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Let’s face it. When people think of Texas the first thing that comes to mind are cowboys, ranches and beef. Nowhere does an Iranian-Mexican bodacious bombshell ever enter the brain. Well, not until Aahoo Jahansouz, also known as Sarah Shahi, came into the frame. Exuding confidence, this 32-year-old actress has been turning heads since age of eight when her parents decided to enroll her in local beauty pageants. In 1997 this mesmerizing chica took first place in the Fort Worth Miss USA Pageant and soon after joined the cheerleading squad of the Dallas Cowboys. She eventually became the cover model for their 2000 calendar which, in my opinion, was a breath of fresh air considering Texas is a state known primarily for breeding blue-eyed, blonde haired women. Although the up-and-coming starlet was receiving notoriety in her city and town, there was a television itch that just had to be scratched.

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What’s even more impressive is that Shahi decided to start at the bottom of the television and film food chain. In 2000 she made her debut as an extra in the flick Dr. T and the Women. Director Robert Altman, noticing her natural charisma, suggested that she pack up her maletas and relocate to the City of Angels, which she did without batting an eyelash. Almost immediately TV roles were being offered and she landed roles on Alias, Supernatural and The Sopranos. But the standout performance that placed her on the list of “actors to watch out for,” was her portrayal of Carmen, the carefree Latina DJ caught in inescapable love triangles with other women on the Showtime hit The L Word.

Yet, despite the outlandish “feel good” characters Shahi tends to transform into, there are more contemplative people she has chosen to play like Salwah in the complex movie, American East. The plot revolves around an Arab-American family living in a post 9/11 Los Angeles who tackle assumptions about Arabic and Islamic culture.

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