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Imagine That, An Interview With Rising Star, Yara Shahidi


If you haven’t seen Imagine That yet, I suggest you do.  I had a grin on my face during the entire film and I was especially captivated by the big talent of Eddie Murphy’s charming and vivacious young co-star, Yara Shahidi. I recently interviewed Yara, so read on to find out just what makes this terrific nine-year-old tick.

IMAGINE THATDid you have a favorite blankie when you were younger?
I did and still do have a favorite blankie that I call my lovie!  My little brother has taken it recently, he is  a one-year-old!

Was the name Goo-Ga your idea? (Goo-Ga is the name of Yara’s beloved blankie in Imagine That which she’s holding in the photo)
That wasn’t my idea, but I love the name!

The film’s message about less work and more play is an important one with all the distractions families have today.  What things do you like your parents to do with you when you are not in school?
When I am not in school, I love to travel with my parents, eat chocolate with my mommy and learn great recipes from my *Baba.

IMAGINE THATI loved the pancake scene when you slathered on all the different toppings like Hershey’s syrup and mustard.  Should busy parents do more cooking with their children?
I think every parent should think about having some fun in the kitchen with their kids…we love it, kind of messy, but fun!

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
The best meal I have ever had is my Baba’s home made, organic cheese pizza!

Do you get to eat good food while you’re making a film?
The fun thing about working is all of the fun treats and good food. My brother Sayeed, who is 6 would come visit me on set, but I think he was visiting the snack truck!

IMAGINE THATIs it difficult being a 9 year-old actress and finding time to be a kid, doing all the silly kid things kids get up to?
It isn’t difficult, because acting is just being a kid!  I also have tons of friends and we love to have play dates.  My brother Sayeed is one of my best friends, so we do a ton of things together too.

Do you ever get time to read for pleasure and if so, what are some of the books you enjoy reading?
I read so much that my mommy has to tell me to put my books away so I can eat or go to bed!  I love history, and mysteries!  I just read Chains by Laurie Halse  Anderson and the Encyclopedia Brown books.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a historian, an inventor and an actor.

What’s your favorite movie?
Kirikou, a French cartoon movie about an African Village.  A little boy saves his entire village from an evil sorcerer.

NOTE: *Baba means “father” in Farsi.  Yara is half African-American and half Persian.  She knows and is learning Farsi!

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