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Interview with Bahara Golestani of "This
Is Us" on
This was a great interview; she has
an amazing backstory and has a bright future as an actress.
I really enjoyed this.
audio of our call.
Suzanne: I watched the first episode
this season of This is Us.
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
Suzanne: Oh, okay.
Bahara: No one's
supposed to give away too much, but I know it's going to be
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
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?
speak Russian, Dari, Pashto, English, and I also understand
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
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,
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
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.
is really cool, yeah. And did you get to do scenes with Ryan
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
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
Bahara: ... very, very familiar.
Suzanne: Yeah, he's done lots and lots of stuff.
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?
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.
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-
Christian Slater, they both used to work on daytime soaps,
Suzanne: ... super
Bahara: Yes, yes.
Suzanne: They could
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Bahara: What's the weather like there right
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.
Suzanne: Yeah. We had some-
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?
Not at the moment that I can share with you. But hopefully,
maybe in the future we will do this again.
Okay, great. That sounds good.
Suzanne: I really appreciate you calling me.
Suzanne: All right.
appreciate it, and have a wonderful evening.
Thanks. You, too. Bye bye.
Bahara: Thank you. Bye.
making a splash in multiple headlines with her announcement
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
is Us” Season 4 Trailer
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.”
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
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