Sarah Shahi (born January 10, 1980) is an American actress of Iranian and Spanish descent. A former NFL Cheerleader, Shahi was named #90 on the Maxim magazine "Hot 100 of 2005" list; she moved up to #66 in 2006. Sarah is married to actor Steve Howey, whom she met on the set of Reba in 2004. She has starred in The L Word and Life.
Sarah Shahi was born in Euless, Texas, to an Iranian father, Abbas Shahi, and a mother from Spain, Mahmonir.. She is a great-great-granddaughter of the 19th century Iranian king Fath Ali Shah Qajar. Her real given name, Aahoo, is the Persian for gazelle. She attended Trinity High School and Dallas' Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Opera. Shahi started her career as a beauty queen during her teen years. She won the Miss Fort Worth USA pageant in 1997. She joined the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders 1999–2000 squad and appeared on the cover of their 2000 calendar.She is fluent in English and Persian.
While working as an extra on the set of Dr. T and the Women, she met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to move to Hollywood. Once in L.A., she got various recurrent roles in several famous series, such as Alias, where she played Jenny, and Dawson's Creek, where she was Sadia Shaw. Shahi was also the first ghost in Supernatural, the CW paranormal drama series.
She is best known for her role as the Mexican-American DJ Carmen de la Pica Morales in the Showtime drama television series The L Word, which she joined in its second season. Shahi did not renew her contract with the series for the fourth season, and consequently her character was written out. She makes a guest appearance on the last episode of the series.
She also played the role of Farah in the second season of Sleeper Cell. She also appeared in HBO's The Sopranos, in the Season 6b episode "Kennedy and Heidi", as Sonya Aragon, a stripper and college student who spends a weekend with Tony after a death in his family.
She costarred in the NBC series Life along with British actor Damien Lewis as detective Charlie Crews. Shahi played homicide detective Dani Reese.
sarah shahi the beauty queen
Sarah Shahi grew quickly into her beauty and, at her mother's encouragement, began entering pageants while she was still in elementary school. Success naturally followed, and by the age of 10, she was invited to participate in an international modeling competition in New York.Although her travel and exposure increased, Sarah Shahi's parents made sure she didn't neglect her studies. To their credit, and hers, Sarah graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society and was also actively involved with her school's choir.
sarah shahi the cowboys cheerleader
Things really began moving for Sarah Shahi the following year when she packed her bags and enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The prettiest girl on her campus, Sarah was instantly recognized for her grace and elegance, and was crowned Miss Fort Worth. The title brought her more attention than she had ever experienced, and with it came an invitation to join the world-renowned Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader squad.Sarah Shahi shook her pom poms for "America's Team" for two full seasons in 1999-2000, during which time she appeared as the cover girl for their 2000 swimsuit calendar, and traveled to the Balkans to entertain troops as a member of a USO tour.
Despite her extraordinary extracurricular pursuits, Sarah Shahi still managed to graduate near the top of her class at SMU, where she trained as an opera singer. With her degree in hand, Sarah decided to try her luck at acting and landed a role as (what else?) a cheerleader in 2000's Dr. T and the Women, starring Richard Gere and Helen Hunt. Despite her limited screen time, director Robert Altman was clearly impressed with what he saw and encouraged Sarah to go west to pursue a career in film.
Late in 2000, she did just that, moving to Los Angeles.
sarah shahi in old school
Early returns from her move were extremely promising, as the Persian beauty scored a succession of guest roles on Spin City, Boston Public and Frasier before landing a recurring role as Jenny in the spy thriller Alias. By now a familiar face to casting directors, Sarah Shahi scored again in 2003 when she played recurring character Sadia Shaw on Dawson's Creek.The increased exposure helped Sarah to land a role in the mega-blockbuster comedy Old School later that year. Acting alongside Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn made it clear that she had finally arrived. Guest-starring roles followed on ER and Reba, where Sarah met her current boyfriend and now husband, fellow actor and former series star Steve Howey.
In 2005, she also made Maxim's Hot 100 list.
sarah shahi on the l word
With her fame steadily increasing, Sarah Shahi landed on a series of her own in 2004, when she joined the impressive ensemble cast of The L Word. Playing Carmen de la Pica Morales, Sarah ate up the scenery as a gorgeous lesbian DJ. The role had been eye-opening for Sarah, who learned more than a few new tricks on set. According to the feisty Texan, "I feel like I would definitely know how to go down on a woman if I was ever in that situation."
sarah shahi in life
From 2007-08, Sarah Shahi played Dani Reese on the TV series Life. She is also a part a film (that's only named Untitled Beatle Boyin Project), which has had a delayed release date for several months.