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Pajiba 10 For Your Consideration: Nazanin Boniadi

By Lord Castleton | Pajiba 10 | June 29, 2018 |

By Lord Castleton | Pajiba 10 | June 29, 2018 |


Nazanin Boniadi is smart and talented. She attended UC Irvine where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and won the Chang Pin-Chun Undergraduate Research Award for molecular research involving cancer treatment and heart transplant rejection.

Her role models are her mom, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, 20-year-old Nobel Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai and Pantea Arteshbod, “one of the all-time greatest female Persian commanders during the reign of Cyrus the Great.”

You may have seen her on General Hospital once upon a time.

From there she graduated to film roles in Charlie Wilson’s War and Iron Man.

Then she jumped back to TV, as a love interest role on How I Met Your Mother. After that she was on Homeland and Scandal before landing in her best role, Claire Quale, on Counterpart.

Yes, she’s also beautiful. But the thing I admire most about Nazanin, Naz to her friends, is her toughness. She grew up with a Scientologist mother, and was a devoted member of Scientology into her 20s. What they did to her in grooming her to be Mrs. Tom Cruise, according to multiple reports and her own FBI testimony, was nothing short of abuse and torture. You can read all about it in a great piece in Vanity Fair or watch it in the HBO documentary Going Clear. It’s appalling.


But she came through it. She beat it. She weathered that storm and came through it stronger than when she entered it. Now she serves as a spokesperson for Amnesty International, with a focus on the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women, and prisoners of conscience. She is an activist who has made a difference in the lives of others.

It’s so difficult to turn your back on your past, and make yourself anew. It takes a certain depth of character, especially in the realm of spirituality and religion. Some people never get around to actually considering questions of that magnitude in their lives, choosing rather to just do what their family has always done, or pretend to be one thing while privately believing something else. In the name of all those who do question, in the name of both kindness and perseverance, I suggest Nazanin Boniadi to your Pajiba 10.

Nothing improves lovely more than smart.















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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.