Nazanin Boniadi is a British born actress of middle-eastern origin (Iran) whose rise to fame has been unprecedented. With her beauty and acting chops, she has been described as someone who inspires hope in people of similar ethnic origin. Folks look up to her, believing they can equally be successful in whatever career they choose, especially in a country that is not ingenuously theirs.
The actress started making waves in the movie industry following her role on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama, General Hospital, as well as its spinoff, General Hospital: Night Shift, which made her the very first contract actress to portray a Middle Eastern character in the history of daytime television in the United States. It is worthy to note that Boniadi is fluent in the Persian and English language; and, she and her mom were devout members of the Church of Scientology in the mid-2000s.
Nazanin Boniadi Was Born In Iran but Grew Up In London
Nazanin Boniadi was born in Tehran, Iran, on the 22nd of May 1980; yes, in the heat of the Iranian Revolution. As a result of this, her family decided to relocate to London to escape the violence.
While in her teen years, Nazanin once traveled to Iran but has since been prohibited from entering the country by the Iranian government as she was declared a persona non grata.
When the family was settled in London, Nazanin began taking violin and ballet lessons and would perform frequently whenever she had the chance.
Did You Know She Studied Biological Sciences?
Nazanin completed her basic education in a London-based private high school and graduated successfully. Thereafter, she proceeded to the United States for her higher education after gaining admission into the University of California, Irvine to study Biological Sciences. While schooling, she worked as the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of MedTimes, the university’s undergraduate medical newspaper.
She also won an Undergraduate Research Award (Chang Pin-Chun) for her molecular research which was centered on cancer treatment and heart transplant rejection. Coming from a family that expects much from her, the actress was supposed to keep up with the pursuit of a career in science.
But then, her passion for acting was so strong that in 2006, she decided to pursue an acting career. Time proved it was a wise decision as Nazanin Boniadi has been cast in a good number of Hollywood blockbuster movies like The Next Three Days, Iron Man, Hotel Mumbai, and Charlie Wilson’s War.
The Actress’ Religious Belief Facilitated Her Relationship With Tom Cruise
When it comes to relationships, Nazanin Boniadi hasn’t been in many, though she happens to be the crush of many because of her sheer radiance and captivating beauty. The actress had a relationship with Tom Cruise between 2004 and 2005 and it was quite controversial
As at the time the pair were dating, they were super-cool together but it soon emerged that it was a shady affair arranged by the Church of Scientology, as the group was looking for a potential wife for the Hollywood star at the time.
From what we learned, Nazanin Boniadi was a member of the Church of Scientology, just like her mum. The church is a group of interconnected corporate entities that devote themselves to the practice and dissemination of a body of religious beliefs organized as a movement by late American author L. Ron Hubbard in May 1952.
Here’s Why Nazanin Boniadi Left The Church
While still a member of the Church of Scientology, the How I Met Your Mother actress began volunteering for the Office of Special Affairs in Los Angeles. In the same period, an official of the church named Greg Wilhere informed her that she had been chosen for a higher assignment. Though she was not told what the assignment was, she was asked to do the following; remove her dental braces, correct her red hair highlight to a single color, and then sign a confidentiality agreement that stated she can’t abandon the project without approval from the church.
After fulfilling all that was required of her, she was flown to New York the following month where the project was revealed. Nazanin was supposed to be a suitable girlfriend for Tom Cruise and thus, was advised to end the long-term relationship she had had. She went along with the assignment, but her relationship with the actor ended in 2005 because of what she described as violent tendencies and temper tantrums from Cruise.
The church was not happy with the breakup and sought to punish her by making her dig ditches at odd hours, as well as scrub floor tiles. Having felt as though she was a victim of slavery, Nazanin Boniadi left the Church of Scientology and now identifies as a non-practicing Muslim.
The Actress Is a Passionate Human Rights Defender
Aside from her passion for acting, Nazanin Boniadi has been passionate about promoting and protecting human rights. As a result, she has been involved in many campaigns for human rights especially in her birth country, Iran. Even, she worked as a spokeswoman for Amnesty Interested USA (AIUSA) between 2009 and 2015. Her focus was on the unfair treatment and conviction of Iranian women, youth, and those who were prisoners of conscience.
Additionally, Boniadi has been involved in the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) organization campaigns. She served as the leader of The Beds Project with AIUSA in mid-2010. In the same year, the actress launched an Amnesty International petition that gathered over 21,000 signatures for the release of convicted Iranian movie directors, Mohammad Rasoulof and Jada Panahi. She subsequently delivered the petition to the United Nations alongside AIUSA executive director, Larry Cox and eminent director, Paul Haggis.
She Played a Crucial Role In The Release of Behrouz Ghobadi
In December 2012, Nazanin Boniadi alongside Roxana Saberi initiated an Amnesty International petition seeking the freedom of Behrouz Ghobadi, an Iranian filmmaker who was wrongfully imprisoned in Iran.
Afterward, it was announced that the filmmaker was released on bail. Later in 2014, she became a member of the non-profit organization, Council on Foreign Relations, and in the next year, she joined the Board of Directors of Centre for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI).
Following her human rights works with Amnesty International, Nazanin Boniadi was honored with the Social Cinema Award at the 2011 Ischia Global Film & Music Festival.