Sarah Shahi

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Sarah Shahi
Sarah Shahi cropped and retouched.jpg
Shahi in 2011
Aahoo Jahansouz Shahi

(1980-01-10) January 10, 1980 (age 40)
EducationTrinity High School
Alma materSouthern Methodist University
OccupationActress, model
Years active1997–present
(m. 2009; sep. 2020)

Aahoo Jahansouz "Sarah" Shahi[1] (Persian: آهو جهانسوز سارا شاهی‎; born January 10, 1980) is an Iranian-American television and film actress and former NFL Cheerleader of Iranian and Spanish ancestry. She played Carmen on The L Word in 2008, Kate Reed in the USA Network legal drama Fairly Legal in 2011–12, and also starred as Sameen Shaw on the CBS crime drama Person of Interest.[2] She has also appeared as the main female role Det. Dani Reese in Life, and in a supporting role in Alias.[3] In 2018, she starred in the series Reverie. In 2019, she appeared in a few episodes of City on a Hill on Showtime.[4] Also in 2019, she appeared in seven episodes of the series The Rookie as romantic interest Jessica Russo.[5]

Early life[edit]

Sarah Shahi was born on January 10, 1980, in Euless, Texas, and raised there.[1] She is the daughter of Abbas Jahansouz Shahi and Mah Monir Soroush Azar, an interior designer, who divorced when she was ten.[6] Her father is from Iran. Her father's family left Iran two years before the Iranian Revolution.[7][8] Her father, who was working at the American Embassy in Iran, was slated for execution when the last Shah's regime collapsed in 1979, but was able to flee the country.[6] Her mother was born in Spain, to an Iranian father and a Spanish mother.[9][10] She has an older brother, Cyrus,[11] and a younger sister, Samantha, who is a production assistant.[12][13][14] Her birth name, Aahoo (Persian: آهو‎), means "gazelle" in Persian.[10] She is a descendant of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar of the Qajar Dynasty.[15]

Shahi adopted Sarah as her name in second grade after hearing a song called "Sarah" because she was "tormented" by other children about her unusual birth name.[1] At her father's behest, she grew up speaking Persian, in addition to English. Shahi's parents began entering her in beauty pageants at the age of eight.[8] Shahi attended Trinity High School, where she was captain of the volleyball and basketball teams, and Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Theater.[16] She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega during her time at SMU. Shahi won the Miss Fort Worth pageant in 1997.[17] Hoping to become an actress, she joined the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (1999–2000) squad despite not having cheered before. Later, she moved to Los Angeles.[1]


Shahi at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Television Festival

While working as an extra on the set of Dr. T and the Women in Texas, Shahi met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to move to Hollywood,[1] where she received roles in several series, including Alias, Dawson's Creek, Reba, and Supernatural. In 2005 she appeared in the supporting character role of DJ Carmen de la Pica Morales on The L Word, which she joined in its second season. Shahi's two-year contract was not renewed after the end of the fourth season, and her character was written out.[18]

She also played Farah in the second season of Sleeper Cell, and also appeared in HBO's The Sopranos in 2007, 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. In 2007, she secured a small role in Rush Hour 3 as Zoe, a scantily clad rich girl who is pursued by Chris Tucker's character, Detective Carter.

In 2007, she took on her first permanent leading role on a TV series, co-starring with Damian Lewis in the NBC series Life as homicide detective Dani Reese. The series ran for two seasons.[1][19]

In October 2009, Shahi landed the lead role in the USA Network pilot, Facing Kate. Shahi began filming in November 2009.[20] The show followed the life of Kate Reed, a legal mediator who is frustrated with the bureaucracy and injustice she witnesses in the legal system. The series title was later changed to Fairly Legal. The show was cancelled after two seasons in November 2012.[21]

Shahi was cast as a recurring love interest for Taylor Kinney's character Lt. Kelly Severide on NBC's show Chicago Fire in October 2012.[22] She was cast as the possibly recurring character of Sameen Shaw on Person of Interest. She was featured in the sixteenth episode of the second season, "Relevance", which aired in February 2013.[23] In May 2013 CBS President Nina Tassler announced that Shahi would be added as a series regular for its third season.[24] She played the daughter of Sylvester Stallone's character in the action film Bullet to the Head In which was also the first time working with co-star Jason Momoa who she would later go on to work with again in his movie Road to Paloma in 2014. Following the January 7, 2015 episode of Person of Interest, Shahi and the show's producers announced she would be leaving the show for an indefinite period of time because of her pregnancy.[25]

