Original Photo: Duff Images

Born in Iran and raised in London, Iranian-American actress Nazanin Boniadi, came to the United States to study in California.  Earning a Bachelor’s Degree, with Honors, in Biological Sciences, like many Iranians, she was an accomplished student before pursuing her dream of being an actress.

Not only talented and smart, Nazanin is also involved in Human Rights organizations and serves as an official spokesperson for Amnesty International. She’s appeared on numerous international TV and radio programs to campaign for human rights. (Most recently she has spoken out for human rights in Iran.)

Nazanin brings a lot of herself into her acting roles as well. She relates herself to her characters in terms of; talking about Iran and growing up in London. Most recently, she appeared on “How I Met Your Mother”.

Enjoy my exclusive Q&A with Nazanin Boniadi below:

RA: As an Iranian what do you think is most amazing about your background or that you hold dear to your heart?

NB: I am particularly proud that over 2500 years ago Cyrus the Great declared the first Charter of Human Rights known to mankind. We have a great tradition of tolerance, compassion and leadership to live up to as Iranians. It is a part of my culture that continues to inspire me.

RA: What made you interested in acting?

NB: Growing up I was surrounded by art. From playing the violin and the electric organ, to performing ballet and appearing in high school plays, I always found a creative outlet of some kind. I would watch movies and emulate my favorite actors. One of my secret talents has always been doing impersonations, and my parents would call on me to entertain our guests at “mehmoonis” by imitating relatives or family friends, which usually got a good laugh from the crowd. Funnily enough, I was a very shy kid, but somehow I came out of my shell while I was performing. I was in my element and I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

RA: Who is your role model?

NB: My parents have overcome so much to provide me with the opportunities I have today. My mother is the epitome of a powerful, independent woman. I learn from her every day, she never ceases to amaze me.

RA: What suggestions do you have for Iranian girls that are interested in acting or the entertainment industry?

NB: If you have a goal and you work hard and stay dedicated, you will succeed. Self-doubt is the number one reason for failure in this industry. Know your craft, commit yourself 100%, never stop learning and you will have the confidence you need to book those roles. When I started acting professionally 3 years ago there were only a handful of Iranian actors working in Hollywood. The numbers have multiplied since then, which is not only a sign of the industry’s increasing demand for Middle Eastern actors, but also a testament to our culture’s growing interest in the performing arts. Iranian youth have always been encouraged to pursue academics and professions such as medicine, law and engineering. It is so refreshing to see a new wave of Iranians emerging who are interested in following artistic careers.

RA: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

NB: I hope to be surrounded by the people I love, doing what I love, and helping make the world a better place to the best of my ability.

RA: What acting projects are you working on these days?

NB: [I’m] in Paul Haggis’s movie, “The Next Three Days”.