Interview with Bahara Golestani of "This Is Us" on NBC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Bahara Golestani; photo by Russell Baer

Interview with Bahara Golestani of "This Is Us" on NBC 11/21/19

This was a great interview; she has an amazing backstory and has a bright future as an actress.  I really enjoyed this.

Here's the audio of our call.

Suzanne: I watched the first episode this season of This is Us.

Bahara: Okay.

Suzanne: And are you in just that one episode or will we see more of you?

Bahara: We're just going to have to keep watching.

Suzanne: Oh, okay.

Bahara: No one's supposed to give away too much, but I know it's going to be very exciting.

Suzanne: Okay.

Bahara: Yeah.

Suzanne: All right, well I haven't seen the one since then so I didn't know if you showed up again already or not.

Bahara: Okay. You have to watch. It's such a great show.

Suzanne: Okay, so ...

Bahara: Did you like it?

Suzanne: I did. It's not a show I watch regularly. My job, I will have to watch a lot of television, between interviews and reviewing TV shows. And then the shows that I watch for my own personal thing, I tend to like things like The Flash. So it doesn't leave a lot of extra time to watch all of the shows that I like.

Bahara: Of course. There is a lot going on, so I totally understand. It's hard for me to keep up, too.

Suzanne: It is, it's so hard.

Bahara: There's just a lot of stuff, exactly.

Suzanne: So what was it like then, coming into a group of actors that have worked together for three years.

Bahara: Well, honestly, I was a theatrically trained actor who really emphasizes on the writing and the life storytelling. It was amazing. It was a dream come true because I've been a fan of the show since day one. And I'm a huge, huge fan of the creator. I saw the show grow and I've always had this tremendous respect for the entire cast, crew and the writing of the show.

Bahara: So, you have the idea of it, and then being a part of it, being in that room, being in the casting process and then also being there, filming and meeting the writer, the director, the actors, I really understand now why this show is one of the biggest shows of our time, and why it has so much size. It's truly a dream come true.

Suzanne: Well that's great, yeah. The actors are great. I know some of these actors from other shows. I wish I could catch everything because I like them.

Bahara: I love Mandy Moore. I kind of grew up with her, so very, very refreshing.

Suzanne: Oh, good, good. So everybody just welcomed you and was very nice?

Bahara: Yes. It was one of the best sets I've ever been on. Just any person from behind the scenes, the crew, the production, the casting department, the director, the producer, this is truly a set that you feel like you are part of a family.

Suzanne: Oh, that's nice.

Bahara: And you're a part of this artistic family that really cares about storytelling and being truthful to the story. And that was really important to me because I came from theater, I came from doing Shakespeare. You have a different type of discipline when you're working on a play, versus on TV, you don't have enough time to prepare, and everything moves a lot quicker.

Bahara: So to be a part of such an ensemble of artists who truly care about ... Especially my character being foreign, speaking a foreign language we had a translator on the set making sure that everything I said, I speak the language but still, she'd make sure that everything sounded the right way, make sure the props, the extras, everything from A to Z, that it was authentic. Because it was really important to be respectful to the story and to the heritage of Afghanistan.

Suzanne: So, when you were speaking in the first episode, yeah, you didn't speak in English. So, was that your native language or did it have any differences in terms of the area or anything?

Bahara: Yeah, that's one of my native languages. My mother is a Pashto/Pathan. So I was speaking Pashto, my mothers side, they are Pashto/Pathan. Which is the largest ethnic group of Afghanistan, are Pashtun. On my dad's side, they speak Dari, so I'm very grateful because I was able to learn both of those languages as a child.

Suzanne: Yeah, that's nice. You lived in Russia for a while. So did you learn Russian?

Bahara: Yes, yes, very different, my accent. I speak Russian, it's probably not as good as it used to be. I moved to Moscow when I was four and grew up there until I was 10. So I have that experience under my belt, too. Which is nice.

Suzanne: So how many languages do you know?

Bahara: I speak Russian, Dari, Pashto, English, and I also understand Hindi.

Suzanne: Oh, great. Wow, that's cool.

Bahara: Yeah, it's great now. As a child I didn't understand why I moved around so much. But now I'm like, "Okay, this maybe happened for a reason."

Suzanne: Yeah. So, I can't remember, I know I read your background, did you go to college as well?

Bahara: I went to just drama school here in L.A. for three years. So that was my learning, and that's what I've always wanted to do. So I was really, really grateful to have the opportunity to be able to go.

Suzanne: Well, I was going to say, if you ever decide to go back and get your degree, then you already have your languages. You can probably just test out of those. You don't have to take anymore languages unless you want to.

