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    Ghavami, 28, is an actor, singer, voiceover artist, model and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Healing TREE (Trauma Resources, Education and Empowerment), which last month at 21c held its third annual gala. She founded the Healing TREE when she was 24, after spending five years in trauma-focused treatment for complex post-traumatic stress disorder and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. The Louisville native lives in Queens, New York.

    Describe the space you’re in right now.

    “Sitting at my desk in my bedroom, which doubles as an office. If I look up, I see a whiteboard with a checklist of daily habits, a typed personal mission statement and other inspirational images. My grandparents’ Persian rug is on the floor, and my cats are sleeping nearby, being adorable as usual.”


    What song’s been stuck in your head?

    “‘45,’ by indie artist Jana Crenshaw. It was in The Alchemy of Imperfection, a play I just closed at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in New York. I’ve been humming it ever since. I’ll be producing my first short film with Healing TREE early next year, and she offered to let us use her work in it.”


    All-time-favorite album?

    “Too tough. But Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was my first CD when I was six and has remained a favorite ever since.”


    Earliest childhood memory?

    “I started having my mom set up the video camera so I could ‘audition’ for movie musicals. I didn’t understand that a five-year-old singing and dancing to Bye Bye Birdie wasn’t a great audition choice. Or that it was a bit late to be considered if the movie was already out.”


    When/where are you most creative?

    “When I am most centered. Daily habits of mindfulness, journaling, clean eating and yoga help keep me grounded and in the flow.”


    What are you wearing right now?

    “Pajamas. I think it’s a myth that you are more productive if you wear business clothes when you work from home. I do quite well in yoga pants.”


    How’d you make your first dollar?

    “Modeling when I was five.”


    When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    “I am really proud to say that I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.”


    What/who makes you laugh?

    “At the end of the week, I’ll typically watch several clips from the late-night shows in a row. I especially love all of the political commentary. Also, there’s a singer-actor-cabaret host named Susie Mosher, whom I believe is the funniest lady in New York. My friend and I bookmarked a video of hers and can quote every word.”


    Most noticeable quirk?

    “My friends certainly like to make fun of my laugh. But my real one only comes out if something is ridiculously funny, so that quirk isn’t too noticeable unless you’re hilarious, in which case, watch out, because it's super-strange and loud and has been compared to various animals and creatures.”


    Most unusual benefit of your job?

    “I recently modeled for Claudia Amaya’s fall line, and she let me borrow a gown of hers for the Healing TREE gala.”


    Besides your current one, what’s the best job you’ve had?

    “As far as past acting jobs go, I had a role in Not Fade Away, which stars James Gandolfini and is the directorial film debut of Sopranos creator David Chase. Those seven weeks were pretty incredible.”


    Favorite movie scene?

    “Just one!? Well, I can quote the entire ‘What, are you an artist or something?’ deck scene from Titanic.”


    Favorite possession?

    “I love to read and store my books on a floor-to-ceiling corner bookshelf in my living room. I love the look of it.”


    Best book you’ve read over the past year?

    “I often do reading challenges, and my goal this year was to read a hundred books. I’m only a few away, so I have lots to choose from, but Oprah’s What I Know For Sure was my favorite and makes it into my all-time top five.”


    What three people (living or dead) would be on the guest list to your ideal dinner party?

    “Oprah, Shakespeare, Jesus.”


    What’s on your nightstand?

    “An essential-oil diffuser, vitamins, a mug and a journal.”


    What are your vices?

    “Yeah, pretty boring: There’s a vegan snack that my friend and I call ‘puffs,’ and I can happily eat an entire bag of them in one sitting.”


    Where do you take out-of-town guests in Louisville?

    “Bardstown Road, Actors Theatre, Garage Bar.”


    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?

    “Well, my father, Majid Ghavami, used to own the restaurants Saffron’s and Majid’s, so I’ve eaten his Persian cuisine countless times. The sabzi vegetable plate is probably the thing I’ve had the most.”


    If forced to get a tattoo today, what would you get?

    “Maybe a line by the late choreographer and modern dancer Martha Graham, who described the life of an artist as ‘blessed unrest.’”



    Your drink?
    “Hot tea.”

    Can’t-miss TV show?
    This Is Us. I cry every time.”

    The last thing you bought online?
    “Green juices.”

    Where do you go to be alone?
    “A yoga mat in my room.”

    What triggers your “aha!” moment?

    One thing Louisville is missing?
    “More vegan-friendly restaurants.”

    Greatest movie ending?
    “Maybe The King’s Speech.”

    Least favorite word?

    This originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine as the 21 Questions. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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