The Influencers

The Family Shahidi

Yara Shahidi and her parents on growing up in Hollywood and their expectations for college

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When actor Yara Shahidi turned 16, her parents were informed that they no longer had to supervise her on the set of the ABC sitcom Black-ish, on which she has starred since age 14. Her mother Keri Shahidi wasn’t having it. “For us to provide you with a happy, healthy, well-rounded human being, this is what we do,” she remembers responding. The whole endeavor has been a family effort, and all three Shahidis—Yara, Keri and father Afshin Shahidi—sat down with TIME to talk about how they work as a team to support Yara in Hollywood, their response to sexual harassment within the industry and Yara’s forthcoming transition into a new role: college student at Harvard.

“Our entire family made an investment in me joining the Black-ish family,” says Yara, who plays Zoey Johnson on the sitcom. A new spinoff, Grown-ish, will follow her character to campus next year—the same year the actor will start her own college education. “While I’m hoping that when I get to Harvard I can be like, ‘episode three, scene 27, I’ve been through this,’ I also know there are a lot of moves Zoey has made that Yara’s not planning on making,” she jokes. “I’m only excited for what’s to come, because so much is happening in all of our lives right now.”

—Lucy Feldman

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