Yara Sayeh Shahidi shown in 2019 in a Vogue shoot.

2000 –

“What’s so cool about my generation is that being socially aware is ingrained in who we are. It’s almost as though we were born with a debt to society to do our part, to be a part of this peer group that understands pretty immediately the idea that whatever we do has to benefit the greater good of humanity.”

Yara is an American actress and activist. Despite her relatively young age, she has already caught the attention of many. She was given the opportunity to interview Hilary Clinton in 2017 and was noticed by former first lady Michelle Obama, who wrote a letter of recommendation to Harvard University on her behalf. 

In 2021 Yara joined the Stand With Women, Dior campaign and continues to balance her acting and modelling career with her beliefs in social justice and diversity in Hollywood. Yara says that she was fortunate, as a child, to have had a diverse range of literature to develop her ideas about the world. Her parents were strong mentors and reading role models, encouraging her to look at fairy tales from different cultures, political essays and dystopian fiction. It was a great way to develop a critical thinking and creative mindset. It was also an important foundation for Yara as she played the role Zoey, in the ABC sitcom Black-ish – a show about race and class in America.  

Yara says she is proud to be a voice of a generation that offers ideas about inclusivity, difference and diversity.  Her open-mindedness means she enjoys difference and is open to different people and ideas.

Challenging ourselves to read books or watch films about different people is a good way to develop our open-mindedness.

Another woman who was open-minded was the amazing Ada Lovelace. She recognized the potential of what would become computers. She even wrote the first computer algorithm – 200 years before computers were built! Her story can be explored on the site.

Other character strengths that help us develop our open-mindedness are curiosity in other ideas, empathy for how other people feel and humility in recognising our own knowledge and skills.

Practice this week being prepared to be open-minded and change our minds about something we believe.