In February 2016, she was cast as iconic detective Nancy Drew in a planned TV series based on the books.[26] In May 2016, CBS passed on the series, and its producers announced they would continue looking for a network to air the show.[27] Also in May, Shahi resumed her appearances as Shaw on Person of Interest, until June 21, 2016, when the show ended.[28] Shahi starred in the new TV series Reverie in 2018,[29] however it was cancelled after one season.[30]

In 2019, Shahi joined the cast of Showtime's City on A Hill as recurring character Rachel Behnam, an investigator for the district attorney. [4]

Personal life[edit]

Shahi married actor Steve Howey on February 7, 2009, in Las Vegas. In July 2009, she gave birth to their first child, a son,[31] during an at-home water birth.[32] In January 2015, she announced that she was pregnant with twins.[33]In March, a daughter and son were born during another home birth.[34] Shahi and Howey filed for divorce in May 2020.[35]

Shahi was named number 90 on the Maxim magazine "Hot 100 of 2005" list, moving up to number 66 in 2006[36] and 36 in 2012.[37] She appeared on the cover of Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue in October 2012.[38] She ranked number 5 on the hot list in 2007.[39]


Year Title Role Other notes
2000 Dr. T and the Women Cheerleader Uncredited
2003 Old School Erica
2003 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Becky, Delta Nu sister Uncredited
2005 A Lot Like Love Starlet
2006 For Your Consideration Sanchez
2006 The Dog Problem Candy
2007 Rush Hour 3 Zoe
2008 Shades of Ray Sana Khaliq
2008 AmericanEast Salwah
2009 Crossing Over Pooneh Baraheri
2011 East Fifth Bliss Hattie Skunk / Hattie Rockworth
2011 I Don't Know How She Does It Janine LoPietro
2012 Static Adele Dade
2012 Bullet to the Head Lisa Bonomo
2013 The Congress Michelle
2014 Road to Paloma Eva
2015 Divine Access Marian
2015 The Adventures of Beatle Carla
2017 Hangman Captain Lisa Watson
2020 Bad Therapy Annabelle
Year Title Role Other notes
2000 City Guys Cheerleader Episode: "Shock Treatment"
2000 Spin City Bachelorette Episode: "Blind Faith"
2001 Boston Public Laura Episode: "Chapter Eleven"
2001 Off Centre Angelica Episode: "A Cute Triangle"
2001 Maybe It's Me Rosa Episode: "The Exchange-Student Episode"
2001–02 Alias Jenny 7 episodes
2002 Class of ‘06 Meg Unsold NBC pilot
2002 My Adventures in Television TV Diva Episode: "The Chinese Baby"
2003 Frasier Reservationist Episode: "Door Jam"
2003 Dawson's Creek Sadia Shaw / Mystery Girl Episodes: "Catch-22", "Sex and Violence", and "All the Right Moves"
2003 ER Tara King Episode: "The Greater Good"
2004 Century City Ms. Morris Episode: "Sweet Child of Mine"
2004–07 Reba Kate / Bridget Episodes: "To Tell You the Truth" and "Cheyenne‘s Rival"
2005 Plan B Bronwyn Unsold CMT pilot
2005 Supernatural Constance Welch / The Woman in White Episode: "Pilot"
2005–09 The L Word Carmen de la Pica Morales Supporting role character in 26 (of 70) episodes[40]
2005 The Drop Herself Episode: "2.49"
2006 Teachers Tina Torres Main character
2006 Sleeper Cell Farrah Episodes: "Faith" and "Torture"
2007 The Sopranos Sonya Aragon Episode: "Kennedy and Heidi"
2007–09 Life Dani Reese Main character, 32 episodes
2010 Psych Ruby Episode: "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers"
2011–12 Fairly Legal Kate Reed Lead character, 23 episodes
2011 Young Justice Killer Frost Episode: "Terrors"
2012–13; 2018 Chicago Fire Renee Royce 9 episodes
2013–16 Person of Interest Sameen Shaw Recurring role (season 2); main role (seasons 3–5)[41] 49 episodes
2015 Ray Donovan Hasmig Episode: "One Night in Yerevan"
2016 Pitch Natalie Luongo Episodes: "Unstoppable Forces & Immovable Objects" and "Scratched"
2016 Drew Nancy Drew Unsold CBS pilot
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Carmela Netflix variety special
2018 Reverie Mara Kint Main role, 10 episodes
2018 Halfway There Carrie Claussen Television film
2018 Hell's Kitchen Herself Guest diner; Episode: "Fish Out of Water"
2019 Heartstrings Lucy Jane Episode: "Cracker Jack"[42]
2019 The Rookie Jessica Russo Recurring role[43]
2019 City on a Hill Rachel Behnam Recurring role[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mills, Nancy (2011-01-24). "Sarah Shahi turns cheerleading into 'Legal' experience". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  2. ^ Ng, Philiana (May 15, 2013). "'Person of Interest' Adds Sarah Shahi as Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  3. ^ "The L word cast". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Robert Rorke (January 30, 2011). "Court of appeal". New York Post. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Sarah Shahi Biography". February 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Baron, Jeff (January 4, 2011). "With New Show, Sarah Shahi Is Ready for Her Close-Up". