We love it when our favorite peeps come together and we couldn’t feel more stoked about the collaboration between Converse and Julia Bayliss + Mayan Toledano of the label Me and You. Converse tapped into the duo behind the girl power brand to style and photograph the second installment of the “Forever Chuck Lookbooks,” where Converse celebrates the iconic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker and badass youngsters Salem Mitchell and Yara Shahidi model the revamped kicks.
Below, we chat with Yara Shahidi, a 16-year-old who not only stars in Black-ish as Zoey (if you haven’t watched Black-ish, put it on your watchlist stat!) but has also been incredibly honest and politically opinionated at such a young age. Read on to discover more about her styling tips, how she found her voice and her favorite Converse memories.
FOAM: Chuck Taylors are everywhere in LA, what’s your story with the brand? What are your earliest memories of owning a pair of Chucks?
YARA SHAHIDI: Sneakers are a way of life at my house – something my mom says will never go out of style. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a pair of Chucks. They are growing up with me!
F: The 70’s was a cool era for fashion, you had the hippies and the preppy kids. What’s your favorite 70’s inspired styling tip for current day?
YS: The ‘70’s to me were a time of fashion risks. People expressed themselves through their clothing – with bold prints and colors, mixing and matching. We shouldn’t be afraid to take chances, to be bold and bright with our wardrobe. Our clothes are an expression of who we are.
F: The 70’s were also known for their activism and you spent time with anti-bullying activist Salem Mitchell for the Converse shoot. What did you learn from her? What passions do you have in common?
YS: just from being around Salem, I sensed her quiet strength, her focus and her unabashed confidence in knowing that everyone “belongs.”
F: What inspires you to be active in your community?
YS: I’m inspired by the people around me – my family, my friends, the people I work with. They all inspire me to be active and involved in my community.
F: Do you have any suggestions for girls who want to make their voices heard? How did you find YOUR voice?
YS: My mother always told me to speak up for myself and my beliefs. If you believe strongly in something, don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and stand up for yourself or whatever cause. I’d reiterate that advice from my mother to other girls. We’re the future – we shouldn’t be afraid to have a say in what happens. I’m fortunate I can use my Black-ish character Zoey as another platform to be heard.
F: Being young and being in the industry must be difficult. Who do you look up to when it comes down to handling fame, social media and being in the limelight?
YS: Well, I don’t look at myself as famous, and there are so many of my peers, older and younger, who feel the same way. I look at it simply as having the opportunity to utilize my platform for all of the things that matter to me.
F: Tell us about a favorite memory made while on location for the Converse shoot.
YS: Two components: Salem Mitchell x rooftop shenanigans