Sarah Shahi

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Sarah Shahi
Sarah Shahi cropped and retouched.jpg
Shahi in 2011
Born Aahoo Jahansouz Shahi
(1980-01-10) January 10, 1980 (age 36)
Euless, Texas, U.S.
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1988–present
Spouse(s) Steve Howey (2009–present)
Children 3

Aahoo Jahansouz "Sarah" Shahi[1] (Persian: آهو جهانسوز سارا شاهی ‎‎; born January 10, 1980) is an American television actress and former NFL Cheerleader. She played Kate Reed in the USA Network legal drama Fairly Legal in 2011–12, she played Carmen on the LWord in 2008, and currently stars 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 supporting roles in The L Word and Alias.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sarah Shahi was born on January 10, 1980, in Euless, Texas, and raised there.[1] She is the daughter of Mah Monir, an interior designer, and Abbas Jahansouz Shahi, who divorced when she was ten.[4] Her father is from Iran. Her mother's father is Persian and her mother's mother is from Spain.[5][6] She has an older brother, Cyrus,[7] and a younger sister, Samantha, who is a production assistant.[8][9][10][11][12] Her father's family left Iran two years before the Iranian Revolution.[13][14] Her father, who was working at the American Embassy in Iran, was slated for execution when the regime collapsed in 1979 but was allowed to flee the country.[4] Her birth name, Aahoo (Persian: آهو‎‎), means "gazelle" in Persian.[6] She is a great-great-granddaughter of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar of the Qajar Dynasty, who ruled Iran from 1797 to 1834,[4] by one of his wives, Begom Khanom, daughter of Hossein Qoli Khan Afshar, niece of Begom Khanom, daughter Emam Qoli Khan Afshar, through their son Jahansouz Shah.[1]

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.[14] Her parents divorced when she was 10.[6] Shahi attended Trinity High School, where she was captain of the volleyball and basketball teams, and Dallas' Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Theater.[15] Shahi won the Miss Fort Worth pageant in 1997.[16] Hoping to become an actress, she joined the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (1999–2000) squad despite not having cheered before and appeared on the cover of the squad's 2000 calendar before moving to Los Angeles.[1]

Acting career[edit]

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 role of DJ Carmen de la Pica Morales on 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.[17] She also played Farah in the second season of Sleeper Cell, and 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. 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.

After Rush Hour, she scored her first permanent leading role, co-starring with Damian Lewis in the NBC series Life as homicide detective Dani Reese. The series ran for two seasons.[1][18]

In October 2009, Shahi landed the lead role in the USA Network pilot, Facing Kate. Shahi began filming in November 2009.[19] The show follows 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.[20] 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 also 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. 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]

Personal life[edit]

Shahi married actor Steve Howey on February 7, 2009, in Las Vegas. On July 8, 2009, she gave birth to their first child, son William Wolf Howey,[26] during an at-home water birth.[27] In January 2015, she announced that she was pregnant with twins.[28] On March 1, 2015, daughter Violet Moon and son Knox Blue were born during another home birth.[29]

Shahi was named number 90 on the Maxim magazine "Hot 100 of 2005" list, moving up to number 66 in 2006[30] and 36 in 2012.[31] She appeared on the cover of Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue in October 2012.[32] She ranked number 5 on the hot list in 2007.[33]


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 Lot Like Love, AA Lot Like Love Starlet
2006 For Your Consideration Sanchez
2006 Dog Problem, TheThe Dog Problem Candy
2007 Rush Hour 3 Zoe Uncredited
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
2014 Guns for Hire Carla
2015 Divine Access Marian
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"
2001–2002 Alias Jenny Episodes: "So It Begins", "A Broken Heart", "Reckoning", "Color Blind", "Spirit", "The Box: Part 1", and "Page 47"
2002 Class of ‘06 Meg Television film
2002 My Adventures in Television TV Diva Episode: "The Chinese Baby"
2003 Frasier Reservationist Episode: "Door Jam"
2003 Dawson's Creek Sadie 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"
2004–2007 Reba Bridget / Kate Episodes: "Cheyenne‘s Rival" and "To Tell You the Truth"
2005 Plan B Bronwyn Television film
2005 Supernatural Constance Welch / The Woman in White Episode: "Pilot"
2005–2009 L Word, TheThe L Word Carmen de la Pica Morales Supporting Role character in 26 (of 70) episodes[34]
2005 The Drop Herself Episode: "2.49"
2006 Teachers Tina Torres Main character
2006 Sleeper Cell Farrah Episodes: "Faith" and "Torture"
2007 Sopranos, TheThe Sopranos Sonya Aragon Episode: "Kennedy and Heidi"
2007–2009 Life Dani Reese Main character
2010 Psych Ruby Episode: "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers"
2011–2012 Fairly Legal Kate Reed Main character
2011 Young Justice Killer Frost Episode: "Terrors"
2012–2013 Chicago Fire Renee Royce 7 episodes
2013–present Person of Interest Sameen Shaw first in Season 2 episode "Relevance",[35] and 3 more in this season, regular from the third season[36]
2015 Ray Donovan Hasmig Episode: "One Night In Yerevan"


  1. ^ a b c d e f g 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 Robert Rorke (January 30, 2011). "Court of appeal". New York Post. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Ileane Rudolph (October 6, 2008). "For Sarah Shahi, life is beautiful". TV Guide. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Luaine Lee (January 19, 2011). "Life hasn't been easy for actress Sarah Shahi". News Observer. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sarah Shahi". Virtual Embassy of the United States Tehran, Iran. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Sarah Shahi Trivia". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Cyrus Mir Shahi on Twitter
  12. ^ Samantha Shahi on Twitter
  13. ^ - Sarah Shahi Biography
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ "Rah of Iran". November 22, 1999. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Sarah Shahi: Biography". 
  17. ^ Don't Quote Me: Kate Moennig and Sarah Shahi on The L Word
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Shahi Lands Lead in USA's 'Facing Kate'
  20. ^ Article at Reuters online about Shahi
  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
  26. ^ "Sarah Shahi, Steve Howey Welcome Son William Wolf". October 2, 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Sarah Shahi: How I handled my water birth". March 10, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2013. /
  28. ^ Entertainment Weekly
  29. ^ "Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Welcome Twins Violet Moon and Knox Blue". March 6, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  30. ^ Sarah Shahi profile on
  31. ^ "Beautiful Celebrities and Women of 2012 | Maxim Hot 100". Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  32. ^ "Sarah Shahi Covers Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue". 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  33. ^ ranking
  34. ^ IMDB. "L word cast & crew". Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  35. ^ "Listings - PERSON OF INTEREST on CBS". 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  36. ^ "'Person of Interest' Adds Sarah Shahi as Series Regular". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 

External links[edit]