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Azita Ghanizada: Not your normal super hero

Afghan-American actress Azita Ghanizada has been a TV lover all her life — and in fact says it’s how she learned English

Afghan-American actress Azita Ghanizada has been a TV lover all her life — and in fact says it’s how she learned English. So the success of her new Syfy series, “Alphas,” has been especially rewarding for her. In the series, Ghanizada plays Rachel, a member of a team individuals with special abilities. (Rachel can heighten individual senses at the expense of others.) Metro caught up with Ghanizada to talk about working with her heroes, the new series’ impassioned fans and staying away from fan fiction.

You’re filming the finale now. What can you tell us about it without spoiling too much?

What’s happened since the start of the season is you’ve kind of gotten to know the characters, and the audience got to learn a little bit about the Alphas phenomenon — you know, not mutants, not superheroes, but humans with brain anomalies. You’ve got these people that are unique and special working for a government agency and doing what they think is right, but the stories coming up is who’s on the side of right? And I think that will kind of come to a head in the finale, and I think you’ll see the Alphas questioning what they’re doing.

It’s interesting how vulnerable your character is when she’s using her ability.

Yeah, every ability has its downside, and that’s why I think the fans have gotten really bananas over the show. I think it’s because they’re so human. They’re not invincible. When she uses her sight, she’s essentially deaf. When she uses her super-hearing, she’s essentially blind. Monday night is a big episode for Rachel. It kind of showcases me, my character, and what she’s going through and how she’s so vulnerable and how she’s so easily affected by her abilities because she has super senses, and everything effects her to an extreme degree.

In tonight’s episode, you also get to work with guest-star Lindsay Wagner.

I got to talk at length with her about what it was like to be a female TV star in the 70s on “the Bionic Woman” and breaking that ground, and she was just so cool. And then when we’re shooting, I went to do my super-hearing, and she just smirked a little bit. She’s like, “I used to be you.” I was like, “Oh my God, right!” — I mean, way cooler. She was a badass. Rachel’s growing into that. But what an iconic moment for me for someone who really shifted television for women in the 70s, and she sort of pointed at me and was like, “Rachel is sort of who I was.” So that was a really big treat.

This seems like the kind of series that lends itself to a very loyal fan base.

A couple weeks ago I needed a photo, and the PR company called and
said, “Oh, you can get it off your Tumblr.” And I was like, “I don’t
have a f---ing Tumblr! I don’t know what Tumblr is. I can barely tie my
shoes in the morning, I don’t know how to do a Tumblr!” And there were
all these GIFs and fan drawings. There’s someone Twittering as my
character already! It’s so wonderful how creative they are, and it’s
only four episodes in. It’s amazing. I applaud their creativity, I’m not
afraid of it.

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