Careers

This high schooler got the ultimate letter of recommendation

Michelle Obama and Yara Shahidi participate in panel discussion at Glamour Hosts 'A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education.'
Paul Morigi | Getty Images
Michelle Obama and Yara Shahidi participate in panel discussion at Glamour Hosts 'A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education.'

Yara Shahidi, best known for playing the character Zoey on the ABC sitcom "Black-ish," may have just nabbed the best possible letter of recommendation.

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Shahidi speaks about her mentor, who is none other than Michelle Obama. According to W, the former First Lady "wrote [the actress] a college recommendation, and gave her a 'go get 'em, tiger' back-rub before Shahidi took her AP exams."

Shahidi originally met the former First Lady at Glamour's "International Day of the Girl" event. "[Obama] is very amazing and such a supporter, which is something very surreal to say," says Shahidi.

Shahidi reportedly applied to schools on both the east and west coasts, including Obama's alma mater, Harvard. She plans to double-major in African American studies and sociology.

And Shahidi has a robust resume to backup Michelle's recommendation. When she isn't filming nine-and-a-half hours a day, five days a week, she is a passionate activist and a successful model.

The teenager volunteers with Integrative Clinic International, an organization that provides healthcare services to under-served communities, and she helped the United Nations launch a mentorship program called "Yara's Club" through the Young Women's Leadership Network.

Mentorship has long been a passion of Michelle Obama's as well. One of her first initiatives as First Lady paired disadvantaged girls with female leaders.

Just last month, Obama spoke with high school students in Washington D.C. and encouraged them to pursue advanced degrees.

That public appearance was Obama's first high-profile one as a civilian and indicates that she will continue her work with the Reach Higher Initiative, which aims to "inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university," according to the initiative's website.

Like Malia Obama, Yara Shahidi has decided to take a gap year. This will allow Shahidi to recharge, focus on her current projects — such as a potential "Black-ish" spin-off centered on her character's life in college — and formulate her ideal career path.

Even though Harvard's acceptance rate is just six percent, Shahidi has put herself in a great position. With the former First Lady vouching for her and an impressive array of extracurricular activities, the odds may be in her favor.