18 Yara Shahidi Quotes to Uplift and Empower You to Become a Better Person

Yara Shahidi is so much more than an actress. At just 20 years old, she has quickly become a voice for young people, thanks to her outspokenness about social issues and her ongoing activism. Whether she's using her Eighteen x 18 campaign to encourage teenagers to stay politically active or spreading awareness about human rights, Yara continues to inspire hearts and minds everywhere just by being herself. Luckily for us, she's dropped a few gems of advice over the years that, honestly, we all could use in our lives. So if you're ready to feel empowered, keep reading for some of Yara's most inspiring quotes.

On Being True to Herself
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On Being True to Herself

  • "My mama is African-American and from Wisconsin. My baba was born in Iran. My parents have stressed the idea of creating your own path, and creating your own identity is part of that. That's why embracing these two cultures is important to me. When you're biracial, you can feel like you're fully neither, not fully both, but I won't strip away my heritage for anyone's comfort."
  • "Never jeopardize who you are for a role. Now, I'm not saying you should never change for a role because the fun of being different characters is adapting different nuances and different parts of the character, but never jeopardize your moral compass or anything like that to have a role."
  • "I've gotten to live the past couple of years publicly and so authentically myself. It's exciting to see that I can be who I am and people will still gravitate towards that. I go into this world of public living, not hoping for fame or celebrity, but to make some sort of impact."
  • "I'm louder and bigger with my curls. There's power in that. Also, straight hair is kind of annoying. It gets caught in my collar."
On the Importance of Self-Care
Getty | Christopher Polk

On the Importance of Self-Care

  • "With travel + work + 24/7 in makeup I have to actively remind myself to not sweat the details (aka the blemishes) and reframe it as a reminder to make sure I'm taking care of myself."
  • "There's a misconception that happiness is consistent and that there's one form of it, in which case I found myself feeling as though I couldn't be happy because I didn't achieve that one definition that I had of it. Sometimes my happiness stems from just pure joy and music and being with family, and some of it — it may sound really twisted — but really accepting every other emotion."
  • "I always try to analyze why I'm not feeling very confident. Is it something external? Like, 'Oh, something happened today and now I don't feel like I'm on my game.' Is it something internal I have to work on? And then just going from there because it really does stem from self-care, and also understanding that it's a part of the natural process."
  • "I realized at times I'll be mad at myself for feeling angry, or I'll get sad because I am sad. But I'll be angry at myself for feeling these other emotions. A lot of [my self-care] is through reading because through learning about other people's' stories, I realize this is just a natural human process. And rather than saying that it is blocking me from growing, I allow it to kind of just help with my growth."
On Her Activism
Getty | Emma McIntyre

On Her Activism

  • "I realized I could not only be a leader in conversation, but I could be one of the voices representing things that are near and dear to my heart."
  • "I don't think I'd be doing the work I'm doing if I wasn't constantly inspired by the other young people doing this work, by the other young people doing work I didn't even realize had to be done. I feel like we constantly educate one another. Because we inherited a world in crisis, we enter this world inspired to make change."
  • "My trouble with defining activism is that it tells you what it's not and activism is everything. For me, it comes through art: being intentional with the roles I choose, backing projects that are socially aware, or trying to push forward a progressive conversation, and public speaking is another method."
  • "I try to preface everything with 'this isn't new' because most social movements have happened before and I get that. Nothing I'm doing is new."
  • "So much of my work is as Yara, not as a character. If you're attacking my work as a philanthropist or activist, you're attacking Yara. But because of Black-ish and this national audience we have, I get to have a larger or louder voice."
Getty | Emma McIntyre

  • "I feel comfortable putting my political stances out there without feeling as though I am filling some sort of quota. I don't have a wokeness quota for the day."
  • "The more you learn about someone, how could you not want to protect them and their rights? The more you learn about a culture or a certain identity, it's hard to not feel empathy."
  • "There's a lack of humanity that goes behind policy change — policies that make being a woman a pre-existing condition — and it's because they aren't thinking about who that affects, they're thinking theoretically and tax break and money. And money isn't human, we are human. The goal of my activism is to bring humanity back into humanity."
  • "One thing I've always been concerned about is the objectification of women in ads, and that's one thing where I was like, 'Well, if I become a part of advertising, I could change that.'"
  • "What modeling taught me at a young age was how to say 'no,' which is something girls — we're not always good at saying 'no.' We want to be nice, and then we forget to look out for ourselves."