A Casual Conversation with Behzad Dabu


When thinking of the (re)introduction to KIZER Journal and the introduction of KIZER Quarterly, I wanted our main feature to be someone approachable. I wanted someone I could have a casual conversation with and talk to about their lives, desires, and dreams.

While strolling through Instagram, as the millennial I am, I came across Behzad Dabu’s Instagram account. He looked very familiar, but I couldn’t point out why. So, I did what any reasonable person would: I lurked on his Instagram. I knew from the beginning he was in theater. His profile photo was his headshot. It wasn’t anything artistic or “thirst trapping,” but a typical actor’s headshot. As I kept scrolling my initial response was validated. It was a photo of Behzad jumping onto a table and the caption read, “I really miss being on #stage #chicago #theatre #liveperformance #actor”. After more lurking, I saw a photo of Dabu and Liza Weil with a #TGIT sign and it all made sense. I didn’t personally know him, but I knew his character Simon Drake, from How To Get Away With Murder. 

Like every TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) participant, I found myself in front of my device captivated by the storylines and performances of Grey’s Anatomy’s and Scandal’s actors. So, when How To Get Away With Murder premiered I was hooked instantly. I’m not sure if it was the attention Viola Davis commanded as she enters the room or the captivating cinematography. Either way, Thursday’s were officially “me time”. Right from the beginning, I fell in love with the cast. Well, except for one character, Simon Drake. Simon would soon be a reoccurring character who I grew to respect and love. I felt his character to be bratty and a know-it-all. But he worked hard, and a hard worker is someone who I could respect. 

As the season went on and the storyline progressed, Simon became a familiar face and his character developed more. I started to realize he was the only innocent one. He was the only true white hat, but he appeared to be the meanest. By the end of season three, my attitude for Simon shifted completely. He wasn’t just a dickhead classmate, he was a hardworking immigrant student trying to find his way to a better life. He was the show’s unsuspected hero. 

Our conversation started rather light, we had just finished a two-hour portrait session. I wanted to know his perfect idea of happiness. He responded with, “Contentment and ease…peace of mind. I have a lot of anxiety about things that are out of my control, other people’s thoughts. So, for me to be so content, centered, at peace and at ease, is happy. It’s not that I need the presence of joy but the lack of crap.”

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It’s not that I need the presence of joy but the lack of crap.


Styled by, Kyle Kniffin in Billy Reid // Grooming by, Liz Monroe // Story by. KIZER.