Bahara: Actually, when I was in drama school and I was almost done, I did think about going to ... Yale has a drama department where you can get your master's. It's a three-year program. And if you have a drama degree from a different school, that stuff's great. But it's a master's program. I've always been a huge fan of Yale drama school. And Meryl Streep, I absolutely love her, Lupita Nyong'o and all the people that have graduated from there, and how talented they are. I just have tremendous respect for the school.

Bahara: So I did think about it when I graduated from Stella Adler, about maybe auditioning and trying out. But unfortunately, it just didn't work out at the time, with everything. So you never know. I personally think that you should always do what you love and education is amazing. I love learning. And, you never know, I guess, yeah.

Suzanne: Right, right. Well, I can't ask you, I guess, my next question which was going to be ... Because I don't know if you're going to be a regular on the show or not. I was going to ask you if this is the first time you've been a regular on a TV series?

Bahara: I've been on other shows. I've been on The Trace, I've been on Animal Kingdom. This is Us has been definitely a game changer, I would say. It's definitely been a dream come true in so many different ways.

Suzanne: All right. Now, changing for a second here, Six Underground sounds like a really good movie. What is your role in that?

Bahara: Yes, Six Underground is going to be amazing, very, very excited. Michael Bay, working with Netflix, was epic. So I, specifically, was chosen to work on Six Underground because of my languages that I speak. And I was able to portray five different languages for the film. Once you watch the film, you'll understand what's going on. There is a lot of different layers and different things, and different languages, different cultures. And I was able to come in and work with the ADR team and do voice work in five different languages, which was a dream come true.

Suzanne: That is really cool, yeah. And did you get to do scenes with Ryan Reynolds.

Bahara: No, I didn't. But in my head I did. Not yet, not yet. But I'm a huge, huge, fan. So I guess, just being a part of something that he's a part of is just so exciting. And you never know what the future holds.

Suzanne: Sure, yeah. Did you work at all with Sebastian Roche? I interviewed him before.

Bahara: I'm sorry, could you repeat that.

Suzanne: Did you work at all with Sebastian Roche? I've interviewed him before.

Bahara: No. I don't think I have.

Suzanne: Oh, okay. He was in the cast list so I thought I'd ask. But it's a pretty big-

Bahara: No-

Suzanne: ... cast.

Bahara: Yeah. I know, but I would've ... Okay. Yeah, I'm going to have to look him up now.

Suzanne: Yeah, he's done a lot-

Bahara: It sounds-

Suzanne: ... of stuff-

Bahara: ... very, very familiar.

Suzanne: Yeah, he's done lots and lots of stuff.

Bahara: Awesome.

Suzanne: Now, you're going to be appearing in Dirty John next year, on USA network, correct?

Bahara: Yeah, so, Christian Slater, I got the opportunity to work alongside Christian Slater. That was a dream come true because again, I've been a huge fan of Christian since I was a kid. And yeah, next January, I think we ... I don't know everything about the air date yet, we don't have the specifics, but that's going to be a really exciting one. And the story's amazing, I can't wait.

Suzanne: So you've already filmed it?

Bahara: Yeah. We did that already.

Suzanne: Anything you can tell us about what the filming was like or anything?

Bahara: All I can say is that working with Christian Slater was a dream come true. I am such a huge fan and he is so amazing. And he is just a dream to work with.

Suzanne: He is amazing.

Bahara: Yes.

Suzanne: You were saying earlier about how they work so fast on television. If you get a chance to talk to Justin Hartley on This is Us, or-

Bahara: Okay-

Suzanne: ... Christian Slater, they both used to work on daytime soaps, which go-

Bahara: Yes-

Suzanne: ... super fast.

Bahara: Yes, yes.

Suzanne: They could probably tell-

Bahara: Absolutely, I have-

Suzanne: ... you some stories-

Bahara: Yes. I have friends who work on soaps and they're troopers. These actors are so hard working and so fantastic. So I have a tremendous amount of respect for soap actors.

Suzanne: I'm sure TV works very fast in primetime, too. But it's just, it made me laugh inside when you said that, because I'm thinking, "Well, if you think that's fast ..."

Bahara: Yeah. I haven't had the opportunity yet to work on a soap. I would love to. I grew up watching soap operas. My mother was really into novellas and she watched Hispanic soap operas, and I've been a fan. I would love to do it one day, but I have friends who work on soaps and I see how hard they work.

Suzanne: Yeah. From what I've read they go even faster now than they used to because budget cuts, and they're trying to fit everything in so fast. It's crazy.

