The ravenously chic and multitalented Vida Ghaffari is the girl about town in this city of glitter, fashion, and art. Ghaffari provides that key missing ingredient – substance – through her thoughtful journalism and artistic acting endeavors.
As a celebrated journalist, the jovial and genial Ghaffari has been active in Los Angeles for over a decade covering subjects as varied as fashion, entertainment, royalty, and human interest, on every beat conceivable from Skid Row to Beverly Hills. (We will catch up with Ghaffari later in the article and talk about both her career as a writer and as an actor.)
Ghaffari recently started a fashion and beauty blog, www.soveryvida.com. “So many people at events ask me for wardrobe and makeup tips, that I just had to create this venue,” says Ghaffari. Indeed, So Very Vida is a delightful, charming, and informative site, written in an intelligent voice.
This year alone, Ghaffari has been honored twice for her journalistic skills. I was on hand for the presentation of the award she received from the City of Los Angeles, given to her by the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce on June 18th. It was a gorgeous affair. The president of the Chamber, Roozbeh Farahanipour, who is also the owner of the charming Delphi Greek Restaurant in Westwood, hosted the event. Besides receiving this media appreciation award, she was further recognized by receiving an honorary Chamber membership.
“I was truly honored by Roozbeh and the Chamber to receive this incredible commendation, especially since they are one of the largest, oldest, and most respected of Chambers in Southern California. There is a real sense of community here and the Chamber does such an impressive job of fostering that spirit. I’ve covered their events and activities for a while, and it’s a great thing to see as a journalist their good work in such a vast metropolis like Los Angeles,” explains Ghaffari.
Always the fashion diva, Ghaffari wore a stunningly beautiful white and gold trimmed strapless dress by Edison Cortez for this event. This was to be expected as our heroine is known for her fashion sense and can be seen in creations from Sue Wong, the aforementioned Edison Cortez, Shekhar Rahate, the Single and Kaya di Koko line by Galina Sobolev, Nicole Bakti, Coco Johnsen, and Bri Seeley.
I was amazed at the number of celebrities who came out to support Ghaffari, in addition to the distinguished Chamber members and government officials in attendance. Among these luminaries were legendary Oscar winner Margaret O’Brien (Meet Me in St. Louis, Little Women), actor and President of the Southern California Motion Picture Council Randal Malone (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dahmer vs. Gacy), legendary character actor James Hong (Kung Fu Panda 3, Mulan), Kate Linder (The Young and The Restless), Reatha Grey (Off Their Rockers), famed Iranian actress Apick Youssefian (The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam, Cry of the Village), lifetime member of the Actors Studio Ford Austin (Pearl Harbor, Another World), Suze Lanier-Bramlett (The Hills Have Eyes, Area 51), Anthony Azizi (Septembers of Shiraz, American Odyssey), and film composer David Raiklen (Mia, A Dancer’s Journey, Space Command Redemption). Because of Vida’s long standing relationship with the fashion community, she was supported on her night by the presence of Sue Wong’s publicity director Greta Kovacs Schmid, Shekhar Rahate, Julia Clancey, Rita Mezrahi of Claires Collections, and up-and-coming designer Yuki Yim.
This star-studded event also had a regal flavor with royalty such as HH Prince Maximillian Ferdinand Von Anhalt of Germany, HH Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg Lippe, Nachod of Germany, and HRH Qajar Persian Princess Mandana Farmanfarmaian all in attendance. Other VIPs on hand for the festivities were city officials, local business leaders, and well-regarded international, national, and local media representatives.
Ghaffari was also given another award this year for her superior journalistic skills: a Media Appreciation Award presented to her on April 5th by fashion designer Eugene Sidney at the Bugatta Restaurant in West Hollywood. “I was deeply moved to receive this award, particularly since it was presented by Eugene, who is a really classic designer and is bringing back style and glamour to menswear in the hipster era, which is quite a feat,” Ghaffari elaborates.
Vida Ghaffari was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area and attended the University of Maryland College Park. There she was a journalist for two university newspapers, The Diamondback and the Campus Crier. Ever the ambitious go getter, Ghaffari also hosted a show on WMUC, a venerable student-run freedom radio station created in 1942.
