About Sarah Shahi
Born Aahoo Jahansouzshahi to Spanish and Persian parents - her lineage on the latter side could be traced to a 19th-century shah - in Euless, TX on Jan. 10, 1980, Shahi was an overachiever at an early age, participating in sports and beauty pageants, training as an opera singer, and earning a brown belt in karate. In addition to her outside interests, she excelled at school, going on to graduate at the top of her class from Southern Methodist University. After winning the Miss Fort Worth competition in 1997, she tired of the pageant routine and considered becoming a country singer, of all things. While exploring that venue, Shahi joined up with the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders from 1999-2000, ending up as the first rookie to ever grace the cover of their calendar. During this time, she also appeared in layouts for Muscle and Fitness and Curve magazines, and toured the Balkans and Southern Europe as part of the U.S.O.
While working as an extra on "Dr. T. and the Women" (2000), Shahi met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to pursue acting. She relocated to Los Angeles and began working almost immediately in television and film. Shahi graduated quickly from bit parts, to recurring roles on series like "Alias" (ABC, 2001-06) and "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1999-2003). A turn in the 2003 theatrical comedy "Old School" also earned her numerous male fans, after she gave an impressive pantomime of oral sex. In 2005, Shahi joined the cast of "The L Word" as Carmen de la Pica Morales, a budding D.J. who plays roommates Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig) and Jenny (Mia Kershner) off each other in an attempt to win Shane's affections. Eventually, she becomes involved with Shane, but the relationship ends up tumultuous, with much of the conflict over issues of fidelity. Their romance climaxes with Shane abandoning Carmen on the day of their wedding. Carmen's fiery temper and the intense psycho-sexual drama of her relationship with Shane helped make the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons among the series' most dramatic and watchable. Interestingly enough, Shahi was unsure if she wanted the role after she landed it, but soon came to consider it among her best work.
Shahi had a small role in Christopher Guest's mockumentary "For Your Consideration" (2007), but her most noteworthy turn of that year came in the "Sopranos" episode titled "Kennedy and Heidi." In it, she played Sonya Aragon, a savvy Las Vegas-based woman paying her way through college by stripping, who also happens to be a friend of Tony's cousin and loyal crew member Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). Tony arrives in Vegas to deliver the news of Christopher's death - which he caused - to Sonya, and becomes physically involved with her. The pair spends a hedonistic weekend together, capped off by the use of peyote, which appeared to have a profound affect on the guilt-ridden Mafia chieftain.
|Took first place in Miss Fort Worth USA pageant|
|Joined the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders|
|Met director Robert Altman while working as an extra on the set of "Dr T and the Women"; Altman reportedly encouraged her to move to Hollywood, CA to pursue acting|
|Began appearing in minor roles on television shows such as "Boston Public" (Fox) and "Alias" (ABC)|
|Landed a short recurring role on teen drama series "Dawson's Creek"|
|Joined the cast of Showtime's "The L Word" as Carmen de la Pica Morales, a budding D.J.|
|Played a starlet in the feature "A Lot Like Love" with Ashton Kutcher|
|Landed a minor role in Christopher Guest's ensemble comedy "For Your Consideration"|
|Landed a regular role on the short-lived NBC comedy series "Teachers."|
|Co-starred on NBC's mystery drama series "Life"|
|Acted opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in "I Don't Know How She Does It"|
|Played a former attorney who becomes a mediator following her father's death on the USA series "Fairly Legal"|