Roxy Shahidi (born Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi 12 March 1983 in Manchester) is an English actress, best known for playing Leyla Harding in ITV soap Emmerdale.
She began her career as part of Contact Young Actors Company in 2004 and went on to work for Peskar Productions as a drama workshop leader in Oldham and Bolton. Her theatre credits include East is East, Janus (for West Yorkshire Playhouse), Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, Freshly Scratched (for the Battersea Arts Centre) and Rafta, Rafta… at the National Theatre. She has appeared on British television in shows such as Sinchronicity and Emmerdale, playing the part of Leyla Harding from 2008 to 2011. She has also acted in radio plays, e.g. Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers. From November 2012 through to January 2013 she played the role of Shahrazad in the Manchester Library Theatre Company performances of Arabian Nights at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, near Manchester. Shahidi returned to Emmerdale on 25 December 2013, with Leyla turning up to her sister Alicia’s wedding to her, Leyla’s, ex-fiance David.
Ghawam-Shahidi was born to an Iranian father and an English mother, and grew up in Whalley Range in Manchester. She became a vegetarian at the age of 8, and a vegan since the age of 21. She is married to British Asian actor Arsher Ali.
Roxy Shahidi has set up a Yoga Lunch Club in the Creative Quarter in Hockley, Greater Nottingham where she also is based.