Bahara: Yeah.

Suzanne: Now, let's see. I read about your background as a child and being a refugee. That must've been difficult for you.

Bahara: Yeah. I would say difficult is just not even a word that I could even use. I've seen so many things that a young four-year-old, five-year-old should never ever see.

Suzanne: I'm sure.

Bahara: Not even on TV. And they say children remember very specific, vivid things from their childhood. And I do remember a lot of it because it was traumatizing. And I have this respect for refugees and also for people going through it. It hits home for me, it's a soft spot for me. It makes me emotional. Because the world that we live in, it very much still exists. And all of this is happening all around us, and in Afghanistan and Syria, and it's heartbreaking.

Suzanne: Yeah. I think it's hard for people here to relate to that because even the people who grew up in say, the worst family, the most poor family, with a difficult childhood, they're still not living in a war-torn country or have to be a refugee and flee to another country. It's just so much, it's unfathomable.

Bahara: Exactly. Because I'm an American, I'm very, very patriotic and very grateful to be an American, and very, very happy. My heart's filled with joy that I'm sitting here speaking to you right now, but I always find myself thinking, "Okay. I'm going through something."

Bahara: My parents are pretty successful. My family was successful, they have careers, jobs, college educated. Imagine waking up one day and having to leave every single thing that you knew, that you ever knew, the place, the smells, the people, your items, your home, your home that you own, that you've built. We had acres, we had a beautiful house, and waking up and taking one thing, a bag on your back, and your children, and running for your life. Because the alternative is to die.

Suzanne: Yeah. Yeah, it's like I said, nobody here can relate to that. I wish they would do more TV shows or whatever, that do talk about that. And it's good that This is Us is addressing it. And they did a good job with Vietnam, they're still doing that.

Bahara: Absolutely. That was honestly, for me, the biggest takeaway, was the fact the show, we are a success, brave TV show. We touch on things that are so important like PTSD, obesity, being different in the family, being adopted, and also now, Afghanistan. And not just one side of Afghanistan. We see Jennifer Morrison come back with PTSD. And she's really having to start her life over. And she is going through her process with her husband and her child.

Bahara: But we also see what happens to this woman who's a doctor in a village who's risking her life trying to save other people. And that's a choice. We wake up every single day and we make choices. Whether you live in Afghanistan or you live here, you still make a choice. Her choice is to wake up everyday and help other people. And she knows that she can die at any given minute, because women are not supposed to have professions. They're not supposed to leave their home and go to work. That's not acceptable in the eyes of the extremist.

Bahara: So to be able to see that woman, and for her to risk her life, and for her to be so courageous, and have a baby on her arm and still help other people, and I also communicate with an American soldier, is just one of my favorite moments of my career, and always will be because it moved me in so many ways.

Suzanne: Yeah. It's really great what people are capable of when they have to, or when, as you said, they're brave and they just do it, yeah.

Bahara: Exactly, exactly.

Suzanne: And the thing about Jennifer Morrison's story that's so great is that I don't recall ever seeing them showing a woman going through PTSD. So that was really fantastic.

Bahara: Absolutely. And I have family members who work for U.S. military. My cousin is a traveling nurse. She was there for seven years. And when she came back, I noticed certain things about her. And then she told me some stories. And of course, I can't relate to it. I wasn't there in combat with her. She was a translator but she still witnessed a lot.

Bahara: So, absolutely, because we do have a lot of women who are in service. And we owe so much to them. And I think it is so important that the show is honoring these people and giving them a voice. And somebody out there who's watching it and going through this sees it. And hopefully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They see that we didn't forget. We think about you, and we honor you, and we appreciate you. We want to tell your story.

Suzanne: Yeah. Well, we got heavy on this one, didn't we?

Bahara: Yeah. We did. Well that's my first and middle name, is heavy.

Suzanne: So, now, not to get heavy again, but I know this country can be difficult sometimes with the way some people act. Has anyone given you a hard time? Have you had to face more problems here for your ethnicity, or your background, or anything like that? If you can-

Bahara: To be honest-

Suzanne: ... answer it-

Bahara: ... with you-

Suzanne: If it's too personal-

Bahara: I've had more opportunities here in the United States than I've had anywhere else.

Suzanne: Well that's good.

Bahara: And I'm extremely, extremely grateful for that. But I do like what's happening with the diversity. And these different movements that are coming into play, it brings a lot of joy to my heart because I feel like we still have a long way to go.

Suzanne: Yes, definitely. I live in Arkansas, so.

