Welcome back to the show. Thank you. It’s been
almost two years to the day -since I’ve sat in this chair.
-It has been almost two years to the day. What was great is,
when you were here, -you were promoting the launch
of Grown-ish. -Yes. And now, we’re celebrating
season three kicking off. -Congratulations.
-I know. Thank you so much. -It’s really exciting.
-It is. -(applause and cheering) I… You know what I love
about the show particularly is, it feels like
it mirrors your life. You know, we’re-we’re watching
you in the show playing this girl
who grows into a young woman. -Mm-hmm. -And you start
to experience changes in life, where it’s, like, how you work,
how you live, love life… -Yeah. -work life,
political life, everything. What are you most excited about
in the upcoming season? Well, I feel like season three
is the culmination of everything we’ve worked
towards in season one and two. We’ve established
the relationships. You know who her friends are, you know
what she’s gone through. And she’s actually figuring out
what it means to be an adult. Like, this is when the title
actually comes into play, because she’s grown, and
she has a job for the first time -for more than four hours, which
is really impressive. -Right. Um, and so, I think,
this season, you see her try and figure out
what her values, uh, are as she enters the adult world and is no longer even having
that barrier -of what it means to just be
a college student. Yeah. -Right. It-it really is, like, like,
a journey -that we all take for granted
in life. -Mm-hmm. Because, you know, we…
I-I always feel like in life, we always feel like we’ve
figured it out and we’ve grown. -Yes.
-We always think we’re grown. -Oh, yeah. -Like, you’re 16,
and you’re like, “I’m grown.” Then you’re, like, 18,
and you’re like, “I’m grown.” Then you’re 25.
You’re like, “I’m grown.” And then at some age,
you’re like, “I’m never grown.” -(laughter) -Right.
-Um… But-but when you’re looking
at this character, and when you’re looking
at your character, how do you…
how do you split them up? And then, where do you find
the moments where, like, Yara ties into the character
that we see in the show? Well, I feel like
Zoey’s become my alter ego. I’ve played her for six years,
going on seven years, which is surreal,
and I’m grateful for that. But it means that, like,
I’ve had the opportunity to literally live a double life,
playing a character -that’s a year older than me.
-Right. It’s like being in the future,
but also a future where you’re not
in your own body. Because it’s like,
I would never find myself in this situation,
doing Adderall, but… It’s useful… to know the repercussions. -Right.
-(laughter) And so I think, for me, it’s been, like, really fun to
even just have that opportunity as a young human to live
my fullest life through Zoey and then go back to being Yara,
which is, um, not a square
but a quadrilateral. -(laughter)
-I like that. I feel… so you’re basically
living, like, life… you’re doing
all the wrong things -that the rest of us
don’t get to erase, -Yeah. and then you go like,
“No, that was just in the show.” -Yeah, and then they say “cut,”
and… -And then you’re done. Yeah, and it’s so fun,
because I feel like Grown-ish was actually a perfect
prep course for life, because I’m somebody that, um, tends to think of things
as pretty linear, of like, “Okay, you make a mistake,
you learn from it, you move on and you grow,” and there’s
something really beautiful -about playing a character that
consistently messes up, -Right. because I feel like that’s
affected my own view of like, “Okay, life is circular,
and that’s okay,” and I’m settling into that. And college,
I consider the 13th grade, in which I feel like you
never leave high school, you just repeat
high school again, -but, you know, you’re older.
-Oh, you do. Oh, you keep… You do.
You repeat it in college, and then high school
happens again in, like, the work environment,
and then… I bet even in an old age home,
someone’s in a locker. -Right. -Someone is being
stuffed into a locker. -Oh, God. Yes.
-It never ends. I-I am fascinated
by that notion, because, like, as Yara Shahidi, there’s one thing people know
and love about you, and that is, you are
truly one of the smartest, most thoughtful human beings that just exists
in the world, right? -Thank you. -And you…
you’re engaged– you read, you’re-you’re knowledgeable. I mean, Oprah literally said,
“I just hope that I’m around to see Yara as president
of the United States.” That’s what Oprah Winfrey said. Like, people are asking her,
“When are you gonna run?” -She’s like, “No, when is Yara
gonna win?” -Thank you. -(applause, cheering)
-There’s a lot of pressure that comes with that
as a person, but you’ve found a way to remain
young while still being engaged in areas that people think a lot
of young people wouldn’t be. You know, um…
not even just politics. Like, I appreciated,
you had a post where you just talked about,
like, issues with skin. -Mm-hmm.
