By Iman Sadri
Nasim is a rising actress of Persian and Latina ancestry who is making a mark in Hollywood. Her filmography includes a highly acclaimed Covid-19 Vaccine nationally televised commercial. Displaying raw emotion in the powerful ad Nasim has turned heads in Tinseltown. She has written and performed in theatrical productions, indie films and is a rising star in Hollywood. To learn more about Nasim we did a Q+A with The Persian Observer.
March 22, 2022
The Persian Observer : Describe your early life, education and upbringing?
Nasim : My abuela introduced me to entertainment at an early age. Every time she visited us, she gifted my siblings and I with a new movie. Whenever we visited her, we would watch films in her living room. She really stirred my love for film and television. Music has always been a huge part of life too. I was in choir for most of my adolescent life. My mom always had the latest records. I was excited when new music videos were released, and I played them on repeat.
My siblings and I also made our own content. We would dress up as our parents and record ourselves impersonating them. Although my family found the videos hysterical, they did not support a professional career in entertainment. In high school, I became interested and participated in musical theater. At home, I lived vicariously through the singers and actors on-screen who were living their wildest dreams. I thought maybe there was just something special about them.
IS : What were some of the earliest influences that inspired you to get into acting?
Nasim : Storytelling initially inspired me. I love entertaining stories. Watching actors play in imaginary worlds drew me in too. The child actors in Harry Potter films always inspired me. I never lacked inspiration though. I lacked courage. Jennifer Lopez has been a huge influence on my life. I admire how she has created a sustainable career in film, television, music, and fashion through her businesses. She has the financial freedom to create art consistently. The careers of Lin Manuel Miranda, Tyler Perry, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monáe, Jordan Peele, and Oprah Winfrey have also shown me that the sky’s the limit.
IS : What were some of your favorite movies growing up?
Nasim : Harry Potter, James Bond, Alice in Wonderland, My Neighbor Totoro, Pan’s Labyrinth, Jumanji, Jurassic Park, Inception, Chicago, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Forrest Gump, and Titanic to name a few.
IS : Who are / were some of your favorite actors / actresses growing up?
Bob Odenkirk, Daniel Craig, Jordan Peele, Robert Downy Jr., Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, Kate McKinnon, Meryl Streep, Sandra Oh, Reese Witherspoon, Ali Wong, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams, Steve Carell, Joaquin Phoenix, Leonardo Dicarpio, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks.
IS : When did you decide to pursue acting and which projects / films gave you the onerous to decide to make a living in the industry?
Nasim : I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications. The TV reporting industry quickly burned me out. Later, I enrolled in a MFA documentary film program at Wake Forest University because I was still interested in storytelling. A year into my program, I had a vivid dream about Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the dream, he guided me down the path of creativity. He encouraged me to make the commitment to follow my dreams. Shortly after, I finally mustered up the courage to pursue a career in entertainment.
As a working actress, I do not necessarily make a living from acting alone. A lot of the time working actors work side gigs. That way, we can sustain ourselves and continue doing what we love. It’s really not that glamorous, jajaja. My goal is to become an A-list talent and household name one day. Now that’s the glamorous life.
IS : Describe some of the films / shows / projects you’ve worked on and highlights from them?
Nasim : A huge highlight of my career has been working on my own projects. I have released three singles and directed two music videos. In my Silver Fox visual, I played a modern Marilyn Monroe and a rockstar. Of course, I am playing a literal singer too, which is an on-screen dream role of mine. With creative control, I create and play characters that go against Latina stereotypes such as the poor Latina, the gangbanger, or the drug lord.
I define Latina representation as playing exhilarating characters that transcend stereotypes, ethnicity, language, and culture. Like any actress, I just want to play iconic characters in amazing stories, which means I should play roles outside my cultural background. I am a Latina actress regardless if my Latinidad is shown on-screen, and I am very secure in my identity. If I am ever going to surpass Latina stereotypes, then I have to show Hollywood execs exactly what I want to play. For future roles, I am very interested in playing powerful characters such as AI, an alien, a queen, a spy, a mythical greek goddess, a superhero, a witch, and an athlete.
My favorite television project has probably been Creepshow. I auditioned for Greg Nicotero in-person, and that was a huge honor. He is a legendary storyteller in the horror world. I played a villainous airline agent within an escapist story. I had a lot of fun with this role because I don’t usually get to play evil characters. I’ve also worked on the set of ABC‘s The Baker & The Beauty, HBO Max’s Doom Patrol, and ALLBLK’s Covenant.
IS : How did the role of the Covid Vaccine commercial come about? Can you describe any highlights from the project?