Bahara: Oh, you live in Arkansas. Oh, my God. Arkansas has the most beautiful horses.

Suzanne: That's probably true. There's a lot of beautiful trees and animals here, I will say that. Right now, we see a lot of great fall colors. So that's almost worth living in Arkansas.

Bahara: What's the weather like there right now?

Suzanne: Actually, well, today it was raining. But the last three or four days it's been nice. It's been in the 70s. So I can't complain too much.

Bahara: Oh, nice.

Suzanne: Yeah. We had some-

Bahara: That's gorgeous-

Suzanne: ... cold weather. And then it got nice again. You just never know what this time of year, what it's going to be. But we don't get too-

Bahara: I've never been, but I've always wanted to visit because I've heard it's beautiful.

Suzanne: It is. Yeah, I think most of the U.S. is beautiful. But yeah, any place where there's lots of trees is real pretty. And we have beautiful lakes and things like that, I guess, and rivers and all that stuff. But I'm not an outdoor person. I'm from the city, so I'm learning to appreciate it though. Little Rock is a nice city you should definitely visit.

Bahara: Yeah, for sure. It's on my bucket list.

Suzanne: Good. Now, is there anything else you'd like to tell us about what you might have coming out?

Bahara: Not at the moment that I can share with you. But hopefully, maybe in the future we will do this again.

Suzanne: Okay, great. That sounds good.

Bahara: Yeah.

Suzanne: I really appreciate you calling me.

Bahara: Thank you.

Suzanne: All right.

Bahara: I appreciate it, and have a wonderful evening.

Suzanne: Thanks. You, too. Bye bye.

Bahara: Thank you. Bye.

Bahara GolestaniAfter making a splash in multiple headlines with her announcement on Deadline, Variety and The Wrap, beguiling and multi-faceted actor Bahara Golestani is the new fresh face to watch on season of four of NBC’s smash hit series “This Is Us,” Tuesdays @ 9/8c. A graduate of the world-renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre, Golestani is best known for her roles in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and is also a voiceover actor. Her upcoming projects also include the Jason Koch-directed indie film BENEATH THE BLACK VEIL and the highly-anticipated Michael Bay blockbuster film 6 UNDERGROUND premiering on Netflix in December 2019.  

Having been both nominated and winning multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, People’s Choice, and NAACP Image Awards, NBC’s “This is Us” returns to television this fall to continue the captivating and unique story of the Pearson family. The newest season will dive deeper into the family’s history including stories from their pasts that have shaped their present day lives. Having been announced recently in the industry trades and spreading like wildfire to the rest of the world, Bahara portrays a mysterious and important character that will drastically affect the lives of the Pearson family. “This is Us” Season 4 Trailer

Bahara GolestaniBorn in Kabul, Afghanistan, Golestani walked an untraditional path to achieve Hollywood success. She grew up in a creative household; her father was an artist and her mother was an actress, so she always had a natural passion to perform and to pursue the arts. She grew up playing the violin and loved performing in school plays. At the young age of four, she and her family were forced to flee the country and became war refugees in Moscow. Their lives were completely transformed as they had to leave their home abruptly with nothing and led a refugee life with no stability. They ultimately were sponsored by the UN in Moscow helping her and her family move to America eventually residing in Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life. Golestani had a difficult childhood adapting in America as she didn’t speak a word of English. With the help of the hit television series “Friends,” she was able to learn the language and at the same time, became enthralled with acting. After high school, she pursued modeling, successfully landing several magazine covers, but always knew her true passion was to act. From the moment she stepped foot into the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood during a campus tour visit, she knew this was exactly where she belonged. In order to make money for the costly tuition, she worked diligently for two years on multiple jobs and finally saved enough money to move and enroll herself in the Academy. Upon graduating from Stella Adler, she persistently went out on auditions and worked as a professional fitness model, even successfully placing first in female bodybuilding competitions. After landing roles in various short films, Golestani has since appeared in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” CBS’ “Madam Secretary” ID TV’s “Betrayed,” and film AN AMERICAN FUNERAL, before landing her breakout role on the newest season of NBC’s “This is Us.”

When Golestani isn’t busy acting and continuously honing her craft, she can be found working on her fitness continuously bettering herself both physically and mentally. As a speaker of five different languages (Farsi, Russian, Dari, Pashto and English), she has worked as a translator/consultant on film and TV sets and has also completed voiceover work in films like 6 UNDERGROUND. Golestani has a huge compassion for refugees of war and is very proud of her Afghan roots. Ultimately, she would love to become a role model to those in similar positions to her when she was a child and plans to become even more active through various charities and organizations.

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