If Yara Shahidi Seems Perfect, It’s Because She Has To Be

Yara Shahidi is the voice of her generation. That sentence, or sentiments just like it, are repeated in almost every profile of Shahidi in the past few years. It tends to follow young famous women who we deem emblematic of a time and a place. A decade ago, it was Lena Dunham, whose Girls character Hannah Horvath declared it about herself —“I think I might be the voice of my generation. Or, at least, a voice of a generation\" — and then neither she, nor Dunham, ever lived it down. Dunham never truly spoke for everyone, but as a polarizing purveyor of millennial stereotypes — spoiled, entitled, lazy — it did, for better or worse, become a self-fulfilling prophecy.Shahidi would never declare herself the voice of her generation. It’s a designation she’s not entirely comfortable with, but it’s comforting to me, a Black millennial woman, that the spokesperson of the next generation is a proud half Iranian, half African-American young person with Shahidi’s seeming grace and a