Actress Nazanin Boniadi is rapidly making her mark in both film and television, garnering praise in both the industry and media. This young starlet recently appeared as reporter Amira Ahmed in the 2008 Marvel blockbuster Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr. She was also handpicked by industry icon and Academy Award®-winning director, Mike Nichols, for a part in the 2007 feature film Charlie Wilson's War, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
On the small screen Nazanin is currently portraying Nurse Leyla Mir on ABC's Emmy Award®-winning, General Hospital, for which she received a 2008 NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series. Nazanin won the coveted role of Leyla in a competitive audition process after the producers had seen several hundred actresses. She first originated the role as a series regular on season one of SOAPnet's #1 rated primetime drama, General Hospital: Night Shift, in 2007.
Nazanin is credited as being the first actor in a contract role to portray an Iranian character in U.S. daytime history, an accomplishment which she hopes will help shape our social consciousness by promoting understanding.
Nazanin was able to showcase her comedic timing in her recurring role as Josie, Drew Sidora's overly interfering publicist, on the CW sit-com The Game. She has also appeared in several independent projects with new and gifted members of the entertainment community, including the Zachary Levi starrer Shades of Ray, and a lead role in Gameface, James Rhodimer's directorial debut.
Nazanin's diverse background has afforded her a versatility that has not only made her one of the most sought after Middle Eastern actresses in Hollywood, but has also allowed her to play a variety of other ethnicities, including Latin, Indian and Caucasian.
Born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution, her parents relocated to London shortly thereafter, where Nazanin was raised with an emphasis on education. By the age of ten her passion for the arts was already in full bloom when she received a merit from the Royal College of Music for her violin virtuosity, a certificate in ballet from the Vaccani School of Dance, and won the British "Yamaha Electone Festival" for her vibrant proficiency on the electric organ. After appearing in numerous high school productions, Nazanin earned her first TV credit hosting the UK's then popular children's TV show Early Bird.
Determined to rebuild the lifestyle her parents once enjoyed in their homeland, Nazanin decided to put her artistic dreams aside and instead focused on achieving a more "stable" and "secure" life as a physician. Nazanin moved to the United States to attend the University of California Irvine, where she won the competitive "Chang Pin Chun" Undergraduate Research Award (for her work in heart-transplant rejection and cancer research), and earned her Bachelor's Degree, with Honors, in Biological Sciences. Equipped with the confidence that she is capable of succeeding at anything she sets her mind to, Nazanin was no longer daunted by the prospect of pursuing her true calling- the performing arts.
Ever an artist, the sophisticated newcomer decided to immerse herself in the art of acting and test the highly competitive waters of Tinseltown. She promptly undertook its formidable auditioning process, at which she excelled, grabbing the attention of some of Hollywood's most respected casting directors, producers and directors. As the Executive Producer of Iron Man, Peter Billingsley, put it:
"It was so obvious from the moment we all met her on Iron Man, Nazanin is a natural talent with a very bright future. Her star will only continue to rise."
Fluent in both English and Farsi, Nazanin's language skills, as well as her ability to effortlessly transition between authentic British, American and various Middle Eastern accents, have given her a universal appeal, allowing her to carve a niche in the industry all her own.
As a devoted human rights activist, Nazanin has worked at a grassroots level and has also appeared on numerous international TV and radio programs to campaign for the rights of disenfranchised populations across the world.
In particular, she has been very involved in safeguarding human rights by participating in events that bring attention to the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoner's of conscience. She has met with political leaders, worked closely with prominent human rights attorneys and endorsed human rights petitions to the United Nations. She also makes appearances and speaks at forums sponsored by various human rights organizations.
Nazanin has served as an Advisory Board Member for Artists for Human Rights since 2006, joining forces with some of the most dedicated activists in the entertainment industry who have chosen to use their platform to educate the world on the 30 articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. In her own words, here is why human rights education is so close to her heart:
"The UN Declaration of Human Rights, proposed by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted by the United Nations in 1948 established 30 articles of universal human rights. This document establishes and protects the framework for civilized and respectful interaction between all people and nations no matter what their political, religious or cultural beliefs. Over 190 nations have ratified this declaration; and yet surveys show that more people can name 3 members of the Homer Simpson cartoon family that can name 3 of their basic human rights. You cannot defend what you don't know.
At a time when we see women being stoned to death, people starving in the Eastern Sudan, children being stolen from their families and made into child-soldiers or prostitutes, millions of people starving and dying of AIDS each year- we have to ask: what can human rights education do? My answer is everything. It equips people with the knowledge they need to fight for their own rights, and knowledge is power. It's where change begins." -Nazanin Boniadi
To learn more about Artists for Human Rights and how you can help please visit: www.artistsforhumanrights.org or click on the above logo.
Nazanin is also currently working in alliance with Artists for Amnesty USA in strong support of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). One in three women worldwide will experience gender-related violence in their lifetime and in some countries that is true for 70 percent of women. From the trafficking of women in Eastern Europe, to "honor" killings in the Middle East, to the use of sex as a weapon of war in Darfur and the Congo, violence against women crosses all borders, affecting women of all ages, social groups, religions and classes. The I-VAWA bill is groundbreaking legislature that will help the United States raise the issue of women's rights in its diplomatic work and is a major step in the effort toend violence against women on a global scale.
To find out how you can help make this a reality please visit: www.amnestyusa.org or click on the above logo.
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