Golshifteh Farahani, actress, musician and singer
A native of Tehran, Iran, actress Golshifteh Farahani began life on July 10, 1983, and gravitated to formal music lessons (voice and piano) by the age of five, exhibiting prodigious talent in this arena. She sought to capitalize on her abilities by entering music school full-time at the age of 12, and subsequently gained admission to the prestigious Vienna Conservatory. Not long afterward, an Iranian cinema giant, the director Dariush Mehrjui, discovered Farahani and cast her in a pivotal role in his 1998 Derakht-E Golabi (The Pear Tree) -- as the mysterious young girl, M, who spurs his adolescent male protagonist on to lofty creative and erotic heights. The association with Mehrjui suggested that great things lay in store for Farahani, and she wasted no time in realizing them, beginning with the attainment of a covetable honor, the Crystal Simorgh Prize, at Tehran's 16th annual Fajr Film Festival (awarded for Derakht-E Golabi).