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Yara Shahidi on Choosing Her Education Over Hollywood: ‘I’ll Figure it Out When I Get Back’

Even before she settled on Harvard as her school of choice, Yara Shahidi had been planning to defer her enrollment for at least a year. However, for anyone who thinks that she’s just going to keep putting her education on the backburner, they’ve got it all wrong. In an interview with Glamour, the actress says that she still has every intention of going. “It’s non-negotiable. If I don’t go soon, Kenya Barris will kick me off the show so that I will go! Everyone is as committed to my education as I am.”

Grown-ish is Freeform’s highest-rated comedy debut in six years and has already been renewed for a second season and while her character Zoey’s future might be a bit up in the air, Shahidi seems to know exactly the path she wants to take and why:

“I’m excited to go into social studies. Hollywood has proved that it changes so often, so I’d rather spend the time on something like social studies that has personally been a passion of mine for so long. Hollywood isn’t moving anywhere. I’ll figure it out when I get back. Quite honestly, people generally support me for being me. It’s not as though I’ve had to pretend like I’m socially curious or aware. At the same time, it does come with moments of, like, ‘Oh, Yara isn’t as woke as she seems to be,’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve never personally said that I am!’ I’ve never placed that on myself. It’s other people who have placed that on me. But I come from a family that’s interested in the world around us.”

Shahidi even went on to reveal her personal motto, another James Baldwin quote, from his debate with William F. Buckley at Cambridge in regards to the ‘American Dream’: “At the age of five, six, or seven, you realize the flag you pledged allegiance to, along with everybody else, did not pledge allegiance to you.” She said even though it can be read as being mildly depressing, it’s poignant, even now, because of how it speaks to the necessity of social activism, especially in terms of her generation.

Her interview in full can be read here.

How do you feel about Shahidi’s decision? Tell us how you feel in the comments below!

Grown-ish airs on Freeform on Wednesdays at 8PM.


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