10 Times Yara Shahidi Talked About Her Iranian Heritage On Our Cover Shoot

BY Milli Midwood / Jun 12 2018 / 19:17 PM

“My Iranian relatives have reaffirmed the idea that the sky is the limit”

18-year old ‘Black-ish’ star Yara Shahidi, who fronts our June cover clad in a millennial pink Chanel number, talks proudly and openly of her multi-cultural heritage. Ahead, the Iranian-American actress’s most inspirational quotes from our exclusive interview…

“Being multicultural, you can’t help but be interested and connected to the world around you. My family is from all over the world, so how can you not care for people around the world too?”

“My Iranian relatives have reaffirmed the idea that the sky is the limit – but in fact, my cousin [the first Iranian-American astronaut and the first female private space explorer] proved that the sky isn’t even the limit because she went to space!”

"I was at the Met Gala recently and I saw a pomegranate and I proceeded to cut it open and serve pomegranate to people at my table. That’s pretty Iranian”

“Everyone in my community in Minnesota who spoke Farsi, I was related to, so when I moved to California I thought the same applied and thought I had so many aunts because I didn’t realise that other people knew Farsi outside of my family. But then I realised it didn’t matter – when you meet someone from Iran, or someone who has visited Iran, or who has ties to Iran, there’s a sense of belonging."

“I hit the cultural jackpot in terms of food, but what’s fascinating is that as different as both sides may seem, they’re really similar. How we operate, our moral code, who we are in general, being close to family, respect... It’s really universal in a way that blurs both sides.”

“I constantly put myself in a position to help other people understand my background. There’s a certain separatist movement happening versus understanding how connected we are. So much of what we believe stems from similar origins, so it means you can relate to one another if you really listen and pay attention.”

“Education is crucial because I understand the privilege I’ve had in how particular education has been to me. My realm of possibility seems so much larger.”

“Kebab, and faloodeh, the best dessert of all.”

"We have a long way to go in terms of diversity and seeing everyone represented. We’re getting there and we are seeing progress. It’s about globalism and expanding our view of what community is and realising how universal our experiences are and embracing those aspects of ourselves that help us realise how similar we are to people both in our city and an ocean away.”

“I have to say, I’ve been learning more and more about what the women in my family have accomplished and it’s extraordinary. Their dedication to people, to science, to community, to politics… But my mama, she’s my first role model. She’s really shown me how to be a woman of colour.”

From the June 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia