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Sarah Shahi Biography


Sarah Shahi was born Aahoo Jahansouzshahi on January 10, 1980 in Euless, Texas. To her family, the quaint little town must have felt millions of miles away from their native Iran. Then again, their safety depended upon it. Descendents of the Fath Ali Shah of the Qajar Dynasty, Sarah's family was forced to leave their homeland two years before due to the political and social unrest caused by the Islamic Revolution. Luckily, the family was safe in America, and Sarah grew up speaking both Farsi and English, celebrating her parent's culture at home, while also happily gobbling up Americana.
sarah shahi the beauty queen

Sarah grew quickly into her beauty and, at her mother's encouragement, began entering pageants while she was still in elementary school. Success naturally followed, and by the age of 10, she was invited to participate in an international modeling competition in New York.

Although her travel and exposure increased, Sarah's parents made sure she didn't neglect her studies. To their credit, and hers, Sarah graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society and was also actively involved with her school's choir.

sarah shahi the cowboys cheerleader

Things really began moving for Sarah the following year when she packed her bags and enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The prettiest girl on her campus, Sarah was instantly recognized for her grace and elegance, and was crowned Miss Fort Worth. The title brought her more attention than she had ever experienced, and with it came an invitation to join the world-renowned Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader squad.

Sarah shook her pom poms for "America's Team" for two full seasons in 1999-2000, during which time she appeared as the cover girl for their 2000 swimsuit calendar, and traveled to the Balkans to entertain troops as a member of a USO tour.

Despite her extraordinary extracurricular pursuits, Sarah still managed to graduate near the top of her class at SMU, where she trained as an opera singer. With her degree in hand, Sarah decided to try her luck at acting and landed a role as (what else?) a cheerleader in 2000's Dr. T and the Women, starring Richard Gere and Helen Hunt. Despite her limited screen time, director Robert Altman was clearly impressed with what he saw and encouraged Sarah to go west to pursue a career in film.

Late in 2000, she did just that, moving to Los Angeles.

sarah shahi in old school

Early returns from her move were extremely promising, as the Persian beauty scored a succession of guest roles on Spin City, Boston Public and Frasier before landing a recurring role as Jenny in the spy thriller Alias. By now a familiar face to casting directors, Sarah scored again in 2003 when she played recurring character Sadia Shaw on Dawson's Creek.

The increased exposure helped Sarah to land a role in the mega-blockbuster comedy Old School later that year. Acting alongside Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn made it clear that she had finally arrived. Guest-starring roles followed on ER and Reba, where Sarah met her current boyfriend, fellow actor and series star Steve Howey.

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