An Interview With The Incredible Shohreh Aghdashloo

As we begin the Persian New Year, I am so excited to bring you this interview with one of my all-time favorite women – Shohreh Aghdashloo. She is an incredibly talented actress, kind-hearted, smart and strong. I love how genuine she is and how proud she is of her Iranian heritage. She is a true artist, human rights activist and a force for good.

Shohreh was born to a middle-class Iranian family in Tehran, Iran. At her father’s request, her grandfather randomly chose a page from his Hafez book of poetry and found “Shohreh” in the first verse. “Shohreh” means famous in Farsi. Her memoir titled Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines, talks intimately about her journey and ties who she is today to the experiences she had in Iran. She has an incredible story.

Shohreh came to the US in her twenties. Many Iranians who came to the US at that age took on a new dream or profession, but she knew who she was and what she was capable of even if Hollywood didn’t know yet. I saw Shohreh and her husband perform in a play a while back and still remember the performance. They were mesmerizing. It didn’t seem to matter how big the theater was, they were going to give the best performance of their lives. It seems that is exactly how she lives each and every day.

She has starred in close to 40 films and over 25 television programs. I remember how excited everyone was when House of Sand and Fog was released and Shohreh was nominated for an Academy Award for best-supporting actress. I also remember the controversy when she chose to play a prominent role on the television series 24. Today, she plays the powerful UN Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration in the acclaimed television series called The Expanse.

Shohreh Aghdashloo plays the role of master politician and maneuverer, Chrisjen Avasarala in the hit show The Expanse

Our interview below:

Irandokht: Nowruz Mubarak Shohreh Khanoom…. What is your most favorite Nowruz memory?

Shohreh: The one that my youngest brother Sean was born a couple of hours after the new year. All we could think of was the baby`s arrival while counting numbers to celebrate the New Year.

Irandokht: That is a beautiful memory. What do you think about the power of films to make a difference and change the world?

Shohreh: Films are great sources to educate, illuminate, inspire, ignite ideas and to nurture your imagination, conscious, unconscious, or subliminal.

Irandokht: Why did you choose to open your own theater company when you came to the US?

Shohreh: I was not exactly the girl next door in the early 1980s in Hollywood. After a few unsuccessful auditions, I decided to start a Theatre Company with the help of my husband Houshang Touzie who is a very talented playwright and actor.

Irandokht: You seem so passionate about every role you play… How do you choose which characters you want to play and which ones to pass on? What was your favorite role to date?

Shohreh: I love all my roles. They are like my children. After all, I pick them up with a pair of tweezers. I pick the ones that speak to me, and that are relevant and meaningful and pass on those that do not make sense to me.

Irandokht: I think your audience can sense that. In one interview, I believe I heard you say that you are a fan of Elizabeth Warren. Do you have an interest in politics and do you feel it is important for the Iranian community to get more involved?

Shohreh: Elizabeth Warren is a progressive politician and a true public servant. My major in college was “International Relations”, but my passion is storytelling. I sincerely hope that more and more Iranians will participate in politics.

Irandokht: I agree. You are very vocal in our support of women’s rights – what do you want to say to young Iranian women today?

Shohreh: Continue doing what you are doing. You are the face of the future and our only hope for a better future in Iran.

Be yourself and let the world see through you. Be organic, authentic and be visionary.

Irandokht: There are many Iranians that want to find a way to make a difference in the world – do you have any advice to them on how to find their way?

Shohreh: Be yourself and let the world see through you. Be organic, authentic and be visionary.

Irandokht: I love that…let the world see through you… I know you have a few projects you are working on, could you share a little about them?

Shohreh: My movie SIMPLE WEDDING is my first romantic comedy. It is set to be released in September and my husband Houshang Touzie is also in the film.  The premiere of THE CUBAN is expected to join the Toronto Film Festival in September as well.  Last but not least, I am impatiently awaiting the premiere of Season 4 of THE EXPANSE.  We recently wrapped filming in Canada and I am very excited about the new season.

Irandokht: I can’t wait to see all of them…especially Simple Wedding! I love that it is about Iranian weddings and all the love and drama that goes with it. In honesty, I love any production you are involved in. Thank you for taking the time for this interview.

Exclusive Trailer: Simple Wedding


This Saturday at 8:00 PM PT, check out KTLA’s California Cooking with Jessica Holmes where Shohreh talks about the traditional Nowruz meal of Sabzi Polo. It will air again on Sunday at 5:30 am. To get more information on the upcoming projects Shohreh mentioned, please follow her on her Twitter and Instagram. Nowruz Mubarak!

Update (March 25th): The California Cooking segment with Shohreh can be viewed here.

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