We had the good fortune of connecting with Deana Taheri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deana, how do you think about risk?
I don’t think I would ever categorize my self as someone who plays it safe; but, this is largely because of my upbringing. I was born in London to an Iranian father, and British mother; but, I didn’t stay there long. My dads job as a doctor and specialist took us all around the world, from England, to America, back again, to Qatar, and then my first solo move to New York. I grew up without the stability of a “home” and I think that sort of desensitized me to a lot of “risk”. This has given me the ability to lose the sense of fear surrounding risk, and actively seek out challenges – especially within my career. I am excited to try out new sections of the industry that aren’t just acting, because I really love nothing more than taking a risk and trying new things! I think that has made risk a huge benefit to my life and my career alike.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been acting on stage since I was a child; but, as an adult and a professional, I have been drawn to all sorts of aspects of creation within acting and outside of it. I produced, wrote, and starred in the short film TRANSPLANT, directed by Vanessa Vivas, which has gone on to receive selections in various festivals, as well as achieving multiple honorable mentions and awards. I have also been exploring the world of voice acting, as it has always been an interest of mine since my mum and I would mess around doing silly accents with each other when I was a child. I was contacted by Penguin Random House to audition for a role in the audiobook version of Helen Oyeyemi’s New York Times critically acclaimed novel Peaces as Ava Kapoor, the train’s mysterious Geordie owner (directed by award winning audiobook narrator and director Garrick Hagon). I then worked with author Crystal Lyn and Audible as the sole narrator of the first two books in her series Victoria’s Highway and Victoria’s Highway: Taking the Long Way Home as the titular character, Victoria, and all of the surrounding characters. Getting to this point of my career was most definitely a process, particularly in regards to creating my own work. With my close friends and collaborators, Zac Branciforte and Julia Di Lorenzo, I founded the multi-medium artists lab Bad Behavior Lab where we dedicated our time to creating and producing work by multi-hyphenate artists, including ourselves. It was a challenging time, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were getting so incredibly bored of waiting for opportunities that are never coming; so, we decided to make our own! It wasn’t/isn’t simple to get your work up and out there without a reason, but our reason was our love for creation and for diving in and taking risks just for the love of it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When my friends visit New York, I love nothing more than showing them my favorite spots – mostly food related. New York is so special because both the most expensive food and the cheapest food is always delicious. SO, that being said, I would take them to Halal Guys for the best falafel platter you can find, and of course to grab a classic dollar slice. I also love taking my friends to the local bars in my area, one of my favorites being Rue B where you can listen to live jazz music while knocking back a whiskey sour. Another thing that is so special about New York are speakeasies, my favorite being the one hidden inside Crif Dogs on St. Marks Place. Not only can you get an awesome hot dog, but you can go through the phone booth at the back to find a gorgeous bar! The comedy scene is always a great shout for visiting friends, so hopping over to the West Village to watch some live comedy is such a fun experience. Imagining that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t exist, taking friends to see a Broadway show is an experience that just doesn’t exist anywhere else – it’s BROADWAY! But, the most exciting people you can find in New York are my friends – obviously!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank my incredible friends and collaborators at Bad Behavior Lab, particularly the wonderful Zac Branciforte and Julia Di Lorenzo who have worked tirelessly alongside me to make our art happen! I’d also like to thank the lovely Crystal Lyn, who is the author of the “Victoria’s Highway” series that I am so grateful to have narrated, and the team at Audible; as well as Garrick Hagon who directed my performance in the audiobook “Peaces” by Helen Oyeyemi with Penguin Random House.
Other: @badbehaviorlab [Instagram]
All personal photos were taken by Julianna McGuirl