What can I say about Sarah Shahi?! There are too many GREAT things to list! From the moment Sarah walked into the room, she had this presence, this energy, and the confidence that was absolutely contagious. She is a joy to be around and is stunning in every way. After having a one on one conversation with her, I can definitely say that she is going to be the next Oprah (laughs). She spoke directly from the heart and won me over. Now, you’re about to witness it for yourselves...- Senior Editor, Shruti Sadana
I don’t believe in coincidence.
I was listening to this really great talk between Oprah and Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer was talking about how there is no such thing as a coincidence.
If you could have cocktails with anyone living or dead, who would it be, what would you drink and what would be your first topic of conversation?
It would be Maya Angelou. I’ve been going through a lot of transitions in my own life this past year. I’ve been finding a lot of comfort and support through her books and poems. What was surprising about her was the fact that not only was she so wise but she had such an incredible sense of humor. The way she “preaches,” doesn’t come across as preachy. She comes across as so real and conversational that she seems like the kind of person you would be able to have a drink with and go back and forth with. She never came across as she was “better than” or as if she had it all figured out. Even when she died in her late seventies or early eighties, she still had this attitude that she was on her journey and was processing everything. I just believe her to be real and authentic. I think I would want to have the most sobering moment possible with her (laughs). I wouldn’t want to forget a minute of it. She seems like the kind of the girl that would definitely have some alcohol, so I’ll have what she’s having.
Congrats on the hit series Reverie!
Congrats on the hit series Reverie! It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Can you talk to us about the process of how you landed the role? Did you audition or was it an offer? Who was the first person you called when you found out you landed the role of Mara Kint?
It was a phone call. It came to me at a point where my father had just passed. It was a few months before I got Reverie. I didn’t really have much of a relationship with him. He was an addict and my mom and I were in and out of women’s shelters. When he died, I was really surprised by how much the grief overwhelmed me. I felt like I couldn’t even put one foot in front of the other some days. Then I felt like, “well if I couldn’t have a relationship with him down here, maybe I can have one with him up there. “ Whether I was creating it or it was real, I felt like I started seeing him and feeling him. I became convinced that there was a lot more to this world than what our eyes can see. Pretty soon after that is when I got the script for Reverie, which was the story about this woman whose sister and niece had died. She was an addict and trying to overcome the loss of her family and then she was traveling back and forth between these two different universes. I felt like “oh my gosh” I have to tell the story of this character because it was so similar to my mine. The fact that I was going to get to be in business with Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg)...I felt like I was dreaming because I had grown up worshipping his films. I thought, “I can’t believe this is all happening," to be surrounded by people that are not only talented but also authentic and practice what they preach. They are just beautiful human beings and great collaborators. You don’t always get that with people in Hollywood- actually, you hardly ever get that with people in Hollywood. So, it was such a dream come true when they called me to work with them and then to be able to do the project with them.
Who was the first person you called when you found out that you were going to be doing Reverie?
My mother (laughs). We’re very close, and she’s my first call for anything that is good or bad.
If Reverie was a real game, where would you go and what would you be doing?
There’s a memory that I have of my dad from when I was a little girl. I remember we were by the lake, what the air smelled like, and I remember the wind blowing in my hair. I was probably about three years old. We were in Texas, and there was a country song on the radio. I would probably go back and relive that moment with him. It was one of the best memories I have of him. If I could relive that moment in present time and hold onto those memories a little longer and a little deeper, I would probably pick that one.
Talk to us about what a typical day off looks like for you?
I am the most careless looking person you’ve ever seen. I don’t shower, I don’t change my clothes, and I have my oily lotion on my skin. I’m in my bed all day long with potato chips and french fries all around me. I have two remote controls in my hand, five books on my bedside table and then I have the Uber Eats app open and ready to go at any minute (laughs).
You post a lot of positive messages on social media and your spirit just seems to beam positivity and light! You are also very much in tune and open about your beliefs. Can you share a time where you had an experience that you consider to be a “spiritual” type of lesson? This can be related to your career or personal life (whatever you feel comfortable discussing). Some experiences aren’t always fun as we know, but they help us to continuously grow and evolve.