Nasim : My agent sent me the audition. The audition was pretty straightforward. In the callbacks, the director Josh McGowan was curious about how I made my choices. I shared with him that I know several people who are still unvaccinated, and the conversations with them have been hard and emotionally draining at times. My approach to the audition really impressed him. I would say the highlights of this project were starring in a commercial with Kerry Washington and booking a national commercial with Johnson & Johnson. I also met a lot of great people on-set, including my co-star Marianny Gurrola and our director Josh.
IS : What is the process of memorization like? How long does it take to learn your lines?
Nasim : It depends. Thankfully, memorizing lines has become easier. I use a technique that cuts the memorization time in half. If the audition is short, I can memorize everything in about an hour and tape the audition the same day. There are those times though where I get an 11-page audition due the next day, and I just do the best I can.
IS : What are some TV shows / film series you would like to partake / act in?
I love fantasy dramas, thrillers, period pieces, and sci-fi. I absolutely love British cinema and stories set in New York City. I would LOVE to partake in film franchises such as James Bond, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. I love the storytelling from Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad. I find Bob Odenkirk so entertaining and funny, especially his character as Saul Goodman. I would LOVE to work with him!
I gravitate toward TV series with captivating storytelling like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Squid Game, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Ted Lasso, Behind Her Eyes, Killing Eve, WandaVision, Downton Abbey, Law & Order: SVU, The Office, Modern Family, and Emily in Paris. The new LOTR show The Rings of Power looks amazing! It would be exciting to play a series regular on a show like that! I love fashion, so acting in Emily in Paris would be refreshing. My dream is to book a hit TV show or iconic film on HBO, Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime.
IS : Who are some actors / actresses you would like to work with?
Nasim : I would like to work with as many A-list actors as possible. There are so many, but here are some to name a few: Bob Odenkirk, Daniel Craig, Robert Downey Jr., Jordan Peele, Steve Carell, Henry Golding, Samuel L. Jackson, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lopez, Ali Wong, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, and Meryl Streep.
IS : If you could play a Biopic of any historical character, who would you play and why?
Nasim : Biopics are great for period pieces! I want to play an iconic, powerful, successful character from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 90s, and before then! Also, I would love to play in an era where there are kings and queens. I love both the fashion and production design from these time periods. I would love to play a queen like Cleopatra! She seemed so glamorous and powerful! I am also very interested in playing an international spy, singer, fashion designer, and international model. These roles go against Latina stereotypes.
If we are talking historical fiction, I would LOVE to play Esmeralda in a live action version of Disney‘s The Hunchback of Notre Dame or a Disney princess. I am also interested in the role of Medusa or a Greek goddess like Aphrodite! I have also been told I resemble Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Playing a politician would be challenging though.
IS : What more can be done to get more diversity with Latina Americans/and Persians on TV?
Nasim : I have had this conversation numerous times. What holds our communities back is access, resources, and money. Asking Hollywood executives to step aside and give us an opportunity is an unrealistic expectation because at the end of the day, people do not want to share wealth. Here is the solution: Our communities should finance innovative stories that do not adhere to stereotypes. Ideally, those storytellers should be independent writers, producers, and directors of the communities they represent. However, oftentimes I notice our communities are still creating stories that fit their own stereotypes, and those are the projects that get funded unfortunately.
The Black community is my example. I really admire Charles D. King and Stacey Walter King at MACRO. They have consistently supported emerging black filmmakers financially, and they have even helped our communities. That’s why they have made so much progress in the last 5-10 years. I wish our own communities would do the same. I have written multiple scripts and songs, but they still have not received any funding.
IS : Who are some directors you would like to work with?
Nasim : There are so many, but here are a few:
Cary Fukunaga directed the last Bond film No Time To Die. I am a huge Bond fan, and I would love to work with him and play a Bond Girl one day. That would be a dream role. I love Jordan Peele‘s films! He is an amazing storyteller! I love how he integrates horror with comedy. Guillermo Del Toro is another director I would love to work with. I LOVE his fantasy drama films! They are ICONIC! Playing a character in one of his films would be a dream!
I would love to work with Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi. They recently directed Batgirl and Ms. Marvel. I have a deep desire to play a superhero or in a superhero film, and they are very supportive of Latina actresses. They also love action-packed blockbusters and classic, escapist Hollywood films like me. Apparently, their college film instructor did not believe in them, and I admire them for not giving up and believing in themselves.
Of course Ava Duvernay is a huge inspiration for me. I love how hard she has worked to get to where she is now. I have auditioned for a few of her shows, and I am patiently waiting for the right role to come along for me.
Sunny Hostin launched her production company Roots & Wings last year. I would love to just meet her in general. She is an inspiration, and she cares about our homeland Puerto Rico so much. If she develops any narrative shows, I would love the chance to play a character in her projects.
I believe he is retired, but I would love to work with the legendary animated filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki !
Follow Nasim on social media @yosoynasim