Nazanin Boniadi

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Nazanin Boniadi
BornNazanin Boniadi
(1980-05-22) 22 May 1980 (age 34)
Tehran, Iran
Years active2006–present
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Nazanin Boniadi
BornNazanin Boniadi
(1980-05-22) 22 May 1980 (age 34)
Tehran, Iran
Years active2006–present

Nazanin Boniadi (English /ˈnɑːzənn ˈbnjɑːˌd/,[1] Persian: نازنین بنیادی‎, IPA: [nɑzæˈniːn ɛ bonjɑˈdiː]; born 22 May 1980) is an Iranian-British actress currently living and working in the United States.

Early life[edit]

Boniadi was born in Tehran, Iran. Her parents moved to London when she was an infant. She performed violin and ballet as a young girl.[2][3]

She attended a private high school and later moved to the US 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.[4]


Boniadi changed her career path from medicine and started pursuing acting in 2006.[5] 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. She is also the first Iranian-born actress to ever be on contract on an American soap opera.[6]

She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2008 for her role in General Hospital.[7]

Boniadi has also landed 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.[8]

She played Nora, a love interest for Neil Patrick Harris's character Barney Stinson, on the sixth season of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[9] She reprised this role during the show's seventh and ninth seasons.

She appeared opposite George Clooney in a European spot for Nespresso, called The Swap, directed by Grant Heslov.[10]

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

Boniadi also appeared in an 8 episode arc on season 3 of Scandal as antagonist Adnan Salif.[13]


Boniadi is a spokesperson for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), with a focus on the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoners of conscience.[14][15]

She has her own official blog page on the Amnesty International USA website[16] and has written op-eds for media outlets such as CNN[17] and The Huffington Post[18]

Boniadi provided a voiceover to AIUSA's "Power of Words" public service announcement with Morgan Freeman, which won a Webby Award;[19] campaigned with the organisation for the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA);[20] has served as a panellist and emcee for events related to Iranian rights, and spearheaded The Neda Project with AIUSA in May/June 2010.[21]

In December 2010, she initiated an Amnesty International petition for Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, who were 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.[22][23] On 8 June 2011, Boniadi joined a delegation of Hollywood luminaries, lead 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 University of California, Irvine, with Rainn Wilson 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. 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 organisations 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. She is a former Scientologist who had a brief relationship with Tom Cruise in 2004. The Church of Scientology vetted her along with dozens of other women as a potential wife for Cruise, but she was not selected.[37]



2007The GameJosie2 Episodes
General Hospital: Night ShiftLeyla Mir13 Episodes
2007–2009General HospitalLeyla Mir119 Episodes
2010The Deep EndHeather MossonEpisode: "To Have and to Hold"
24Blonde Woman2 Episodes
HawthorneAneesa AmaraEpisode: "Final Curtain"
2011SuitsLauren PearlEpisode: "Errors and Omissions"
2011, 2014How I Met Your MotherNoraSeason 6–7 (recurring; 9 episodes)
Season 9 (guest; 1 episode)
2012CSINurse LaurenEpisode: "Seeing Red"
Best Friends ForeverNaya2 Episodes
2013Go OnHannahEpisode: "Gooooaaaallll Doll!"
Grey's AnatomyAmritaEpisode: "The Face of Change"
2013–presentHomelandFara SheraziSeason 3 (recurring; 6 episodes)
Season 4 (series regular)
2014ScandalAdnan Salif7 Episodes


2006Kal: Yesterday & TomorrowSimmiShort Film
2008Charlie Wilson's WarAfghan Refugee WomanUncredited
Iron ManAmira Ahmed
2009DiplomacyPersian InterpreterShort Film
2010The Next Three DaysElaine
2012Shirin in LoveShirin
2015Desert DancerParisa Ghaffarian


  1. ^ Benefit Show – 25 May at the Echo on YouTube
  2. ^ "نازنين بنيادی، چهره ای جديد در صنعت سينمای هاليوود". 19 May 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Human Rights Education a Priority for Iranian Actress | IIP Digital". 22 October 2008. 
  4. ^ "UCI grads make good | UCIrvine News". 6 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Nazanin Boniadi at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Morse, Jane (23 October 2008). "Human Rights Education a Priority for Iranian Actress". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  7. ^ De Leon, Kris (15 January 2008). "'General Hospital' Star Nominated for NAACP Image Award". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Gelman, Vlad (25 January 2011). "'How I Met Your Mother': Nazanin Boniadi to guest as a love interest". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Nespresso 'The Swap' Commercial on YouTube
  11. ^ 1 years (22 May 2013). "'Homeland' Adds 'Boardwalk Empire' Actor to Growing List of Guest Stars (Exclusive) – Hollywood Reporter". 
  12. ^ 5 MOS (14 March 2014). "'Homeland' Ups Nazanin Boniadi to Series Regular". Hollywood Reporter. 
  13. ^ 6 MOS (11 February 2014). "'Scandal' Enlists 'Homeland' Actress for Major Season Three Arc (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ "Tag Archives: nazanin boniadi". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "An Interview with Nazanin Boniadi". Human Writes. 
  16. ^ "Nazanin Boniadi | Human Rights Now". 
  17. ^ "Opinion: In Iran, an actress faces prison". 
  18. ^ "Rouhani – Meaningful Reforms or Political Games? | Nazanin Boniadi". 25 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "Morgan Freeman: The Power of Words". 23 December 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "I-VAWA Supporters". Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "I Am Neda". 8 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  22. ^ "Paul Haggis, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese and Harvey Weinstein Join Amnesty International to Condemn Harsh Sentence for Acclaimed Iranian Director Jafar Panahi". 28 December 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Iran must reverse harsh sentence imposed on distinguished film director Amnesty International USA | Human Rights Action[dead link]
  24. ^ "Iran Mission to the United Nations Accepts 21,000-Plus Petition Signatures from Amnesty International Delegation of Hollywood Luminaries". 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  25. ^ Nazanin Boniadi (9 June 2011). "Hollywood Unites for Iranian Filmmakers". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  26. ^ Zavis, Alexandra (4 June 2011). "Freed hiker fasts for two men still in Iran". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "Giving Back". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "ISCHIA GLOBAL FEST 2011 – MUSIC & FILM Sabato 16 Luglio 2011". 17 July 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  29. ^ "Rainn Wilson – Education Under Fire". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  30. ^ Nazanin Boniadi on Women's Rights at Amnesty's XX Factor Event on YouTube
  31. ^ "Hollywood Film Directors and Actors Demand Freedom for Brother of Acclaimed Iranian Filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi | Amnesty International USA". 5 December 2012. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Join Hollywood and Amnesty International in Calling for the Release of Behrouz Ghobadi". 21 December 2012. 
  35. ^ "Iranian Filmmaker Behrouz Ghobadi Released from Prison Following Amnesty Campaign with Hollywood Artists | Amnesty International USA". 22 January 2013. 
  36. ^ "Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosts Her 13th Annual "A World of Women for World Peace" Conference | Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson". 
  37. ^

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