Top Iranian Actresses Working In Hollywood Today | Pretty Reel

With society calling for more inclusion in all productions, many studios have answered the call. Organizations like Time’s Up and production companies like LuckyChap open doors for actors, producers, and writers who type or work exponentially much harder to gain recognition. This industry strain is an uphill battle for those who aren’t white, thin, and blonde. While the Bechdel test measures gender diversity in movies, Nikesh Shukla created the Shulka test, which measures racial diversity in a movie. Indeed, PBS reports that in 2015, 73.1% of Entertainment’s 30,000 characters were white, 12.5% ​​were black, 5.3% were Asian, 4.9% were Hispanic, and 4.2% were other. . However, these categories are generalist, given that the Asian continent is made up of 48 countries such as Russia, Indonesia and Iran.

For the past eight decades or so, Western audiences have enjoyed Asian-made movies and TV shows. However, the countries depicted as “Asian” are overwhelmingly Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Korean – just four nationalities to somehow represent almost 50 countries. When it comes to portraying West Asia, the depiction of Middle Eastern characters often comes down to a few select actors who are largely typecast. Whether the Middle Eastern woman is silent or submissive or whether the Middle Eastern man is a terrorist or a taxi driver, the character typology of the Middle East is just as inadequate and awkward as the nickname “Asian.” Right now, however, with all eyes on Iran and its ongoing revolution, some Iranian actresses have become activists between filming their next feature film or TV show. Here are the top Iranian actresses working in Hollywood today.

9/9 Nazanin Boniadi

New line cinema

Fans of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will recognize Nazanin Boniadi, who plays Bronwyn, a healer from Tirharad. Bronwyn is a bold leader, which Boniadi naturally does. In a panel interview, covered by The Wrap, Boniadi said his audition for Bronwyn was inspired by his roots: “My audition, long before the current crisis in Iran, and I remember doing the scene and drawing strength of all the women I was fighting for and hearing the stories of in Iran and I remember thinking, OK, if I get this role, these women were going to be my inspiration for this role. Currently, Boniadi is raising awareness about the ongoing revolution in Iran.

8/9 Sepideh Moafi

Showtime Networks

Featured in the Black Bird miniseries and The L Word: Generation Q, Sepideh Moafi is an on-screen powerhouse. On The L Word: Generation Q, she plays Gigi Ghorbani, who finds herself after a divorce. Moafi discusses the importance of being an openly queer Iranian with Awards Radar: “To see an Iranian or really anyone from the SWANA region, the South West Asia-North Africa region, who is openly queer, is always stigmatized …if you’re gay, and they find out, you’ll be tried…and that’s an enforceable offence. Seeing that kind of bravery makes it even more important to echo their bravery and keep that portrayal alive. Between roles, Moafi spends her time speaking at walks and art installations.

7/9Nina Ameri


Atypical is a comedy-drama centered around the experience of Sam, an 18-year-old man with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Elsa, Sam’s mother, relies on her friend Luisa for support. Luisa is portrayed by Nina Ameri. Currently, Ameri is acting in the play by Iranian playwright Sanaz Toossi, in English. In the play, four female students in Iran are studying for the English as a Foreign Language test to earn their green cards. Premiering in English in January 2023 at the Milton Theatre.

6/9 Nazanin Nour

Filmstreet Productions

Nazanin Nour is a judge on Persia’s Got Talent. She also appeared in episodes of Madam Secretary and Criminal Minds. In May 2022, she starred alongside Colin Ferguson and Rebecca Liddiard in A Thousand Little Cuts, a thriller centered around a woman who wakes up in a hospital to find she’s been through something just as traumatic. When Nour isn’t on Persia’s Got Talent or acting, she’s meeting world leaders or sharing the horrific events of the current revolution in Iran on CNN.

5/9 Ana Lily Amirpour

Say Ahh Productions

Actress, screenwriter, director and lawyer Ana Lily Amirpour is reserved. Although she starred in independent films like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and The Bad Batch, she became quite comfortable behind the camera as a director. Her first directing role where she wasn’t also playing was in the horror series Legion. One of her biggest titles is the independent film Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, starring Kate Hudson and Jeon Jong-seo. She also directed an episode of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Between projects, Amirpour uses his TikTok and Instagram accounts to discuss the Islamic Republic’s atrocious acts towards Iranians.

4/9 Zar Amir-Ebrahimi

Profile Pictures

In Holy Spider, Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi plays an investigative journalist named Rahimi. The film is based on real-life serial killer Saeed Hanaei, who killed 16 sex workers in the name of God. In Holy Spider, Rahimi discovers that uncovering the truth will be difficult as many people think Spider Killer is a hero. The film premiered in theaters on December 20. In between promoting the film, Amir-Ebrahimi uses his Instagram account to share videos of protests in Iran.

3/9Nasim Pedrad


One of the most recognizable Iranian-American actresses, Nasim Pedrad, was a regular on Saturday Night Live, New Girl, and starred in the live-action Aladdin. She has her own autobiographical show called Chad and currently stars in Pretzel and the Puppies as Greta. Pedrad has long championed Iranian stories and characters in his projects. She is also not afraid of big topics like racism or misogyny. Along with Boniadi and Nour, Pedrad attended council hearings at the United Nations on behalf of the Iranian people.

2/9 Shohreh Aghdashloo

Alcon Entertainment

Shohreh Aghdashloo is another major contender for the most recognizable Iranian-American actress. She has appeared on countless hit TV shows like Will & Grace, Portlandia and Flight Attendant. One of his recognizable characteristics is his poetic, high-pitched yet gentle voice. Aghdashloo has also starred in many films like Septembers of Shiraz, which details many Iranians fleeing the regime right after he came to power in 1979. His biggest role was as Chrisjean Avasarala in the futuristic series The Expanse.

1/9 Taraneh Alidoosti

Iranian independents

By far the most famous Iranian actress is Taraneh Alidoosti. She has acted in many Iranian movies and TV series like Subtraction and Shahrazad. Recently, Alidoosti criticized the regime for the execution of activist Mohsen Shakeri in an Instagram post and was arrested by state police. According to CNN, his social media accounts were deleted following his condemnation of the regime. The Oscar-winning actress is one of many Iranian celebrities and journalists arrested for supporting women’s liberation in Iran.

Top Iranian Actresses Working In Hollywood Today | Pretty Reel