WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama (L) and actress and activist Yara Shahidi participate in panel discussion at Glamour Hosts 'A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education' with First Lady Michelle Obama at The Newseum on October 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Honoree Yara Shahidi at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)
“Black-ish” star and social activist Yara Shahidi, 17, is currently undergoing the process of applying to colleges. Last fall, she told People magazine that she was applying to universities along the East and West coasts, including Harvard University — Obama’s alma mater. It is also where Malia Obama will attend when she finishes her gap year this fall. Vanity Fair reported Sunday that Shahidi has applied to four universities, including the Ivy League school.
Shahidi has a leg up on the competition thanks to the former first lady agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for the young star, who plans to double-major in African-American studies and sociology, W magazine reported.
The actress first met Obama when they shared the stage at Glamour’s “International Day of the Girl” event in October. Since then, Shahidi has met with Obama several times. She said Obama has been a source of encouragement.
“She is very amazing and such a supporter, which is something very surreal to say,” Shahidi said of the former first lady in the interview with W magazine.
Like Malia Obama, Shahidi plans to take a gap year, a choice that many criticized the former first daughter for making.
“What’s interesting is I know so many people that are deferring. It’s more than to just roam around or just sit down and stare at a wall, but it will also give me an opportunity to work,” Shahidi told People of her decision to do a gap year. “I’ve been working more than half of my life, and that’s always been balanced with school and all of the other responsibilities, so to have a year to focus on work and to focus on specified interests will be nice before I pick a career and choose what I want to study and my life path.”
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