FAMOUS FARRAH: Love, Family, and the Internet

When ‘Famous Farrah’ started popping up around the web, I knew I had to learn more. Some girl with my name is FAMOUS? Who is this? Imagine my surprise when this totally bad ass Iranian American, Kathreen Khavari, came up on YouTube starring in a hilarious web-series. I started watching and immediately, I found myself clicking to the next episode. The worst part about this show is having to wait for the next one. Seriously, I couldn’t get enough.   

Famous Farrah has a unique take on a story that many of us are familiar with – pursuing your dreams despite what obstacles stand in your way. Kathreen and the rest of the cast have truly nailed it on the head with this one and we’re so excited to share this interview with you. Introducing Kathreen, talented, smart, and the lead on the show! Make sure you check out the episodes below too – SO EFFING FUNNY.

xo, Farrah 

– Where did you grow up? 

I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I went to college in that area for undergrad and went to London for graduate school. I left again when I moved to New York.

– What was living in London like? 

It was absolutely amazing. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s just really cosmopolitan and there are so many great, interesting people that are living there. It’s expensive and I was on a budget the whole time, but it was totally worth it.


– What did you study in school?

In undergrad, I studied public health. For grad school, I received my Master’s in infectious diseases. I had watched the movie, Outbreak and I became obsessed with the Ebola virus. My decision to study public health was prompted by something I watched on TV… which all of my decisions have been based on something I saw on TV or in a movie.

– How did you get into acting?

Acting was something I had wanted to do since I was small. I would always bug my parents about it and they would take me to random auditions. They were both very apprehensive about it. My dad told me he didn’t want me to pursue acting until I got my degree in university.

“Get a degree in whatever you want, that’s more practical,” he said. 

So by the time I got into university, I thought acting was very impractical – there is no way it can be a career pursuit.

I thought I should give it up and pretend the desire doesn’t exist.

So when I went for my Master’s in London, I still felt this desire and it wasn’t going away and it was very frustrating. I’d take the bus and drive by the Academy of Art and I was so envious of the students. I called my mom and told her this isn’t going away. She said, just come home and do whatever you want to do. So after graduate school, I returned home and took some theater courses.

I was pursuing a childhood desire.

kat 1

– What was your biggest motivation? 

I kept trying to suppress this desire to act for so many years, like 15 years and maybe less, and it hadn’t gone away. My fear was that 15 years in the future, I’d still have that desire. I just didn’t want to have any regrets. I didn’t want to wake up in my mid-40’s and think, why didn’t I do this back in the day? 

– How did you overcome your fear? 

I don’t know if I’ve ever overcome that fear – I think it pops up once a month. A lot of it had to do with my husband.  He said, “If you want to do this full-time, you should just quit your job and go for it.” And I thought that was terrifying, but he encouraged me to do it. And when I did it, I loved it so much that I just thought, “I should’ve done it a long time ago.” It was his encouragement that made me take the leap. 

– Were your parents supportive of you taking this leap?

When I started, I went for the whole I’ll try it for a year and see what happens and I truly believed that I would be discovered in a year and I was delusional. So they were totally cool with me trying it for a year. They are just scared for my financial stability, but they are still very loving and supportive. My dad sometimes says, why don’t you get your PHD in filmmaking? 

They’ve gotten used to the idea of me acting because I’ve been talking about it for so long.

Last time I had a play, my husband Skyped them into my play and I didn’t know they were going to do that. They had my husband buy me flowers – I was very touched.

– You have experience in acting for drama and comedy… Do you have a preference? 

I like to do both just because I’m a very emotional person. Drama can be therapeutic for me – it is a nice way of releasing. Comedy is just so much fun because it’s not as heavy. Drama can get overwhelming especially if its back to back. Comedy is fun and light-hearted. I like to be able to balance it out.

– So tell me about “Famous Farrah…”

Well four friends – one who’s a writer, one who’s an actor (me), a producer, and director – and we said, we have all the elements we need to make a production so let’s make something. Our director suggested a web series and why not? It’ll give us something to regularly put out there. Our writer came up with the idea and it’s very reflective of my life. But instead of wanting to become a rapper like Farrah does in the series, I am becoming an actor. We came up with the idea in October 2011 and started filming in March of 2012.


Our writer wrote these characters very well and it was very clear in our minds when we were casting so we looked for actors who really understood the characters. We had a lot of great actors who came in the room to audition, but the ones we picked were the ones who brought the characters to life. Sometimes you don’t really know what you’re looking for until you find it – but for us, we were very clear on what we wanted. We are very lucky that these actors are super-talented and a pleasure to work with.

– So what is “Famous Farrah” about? 

Famous Farrah is a show about a 20-something year old girl going through a quarter life crisis so she becomes the front woman of a failing rap group even though she doesn’t necessarily have the talent for it. The ensemble cast bring so much to the show, each character is great on its own.

We wanted to entertain. There’s a theme that it’s important to pursue your dreams. Our writer feels very strongly about that too. Do what you want with your life. We want the audience to feel like she deserves to achieve her dreams and she should go for it.

I don’t know what it is about our generation, but there are a lot of people going through a quarter life crisis. We want to love what we do. I think it’s good for people to consider what their own desires are instead of what society wants or our parents. We don’t want to wake up at 40 and think “what the fuck.”

– Have you ever been to Iran?

I speak Farsi and I go to Iran every year. I started going when I was nine.

– What’s your favorite memory from Iran?

When I was in elementary to middle school – we would go to Shomal in the summers with my friends that were the same age. Shomal is so much fun – the weather is nice and we would play cards together and laugh.

– How do you cope with the cultural conflict of being an Iranian American – if you feel any?

I think I felt the conflict a lot more when I was younger and as I got older, I started focusing on having the cross-cultural experience especially because this country is becoming more and more populated with minorities. When I was younger, I really wanted my parents to be American – and then in middle school, I started embracing it more.

I look at both cultures and based on each of them, I pick the values I like about each culture and form my own hybrid.

– What are three things you value most in life?

Love, family, and internet.

– What was your first job?

Teller in a bank.

– I know I’ve made it if… Johnny Depp says he likes my work.

– My Persian dad is better than yours because… he will get me food at 2am because I’m hungry. Because he loves selfies! He took the best one the other day – we went to Party City and I lost my dad. Then I see him and he had put on a hat, and a mask and he took like ten selfies and was super serious about it too. He wouldn’t give it to me because he said I’d put it online.

– What are your thoughts on one night stands? 

Sure, why not? Go for it! As long as he’s cute!

– What advice do you have the younger generation of Iranian Americans? 

Hold on to your Iranian heritage and culture as much as you can. Value it and the language too because it’s important and it’s a beautiful culture. At the same time, don’t feel too pressured by those cultural values to live your life in a way that will make you unhappy. Try to be as happy as possible without stepping on anyone’s toes.

I think children of Persian parents are scared to talk to their parents about their own interests because they feel like their parents are going to be hurt and shocked and against it.

I think we need to give our parents a little more credit.

Yeah, it might be hard for them early on to adjust to their children’s values, but they’ll get used to it. Persian parents are so loving and so in love with their children – they ultimately want their happiness.

– How do you like your Fessenjoon?

I definitely like it a bit more on the sweet side and actually, a little salty too!







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