Woman of the week: Necar Zadegan

The stunning actress talks working with Kiefer Sutherland and Robin Williams, her impressions of Dubai and the qualities every man should have.

EDGAR staff November 15, 2015

Actress Necar Zadegan is not someone who takes her looks for granted. The Iranian-American star perhaps best known for her role as President Dalia Hassan in hit series 24, has a diet and exercise regime so rigorous it makes the toughest athletes in the world seem lazy - and you certainly can't argue with the results.

Ahead of the Season Two premiere of her show Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce on December 1, we caught up with Necar to get the lowdown on her workout regime, the most talented actors she's ever worked with, what she thinks of Dubai and the essential qualities every man should have. Here are the excerpts.

We loved you in 24. How did you find the whole experience of working on the programme? 

I loved working on that show. I can't say enough good things about it. It was my first series, but I was aware of the weight of their whole production and I worked hard to make sure my character would stand tall opposite such powerhouse talents as on that show. I was thankful for the great working relationships I developed and they were kind to write the unforgettable character I was able to portray for their final season. 

How did you find working with Kiefer Sutherland? 

I wish I could have worked more with Kiefer, we only ended up having a few episodes together because our story lines did not cross that often, but I loved working with him when I did. He was always extremely focused and is tremendously talented.

He knew that show so well, I'll never forget a late evening we were working into the wee hours, the scene and the location did not mesh so we had to figure it out like a puzzle. But we shared ideas in a really creatively collaborative way and figured it out and it ended up being one of the most impactful scenes of the season, when my character’s husband dies. To this day it's one of the working moments I am always appreciative of, he's a very gracious actor to work with. I’m always so happy when we occasionally run into each other now at different events.

Who is the most talented actor you have ever worked with?

That's too hard to say because I have been so lucky to work with so many talented actors. But one of the most memorable is certainly Robin Williams. We both shared our Broadway debuts together in a show called Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Robin joined the rest of us on Broadway after we had already been a part of the show. So by the time he joined, we knew our parts so well that in rehearsals, it was really just us playing and Robin catching up, so we got to really observe a master at work, but really in the midst of doing the actual work, not just the end result.

Since we already knew our parts for the most part, we could really watch him while he learned his. And he worked so hard. The best part was that his process was very vocal so as a young actor. It was very special to hear him working through the moments. I loved Robin. We all did. 

You’ve acted in some big shows in your time (Nip/Tuck, Lost, CSI Miami, 24, Master of Sex amongst others...) Which one was the toughest, and have you got any favourites?

They all have their own challenges. In fact, I look for that when I'm looking at projects. I want to keep growing as a woman and in my art so I try to find projects or roles that I can stretch from. My favorite is always the one I'm working on in the current moment because my favorite time is always the present. The possibilities are endless in the present. 

You clearly take care of your appearance. Do you have a specific workout routine or diet?

I do everything! Seriously I could just talk to you about this forever! Health and beauty are about a whole mind and body connection, they really are. I am committed to an organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free diet, and though I never deprive myself, I always try to be mindful about what I'm putting in my body. You really are what you eat.

I love Dubai. The luxury is incomparable, but the richness of the various cultures that live there was of particular interest for me.

I also love to run, hike, and ride my bike. I do yoga, too. Right now I'm really into barre classes, they really target the nooks, crannies and hard-to-reach spots. Of course, I also love to take baths, do masks and all that girl stuff.

It's easy to stay healthy on the west coast where I live. The weather is nice and the outdoor is beautiful so I enjoy that part of my life a lot. I also think your mind has a lot to do with it too, trying to keep a healthy and relaxed state of mind. I read a lot and I journal. 

Have you ever been to Dubai? What were your impressions of the place?

I love Dubai. I can't wait to go back. I was on a theatrical tour when I was younger and Dubai was one of the places we travelled to and played twice. We only stayed for a couple of weeks each time but it was enough time to look around a great deal.

The most important characteristic a man should have is old-fashioned chivalry. Without that, I wouldn't really even consider someone a man.

Of course, the luxury is incomparable, but the richness of the various cultures that live there was of particular interest for me. And I loved finding that when I would stumble upon it: the bazaars, the fabrics, the jewellery, the fresh fish market, the boats docking at night and the beautiful gulf were all extremely memorable for me. 

In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic a man should have?

Old-fashioned chivalry. That is very, very, very important. In fact, I don't know if I really even consider someone a man unless he has it. 

Please tell us about your character this season on Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce.

I play Delia on the show. My character is sort of the glamour-puss of the show. She's sexy, smart and has become the woman she always wanted to be. She's a divorced attorney and in a show about love. She has a very interesting perspective on it because of that.

This season we will watch her plan a wedding, which is very conflicting for someone who swore they didn't believe in matrimony. It's been a particularly fun storyline to shoot not only because of all the ups and downs, but also my sister in real life got married this year so it was really very cool to play this wedding story step by step alongside my sister who was planning her wedding for real. Truly life imitating art imitating life. 

What is next for you? 

We have just wrapped shooting the second season of GG2D so I'm a bit of a free bird! In the meantime, the first season of the show has just been released on Netflix, so folks can re watch before our new season starts up again in December.

Now that I am on hiatus from the show, I can take a little breath. But not for long! I’ve been invited to Monaco to officiate as their lead juror on the panel for their film festival, so I will be looking forward to heading out of town again. And then after that, we'll just have to see....

Details: The Season 2 premier of Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce will be shown on Bravo on December 1. Season 1 is now available on Netflix. Images: Benjo Arwas.