Photo: Sophy Holland (Essence magazine)

By now it’s no secret that we love, love, love Grown-ish star, young activist and all-around brilliant bae (Harvard, y’all) Yara Shahidi. And clearly we’re not the only ones, since our sisters over at Essence are featuring the always “it” girl on the cover of their April issue!

Photo: Sophy Holland (Essence magazine)

Wearing it’s-almost-summer whites embellished with gold—even in her semibraided hairstyle (those curls!)—Shahidi has us longing for warmer climes and exotic locales as she lounges among Moroccan pillows and frolics by a pool strewn with rose petals.

Opening up to Essence, Shahidi, newly turned 18, dishes on her eagerness to vote, getting her first (very literary) tattoo and living vicariously through her TV alter ego, Zoey Johnson. She also gets real about balancing an increasingly high-profile acting career with a commitment to activism, as told to writer Zeba Blay:

I’ve always struggled with Hollywood feeling trivial. Red carpets aren’t worth it. As fun as it is to get dressed up, it is surreal to be sitting at the Teen Choice Awards while [something like] Charlottesville is happening.

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Sounds like a very grown-ish perspective to us. You can swing into spring with Shahidi when Essence’s April issue hits stands Thursday. But if you can’t wait to cop your copy, you can catch a glimpse of the on-set magic right here.