Nazanin Boniadi Talks Neil Patrick Harris, General Hospital and Leaving Med School for Acting

General Hospital actress turned How I Met Your Mother star, Nazanin Boniadi, says that appearing alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the long running hit comedy series puts her at “ease”.

Talking to Vulture, Boniadi, who plays Barney’s could be mystery bride, Nora, says that Harris “really brings out every actor’s A-game. He’s a consummate professional. You’d expect someone who’s that great to be very serious, but he’s so light about it that he puts me at ease. He’s really made me a better actor, and the rest of the gang has, too.”

Before landing a role in HIMYM, Nazanin Boniadi appeared in the soap opera drama General Hospital.  Portraying Leyla Mir, Boniadi says she didn’t realize at the time that she was making history. “I didn’t at the time. But then I started getting fan mail from the Middle Eastern community. That’s when I realized what a very Caucasian genre it is. Soaps are very, very Caucasian. People started telling me I was the first to play a Middle Eastern on the soaps, so we did a little digging and found it to be true. It was kind of an honor. Those little things — not that they make a huge difference — but it’s nice for the Middle Eastern community to see themselves on something that has generally been very Caucasian.”  

Prior to taking up acting in 2006, Boniadi was also a University of California Irvine, who won a prestigious undergraduate research award for her work in heart transplant rejection and cancer research, she tells the Mag.  “It’s funny, because I always wanted to act, but in my cultural background academics are heavily emphasized. So I was a good girl and went to college and did the things that I thought were right. I’ve always wanted to help people, so I thought maybe medicine was the way to do that.”

Until she finally graduated.  “[I] started the med school applications, I realized I couldn’t spend the rest of my life doing something that wouldn’t be my calling. I had to at least give acting a shot because that was my true passion. Then I had to break the news to my dad, who paid for my college. Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled. He said, “So what do you want to do with your life?” And I said, “I want to act.” And he said, “You do realize you’re in your mid-twenties and you haven’t acted a day in your life?” And I said, “Yeah, I’m fully aware of that, but I’m going to take it seriously like I did with pre-med. I have the passion for it, so I’m hoping it will pay off.”

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