Born Aahoo Jahansouzshahi to Spanish and Persian parents - her lineage on the latter side could be traced to a 19th-century shah - in Euless, TX on Jan. 10, 1980, Shahi was an overachiever at an early age, participating in sports and beauty pageants, training as an opera singer, and earning a brown belt in karate. In addition to her outside interests, she excelled at school, going on to graduate at the top of her class from Southern Methodist University. After winning the Miss Fort Worth competition in 1997, she tired of the pageant routine and considered becoming a country singer. While exploring that venue, Shahi joined up with the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders from 1999-2000, ending up as the first rookie to ever grace the cover of their calendar. During this time, she also appeared in layouts for Muscle and Fitness and Curve magazines, and toured the Balkans and Southern Europe as part of the U.S.O.While working as an extra on "Dr. T. and the Women" (2000), Shahi met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to pursue acting. She relocated to Los Angeles and began working almost immediately in television and film. Shahi graduated quickly from bit parts, to recurring roles on series like "Alias" (ABC, 2001-06) and "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1999-2003). A turn in the 2003 theatrical comedy "Old School" also showcased her comedy chops. In 2005, Shahi joined the cast of "The L Word" as Carmen de la Pica Morales, a budding D.J. who plays roommates Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig) and Jenny (Mia Kershner) off each other in an attempt to win Shane's affections. Eventually, she becomes involved with Shane, but the relationship ends up tumultuous, with much of the conflict over issues of fidelity. Their romance climaxes with Shane abandoning Carmen on the day of their wedding.Shahi had a small role in Christopher Guest's mockumentary "For Your Consideration" (2007), but her most noteworthy turn of that year came in the "Sopranos" episode titled "Kennedy and Heidi." In it, she played Sonya Aragon, a savvy Las Vegas-based woman paying her way through college by stripping, who also happens to be a friend of Tony's cousin and loyal crew member Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). Tony arrives in Vegas to deliver the news of Christopher's death - which he caused - to Sonya, and becomes physically involved with her. The pair spend a hedonistic weekend together, capped off by the use of peyote, which appeared to have a profound affect on the guilt-ridden Mafia chieftain.Shahi followed this with starring roles in the crime drama "Life" (NBC 2007-09) and legal comedy-drama "Fairly Legal" (USA 2011-12), as well as a story arc on the procedural drama "Chicago Fire" (NBC 2012-). After a stint as a recurring former assassin on the crime drama "Person of Interest" (CBS 2011-16), Shahi joined the cast full time in the series' third season, following the departure of actress Taraji P. Henson. In February 2016, CBS announced that Shahi had been cast as a 30-ish Nancy Drew in the upcoming reboot series "Drew" (CBS 2016-).