Yara Shahidi On the new ABC show, Black-ish
You might have seen her playing a young Olivia Pope on the ABC hit show, Scandal, or playing Maddie on The Fosters, and this fall you can see Yara playing Zoey in the new ABC show, Black-ish. Zoey recently sat down with Glitter Magazine to talk about the show, how she got started in acting, who her favorite musicians are right now, and her favorite book of all time. Hint, it’s a tie between a classic and one that is sure to be a classic as well.
GLITTER: Tell us about your new show, Black-ish. What character do you play?
YARA: It’s interesting how people have such strong reactions to the title, but Black-ish, to me, really represents a family that has a connection to their culture, community, and environment, and how they balance those things. My character, Zoey, is in high school. I’m really into my friends, fashion and my phone, but when I get home, my grandfather, Laurence Fishburne, is usually there. It’s like having three parents! So just like in many families, what pops says, goes- like in many cultures and communities, the elders rule! Our show really explores family dynamics and how we all stay connected, even though we have different life experiences.
GLITTER: You’ve appeared in many commercials and ad campaigns from a young age. How did it all start?
YARA: My mom is a commercial actress, so I began working with her when I was an infant.
GLITTER: What’s your favorite part about acting?
YARA: My favorite part would have to be that every single character allows me to experience a different aspect of myself. For example, my character, Zoey, in my new show Black-ish, is truly the polar opposite of who I am in my everyday life. So to create her, I tapped into the teenage girl in me and what I see around me (My mom calls me an old lady because I’m SO NOT attached to my phone or Facebook. LOL!) .
GLITTER: What’s been one of your favorite roles to play so far?
YARA: For sure Zoey! Her fashion rocks AND I have enjoyed the challenge of making her a more complex character, instead of just what most might think of as a one dimensional, popular girl. And also young Olivia Pope. I really got to bring MYSELF to the character and it was a perfect fit.
GLITTER: Do you get nervous being in front of a camera?
YARA: No I don’t get nervous because whenever I am on set, I try to make it a personal and real experience between myself and the other(s) in the scene. Really, I forget that the camera is even there!
GLITTER: How do you prepare yourself before filming?
YARA: To prepare myself, I read the script to find out what’s going on in general and how my character is affected by the situation. Then, I really sit with it for a while to figure out my perspective.
GLITTER: During your free time, you love to cook with your dad. Do you have a favorite dish?
YARA: I also love watching TED talks! My Baba has handed over some of the chef duties to me, so making fresh salsa with our garden tomatoes, guacamole and even a mega veggie stir fry, while watching a TED talk is ideal!
GLITTER: What are you most looking forward to this fall season?
YARA: Planning my next adventure overseas! Oh, and fabulous pair of boots!
GLITTER: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
YARA: NAS, Nina Simone, Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse, my uncle Olu Dara…. the list goes on!
GLITTER: Are there any other projects fans should look out for?
YARA: Shh……it’s a secret! LOL.
GLITTER: Favorite Book?
YARA: It’s a tie! Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
GLITTER: Last Movie You Saw?
YARA: Shawshank Redemption. “Get busy living, or get busy dying!” Love that!
GLITTER: Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt?
YARA: Ice cream all the way. In fact, salted caramel and cookies and cream are the perfect combo!