Aahoo Jahansouzshahi (born January 10, 1980), known professionally as Sarah Shahi,[1] is an American actress. She played Carmen on The L Word in 2005, Kate Reed in the USA Network legal drama Fairly Legal (2011–2012), Sameen Shaw on the CBS crime drama Person of Interest (2012–2016),[2] and Billie on the Netflix series Sex/Life. She has also appeared in the main role Det. Dani Reese in Life,[3] and in a supporting role in Alias.[4] In 2018, she starred in the series Reverie. In 2019, she appeared in a recurring role in City on a Hill on Showtime,[5] and appeared in seven episodes of the series The Rookie as romantic interest Jessica Russo.[6] In 2023, she received critical praise for her role of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Zahra Bankston in the LGBTQ romantic comedy film Red, White & Royal Blue.[7][8]

Sarah Shahi
Shahi in 2016
Aahoo Jahansouzshahi

(1980-01-10) January 10, 1980 (age 44)
Alma materSouthern Methodist University
Years active1997–present
(m. 2009; div. 2021)

Early life


Sarah Shahi was born Aahoo Jahansouzshahi on (1980-01-10)January 10, 1980[9] and raised in Euless, Texas.[1] Her father Abbas Jahansouzshahi and her mother Mahmonir Soroushazar, an interior designer, divorced when she was ten years old.[10] Her mother was born in Spain to an Iranian father and a Spanish mother.[11][12] Her father is from Iran. Her father's family left Iran two years before the Iranian Revolution.[13][14] Her father, who was working at the American embassy in Iran, was slated for execution when the last Shah's regime collapsed in 1979, but was able to flee the country.[10] Shahi has an older brother, Cyrus,[15] and a younger sister, Samantha, who is a production assistant.[16][17]

Her birth name, Aahoo (Persian: آهو), means 'gazelle' in Persian.[12] Shahi adopted Sarah as her name in second grade after hearing a song called "Sarah" because she was "tormented" by other children about her birth name, Aahoo.[1] At her father's behest, she grew up speaking Persian in addition to English. Shahi's parents began entering her in beauty pageants at the age of eight.[14] Shahi attended Trinity High School,[citation needed] and Southern Methodist University.[18] She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega during her time at SMU. Shahi won the Miss Fort Worth pageant in 1997.[19] Hoping to become an actress, she joined the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (1999–2000) squad, despite not having cheered before. Later, she moved to Los Angeles.[1]


Shahi at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Television Festival

While working as an extra on the set of Dr. T and the Women in Texas, Shahi met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to move to Hollywood,[1] where she received roles in several series, including Alias, Dawson's Creek, Reba and Supernatural. In 2005, she appeared in the supporting character role of DJ Carmen de la Pica Morales on The L Word, which she joined in its second season. Shahi's two-year contract was not renewed after the end of the fourth season, and her character was written out.[20] Also that same year, Shahi appeared in the pilot episode of Supernatural as Constance Welch, AKA The Woman in White, the first ghost that Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) encounter.

Shahi was named number 90 on the Maxim "Hot 100 of 2005" list, moving up to number 66 in 2006[21] and 36 in 2012.[22] She appeared on the cover of Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue in October 2012.[23] She ranked number 5 on the AfterEllen.com hot list in 2007.[24]

She played Farah in the second season of Sleeper Cell, and also appeared in HBO's The Sopranos in 2007, in the Season 6b episode "Kennedy and Heidi" as Sonya Aragon, a stripper and college student who spends a weekend with Tony after a death in his family. In 2007, she secured a small role in Rush Hour 3 as Zoe, a scantily clad rich girl who is pursued by Chris Tucker's character, Detective Carter.

