Yara Shahidi Copes With Failure By Turning To James Baldwin

Yara Shahidi is truly on another level, but even the actress and activist struggles to manage her fear of failure. 

Speaking with Teen Vogue, the Harvard-bound high school grad talked about her fear of failure in high school, how social media could sometimes make it worse, and the writer who gets her through it all. 

Shahidi shared that in order to cope, she turns to James Baldwin. “I recently read Giovanni’s Room and there was a whole thing on identity and embracing who you are, really based on these characters who feared erasing who they are,” she said. “What I really appreciated about Giovanni’s Room is the overarching message is about embracing every facet of your identity, and with that you embrace what you deem as failure and you reassess it. 

She added, “I think ultimately, the goal is not to say failure gets easier, failure gets more fun, falling is the best thing ever — but if anything, what I like to say is when you build your support network, when you find rituals that calm you down, you find moments to take care of yourself and not stew in the failure, then you’re not really afraid of falling because you know you won’t fall too far anyway.”

Shahidi is currently taking a year off to work on Black-ish spin-off College-ish, which will see her character, Zoey Johnson, navigating life on her own at college. 


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