With a love of singing, modelling, acting and more spanning her entire life, Nazanin Mandi is a multi-hyphenate force to be reckoned with. Recently nabbing a recurring role on BET’s Games People Play along with a lead role in the film The Last Conception, Mandi’s versatility in acting is a trait that carries over to others areas in her life. She’s become an advocate for various mental health issues and a licensed life coach, a pursuit she says she followed owing to a “deep-seated need to nurture and help others reach their fullest potential.” Mandi joins Schön! to discuss her past and her many recent projects.
You’ve had an incredibly multi-faceted career—musician, dancer, actor, model, activist and the list goes on. Is there one of these roles in particular that you resonate with most?
Most definitely acting. It’s my ultimate passion and purpose in life — nothing makes me feel more alive, to be honest
At the age of 15 you made it into the top 35 contestants on the inaugural season of American Idol before being kicked off for not meeting the age requirement. Did this derail your pursuit of music, and how did you pick yourself back up?
The process of it all was a learning lesson, and at the age of 15, it was absolutely devastating getting kicked off. Now, I smile at the experience — but back then it weighed very heavy on me.
What would you say was your “breakthrough moment” in terms of your career?
I would say in terms of stepping out of another’s shadow, 2019/2020 were my overall years of breakthrough moments. As far as acting [is concerned], I booked two different shows and two different feature films in one year. Along with releasing music, I became a Certified Life Coach, worked with dream brands such as Olay, Shiseido, Maserati and of course walking the Savage x Fenty Vol. 2 show was absolutely a major highlight for me that I’m forever grateful for.
What led you to pursue life coaching?
I’ve always had a deep-seated need to nurture and help others reach their fullest potential. It’s something that comes naturally to me, and I knew in order to be taken seriously in this field I wanted to become certified.
Do you have an ethos for how you approach life?
As I get older, I remind myself to just take things one day at a time. Life is ever-evolving, which is the beauty of it all — but expect the unexpected and always move with grace and hope.
As someone with a large platform and following, how do you approach what you share on social media?
I try to keep my approach intentional. Whatever I choose to post comes from an honest place, no matter if its inspirational, funny or personal.
You’ve spoken candidly about your struggles with overcoming body dysmorphia and depression. How have you seen the conversations around these subjects evolve since the pandemic started, and how has your approach to them changed?
There’s definitely been a shift in the conversation from what I’ve noticed, which is a beautiful thing. This subject isn’t the easiest to address but the more we speak up the more we discover how much we all really do have in common which to me motivates change in the right direction.
You’ve had an ongoing relationship with Savage x Fenty, modelling for them, performing in their show alongside your husband, and serving as a brand ambassador. How did this partnership come about? What excites you the most about working with them?
I was introduced to Savage through my agent, and what a dream pairing that was! To work with a team that thinks and works beyond the “norm” is inspiring, and I’m honoured to even be attached somehow to the name.
You’ve spoken about choosing not to pursue a musical career after debuting your single in 2019. What’s behind this decision?
Music was always a passion project, never a profession for me. I grew up singing, and just because I have the ability doesn’t mean I want to pursue it. I’ve seen firsthand what the music industry demands, and I would rather put my energy into my first love — acting.
Who are some artists you admire?
I am a huge Prince fan. Ever since I was a child his music, style and charisma always held a special place in my heart.
What kind of acting roles are you drawn to?
Genres would include psychological thrillers, dramas and a little comedy. Anything that pushes me and helps expand my ability as an actress is where I want to be and the roles I dream to play.
What do you have upcoming before the end of the year?
I now play a recurring role on the show Games People Play, I’ll be launching my Life Coaching platform and my lingerie company Elle Reve has some amazing new drops in the works. Stay tuned!
Follow Nazanin Mandi on Instagram.
photography. Ben Duggan
fashion. Naomi Zinns
talent. Nazanin Mandi
hair. Alexis De La Isla
make up + production. Ashlen Romo
video. Luis Trujillo
edit. Jonathan Fajardo
fashion assistant. Meryl Cox
make up assistant. Alycia Garcia
fashion showrooms. CLD PR, POP PR + Brooklyn PR
interview. Henry Lifshits