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'Chad' saved Saba Homayoon's career

'Chad' saved Saba Homayoon's career
Saba Homayoon (R) and Paul Chahidi cheer on Chad. Photo courtesy of Warner Media

LOS ANGELES, April 27 (UPI) -- Chad star Saba Homayoon said the show jump-started her career after she became a mother.

"It was really Chad that sort of revived my career," Homayoon told UPI in a Zoom interview. "It was the first audition I had after my second child."

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The 44-year-old plays teen boy Chad's mother in the series. Chad is played by 39-year-old actress Nasim Pedrad.

The audition for the 2016 incarnation of Chad came after the birth of her son, Alex. Fox ultimately passed on the show, but in the five years before Chad came to TBS, Homayoon worked on episodes of shows like Mistresses, The Odd Couple and NCIS: Los Angeles.

"There was a part of me that was like, 'I don't know, will my agent still want to represent me?'" Homayoon said. "I think when you have children, when your career hasn't fully blossomed, it's kind of tricky to walk away for such a long period of time."

Homayoon said she felt landing the role of Naz confirmed to her agents that she still could get work. Alex is now 7 and Homayoon's older daughter, Lily, is 10.

Playing the mother to a teenager was a role she welcomed, Homayoon said, adding that she has had a maternal streak for her entire life.

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"I'm a big sister," Homayoon said. "People used to call me Little Mom growing up. In college, I was called Jiminy Cricket because I was always everyone's conscience."

Homayoon said that becoming a mother in real life helped her relate to the exhaustion Naz exhibits. Naz is raising Chad and his sister, Niki (Ella Mika), as a single mother. Homayoon said Pedrad wrote Naz to be more patient than Homayoon often is with Alex and Lily.

"[Pedrad] had to remind me that the character is sort of a decade ahead of where I am as a mother," Homayoon said. "It works better storytelling-wise to be more compassionate to Chad than perhaps I would be as a mother."

Homayoon said it is easy to empathize with Chad in episodes such as one in which he visits Naz's ex-boyfriend, Ikrimah (Phillip Mullings Jr.). Naz has to pick up Chad and see her ex again.

"My heart is just breaking for him," Homayoon said. "He's so desperate for a father figure. It's a delicate situation, so I see where he's coming from."

Pedrad told UPI in a previous interview that Chad is based on her struggles to fit in as a Persian teenager. Pedrad also wanted to create positive roles for other Persian actors.

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Homayoon's parents were born in Iran and had her when they lived in Canada. Homayoon spent most of her childhood in Nashville, where she said her family stood out.

"I lived in a very Christian area, and I definitely had those conversations where my friends were really worried that I was going to go to hell," Homayoon said. "I'm not Christian."

However, Homayoon said she felt her brothers had a more difficult time fitting in than she did.

"I don't think I ever felt the desperation to fit in in the way Chad did, mainly because I kind of did fit in," Homayoon said.

Homayoon went to American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and graduated in 2002. Her husband, Neil Hopkins, also graduated from American Conservatory, and they moved to Los Angeles together after school.

Before Chad and her hiatuses to have Lily and Alex, Homayoon guest starred on episodes of Miss Match, Charmed, How I Met Your Mother and more shows.

Homayoon said she filmed many pilots for shows that did not get picked up. Landing a series regular role on Chad paid off after nearly two decades of the audition grind, Homayoon said.

"It was definitely a long time coming," Homayoon said. "I'm very grateful for it."

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Chad airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. EDT on TBS.

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