In 2007, she took on her first permanent leading role on a TV series, co-starring with Damian Lewis in the NBC series Life as homicide detective Dani Reese. The series ran for two seasons.[1][25]

In October 2009, Shahi landed the lead role in the USA Network pilot, Facing Kate. Shahi began filming in November 2009.[26] The show followed the life of Kate Reed, a legal mediator who is frustrated with the bureaucracy and injustice she witnesses in the legal system. The series title was later changed to Fairly Legal. The show was cancelled after two seasons in November 2012.[27]

Shahi was cast as a recurring love interest for Taylor Kinney's character Lt. Kelly Severide on NBC's show Chicago Fire in October 2012.[28] She was cast in the recurring role of Sameen Shaw on Person of Interest, making her first appearance in the second season episode "Relevance", which aired in February 2013.[29] In May 2013, CBS President Nina Tassler announced that Shahi would be added as a series regular for its third season.[2] She played the daughter of Sylvester Stallone's character in the 2012 action film Bullet to the Head. Her co-star on this film was Jason Momoa, who she worked with again in the 2014 film Road to Paloma. Following the January 7, 2015, episode of Person of Interest, Shahi and the show's producers announced she would be going on maternity leave.[30]

In February 2016, she was cast as iconic detective Nancy Drew in a planned TV series based on the books.[31] In May 2016, CBS passed on the series.[32] Also in May, Shahi resumed her appearances as Shaw on Person of Interest, until June 21, 2016, when the show ended.[33] She starred in the new TV series Reverie in 2018,[34] but it was cancelled after one season.[35]

In 2019, Shahi joined the cast of Showtime's City on A Hill as recurring character Rachel Behnam, an investigator for the district attorney.[5]

In August 2020, Shahi started filming Sex/Life, a Netflix series inspired by BB Easton's book "44 Chapters About 4 Men", in Toronto, Canada.[36][37] She played Billie, a housewife struggling to remain a devoted wife and mother when tempted by an old flame and the freer days of her youth.[37] In October, she was cast as Adrianna Tomaz in the 2022 DCEU film Black Adam opposite Dwayne Johnson and Pierce Brosnan.

Personal life


Shahi married actor Steve Howey on February 7, 2009, in Las Vegas. In July 2009, she gave birth to their first child, a son,[38] during an at-home water birth.[39] In January 2015, she announced that she was pregnant with twins.[40] In March, a daughter and son were born during another home birth.[41] Shahi and Howey filed for divorce in May 2020.[42] Their divorce was finalized in January 2021.[43]

In 2021, Shahi revealed that she was in a relationship with Australian actor Adam Demos, whom she met on the set of Sex/Life.[44][45]

Shahi studied karate in her youth becoming a 1st dan black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate.[46]



In 2016, Shahi and Howey were sued by a former nanny of their children for sexual harassment and religious discrimination. The lawsuit claimed Shahi mocked her Islamic customs of dress and fasting. The lawsuit also alleged sexual harassment, with Shahi sharing a lewd photograph with the nanny, and grabbing her backside commenting "you have a perfect little butt."[47] In 2017, the nanny asked for the case to be dismissed.[48]




Sarah Shahi in films
Year Title Role Other notes
2000 Dr. T and the Women Cheerleader Uncredited
2003 Old School Erica
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Becky, Delta Nu sister Uncredited
2005 A Lot Like Love Starlet
2006 For Your Consideration Sanchez
The Dog Problem Candy
2007 Rush Hour 3 Zoe Uncredited
2008 Shades of Ray Sana Khaliq
AmericanEast Salwah
2009 Crossing Over Pooneh Baraheri
2011 East Fifth Bliss Hattie Skunk / Hattie Rockworth
I Don't Know How She Does It Janine LoPietro
2012 Static Adele Dade
Bullet to the Head Lisa Bonomo
2013 The Congress Michelle
2014 Road to Paloma Eva
2015 Divine Access Marian [49]
The Adventures of Beatle Carla
2017 Hangman Captain Lisa Watson [50]
2020 Bad Therapy Annabelle
American 11 Aliyah Ali [51]
2022 Black Adam Adrianna Tomaz
2023 Red, White & Royal Blue Zahra Bankston


