Name to know: Desiree Akhavan

Why the Iranian-American actor-director-oddball is set to overthrow Lena Dunham as Queen of the Misfits:

Her Hannah Horvath is gay and Persian: In her autobiographical debut Appropriate Behaviour, 29-year-old Akhavan plays a heartbroken lesbian trying to be a good daughter to her conservative parents. It won her ‘breakout star’ status at its Sundance premiere last year.  

She won the ugly stakes: Dunham’s college films brought her a storm of fat-shaming YouTube comments. Akhavan trumps her by being voted the “ugliest girl in school” in the eighth grade. Both girls mine their early humiliation for brilliant comedy. 

She’s got YouTube game: Like Dunham (with Delusional Downtown Divas), Akhavan came to public attention with a self-parodying web series, The Slope, about “superficial, homophobic lesbians”.  

Dunham is keeping her close: She invited Akhavan to play her writing-school colleague on the new season of Girls, possibly to quash the incessant comparisons. “Stay tuned for some true gothique joy in the form of her character,” Dunham tweeted. Akhavan replied, “I will wear the eyeliner and hope it doesn’t wear me.”

Girls Season 4 will premiere on January 11 on HBO



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