“Leyla is mainly good. She really doesn't have any ulterior motives. She knows what she wants and is a hard worker. That being said, everyone makes mistakes now and then, but overall I think she means well.” Nazanin Boniadi
British Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi is well known to soap opera fans as Nurse Leyla Mir on the Emmy Award winning soap “General Hospital” (2007-2009), from which she netted an Image nomination. She also appeared on the SOAPnet spin off series “General Hospital: Night Shift” (2007). Prior to making her debut as a regular cast member on “General Hospital,” Boniadi had a recurring role in “The Game” and acted in the film “Gameface.” Her subsequent film credits include Mike Nichols's “Charlie Wilson's War” (2007), Jon Favreau's “Iron Man” (2008) and Jaffar Mahmood's “Shades of Ray” (2008).
Boniadi is a dedicated human rights activist. She speaks English and Farsi fluently.
Childhood and Family:
Nazanin Boniadi was born on May 22, 1980, in Tehran, Iran. Her parents later moved to London. Born into a well educated family, Nazanin became a good student with a passion for the arts. By the time she had celebrated her tenth birthday, Nazanin had earned praise from the Royal College of Music for her violin skill, a certificate in ballet from the Vaccani School of Dance, and was a winner of the British “Yamaha Electone Festival” for her skills on the electric organ. After graduating from a private high school in London, in which she acted in a number of school productions, Nazanin relocated to the United Stated to pursue her studies at the University of California Irvine. She graduated with Honors with a BA degree in biological sciences. While in college, she won the competitive “Chang Pin Chun” Undergraduate Research Award for her work in heart transplant rejection and cancer research, and was an Assistant Editor-in-Chief of MedTimes, UCI's undergraduate medical newspaper.
Nazanin is the great great grandchild of noted 19th Century Persian Philosopher and poet Safi Ali Shah.
Intelligent and artistic, Nazanin Boniadi received her first TV credits while living in London when she was hired to host the British children's TV series “Early Bird.” However, she did not decide to professionally launch a career in show business until she had completed college.
Now a resident of the United States, Nazanin played the lead role of Simmi in the 6-minute length drama “Kal: Yesterday & Tomorrow” (2006), directed by Freya Parekh and produced by the University of Southern California (USC). The next year, she portrayed Taylor in James Rhodimer's dark comedy “Gameface” (2007), where she costarred with Dan Uliel, Allen Burns, Gina Valona and Domiziano Arcangeli.
Boniadi made her American TV debut in the two episode role of Josie, the publicist of Drew Sidora, in the 2006 CW sitcom “The Game.” She appeared in the episodes “The Many Lies of Derwin Davis” and “When the Chickens Come Home to Roost: Part 2,” which was broadcasted on April 30 and May 14, 2007, respectively.
Boniadi's big breakthrough arrived later that same year when she won the coveted role of Nurse Leyla Mir on the ABC long running soap opera “General Hospital.” She was nominated for a 2008 Image Award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series for her work on the show. She first played Leyla Mir on SOAPnet's primetime spin off “General Hospital: Night Shift” (13 episodes, 2007).
Boniadi quickly attracted attention and Oscar winner and industry icon Mike Nichols handpicked her for the part of a refugee in his acclaimed film “Charlie Wilson's War” (2007), which was based on the true story of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. Actor Tom Hanks starred in the title role with a noted supporting cast that included Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Ned Beatty.
In 2008, Boniadi was cast as reporter Amira Ahmed in the blockbuster superhero movie “Iron Man,” adapted from the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The movie was directed by Jon Favreau and starred Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and Leslie Bibb. She also portrayed Farah in “Shades of Ray” (2008), which was written and directed by Jaffar Mahmood and starred Zachary Levi. The film premiered on October 18, 2008, at the Austin Film Festival and went on to play at the Independent South Asian Film Festival and the Cairo International Film Festival during October and November 2008.
Recently, in 2009, Boniadi appeared as a Persian interpreter in the short “Diplomacy,” which was written and directed by Jon Goldman.