Older sister of actor Sayeed Shahidi.
A student of the martial art form, Tang Soo Do, Yara has earned her black belt.
Daughter of Afshin Shahidi, a photographer, and Keri Shahidi, an actress. Her father is Iranian. Her mother is African-American.
She is continuously learning how to speak, write, and read Persian.
Yara plans to become a historian, specializing in world history, while continuing to pursue her love of acting.
Is a first cousin, once removed, of rapper Nas. Yara's maternal great-grandparents, Ella Mae and Charles Rufus Jones, were Nas's maternal grandparents.
Received the "Generation Next Award" at the 10th annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood event, February, 2017.
Friends with Rowan Blanchard.
On the NPR podcast "Code Switch," Shahidi described her heritage as "half-black, half-Iranian". She also described the meaning of her name, Yara Sayeh Shahidi: "the literal translation is: Yara means 'somebody close to your heart'; Sayeh means 'shadow'; and my last name, Shahidi, means 'witness.' My name means 'somebody close to your heart shadow witness.'".
Her family moved to California because of her father's work.
In two different series she has played characters named Chloe Johnson and Zoey Johnson.
Had her first starring role as an adult in The Sun Is Also a Star (2019), as Natasha Kingsley, opposite Charles Melton as Daniel Bae.
Was considered for the role of Kayla in Tom and Jerry (2020).