Yara Shahidi May Pull a Malia Obama and Defer Harvard Start Date

"I feel pretty lucky to be able to make a commitment to a school... and to a show."

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yara shahidi harvard
Yara Shahidi got a recommendation letter for Harvard from Michelle Obama. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Yara Shahidi already got the recommendation letter to go to Harvard from Michelle Obama. But she just might follow in the footsteps of the former first lady’s oldest daughter. Like Malia Obama before her, Shahidi may defer her enrollment to the Ivy League.

Since signing onto “Black-ish” just before turning 14, Shahidi has blossomed into a sitcom staple. In addition to her activism, the almost-18-year-old now has her own show, the spin-off “Grown-ish.” With the series getting picked up for 20 more episodes, Shahidi isn’t sure if she’ll mirror her character Zoey and begin college this fall.

“Everybody from the writers to the production understands how much I value my education,” Entertainment Tonight reported she told Oprah Winfrey during a Wednesday, Feb. 7 sit down for the special, “Oprah at the Apollo.” “And we’re doing our best to figure out how we want to make it work, but I feel pretty lucky to be able to make a commitment to a school… and to a show. I’m doing my best to figure it all out.”

Shahidi told W Magazine in January that she plans to double major in social studies and African-American studies. And while she may not set foot on Harvard’s campus in the fall, she is getting a crash-course in the life of a freshman thanks to her “Grown-ish” character. The oldest daughter of “Black-ish” characters Dre and Bow has experienced everything from partying all night to taking Adderall to focus on studies.

“She’s made me more wary [of college],” Shahidi confessed. “Like, all this happens in college? I truly look forward to just going to class and going to sleep! She’s definitely opened my eyes to the many things that happen in college that I was oblivious to. At the same time, it’s almost like Zoey has lived that life so Yara doesn’t have to! So I feel like there’s going to be many an experiment that people will go through where I’ll be like, ‘My character’s already done it so I don’t need to.'”

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