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Azita Ghanizada
Born 1978/1979 (age 44–45)
Occupation Actress
Years active 2004–present
Organization MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition

Azita Ghanizada (born 1978/1979) is an American actress, known for her work on the television series Alphas, and the Broadway musical The Kite Runner. In addition to her acting work, Ghanizada is also the founder and President of the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition.

Life and career

Azita Ghanizada is a television, film and stage actress.

Ghanizada's life in America began as a political asylum seeker. The relationships her father made working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran afforded her family the opportunity to flee Afghanistan when she was a baby. She learned most of her English from watching American television in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. It was this learning from American T.V., combined with the family's regular trips to a local cinema that showed Bollywood movies, and her mother's passionate love of Indian and American film stars, that inspired Ghanizada to become an actress. She relocated to Los Angeles, California and began her on-camera career by working in television commercials and guest starring on popular television shows. A few of her notable television guest-starring roles include How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, Veronica Mars, The Mentalist , Psych, Ghost Whisperer, Castle, and Up All Night. In 2016, she was named "One of The 7 Sundance Break-out Actresses You Need to Know," for her work in "Complete Unknown."

Her first main role on television was in 2008, when Ghanizada joined the cast of the General Hospital prime-time spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift for season 2 as Dr. Saira Batra, a specialist in holistic medicine. The following year, she joined the all-star cast of the television pilot Tough Trade starring opposite Sam Shepard and Cary Elwes, from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, and executive producer T Bone Burnett. In 2010, she joined David Strathairn as a primary cast member of the American Syfy Channel series Alphas where she played Rachel Pirzad, a woman with enhanced sensory abilities. Alphas was picked up to series in 2011 but only lasted two seasons. She went on to film the comedy pilot Ellen More or Less in 2014 as a primary cast member for NBC directed by Peyton Reed, the television pilot was not picked up to series. In 2016, Azita appeared in the feature Complete Unknown opposite Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon, in 2017 she began production on Kevin Smith's feature film KillRoy Was Here. In 2019, she began recurring roles on both Ballers and Good Trouble.

In 2022, she made her Broadway Debut in the stage adaptation of The Kite Runner on Broadway, cast as Soraya (original).

Ghanizada is also a notable Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advocate for Middle Eastern North African (MENA) and South West Asian North African (SWANA) performers in Hollywood, and activist for women in Afghanistan. In 2016, she founded the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition, MAAC; and in 2017 she succeeded in lobbying the Screen Actors Guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (SAG-AFTRA) with other performers to include MENA as its own diverse category in theatrical contracts. This success marked the first new hiring category in a labor contract in 37 years. She also works as a global Ambassador for "Women for Women International", focusing on getting women in Afghanistan back to work and educated.


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Kiss on the Nose, AA Kiss on the Nose Chiara Short film
2007 X's & O's Anita
2010 You, Only Better... Kali Parker
2011 Blood Shot Zahra
2016 Complete Unknown Ramina film
2020 Our Friend Elizabeth biography
2022 KillRoy Was Here Sarah film
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Closer, TheThe Closer Neighbor Episode: "Batter Up"
2006 Numbers Prita Episode: "Harvest"
2007 Bones Girlfriend Episode: "The Man in the Mansion"
2007 Wedding Bells, TheThe Wedding Bells Jody Episode: "Wedding from Hell"
2007 Veronica Mars Amira Krimani Episode: "Un-American Graffiti"
2008 General Hospital: Night Shift Dr. Saira Batra 14 episodes
2009 How I Met Your Mother ... Female Cop Episode: "As Fast as She Can"
2009 Entourage Kelly Episode: "Amongst Friends"
2009 Psych Mina Episode: "Bollywood Homicide"
2009 Ghost Whisperer Charee Episode: "Devil's Bargain"
2010 Tough Trade Sabina TV movie
2010 Castle Mistress Sapphire Episode: "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice"
2010 NCIS: Los Angeles Rochelle Stanton Episode: "Disorder"
2011 Friends with Benefits Tasi Episode: "The Benefit of Full Disclosure"
2011–2012 Alphas Rachel Pirzad Main role
2012 Body of Proof Annabelle Kip Episode: "Cold Blooded"
2012 Up All Night Natasha Episode: "The Game of Life"
2013 The Mentalist Defiance Episode: "Green Thumb"
2014 Major Crimes Angela Soames Episode: "Frozen Assets"
2014 Ellen More or Less Lucy Pilot
2016 I Love Dick Sahar Episode: "Cowboys and Nomads"
2017 Wisdom of the Crowd Tanya Episode: "User Bias"
2018 9-1-1 Kelly Wesson Episode: "Let Go"
2018 Elementary Dr. Sepi Chamanara Episode: "The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out"
2019 Baller Saphia Mena 2 Episodes
2019–2020 Good Trouble Kendra Zahir 5 episodes
2020 Magnum P.I Maxine Gilbert Episode: "May The Best One Win"
2021–2022 United States of Al Ariana 8 Episodes
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