Nazanin Boniadi

Image result for Nazanin Boniadi

Image result for Nazanin Boniadi

Image result for Nazanin Boniadi

Image result for Nazanin Boniadi

Nazanin Boniadi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nazanin Boniadi
Born (1980-05-22) 22 May 1980 (age 37)
Tehran, Iran
Residence Los Angeles
Occupation Actress, activist
Years active 2006–present

Nazanin Boniadi (English: /ˈnɑːzənn ˈbnjɑːˌd/ Persian: نازنین بنیادی‎‎, IPA: [nɑzæˈniːn ɛ bonjɑˈdiː]; born 22 May 1980) is a British-American actress of Iranian origin.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Boniadi was born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution; her parents relocated to London shortly thereafter. She performed violin and ballet as a young girl.[3][4]

She attended a private high school and later moved to the United States where she earned a bachelor’s degree, with Honors, in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. At UCI, she won the Chang Pin-Chun Undergraduate Research Award for molecular research involving cancer treatment and heart transplant rejection. She was also Assistant Editor-in-Chief of MedTimes, UCI’s undergraduate medical newspaper.[5]


Boniadi changed her career path from science and started pursuing acting in 2006.[6] Her first major acting role was as Leyla Mir on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama General Hospital and its SOAPnet spin-off series General Hospital: Night Shift, making her the first contract actor to play a Middle Eastern character in American daytime television history.[citation needed] She is also the first actress born in Iran to ever be on contract on an American soap opera.[7]

She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2008 for her role in General Hospital.[8]

Boniadi has also played supporting roles in several major Hollywood film productions, such as Charlie Wilson’s War (directed by Mike Nichols), Iron Man (directed by Jon Favreau), and The Next Three Days (directed by Paul Haggis).[9]

She played Nora, a love interest for Neil Patrick Harris‘ character Barney Stinson, on the sixth season of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[10] She reprised this role during the show’s seventh and ninth seasons.

In May 2013, Boniadi joined the cast of Homeland season 3, as CIA analyst, Fara Sherazi.[11] She was promoted to series regular for the show’s fourth season.[12]

Boniadi also appeared in an eight-episode arc on season 3 of Scandal as antagonist Adnan Salif.[13] She portrayed Esther, the title character’s love interest, in the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur.[14]


Boniadi is a spokeswoman for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), with a focus on the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoners of conscience.[15][16] She has her own official blog page on the Amnesty International USA website[17] and has written op-eds for media outlets such as CNN[18] and The Huffington Post.[19]

Boniadi provided a voiceover to AIUSA’s “Power of Words” public service announcement with Morgan Freeman, which won a Webby Award;[20] campaigned with the organization for the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA);[21] has served as a panelist and emcee for events related to Iranian rights, and spearheaded The Neda Project with AIUSA in May/June 2010.[22]

In December 2010, she initiated an Amnesty International petition for Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, who had been convicted of “propaganda against the state”. The petition was co-signed by prominent Hollywood directors and industry leaders such as Paul Haggis, Martin Scorsese, Sean Penn, Harvey Weinstein, Ron Howard and others, and generated more than 21,000 signatures.[23] On 8 June 2011, she joined a delegation, led by Haggis and AIUSA Executive Director Larry Cox, to deliver the petition to the Iran Mission to the United Nations in New York.[24][25]

On 3 June 2011, Boniadi joined Sarah Shourd in a rolling hunger strike in solidarity with Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal and wrote an article in support of the Free The Hikers campaign.[26]

Boniadi received the 2011 Social Cinema Award at the Ischia Global Film & Music Festival for her human rights work with Amnesty International.[27][28]

On 9 April 2012, Boniadi returned to her alma mater, UC-Irvine, in support of the Education Under Fire campaign, calling for an end to discrimination against and persecution of Baha’is in Iran.[29]

Boniadi delivered the keynote closing remarks at the 2012 XX Factor, Amnesty International USA’s annual town hall meeting on women’s rights, in Washington, D.C.[30]

She helped launch an Amnesty International petition and campaign with Roxana Saberi in December 2012, to free wrongfully imprisoned filmmaker Behrouz Ghobadi, brother of acclaimed filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi, in Iran.[citation needed] The petition was signed by prominent Hollywood directors such as Martin Scorsese and Paul Haggis, actors such as Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, James Franco and Adrien Brody, as well as major film industry organizations and festivals.[31][32][33][34]

On 22 January 2013, Amnesty International announced that Behrouz Ghobadi had been released on bail from prison in Iran.[35]

She was a keynote speaker at Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson‘s 13th annual “A World of Women for World Peace” conference in Dallas, Texas.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Boniadi is fluent in English and Persian.[37] In the mid 2000s, she was a dedicated Scientologist. Her mother had also been a Scientologist.[38] In 2005, she was commended for setting a record in selling scientology books. In 2004, she had a brief relationship with actor Tom Cruise. According to claims of the documentary Going Clear, her acquaintance with Cruise was not accidental and the Church of Scientology prepared and planted her for this role.[39] The church also vetted her along with dozens of other women as a potential wife for Cruise, but she was not selected.[40][41]

Boniadi later left the Church of Scientology and now calls herself a “non-practising Muslim“.[42]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Game Josie 2 Episodes
General Hospital: Night Shift Leyla Mir 13 Episodes
2007–2009 General Hospital Leyla Mir 119 Episodes
2010 The Deep End Heather Mosson Episode: “To Have and to Hold”
24 Blonde Woman 2 Episodes
Hawthorne Aneesa Amara Episode: “Final Curtain”
2011 Suits Lauren Pearl Episode: “Errors and Omissions”
2011, 2014 How I Met Your Mother Nora Season 6–7 (recurring; 9 episodes)
Season 9 (guest; 1 episode)
2012 CSI Nurse Lauren Episode: “Seeing Red”
Best Friends Forever Naya 2 Episodes
2013 Go On Hannah 1 episode
Grey’s Anatomy Amrita 1 episode
2013–2014 Homeland Fara Sherazi Season 3 (recurring; 6 episodes)
Season 4 (series regular; 6 episodes)
2014 Scandal Adnan Salif Season 3 (recurring; 7 episodes)


Year Film Role Notes
2006 Kal: Yesterday & Tomorrow Simmi Short Film
2007 Gameface Taylor
2008 Charlie Wilson’s War Afghan Refugee Woman Uncredited
Iron Man Amira Ahmed
2009 Diplomacy Persian Interpreter Short Film
2010 The Next Three Days Elaine
2012 Shirin in Love Shirin
2015 Desert Dancer Parisa Ghaffarian
2016 Ben-Hur Esther
2016 Passengers Holographic greeter for sleep pods
2018 Hotel Mumbai Zahra Post-production

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