Sheila Vand is an American actress and performance artist best known for her role as Sahar in Ben Affleck's 2013 Oscar-winning film Argo.
She also had a starring role as Maureen James, CIA Secretary of Defense briefer and Charlie's best friend, on the espionage thriller television series State of Affairs.
Vand was born and raised in Palo Alto, California. She eventually moved to Los Angeles to study acting and directing at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where she graduated with top honours.
In 2009, Sheila originated the role of Hadia in Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed and successful play moved to Broadway in 2011 where the cast was joined by Robin Williams. The play would go on to earn a Pulitzer nomination.
Sheila was next cast in the role of Sahar the Iranian housekeeper in Ben Affleck's 2013 Oscar-winning film Argo. Her performance was highlighted in the LA Times article Small Roles Powerful Performances. Sheila also performed the opening narration of the film and, in 2013, received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble.
After this, Sheila worked with filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour on several projects, including the short film Pashmaloo, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
In the middle of all these projects, Sheila created and performed in the underground theatrical/musical hybrid Sneaky Nietzsche, which she debuted in 2010. In 2011, for Tim Burton's long running exhibition at LACMA, the museum commissioned Sheila to remount Sneaky Nietzsche as part of their closing night celebration.
In the art world, Sheila began collaborating with painter/photographer and TED-fellow Alexa Meade in 2012. Their first joint series MILK: What Will You Make of Me? premiered at the Galerie Ivo Kamm in Zurich, Switzerland before moving on to the Gallery for Contemporary Photography Ingo Seufert in Munich, Germany.
Vand made her Walt Disney Concert Hall debut in 2013, performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the world premiere of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels under the baton of Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen, and playing the role of Lucy opposite Diva Zappa. The production premiered on the night of the Concert Hall's 10th anniversary.
Vand also appears opposite Minnie Driver in The Red Tent, which is based on the best-selling novel by Anita Diamant. The miniseries was made for Lifetime television.
Other television credits include Cult, NYC 22 and Life opposite Damian Lewis.
Sheila is of first generation Iranian descent and lives in Los Angeles and New York.