-And you posted, you know, just, like,
a bare face on Instagram, and you talked about, like,
why it was important to do that. -Why do you do that?
-Um, well, honestly, I feel like my public life
is really an extension of what’s been established with
my family and the foundation that I have at home,
and so oftentimes, I-I think what Black-ish did
and then Grown-ish did and then just being out in the
world as Yara was… gives me an opportunity to talk about
just the conversations we’ve had in which we’re
always talking about politics, we’re always talking about…
It was my 11-year-old brother who introduced me to all my
economic podcasts I listen to, -Wow.
-and… -Your 11-year-old brother?
-Yes. So, have you heard
these economic podcasts? It was, like,
Freakonomics and Planet Money and a ton of NPR podcasts that
he listens to in his free time. -Uh, and so…
-He doesn’t have free t… He’s 11?
What does “free time” mean? -What does that mean?
-I don’t… Well, he also has a green screen
in our front room, -so he’s making films,
like, 24/7. -Ah, of course. -Yes, carry on. Yes.
-(laughter) It’s called
Ehsan Is Everything Productions. -Got it.
-I love it. It’s a subtle title. -(laughter)
-But I-I think… really the reason
that it’s important to me is that the idea
of being out in the world, it becomes really trivial if you
don’t have a greater purpose, because, quite honestly,
if I don’t feel like I am progressing towards
something greater than myself, then I look, I’m like,
“I have made 22 minutes’ worth of content in the past
five days.” That’s great. -Right. -Yeah, that’s it,
and so, I-I think that’s why it’s been important that
Grown-ish talks about issues. I feel like it’s important that
I’m out in the world talking about just what affects
me and my family, because selfishly,
I see my peers being affected, I see my own family being
affected and the fact that -I have the-the safety right now
to be in conversation. -Yeah. And also have places where,
I mean, the fact that -I was 17 here for
the first time. -Right. And you’ve opened this platform
for me to talk about the importance of voting
in young people, I think demonstrates
why I like to do what I do with the opportunities
I’ve been given, so thank you. You-you really use them well,
which I’ve always admired, honesty as-as a human being,
um, because as you said, 17, most of us would just be
thinking about, well, in our country, it was,
like, getting ready to drink
for the first time, right? ‘Cause 18 is the legal age,
but you at 17 were going, “No, I, uh, I’m looking to get
people to register to vote. I want as many young people
to vote as poss–” Your-your excitement
at 18 was like, (sing-songy): “I’m gonna
vote in the midterms.” -(laughs): Yeah.
-That was, like, your thing. -It was, it was. -And you were
genuinely excited about it. This wasn’t, like,
a TV excitement… Like, Yara was like, “Aw, man!
18– here it comes.” My friends always said the only
reason I’d ever get a fake I.D. -at 17 was to prematurely vote.
-(Noah laughing) Which I feel, like,
is the most on-brand thing -that’s ever been said about me.
-Right. And-and now, you-you are,
you’re getting ready, I mean, -20 years, it’s another
big year for you. -Mm-hmm. You’re gonna be 20
this year and 2020, -giant election coming up.
-Yes! This is going to be your
first presidential election. -It is. -What do you hope,
not for yourself, but for other young people
who didn’t turn out last time because they feel like
voting doesn’t matter and their vote doesn’t count. Well, I-I think what
this last year and a half, if not, the past three years
have really demonstrated is why policy is personal,
and I-I think through the actions of this
administration, but just what we’re experiencing
globally right now, has demonstrated why it’s
so much more than this theoretical debate about
the economy, this theoretical debate about, um,
health rights and such, but why it’s a conversation
that takes place in your neighborhood,
and your community. And so, as of right now,
what I’ve been experiencing is not even having
to convince young people, “Like, hey, you should be
concerned about voting.” -Mm-hmm. -But really
it’s been a matter of like, “How can I be a liaison in terms
of resources and access?” Because it’s confusing, like,
I literally had my, uh, little voter handbook annotated. Like, it was a full homework
assignment to figure out -where to find information
on policies and such. -Right. And I’m somebody that gets
to spend, I don’t know, an absurd amount of time
just listening to the news and then talking
to people about the news, and it was still
extremely confusing for me. And so, I think it’s a matter
of just being able to say the passion’s already there,
and how do we translate that into actual policy action
by explaining what’s happening. -Wow.
-(laughs) -I look forward to campaigning
for you… -Thanks. when you are running for office for the United States
presidency. -Thank you so much for being on
the show again. -Thank you. Always an amazing guest, season
three of Grown-ish premieres January 16 on Freeform.
Make sure you watch it. Yara Shahidi, everyone.