Why ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Medalion Rahimi Says It’s ‘Nice’ to Play a Role Like Fatima

by Taylor Cunningham

Medalion Rahimi says that Fatima on NCIS: Los Angeles is refreshingly different than other Muslim characters in Hollywood.

In 2009, Medalion Rahimi joined the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles to play Special Agent Fatima Namazi. At the start, Fatima was a newcomer who had aspirations of working out of the NCIS Field Office in Washington DC. But she decided to stay in LA after bonding with the team.

Agent Fatima is also a Muslim hijabi woman, which Rahimi finds “really exciting.” The actress, who also starred in Before I Fall, is a first-generation Iranian-American. And her father is Muslim.

While Rahimi was getting her start in the film industry, she auditioned for various Muslim roles. But most of the parts didn’t sit well with her because the writers portrayed the religion in a negative light. So when Rahimi read for her part in NCIS: Los Angeles, she was happy to see that the special agent was “a real person.”

“A lot of the times, I’ve gone up for a lot of Muslim roles just because I’m Iranian and I’m technically Muslim, but spiritual in my own way,” she told Film Forums. “But a lot of them have been to play spies or terrorists or mentally ill persons. It’s nice to finally have a role where I’m a real person, a real person on the good side of things, allowing Muslims to define themselves without a Western agenda smacked onto it.”

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: How Fatima Actor Medalion Rahimi Got Her Start in Acting

In a recent interview, Medalion Rahimi discussed how she got started on the path to play Special Agent Fatima Namazi on NCIS: Los Angeles.

When Medalion Rahimi was growing up in Los Angeles, she was “surrounded by the film industry.” And as a child, she “loved” theater. As Rahimi told Film Forums, she was in “all the school plays.” But despite having the acting bug, she didn’t consider being a career actress until she was graduating from high school.

“I went to UCLA theatre school, and minored in English, just because my parents were like, ‘Okay, if you want to try acting, that’s fine. But you have to have a degree. We’re not going to let you not go to college’. So I was like, ‘Okay’. And I went to the school of their choice, UCLA, which is a great school.”

Once Rahimi earned her degree, she focused all of her attention on her career. And she did everything she could to land the part of her dreams.

“And then once I finished school, I started auditioning, finding breakdowns online, on casting websites, and just threw myself into whatever I could find,” she said.