What can you tell me about Sarah Shahi, who plays Kate Reed on Fairly Legal?
—Martin Deragowski, Canton, Ohio
Shahi, 32, was born and raised in Euless, Texas, to an Iranian father and a Spanish mother. Prior to landing the role of Kate on Fairly Legal, she was best known as homicide detective Dani Reese on the short-lived but critically acclaimed series Life, and as Carmen in The L Word.
In addition to her acting talent, Shahi is an athlete who was captain of the volleyball and basketball teams in high school. She is also a former beauty queen, having won the Miss Fort Worth USA pageant in 1997, following which she became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Coming up for the actress this year are the feature films Bullet to the Head, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Static, with Sara Paxton. Her earlier films include East Fifth Bliss, Shades of Ray, Old School, For Your Consideration, Rush Hour 3 and AmericanEast.
Shahi’s other TV roles include guest appearances on The Sopranos, Dawson’s Creek, Frasier and Alias.
Despite playing a mediator on Fairly Legal, the married mother of one says in real life it has not improved her negotiating skills—at least with her son. “Being a wife and a first-time mom, you feel like you have everything planned out or at least you try to have everything planned out,” she says. “But there’s nothing like a 2-year-old to show you that you’re wrong. So the thing that I’ve really gotten from her is to really just have no expectations and to just go after what my heart wants and to be spontaneous and a little unpredictable.”