I don’t believe in coincidence. I was listening to this really great talk between Oprah and Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer was talking about how there is no such thing as a coincidence. The word itself started out as a mathematical term meaning to coincide. When two lines coincide, they form an angle. We’ve taken something that means when two things happen on purpose to create something and we’ve redesigned at as two things that happen accidentally to create something. With that said, I think there is a reason for everything.
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The other thing that I’ve learned through my journeys, good or bad, losing people, whether it’s death related or people that leave your life because of a bad fight or however that is--in my opinion, our souls only purpose is to grow. That’s the only thing that is sort of definite in this life is change. We are going to change. Our soul's highest purpose is to evolve. I believe that we sometimes attract certain situations to us to stimulate that evolvement and that growth. With anything wrong that has ever happened to me, whether it has been a relationship, a work situation, or the loss of my dad, it was definitely something that looking back I can say, “oh wow, I grew from that in a way that I wouldn’t have had that not happened.” The kind of grace, humility, or lessons learned from that situation I would have never learned if I had not drawn from that horrible situation to me as awful as that sounds. When you look at it from that perspective, it helps you say,
When life is up and high, you have to laugh as much as you can laugh. When life goes down, sometimes the only way to get back up is to cry. You have to cry as hard as you can, and that’s okay. Just be forgiving of yourself and the different things that you go through. I think we’re so obsessed with this idea of being happy all the time. It’s a great thing to be, but I think sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain because that’s the only way we can feel better. In between those ups and downs, there is a whole lot of boring. You have to find something to celebrate every day in that “boring” (laughs) because as that saying goes, “this too shall pass” and the next thing you know you’re back on that roller coaster again.
We all face times where we are..
discouraged especially in an industry like this. What was your experience like when you first started out in Hollywood? What are some things you wish you knew going into it? What would you like to tell others who are pursuing this career path?
There are a few different things. I feel like I’m at the very beginning of my education in some ways. I’m still searching, and there’s a lot of things that I want to do that I feel like I haven’t done. As cliche as it sounds, just be yourself. Hollywood is tough because everyone is trying to fit into the flavor of the moment. You’re always trying to change yourself and fit into someone else’s idea of what you should be. The thing that makes us unique and makes us stand out is the stuff that makes us different. Now that I’m in my thirties, I can understand that differently whereas I didn’t before. I think we should embrace what makes us different. I believe that is important to tell somebody when they are starting out. You might feel like you need to be the next Lilly Collins or Jennifer Lawrence, but how about you just be you? That Dr. Seuss saying says it perfectly, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."
I also realized something about the audition process. I treat every audition as if it’s a job. I go in with the idea that I’m going to shoot something. When you’re in the room, those are your five minutes. In my opinion, don’t leave until you do what you want to do in that room. Don’t leave thinking, “oh man, I should have done this or that.” Take those chances because that is your soul speaking to you. You should honor those little voices as much as you can.
What is your definition of empowerment? How do you think people can practice this more in their daily lives? This goes for both women and men.
I think my definition of empowerment is to walk towards your fear no matter what that looks like. It doesn’t matter if it is a professional situation or a personal situation. I think that is impossible to go through life without any kind of fear or insecurities. To be able to say, “I’m in charge,” is power. Even though you may feel these things, you say “no, fuck it, I’m going to walk towards this fear, and I’m going to handle this situation anyway.” To be able to feel that free with yourself and not get in your own way.
I’m getting ready to go do a movie in Seattle which I’m really about excited about called, "Language Arts." It’s about a family that falls apart because of their son's autism. It’s pretty heavy. Between Reverie and this movie, I’m getting characters that are really deep and going through a lot. It’s an exciting time for me, and it’s great because it serves as my therapy. I just finished this other movie called, "Judy Small," and that was nothing but light and fluffy for my character. It was with Haley Joel Osment, Rob Corddry, and Alicia Silverstone, so that was fun, and thank God I got to laugh. Other than that, doing the school runs, camp, and getting the kids ready for pre-school.
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