both on and off T.V.

Tinisha Meeks: The Stylist Behind The Glam!

Many glamorous hairstyles you see on today’s celebrities are by Tinisha Meeks. The hairstylist, who owns a salon in California, has worked as a stylist on major shows like K.C. Undercover, Black-ish, Scandal, and America’s Next Top Model. 

The most recent of all is her “hair-scapades” with Yara Shahidi. These two took an amazing combination from the Black-ish family to the Grown-ish campus. And one thing has remained constant: the sight of really, really, wonderful hairstyles.

For example, on Black-ish, Zoey was that ever-cool member of her household. Tinisha Meeks also reflected this sophistication on Grown-ish. According to her, “I tried to go according to character, so, for Yara, she’s very trendy and is supposed to be really fashion-forward, so I tried to keep her looks more innovative.” 

Meeks reveals Shahidi’s love of natural hairstyles, demonstrating this preference throughout the show. She wants to teach every black woman how to wear her glam always, without having to constantly redo her natural hair.  

Meek explains that “The show really teaches what young adult life is like in college, and they don’t just go ahead and lay down, because they have to pay for the hair, or they took a long time to do the hair and they don’t have the time to redo it every morning. So we show it being tied down because that’s what really happens.”

Meeks takes her inspiration from various sources.

  • Hair shows
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Fashion shows

Any other place where people flaunt their hairstyles 

It’s important to note that every style Yara has is a product of a team effort. Yara chooses specific styles for every scene. Tinisha then has to follow the direction and seek the consent of Kenya Barris, the show creator. 

In addition to hairstyles, the clothes worn are part of the team effort. Meeks consults with other units. “Sometimes I consult with fashion because we want them to coincide—hair, makeup, fashion—so we all collaborate to make sure that everything looks great on-screen,” she says.

An Inspiration To Every Natural Hair Lover

Getting the best out of your natural hair can be difficult. Even when you can make it a priority, it can still be difficult. How much more when you do not have all the time in the world? 

Yara Shahidi and every other person involved in her hair glam understand this struggle. Meeks reveals that to keep things manageable, she has never created a style that will take more than 45 minutes to reproduce. 

For her, the two braided look with one down the middle is the simplest she has created. That was the hairstyle Yara wore in episode six. Meeks further advises natural hair lovers to always keep their curly hair moisturized and conditioned. She also recommends tieing it up when you go to bed. 

Following her tips can reduce the amount of breakage you deal with snd you will love how great your natural hair will look!


Above all, the hairstyles Yara wore over time offer much-appreciated natural hair inspiration to college students and to all women. 

With more to come from her, we expect to see a lot of screenshot-worthy hairstyles. Ensure you take these styles to your stylist if you want to wear your natural hair as sleek as Yara does!

Check out some of Yara’s best hairstyles so far below. We hope they will be enough inspiration to get you started.

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