GPA, SAT scores, and volunteer activities be damned. Sometimes, when it comes to getting into college, nothing seals the acceptance deal like a dazzling letter of recommendation. Black-ish star Yara Shahidi got the ultimate endorsement, courtesy of former first lady Michelle Obama.
Shahidi is applying to schools on the east and west coast including Mrs. Obama's alma mater Harvard. She said she plans to double major in African American studies and sociology.
Shahidi revealed that the former first lady doesn't just support her with letters but back rubs. Before talking her AP exams, Shahidi said she gave her a “go get ’em, tiger back-rub.”
It’s no surprise that the 17-year-old garnered such high-level support. In addition to her role on the hit ABC show, Shahidi has also proven herself as a role model for younger women — and adults. She founded the mentoring organization Yara’s Club as part of the Young Women’s Leadership Network.
“I’m filming nine and a half hours a day five days a week, but whenever I have a free moment, I’m talking to the U.N. or working on how to get Yara’s Club launched,” she told the New York Times in 2015 prior to the organization’s launch.
Shahidi also volunteers at medical clinics and isn’t afraid to be vocal about issues that matter. More recently, her commitment to service and activism were recognized at the 10th Anniversary of the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards in February.
While she may be college-bound, the young actress has also decided to take a gap year, to focus on her present career and to indulge in other interests.
“I know when Malia Obama announced [she was deferring], she got a lot of slack, but I feel like 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,” she told People last year.
As Shahidi pointed out, she's been working more than half her life and has found a way to balance it all. She just wants a little time to herself, can you blame her? "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,” she said.
We're sure Michelle approves.