Ghaffari’s father, a NASA aerospace scientist and mathematician, convinced her to major in Economics as he was a man of numbers and practicality. At the same time, she minored in her two loves, Journalism and Theatre.
Among her journalistic honors are writing grants from the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Center and National Journalism Center.
Her ebullient personality dictated that she maintain her presence on the airwaves after college: she is currently a guest co-host of a radio show podcast on the internet, Cameron Datzker’s popular LA Talk Radio show “Cameron’s Sports and Life.”
I’ve been catching up with Ghaffari at different social events such as designer Sue Wong’s great parties and we also recently shared a delicious lunch at the Delphi Greek Restaurant in Westwood. Here are her answers to some of my questions:
What movies have you done?
“I have acted in many films, voiced many commercials, industrials and narration projects. Among the television shows I did were The Mindy Project for FOX and Mind of Mencia for Comedy Central. My work is detailed at http://www.imdb.me/vidaghaffari.
I’m in pre-production on a project by multi-award-winning filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill that I’m really excited about. I have a few other projects in development. I also recently worked with my good friends Dawna Lee Heising and Gregory Blair on “Natural Born Filmmakers,” which will screen at numerous film festivals. They both excel in comedy, so it was a great experience. We have a great ensemble cast as well.
I have recently collaborated with the amazingly gifted Aussie cult filmmaker Mark Savage on “Pond Scum,” which also stars my friend Dawna. Dawna and I will be working with Mark again on his much anticipated “Circus of Dread,” which also features acclaimed character actor Bill Oberst Jr. and Gary Cairns.
What voice over experiences have you had?
“I recently had my animation voiceover debut in ‘Lovesick Fool’ as the dream girl and as the hipster girl. This film was written, directed, produced, and animated by Dominic Polcino, who has been nominated for an Emmy for his work on ‘Family Guy. He has also worked on other iconic animated shows like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘King of the Hill.’ Noted actors such as Lisa Kudrow, Fred Willard, and Janeane Garofalo also voiced roles in this film. It has truly become a festival darling and won best animated film at the highly regarded Topanga Film Festival, LA Arthouse Film Festival, and the Atlanta Underground Film Festival. It also recently screened at the Hollyshorts Festival at the Chinese Theater. Attending that showing was a surreal experience for me, as I used to go to the Chinese Theater as a kid when I visited relatives on the West Coast, and I never dreamed that a film I’d be of part of would screen there! There were films in the animated block that were voiced by noted artists like Richard E. Grant and Bob Bergen (the voice of Porky Pig).
Returning to acting, what other movies have you done recently?
I’m acting in two films, “Seeking Valentina” and “Strangers In a Book,” that are getting big buzzes on the film festival circuit. “Seeking Valentina” stars Kristin West, Ali Bavarian, and Srinivasa Kapavarapu, and it was written and directed by Armin Nasseri. “Strangers In a Book” stars Jon Mack (Saw VI), Christy McGinity Gibel (Little Women: LA), Carl Bressler (The Usual Suspects), Kristin West once again, Marv Blauvelt, and some other great actors. It was written and executive produced by Dr. Pedram Navab and Marc Rezvani was the director. We also had the wonderful David Scott Barron as our cinematographer. I received four nominations for both films at the popular FANtastic Horror Film Festival in San Diego, including best actress for “Strangers In a Book” and best supporting actress in “Seeking Valentina.” “Strangers in a Book” also won the best Guerilla Short Film award at the esteemed Action on Film Festival, so it’s been a really exciting time for me and I feel so blessed and grateful for the accolades. I was surrounded by an immensely talented cast and crew for both productions and know that they completely contributed to the infinite success of both films.
The versatile Ghaffari also does improv and has five credits for producing and one credit as a writer. Live television is another of her venues. “I recently acted in a ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ sketch that was probably too controversial for primetime, but I had a lot of fun doing it and worked with some really recognizable Middle Eastern actors.”
Journalist and actor (and much more), Vida Ghaffari is obviously a human dynamo, bringing skill, intelligence, creativity, and heart to her every endeavor.