Every few years, there’s a new, young, Black child actor whose talent is so undeniable, you forget that their a kid. Just look at Marsai Martin. The Blackish star is out here producing her own big budget films and starring in them at just 14-years old. Joining her in the ranks of young Black girl magic dripping in Hollywood is 13-year old US star Shahadi Wright Joseph. She may just be known for starring in Jordan Peele‘s thriller flick now, but pretty soon, everyone will know Shahadi’s name. The actress is also set to voice young Nala in the upcoming live-action version of Lion King. Fun fact; played the same character in the live Broadway version of the film.
“I love all these young black women DOIN THEY SHITTT. Shoutout @Shahadi being in amazing works like Us & The Lion King”- @Lmknia
“Now that I’ve seen #UsMovie, I’m realizing @Shahadi is Young Nala in the Lion King remake this summer. Our good sis is basically YOUNG BEYONCE! Also assured to be another box office smash, so she’s got two in one year!”- @constar24
In an interview with, W magazine:
“I was really familiar with the role already, and it was great because Jon Favreau gave us a lot of freedom to make it as realistic as possible. JD McCrary, who plays young Simba, and I have such a great connection—it really was like young Simba and young Nala, best friends forever, when we met. It did feel really different from [Broadway]; you’re not in front of thousands of people,” she said. “It was a little bit easier because I could go back and switch something if I didn’t like it. With Broadway, you have to make it look like it wasn’t a mistake.”
But besides being a huge movie star now, Shahadi likes to do regular teen things, like go to Sky Zone and hang out with friends at Benihana. She even has celebrity role models that she looks up to, and one of them happens to be Lupita, who coincidentally played her mom in US. Fun fact: for a project in grade school, Shahadi memorized and presented Lupita’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar speech from 2014. Talk about the circle of life.
What’s most interesting about Shahadi is that unlike most 13-year olds who spend their spare time on their phones or video games, she’d rather spend her time creatively with her knitting. She says she would often knit on the set of “Us, adding.
“I love to knit. In my free time, that’s a good hobby that I like to do.”
We’re definitely rooting for Shahadi and all her future endeavours. Catch her as young Nala in The Lion King when it hits theaters this July. Hit the flip for IT girl pics of the young star.