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2015-06-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b Ileane Rudolph (October 6, 2008). "For Sarah Shahi, life is beautiful". TV Guide. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  11. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich (February 20, 2013). "On Person of Interest, Sarah Shahi trades 'wink-wink, flirt-flirt', for being 'the ultimate bad-ass'". Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  12. ^ Luaine Lee (January 19, 2011). "Life hasn't been easy for actress Sarah Shahi". News Observer. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  13. ^ "Sarah Shahi". Virtual Embassy of the United States Tehran, Iran. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Sarah Shahi Trivia". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Sarah Shahi". United States Virtual Embassy Iran. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  16. ^ "Rah of Iran". November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  17. ^ "Sarah Shahi: Biography".
  18. ^ "Sarah Shahi moves on from "The L Word" and "Life" to "Fairly Legal" - AfterEllen". AfterEllen. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  19. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (August 12, 2008). "At SMU, Apparently, Sarah Shahi Was 'Walking Blue Balls'". Dallas Observer. Unfair Park (blog). Archived from the original on August 14, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  20. ^ Shahi Lands Lead in USA's 'Facing Kate' Archived January 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Megan Masters (November 1, 2012). "Fairly Legal Cancelled After Two-Season Run". TVLine. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  22. ^ Michael Ausiello (October 30, 2012). "'Chicago Fire' Cast – Sarah Shahi to Play Taylor Kinney's Love Interest". TVLine. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  23. ^ Sandra Gonzalez (January 8, 2013). "Sarah Shahi to recur on 'Person of Interest'". TV Guide. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  24. ^ Philiana Ng (May 15, 2013). "'Person of Interest' Adds Sarah Shahi as Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  25. ^ TV Guide Archived January 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Hibberd, James. "Sarah Shahi cast as Nancy Drew in CBS reboot". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  27. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 14, 2016). "CBS Passes on Nancy Drew Reboot; Drama Being Shopped Elsewhere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  28. ^ Li, Shirley (May 3, 2016). "Person of Interest: EPs preview a final season set to 'blow things up'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  29. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 12, 2017). "'Reverie' VR Thriller Drama Pilot Starring Sarah Shahi Gets NBC Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  30. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (November 6, 2018). "'Reverie,' Starring Sarah Shahi, Canceled at NBC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  31. ^ "Sarah Shahi, Steve Howey Welcome Son William Wolf". People. October 2, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  32. ^ "Sarah Shahi: How I handled my water birth". People. March 10, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2019./
  33. ^ Snetiker, Marc (January 7, 2015). "'Person of Interest' exit interview: 'It's goodbye for now, but not forever'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  34. ^ "Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Welcome Twins Violet Moon and Knox Blue". People. March 6, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  35. ^ "'Shameless' Star Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Split After 11 Years of Marriage". Us Magazine. June 29, 2020.
  36. ^ Sarah Shahi profile on Archived October 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ "Beautiful Celebrities and Women of 2012 | Maxim Hot 100". Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  38. ^ "Sarah Shahi Covers Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue". 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  39. ^ ranking Archived September 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ IMDB. "L word cast & crew". Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  41. ^ "'Person of Interest' Adds Sarah Shahi as Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  42. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (February 11, 2019). "Sarah Shahi, Scandal's Bellamy Young, thirtysomething Alums and More Join Netflix's Dolly Parton Anthology". TVLine.
  43. ^ Ausiello, Michael (February 22, 2019). "Person of Interest's Sarah Shahi Joins The Rookie in 'Rock Star' Recurring Role". TVLine. Retrieved February 22, 2019.

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