Portraying one of the newest characters on this season of This Is Us, Bahara Golestani has entered the living rooms (or wherever you stream now) of millions of TV viewers. Being an avid television fan herself helped Golestani not only learn the language of the country in which she now resides, but helped further her love of an interest in acting. The Tidbit had the privilege to ask the versatile actor all about her current and upcoming roles, and Golestani shares advice for those looking to follow in her shoes.
The Tidbit: You’ve recently joined the emotional roller coaster of This Is Us. Can you tell us a little about your character of Dr. Asmaan and your experience on the show?
Bahara Golestani: I found myself being a part of a show that I have watched since the
day they premiered and I truly believe that This Is Us is one of the most important shows of our time. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I always thought the show was absolutely fantastic but actually being a part of the world of This Is Us and experiencing it first hand and working with Dan Fogelman and Ken Olin was staggering. I realized being on set how much goes into each moment and each scene and that’s why the show is so remarkably made. In a true fashion of This is Us, my character Dr. Asmaan is a woman we can all relate to. She’s a mother, a protector and she truly believes in doing the right thing even if it means risking her own life for an opportunity to possibly have a life of freedom, not only for herself but for her child. What I love about Dr. Asmaan’s character is she’s far removed from the stereotypical type and on episode one, we truly see how we are all just human and survival is in our DNA.
TT: Your recent projects include Michael Bay’s 6 Underground and the indie film, Beneath The Black Veil. What is it like to work on projects that differ so greatly in genre? Do you have a genre you prefer?
BG: I started my career on the stage and I had the privilege of portraying so many different characters and genres, I have worked on various plays anything from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams… I love to explore and I always find something different in every genre whether it’s a film or a TV show at the moment. I’m just so incredibly grateful to be able to work on such great material and I want to continue exploring.
TT: Being that your father was an artist and your mother was an actress during your childhood, did they encourage a creative path?
BG: Absolutely, I was always encouraged to embrace my creativity. I started playing the violin in middle school and even though I wasn’t that great at it, I loved the fact that my parents were always so open to me exploring my creative side.
TT: You have an incredibly fascinating background and learned English (and got bit by the acting bug) in an interesting way. Can you tell us about that?
BG: When I lived in Russia, my mother would always watch American TV shows and I found it absolutely fascinating. I moved to the United States when I was about 12 years old and all of us suddenly not being able to speak the language became the most depressing thing for me. Going to school and not having friends, not being able to communicate simple things was so frustrating, but my love for American television never died. I came across this show called Friends and I never stopped watching until this day actually. I think watching American television and a show like Friends definitely helped me improve my English.
TT: What advice would you give to anyone who has been recently bitten by the bug?
BG: Read one play a week if you can, study and learn the history of cinema, learn about playwrights, and definitely find a great place to train.
TT: What are you currently working on?
BG: I started working on a script when I was in drama school and years later, I’m finally at my finishing stages and I’m hoping to bring this amazing story about Afghanistan to life.
[feature photo credit: Andy Rooney]