From the Iranian Revolution to Hollywood, with courage and style.
The first Iranian and Middle Eastern actor to be nominated for an Academy Award (House of Sand and Fog), Aghdashloo tells a plucky tale of fortune and tenacity, beginning in Tehran in the late 1960s as the firstborn of a well-off civil servant. Although the shah had modernized the country considerably, traditional values were still strictly adhered to—e.g., the interdiction on becoming an actress, as the author desperately desired from early on. While her father had decided she was going to become a doctor, the then-19-year-old author was waylaid by a dashing older suitor, Aydin Aghdashloo, a well-connected artist who truly swept her off her feet. He also assured her that, as his wife, she could pursue her dream. She did, instantly procuring a spot at the theater workshop that would provide her with some teeth-cutting roles over the next few years. Yet the political situation grew dodgy by the late 1970s, and the author writes that she had to choose between staying in a repressive atmosphere that censored the arts and leaving her husband, who had decided to stay in Iran. It was a heartrending decision, but the author does not adequately explain it, perhaps due to the confusion of the time. Aghdashloo installed herself in London, returned to school and completed her college degree by her early 30s, working largely at Browns boutique in Knightsbridge and selling her jewelry and car. She eventually found acting work that conveyed her to Hollywood. Though somewhat high-handedly edited, her work conveys a tremendous energy and love for her craft and adopted country.
A work as charming and elegant as the actress herself, conveying her remarkable career as a survivor of the Iranian debacle.