‘grown-ish’ – Harvard beckons series star Shahidi

Yara Shahidi of 'grown-ish' Wednesday on Freeform
Yara Shahidi of ‘grown-ish’ Wednesday on Freeform

Q: Do you expect you will get a sense of déjà vu when you get to Harvard in the fall after having gone through the freshman experience as Zoey on “grown-ish”?

A: In shooting Season 3 of “black-ish,” I had a lot of déjà vu because that was when Zoey was going to see the college (campus) and I was doing the same thing. And Zoey opened her acceptance letter maybe two week before Yara did and that was a crazy moment where I remember filming that scene and being like, “What? That is not how it happens. You don’t get all of your acceptance letters at once.” And then March 31st all at once, every single acceptance letter came out. And so that was really hilarious.

But in terms of “grown-ish” being similar to my college experience, I know of course there will be parallels but Zoey is so different from Yara that I don’t find myself in as many predicaments as she finds herself in. But at the same time, I am kind of excited. … I’m hoping when I go to college, I can be like, “Wait, I’ve been through this. Episode 3, scene 27.”

Q: Many comparisons have been made between your show and “A Different World.” How do you feel about that?

A: I think if you talk to the creator of the show Kenya Barris, he definitely attests to the fact that “A Different World” is really a major reason as to why he went to college … . So we definitely pay homage to the space that “A Different World” has created but at the same time they’re very much two different shows. I so appreciate that our show can be said in the same breath as “A Different World,” with so many iconic people and iconic characters who’ve left an impact on an entire generation. And I think part of paying homage to something is also realizing that we’re not trying to create any sort of content that would replace how special “A Different World” is. So it’s very much a different show because there’s no need to touch the perfection of that.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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