Yara Shahidi has just come off her first season of the black-ish spinoff, ­grown-ish, where she stars as Zoey who is matriculating through her first year of college. In the real world, Shahidi herself will be heading into her first year of college following her acceptance into Harvard University. Shahidi spoke to Deadline, about the similarities and differences she and her character have as well as further discussion about grown-ish and future pursuits.

The conversation started with the creation of grown-ish as Shahidi tells the difference in moving from ABC to Freeform, saying, “Freeform was so supportive in saying that they didn’t have a problem with a 17-year-old lead, and they didn’t have a problem with what subjects we were going to tackle. They wanted it to be authentic, so it allowed us to go into the Adderall storyline; it allowed us to go into all sorts of storylines with each character, without having to give a beautiful ending, all wrapped up in a little bow.”

As she plays Zoey in grown-ish, Shahidi is acting out the trials and tribulations of one’s first year of college before experiencing her own. Shahidi includes that this move aligned beautifully, “In this trial run of college, what I love is the fact that Zoey and Yara will have very different experiences, so any initial hesitation towards, “Am I killing the fun of experiencing college for the first time?” went away.” Shahidi then spoke on the similarities and difference between herself and Zoey & what she likes and learned from the character stating, “There’s certain storylines that Yara, as a square, just wouldn’t get into. But in terms of who she is as a human, I’d have to say what I really appreciated about her was the fact that it’s the first time you really see any uncertainty in her. It was nice because it’s what I saw not only in myself, but in a whole lot of my friends … It was interesting because if anything, Black-ish taught me a certain bravado level of confidence; then, Grown-ish taught me how to be comfortable with uncertainty. That was a major flip and I feel like it was really apropos given that it was a moment of uncertainty in my life. Our journeys are parallel just in that we’re both doing some major growing up.”

As grown-ish heads into its second season, Shahidi is happy where fans last saw Zoey, “I also love the fact that by the end of the season, Zoey has more of a certain opinion. It seems as though she has her life together, temporarily. I guess I’m looking forward to having some more episodes to play with—the more mundane conversations, and going to class.”

Shadidi shares with Deadline what else she’d like to pursue, “I’m obsessed with the Marvel franchise, so that would be, I guess, a dream come true. Especially because the Marvel franchise has always been very political, if you turn to the comic books and look at the X-Men tied to the civil rights movement; and later, the LGBTQ movement. That would be incredible, [to remain] a part of the Disney family—hint, hint.”

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