These are the women who should be our examples, our inspiration. As we always say, screw tradition, do what makes you happy. Here are just a few Iranian women who inspire us:
1. Nazanin Boniadi.
best known for her roles in How I Met Your Mother, Scandal, and Homeland.
(Fun fact: first Middle Eastern to ever get a contract with American daytime television).
But what you may not know… she was set in following the Persian path – attending medical school at UC Irvine (where she won the Chang Pin-Chun Undergraduate Research Award for molecular research involving cancer treatment and heart transplant), but ended up dropping out and pursuing her passion of acting. When she’s not wowing audiences on screen, Nazanin works as a spokesperson for Amnesty International USA with a focus on the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women, and prisoners of conscience.
2. Shermine Shahrivar.
Miss Europe, 2005. Iranian-German. Student.
(and she dated Kanye).
Winning Miss Germany in 2004, Shermine went on to dominate the beauty pageant scene. You don’t have to be for beauty pageants, but you can’t deny that Shermine went on to do great things. Currently, the face of American Apparel and a student at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
3. Marjane Satrapi.
Author of Persepolis. No brainer.
Award winning graphic novelist and filmmaker. Master of tongues: fluent in Farsi, French, English, Swedish, German, and Italian. Most importantly, she speaks her mind:
If people are given the chance to experience life in more than one country, they will hate a little less. It’s not a miracle potion, but little by little you can solve problems in the basement of a country, not on the surface.
4. Sarah Shahi.
Actress. Former NFL Cheerleader. Sinfully hot.
From The Sopranos to Dawson’s Creek to The L Word, Sarah’s resume speaks for itself. Her given name was Aahoo (translation: gazelle), but she changed it to Sarah after being tormented in school.
How mad are those tormenters now?
5. Davar Ardalan.
Davar has time and time again educated the country on Iranian traditions and examined the close cultural dynamics between Iranians and Americans. She also made sure everyone is aware of the significance of the haftsin. Most importantly, she constantly strives to give a voice to women of color.
6. Sara Racey Tabrizi.
Former America’s Next Top Model contestant. Known for being “too sexy for the fashion industry,” but not too sexy for us.
(what does “too sexy” even mean?)
She was dismissed from ANTM in the 7th round, but that didn’t stop her from modeling for multiple brands including: L’Oreal, Converse, Pulse, King and Maxim. She went on to sign modeling contracts with TBM Models and Talent, APM Model Management and Mensa Management.
Take that, Tyra. Living proof to always try, try again.
7. Parisa Tabriz.
Dubbed “Google’s Security Princess.”
She spends her day hacking into Google. Yes, you read that right. Plus, her title actually is “Security Princess” at Google. She gets paid to think like a criminal so that Google can continue their impenetrable existence on the internets.
“Some people in other parts of the industry, they introduce themselves as, like, ‘vice president,’ with all of these certifications. I couldn’t give a shit. You could be Code Monkey Number 507, but if you’re doing cool stuff, I’m much more interested in talking to you than to whoever’s senior vice president.”
She also exclusively wears black. #respect
8. Kathreen Khavari.
Actress. Proves that she can actually do any role. Beauty and the brains.
(she’s also a JOONIES alum)
She graduated on the Dean’s Honor List from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in infectious diseases. Post-degree, she took a leap of faith and moved to New York where she pursued acting gigs and ultimately, developed the web series “Famous Farrah.” The web series married her love for acting and her background in science in a pretty damn funny way.
But most people know Kat through this video — where she proved that diversity comes in many shapes, sizes, and accents. Basically, she’s not about portraying that terrorist role in Hollywood, and we’re down with that.
9. Nazanin Mandi.
Triple threat: model, singer, Persian. Part Iranian, Spanish, Mexican, and Native American to be exact.
Did we mention she can sing in five different languages? Mastery of jazz and classical music? Check. She’s currently working on her debut album with the talented Miguel… who’s also her main squeeze. Her modeling resume ranges from Maxim Magazine to Esquire, GQ India, and Cosmo Girl (with many more included). Fact: brown is beautiful.
10. Kiana Hayeri.
Photographer. Breaking stereotypes all day.
Born in Tehran, raised in Canada – Kiana strives to bridge the gap between her Iranian heritage and Canadian upbringing. Something so many of us first generation-ers experience. She uses her camera to tell stories with a “social message,” – focusing on young women and the challenges that Iranians face both in Iran and abroad. Some of her works include “Beyond the Veil,” and “Your Veil is Your Battleground:”