Join Sepideh Moafi, an actor, singer, writer, producer and humanitarian, for an engaging salon and discover what home and belonging means to you.
What’s in Store
- Convey emotion artfully in writing
- Explore what it means to “belong”
Write along with Sepideh’s playlist!
Prompt #1: Finding Home
Define home — what does it mean to you? Where is home? What does it look like? What does it feel like— Smell? Taste? Sound?
What was your relationship to home when you were 10 years-old? What’s your relationship to home now?
How has your perception or relationship to the feeling of home changed over time? How has it changed since entering lockdown and adopting social-distancing rules?
Describe your first memory of feeling at home.
Prompt #2: Where Do I Belong?
What gives you a sense of belonging? When do you feel like you belong? And where?
Do you think we as humans need to have a sense of belonging? Why/why not?
Who do you feel has a strong sense of belonging? What does that look like in them?
When was the last time you felt a sense of belonging? Describe this memory.
Q&A with Sepideh Moafi
As a refugee and learning English as a second language, what was something that helped you in learning a new culture or being in a new country? Was there something that stood out to you as a child?
The memories that come up for me… It’s never the lessons that I was taught. It was always how I was taught. And that’s with love. With patience and care, and curiosity. You know?
I had many teachers who clearly didn’t want to be teachers it seemed. And then I had some great teachers who had their way of teaching. Sometimes that worked with me. Sometimes that didn’t work with me.
If I can learn one thing in a class, in a conversation, I’m happy. I feel like I win. But as a teacher, with all of these entires you’ve shared, it’s like blowing my heart up because it’s so raw and vulnerable. That’s what’s exciting to me: what’s real. It’s really just encouraging authenticity and encouraging that was is unique, is not wrong.
If it’s not working and if someone’s not resonating with something, that means there’s another way in.
Do you have advice for someone who is discouraged early on from pursuing a more creative path in life?
Do it. Don’t stop. There are people who are hungry to support you. But it’s tough, right? It goes back into the education system. Creativity is just as—if not more—important than literacy. I know that’s controversial but it’s true because it’s our way in. If I didn’t have access to my creativity, I don’t know where I’d be in my life, you know? There were moments it wasn’t looking so good. It’s essential. It’s a muscle that needs to worked on and practiced.
There will always be a sea of people who are going to say no and have very strong positions in your life. But there are always going to be people to show you the way. Go full force. Don’t listen.
I wanted to know how you fulfill your love for music while still maintaining the responsibilities of a writer and actress.
That’s a really good question and a never ending exploration. I know that for me, as I mentioned before, like family and loved ones, music for me feels like home. So when I start to feel creatively stifled or I feel like I’m coming up against a block, either personally or in my work or I’m just really feeling depressed, I go to music. Either listening to music or practicing singing.
A couple years ago, I did this musical off-Broadway that was very satisfying but with my schedule and career right now, I don’t have that opportunity at the moment, so I have to find ways to keep it present in my life. It’s such a big part of my heart so it has to be present all the time.
And that’s just a reminder for all of us. We’re not always able to do the things that we love the most or be with the people we love the most. It’s nice to have little reminders. If it’s just a playlist for your mood or having a picture of something or someone that reminds you. Just keeping these reminders all the time. Because I forget when I’m caught up in what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in my life with my career. I tend to forget what brings me home. I get caught up in my emotions and my opinions and all of that. It’s nice to have little reminders and things that anchor us.
Do you feel like there’s a career path that you should’ve picked or just a different step that you wish you took earlier in your life?
It took me a long time to figure certain things out. Early on, I felt a lot of guilt and shame throughout my life, but I’ve never felt regret. Especially at this point, when I see the sort of opportunities or groups and events that have opened up to me at this point in my life, I realize that it’s never a coincidence. The path is zigzag, but it takes you to exactly where you want to be or where you need to be to be satisfied.
And sometimes when I do get sad, I go, “Oh what if I was singing at La Scala in Italy? What if I was singing at all the jazz clubs like I’ve done in the past? But it doesn’t feel as holistic as the sort of life that I’m building right now. And for me it’s never about fame or ego. I really don’t care about that stuff. I care about the truth. We get to the end of our lives and we’re never thinking, “Oh man, I’m so happy I didn’t do what I love.” You know? So sometimes it’s helpful to zoom forward and then look back and be like, “Oh wow. Where I am right now, is this true to me?”
I don’t even know what’s next, necessarily. I mean, I do know what’s next because I’m on certain contracts. But after that, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll start writing full time. Maybe I’ll go to the countryside of Italy and have a cabin and just drink whiskey and write poetry. Maybe I’ll go back to music. I don’t know. And it’s never too late to start something else. Because when you are sure, when you are clear, when it comes from your heart, you are unstoppable.
This event was originally recorded on July 9th, 2020.
Sepideh Moafi, actor, singer, writer, producer & humanitarian is well-known for David Simon & George Pelecanos’ critically acclaimed series The Deuce on HBO & currently stars as Gigi in The L Word: Generation Q on Showtime. She starred in The Killing of Two Lovers opposite Clayne Crawford, a 2020 Sundance Film Festival Favorite that was lauded in ‘Best of’ lists for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter & The LA Times. Hailed by the NY Times as “forthright & funny, the cast standout” Sepideh’s stage work spans from original off-Broadway musicals, to the great roles in plays and operas in leading theaters around the world. She’s had the honor to sing with the NY Philharmonic, at Davis Symphony Hall & The John F. Kennedy Center. Born in a refugee camp in Germany, Sepideh has a passion & commitment to advocate for refugees & immigrants who are in vulnerable situations worldwide. As an ambassador for both The International Rescue Committee (IRC) & the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, she dedicated the last year to creating unique celebrations & opportunities to benefit both organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Music from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music & and a MFA in Acting from U.C. Irvine.
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