Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award nominated actress, Iranian born, Shohreh Aghdashloo has fought for the liberation of oppressed women in Iran and the Middle East for many years, and when she won her first Emmy in 2009, it sent a powerful message to women in her region. Here the actress reveals her excitement on winning her first Emmy and her guest starring role on a very special episode of Law & Order: SVU, titled Dirty.
Law & Order: SVU “Dirty”
DETECTIVE SALIYAH “SUNNY” QADRI (GUEST STAR SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO) TEAMS UP WITH DETECTIVE OLIVIA BENSON (MARISKA HARGITAY) TO INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF A DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Detective Saliyah “Sunny” Qadri (Aghdashloo) goes in search of Brooklyn District Attorney Page Ferguson, who she fears may be in danger. Qadri finds Ferguson just in time to witness her fall from the top of a parking garage. When Benson (Hargitay) arrives, she discovers that the crime scene has been tampered with. As the investigation progresses, Benson begins to question Ferguson’s suspicious past and Qadri’s involvement in the case.
Shohreh Aghdashloo: Absolutely, it means a lot to me and a partial acknowledgement. It will help me to sort of prove to the other half, to the women in the other half, that there are democratic places in which they can function as women and still be acknowledged and be able to work and receive awards for that matter.
Everything that happens to me has a tremendous effect especially on the Iranian women side-not only inside Iran but all across the globe. And of course, when they give me an inch I take a yard to prove it more and more that the democracy that we are enjoying from-in this country is for real and even people like me who have not been born here, who joined the industry can enjoy and be benefited from this vast and huge and active industry that is willing to work with actors regardless of their background, religion and the color of their skin and nationality.
It means a lot to me and also to my people. When Iranian women see me wherever I am they tell me how proud they are that I can open the doors for their children and the children of those children.
Based on your background you seem to attract roles that have some familiarity to your culture. What appeals to you the most about these roles?
Shohreh Aghdashloo: Well not necessarily, relative to my culture, but I love playing multi-characters, complex characters such as the one I played. She is very hard working, ambitious woman with her own dreams – pursing her own dreams. In this brilliant plot written by Judith McCreary, one of the writers of Law and Order, this character goes through a plot that takes a lot of twists and turns, every corner, and of course it gave me the opportunity to portray the character as truthfully as I could. She constantly keeps turning and changing.
In a scene we see a new face of her that adds to her complex character. I give an arm and a leg for a character like that, so when I read this story, I immediately jumped on it. Not only because I am a fan of this show, and I have been watching it religiously whenever I had time, not only to learn about what is going on, the law and order in this country, but also to take an hour away from who I am, where I am, what I’m doing and just sort of draw myself into some of the essence of the story that is so complex, and so interesting to follow up without having to think about my problems or my being or whatever it is related to me.
It makes me sort of pay attention to something else rather than myself; take an hour and just, hear a story that sometimes some of them stick with me for a couple of weeks. It is just incredible that I had the chance of of being a part of it.