Tag: famous canadian immigrants

Naheed Nenshi – first Muslim mayor of a Canadian major city

Naheed Nenshi – first Muslim mayor of a Canadian major city

On October 18, 2010 at the Calgary municipal election, a son of immigrant parents won over 39% of the votes to become the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city. The victory was compared to US President Obama’s election victory, as the new mayor…

Emma Donoghue – Irish Canadian immigrant author

Emma Donoghue – Irish Canadian immigrant author

Welcome to the strange little world of ROOM, the seventh book of Irish Canadian author, Emma Donoghue. The book “Room” revolves around the story of Jack and Ma, who live in a locked room that measures eleven foot by eleven. When Jack turns five, he…

Afghan-Canadian immigrant is Oprah of Afghanistan

Afghan-Canadian immigrant is Oprah of Afghanistan

mozhdah-jamalzadah

Vancouver-raised Mozhdah Jamalzadah immigrated to Canada at the young age of five with her parents and two younger brothers from war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan. Eventually, they settled in Vancouver, BC, where Mozhdah Jamalzadah attended high school at John Oliver Secondary, then went on to study broadcast journalism at British Columbia Institute of Technology, politics and philosophy at the University of British Columbia and opera at the British Columbia Conservatory of Music.

Mozhdah Jamalzadah was invited to White House in Washington D.C. in March 2010 for International Womens Day, where she sang one of her new songs called “Dukhtare Afghan.” Mozhdah performed for Mr. and Mrs. Obama and their guests.

Canada gave Mozhdah Jamalzadah a good education and tremendous opportunities in terms of career and personal growth not available to women in Afghanistan. Today, she considers it her obligation to go back to Afghanistan and give back to her countrymen. When offered a one-year deal to host her own TV talk show called “MOZHDAH” in Kabul, Mozhdah took the offer even though it is considered a dangerous proposition, especially for a western-minded woman to be residing in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Now dubbed the “Oprah of Afghanistan, her talk show called “MOZHDAH” has a tremendous following amongst the millions of Afghanistan women who adores their very own megastar.

See Mohzdah Jamalzadah performs at the White House in March 2010 at the International Women’s Day.

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Famous Canadian-Iranian Immigrant Nazanin Afshin-Jam

Famous Canadian-Iranian Immigrant Nazanin Afshin-Jam

A “difficult-to-pronounce” or an “foreign-sounding name” did not stop Nazanin Afshin-Jam becoming famous in her adopted country of Canada. Canadian-Iranian Immigrant Nazanin Afshin-Jam immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age of 2. Blessed with beauty and brains, she leveraged them with guts,…

Croatian Canadian Entrepreneur

Croatian Canadian Entrepreneur

He is famous as a successful Canadian entrepreneur, but today Robert Herjavec is more famous internationally, as one of the dragons in the Canadian Dragon Den, or one of the sharks in the USA TV show Shark Tank. Robert Herjavec is a Croatian-Canadian entrepreneur and…

Sandra Oh and Father

Sandra Oh and Father

sandra-oh1Here is Sandra Oh with her father on The Bay’s Ad for Dolce Gabana perfume.  This ad was shown in The National Post and The Globe and Mail newspapers.  The caption says:

My parents started me in dancing to correct my pigeon toes but I caught the acting bug instead. In a family of scientists, lawyer and academics, becoming an actor was a bit of a head-scratcher. But in his own way, my father understood. Thanks Dad.

This is a Dolce Gabana perfume ad, so I guess, Sandra’s dad will get perfume for Father’s day.

Few Canadians made it to Hollywood stardom, and when they do,  we like to point out their Canadian origins.  Even fewer Canadian Korean immigrants made it to Hollywood, in fact, has there been one other than Sandra Oh?

Sandra Oh was born in Nepean, Ontario, to middle-class Korean immigrant parents Joon-Soo (John) and Young-Nam, who had come to Canada in the early 1960s. Her father is a businessman and her mother a biochemist.  Oh grew up living on Camwood Crescent in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, where she began acting and dancing ballet at an early age.

She was the only one in her family not to have a masters degree of something, so she had to try very hard to prove herself.  So, what a wonderful feeling it must be to have her dad be proud of her.  On this youtube interview of Sandra Oh by Ellen Degeneres, Sandra Oh talked about her family and their experience as Canadian immigrants.

In her youth, Sandra played the flute, took ballet lessons and acting studies.  She decided that she “was not good enough to be a professional dancer” and eventually focused on acting, and took drama classes, joined the drama club.

Against her parents’ advice, she rejected a four-year journalism scholarship to Carleton University to study drama at the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, paying her own way. She told her parents that she would try acting for a few years, and if that failed, will return to school. Ironically, while studying at the National Theatre School, she portrayed a waitress in the made-for-television film, School’s Out, in which her co-worker, Caitlin Ryan (Stacie Mistysyn) also considers turning down her acceptance into Carleton University’s journalism programme.

Soon after graduating from the National Theatre School in 1993, she starred in a London, Ontario stage production of David Mamet’s Oleanna. Around the same time, she won roles in biographical TV films of two significant female Chinese-Canadians: as Vancouver author Evelyn Lau in The Diary of Evelyn Lau (Oh won the role over more than 1,000 others who auditioned); and as Adrienne Clarkson in a CBC biopic of Clarkson’s life.

Oh became known in Hollywood after the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Sideways”.  She is a regular on the TV hit series “Grey’s Anatomy” as Dr. Christina Yang, for which she won the 2006 Golden Globe Best supporting Actress Award.

Oh has one brother, named Ray, who works as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and a sister, named Grace, who works as a Crown attorney in Vancouver, British Columbia.    

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