Sarah Shahi in television
Year Title Role Other notes
2000 City Guys Cheerleader Episode: "Shock Treatment"
Spin City Bachelorette Episode: "Blind Faith"
2001 Boston Public Laura Episode: "Chapter Eleven"
Off Centre Angelica Episode: "A Cute Triangle"
Maybe It's Me Rosa Episode: "The Exchange-Student Episode"
2001–02 Alias Jenny 7 episodes
2002 Class of ‘06 Meg Unsold NBC pilot
My Adventures in Television TV Diva Episode: "The Chinese Baby"
2003 Frasier Reservationist Episode: "Door Jam"
Dawson's Creek Sadia Shaw / Mystery Girl Episodes: "Catch-22", "Sex and Violence", and "All the Right Moves"
ER Tara King Episode: "The Greater Good"
2004 Century City Ms. Morris Episode: "Sweet Child of Mine"
2004, 2007 Reba Kate
Episode: "To Tell You the Truth"
Episode: "Cheyenne's Rival"
2005 Plan B Bronwyn Unsold CMT pilot
Supernatural Constance Welch /
The Woman in White
Episode: "Pilot"
The Drop Herself Episode: "2.49"
2005–09 The L Word Carmen de la Pica Morales 26 episodes
2006 Teachers Tina Torres Main role
Sleeper Cell Farrah Episodes: "Faith" and "Torture"
2007 The Sopranos Sonya Aragon Episode: "Kennedy and Heidi"
2007–09 Life Dani Reese Main character, 32 episodes
2010 Psych Ruby Episode: "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers"
2011–12 Fairly Legal Kate Reed Lead character, 23 episodes
2011 Young Justice Killer Frost /
Crystal Frost
Episode: "Terrors"
2012–13, 2018 Chicago Fire Renee Royce 9 episodes
2013–16 Person of Interest Sameen Shaw Recurring role (season 2); main role (seasons 3–5)
2015 Ray Donovan Hasmig Episode: "One Night in Yerevan"
2016 Pitch Natalie Luongo Episodes: "Unstoppable Forces & Immovable Objects" and "Scratched"
Drew Nancy Drew Unsold CBS pilot
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Carmela Netflix variety special
2018 Reverie Mara Kint Main role, 10 episodes
Halfway There Carrie Claussen Television film
Hell's Kitchen Herself Blue guest diner; Episode: "Fish Out of Water"
2018–19 The Rookie Jessica Russo Recurring role, 7 episodes [52]
2019 Heartstrings Lucy Jane Episode: "Cracker Jack"[53]
City on a Hill Rachel Behnam Recurring role[5]
2021–23 Sex/Life Billie Connelly Main role


