Exclusive Video: Go Behind the Scenes with Our Cover Star Yara Shahidi

By Gabrielle Pharms | February 16, 2022

Multihyphenate Yara Shahidi can’t be boxed into one category of excellence. The award-winning actress, student, and producer (among other titles) has accomplished many milestones at merely 21. Enamored by her brilliance and inspired by her creative prowess, we are pleased to reveal the EDITION cover star for our Next Wave issue is none other than Shahidi. We had the privilege of going behind the scenes of Shahidi’s photoshoot to talk about mentors, family influence, fashion, and equity.

“Every single facet of who I am has been informed by mentors,” Shahidi tells EDITION with a gleaming smile on her face. Shahidi’s parents taught her the adage that “abundance must flow,” and to receive, you must constantly give. Shahidi adds, “The goal is to not keep all the knowledge to myself but to be one of the many people that continue in passing on. I’m just doing for others what’s been done for me."

Shahidi is family-oriented and says she’s grateful to have been part of a family that’s honored her since the beginning. Through her family’s attention and energy, Shahidi says they’ve empowered her to excel in life. She also cites the encouragement of professor, author, activist, and philosopher Dr. Cornel West. Shahidi says, “In the academic space, I point to people like Cornel West who literally helped me realize that there was a space for me there, even though I was juggling so much.”

Modeling head-to-toe Dior in the shoot, Shahidi shares the relationship between fashion and equity for Black and brown communities. “It’s more than putting clothes on,” Shahidi explains. “As brown and Black folks, we have such creative visions and voices; and oftentimes, it’s not lack of skill that leaves us out, but really the fact that it is an ‘old boys club’ and to be able to disrupt that in even small ways is what makes fashion and engaging in fashion so seriously a real purpose.”

Shahidi continues to expound on the definition of equity and its relation to the creative space. “Equity of expression speaks to both the fact that for so long we have had to live in a scarcity mindset in a creative field that’s supposed to operate from a place of abundance, a space of being able to imagine and reimagine,” she states. “But, if you’re only given one opportunity, if you’re only given half of the resources, half of the energy, half of the support, you know, it makes sense why we’re trained that only one of us can make it in a certain space or that there isn’t space for all of us – when we know, in fact, there is space.”

Check out the exclusive BTS video with Shahidi above, and check out the gorgeous photos from the shoot below.

Photography by: Photographed by Juan Veloz; Styled by Jason Bolden; Makeup by Emily Cheng for Dior Beauty; Hair by Nikki Nelms; Manicure by Tracy Clemens