A few decades ago, one would be hard-pressed to see a woman like Shazi Raja in a major Hollywood production. It is not because she is not a talented actress, but because of her ethnicity. Shazi is a mixed-race woman with Pakistani origins, an ethnic background that would have kept her out of work back in the dark days of discrimination in Hollywood.
However, the curtain is getting lifted and Hollywood is beginning to embrace its minority talents, which has given Shazi Raja a chance to express her acting chops on productions like God Friended Me, Brad’s Status and Salvation.
In this article, we take a quick look at who she is and everything you need to know about her.
Shazi Raja Biography
Shazi Raja, whose real name is Alina Sheherzad Akhtar Raja, is known to have been born on the 13th of May, but her exact birth year remains unknown. She was born in Houston, Texas, US and was raised by her mixed parents.
Shazi found her interest in performance art when she was a child and began to nurture her passion ever since. Her first performance was at a stage play she performed alongside her mother at the of eight. She later attended a performing and visual arts school in Houston which further ignited her interest in the performance arts.
The end of her high school years meant a chance to carve her own way and she did so by pursuing her higher education at Rutgers University where she earned herself a degree in Fine Arts. During her time at the University, Shazi Raja spent some time in London at the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe where she continued her training for a year.
After graduation, she relocated to New York to begin the career she has been working for since she was a child. In New York, which is America’s home of theatre, she joined the Huntington Theatre Company and went on to appear in stage plays like Milk Like Sugar.
Her performance in the play earned her critical praise, particularly from the Independent Reviewers of New England who gave her an award for Best Actress. Not long after, Shazi Raja made her first appearance in an onscreen production in an episode of High Maintenance as Eesha in 2016.
In the following year, Shazi got one of her most significant roles yet, a leading role alongside Ben Stiller for the film, Brad’s Status where she played Ananya. In that same year, she began to appear as Amanda Neel in the TV show Salvation, featuring in 13 episodes.
Her performance in Brad’s Status was a transformative and uplifting moment in her career and its effect continued well into 2018 when she was cast as a supporting character in the TV show God Friended Me.
Shazi Raja has continued to make more appearances across both film and TV, most notably in The Code as Nazil Ahmadi and the film Haunt as Angela.
When it comes to her family, we do not have details about any of them other than the fact that one of her parents is a South Asian immigrant to the United States. Familial details such as her parents’ profession or her siblings remain unknown. It is believed that as the actress continues her upward climb in the industry, more details about her personal life will emerge.
Outside of her extended family, Shazi Raja hasn’t had a family of her own. She remains a single woman although she has been rumored to be in a relationship with Christian Navarro.
Ethnicity and Nationality
As mentioned earlier, Shazi Raja is of Pakistani origins but she is a multi-ethnic woman. We currently do not have the specifics but she was born to parents who are of German heritage and Pakistani heritage, specifically in Rawalpindi.
While her multi-cultural background affords her a chance to have a deep understanding of two large cultures, it hasn’t been easy identifying with both sides of her background due to her conflicts as she is still dealing with members of her extended family on both sides who haven’t fully accepted her because of her mixed status.
However, despite her ethnic and cultural background, Shazi Raja was born in the United States, precisely in Texas which makes her an American, by national identity.