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mills, Nancy (2011-01-24). "Sarah Shahi turns cheerleading into 'Legal' experience". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  2. ^ a b Ng, Philiana (May 15, 2013). "'Person of Interest' Adds Sarah Shahi as Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  3. ^ "Dani Reese: Life Character". NBC. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  4. ^ Otterson, Joe (2020-01-30). "Sarah Shahi to Star in Netflix Dramedy 'Sex/Life'". Variety. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  5. ^ a b c "'City on a Hill': Sarah Shahi to Recur on Showtime Drama Series". Deadline. 14 January 2019.
  6. ^ Ausiello, Michael (2019-01-11). "Person of Interest's Sarah Shahi Joins The Rookie in 'Rock Star' Recurring Role". TVLine. Archived from the original on 2019-01-12. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  7. ^ Hogan, Heather (2023-08-11). "'Red, White & Royal Blue' Is a Perfect Gay Rom-Com (With Bonus Rachel Maddow and Sarah Shahi)". Autostraddle. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  8. ^ Phillips, Jess (2023-08-10). "6 reasons why 'Red, White & Royal Blue' will be your new guilty pleasure". Time Out Worldwide. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  9. ^ Rose, Mike (January 10, 2023). "Today's famous birthdays list for January 10, 2023 includes celebrities Rod Stewart, Sarah Shahi". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Robert Rorke (January 30, 2011). "Court of appeal". New York Post. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  11. ^ "Mujer de Hoy | Sarah Shahi habla y su familia | MDH". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  12. ^ a b Ileane Rudolph (October 6, 2008). "For Sarah Shahi, Life is Beautiful". TV Guide. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  13. ^ "Sarah Shahi Biography". AskMen.com. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Baron, Jeff (January 4, 2011). "With New Show, Sarah Shahi Is Ready for Her Close-Up". America.gov. U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  15. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich (February 20, 2013). "On Person of Interest, Sarah Shahi trades 'wink-wink, flirt-flirt', for being 'the ultimate bad-ass'". TVLine. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  16. ^ Luaine Lee (January 19, 2011). "Life hasn't been easy for Fairly Legal's Sarah Shahi". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  17. ^ "Sarah Shahi". Virtual Embassy of the United States Tehran, Iran. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  18. ^ "Rah of Iran". People.com. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  19. ^ "Sarah Shahi: Biography". TV Guide.
  20. ^ "Sarah Shahi moves on from "The L Word" and "Life" to "Fairly Legal" - AfterEllen". AfterEllen. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  21. ^ Sarah Shahi profile on Maxim Archived October 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Beautiful Celebrities and Women of 2012 | Maxim Hot 100". Maxim. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  23. ^ "Sarah Shahi Covers Maxim's 2012 'TV's Hottest Girls' Issue". Celebrity-gossip.net. 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  24. ^ AfterEllen.com ranking Archived September 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (August 12, 2008). "At SMU, Apparently, Sarah Shahi Was 'Walking Blue Balls'". Dallas Observer. Unfair Park (blog). Archived from the original on August 14, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  26. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 21, 2009). "Sarah Shahi lands USA's 'Kate' pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  27. ^ Megan Masters (November 1, 2012). "Fairly Legal Cancelled After Two-Season Run". TVLine. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  28. ^ Michael Ausiello (October 30, 2012). "'Chicago Fire' Cast – Sarah Shahi to Play Taylor Kinney's Love Interest". TVLine. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  29. ^ Sandra Gonzalez (January 8, 2013). "Sarah Shahi to recur on 'Person of Interest'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  30. ^ Bryant, Adam (January 8, 2015). "Person of Interest Bosses, Star on Shocking Exit and That Big Kiss". TV Guide. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  31. ^ Hibberd, James. "Sarah Shahi cast as Nancy Drew in CBS reboot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  32. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 14, 2016). "CBS Passes on Nancy Drew Reboot; Drama Being Shopped Elsewhere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  33. ^ Li, Shirley (May 3, 2016). "Person of Interest: EPs preview a final season set to 'blow things up'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 12, 2017). "'Reverie' VR Thriller Drama Pilot Starring Sarah Shahi Gets NBC Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  35. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (November 6, 2018). "'Reverie,' Starring Sarah Shahi, Canceled at NBC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  36. ^ White, Peter (2020-08-31). "Netflix Dramedy 'Sex/Life' Restarts Production In Toronto". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-06-18.
  37. ^ a b "'Sex/Life' star Adam Demos on that full-frontal shower scene". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  38. ^ "Sarah Shahi, Steve Howey Welcome Son William Wolf". People. October 2, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  39. ^ "Sarah Shahi: How I handled my water birth". People. March 10, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2019./
  40. ^ Snetiker, Marc (January 7, 2015). "'Person of Interest' exit interview: 'It's goodbye for now, but not forever'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  41. ^ "Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Welcome Twins Violet Moon and Knox Blue". People. March 6, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  42. ^ "'Shameless' Star Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Split After 11 Years of Marriage". Us Magazine. June 29, 2020.
  43. ^ "Shameless' Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi Finalize Their Divorce". US Magazine. April 8, 2021.
  44. ^ "Inside Sarah Shahi and Adam Demos' Real-Life Relationship After Meeting on Sex/Life". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  45. ^ "Sarah Shahi & Adam Demos On Sex/Life". Leo Edit. 2021-06-25. Retrieved 2021-06-25.
  46. ^ Cheney, Alexandra (2012-03-16). "'Fairly Legal' Star Sarah Shahi Talks Season 2 Secrets". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  47. ^ Kenneally, Tim (2016-11-11). "Sarah Shahi, Steve Howey Sued for Discrimination by Muslim Nanny". Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  48. ^ "Violet Moon Howey: Steve Howey And Sarah Shahi's Lawsuit". 2022-08-16. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  49. ^ "Review: Script grants 'Divine Access' to wit and deep thoughts". Los Angeles Times. 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  50. ^ "Sarah Shahi Is of Interest to the Hangman". Dread Central. 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  51. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller. "Bad Therapy movie review & film summary (2020)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  52. ^ Ausiello, Michael (February 22, 2019). "Person of Interest's Sarah Shahi Joins The Rookie in 'Rock Star' Recurring Role". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 12, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  53. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (February 11, 2019). "Sarah Shahi, Scandal's Bellamy Young, thirtysomething Alums and More Join Netflix's Dolly Parton Anthology". TVLine.