Entertainment

From Russia, with fangs

Technically speaking, she's still a princess.

"I think I keep the title until he remarries," says Natasha Alam, a new co-star on the HBO hit television series "True Blood" and "Playboy" magazine cover girl.

Alam, in 1998, married the grandson of the former Shah of Iran, Amir Ebrahim Pahlavi Alam, in New York and they moved to London soon after. Those nuptials granted her the title of princess. They later lived in Los Angeles so Natasha could pursue her acting career. However, the couple finalized their divorce in 2005. Then, they went their separate ways: Amir returned to London, while Natasha went Hollywood.

Alam plays the role of "Yvetta," a leggy, erotic dancer at the Fangtasia bar in the vampire show "True Blood."

"I kind of forget that fact," Alam, 27, says of being a princess. "But in situations like this (speaking to the media), I get refreshed about it.

"In London, being a princess was a big deal — because of the whole royal family and everything. You get reminded of that in London. I loved that feeling and experience.

"But I felt lonely and unfulfilled. I felt there was more to life."

So the Russian beauty from Uzbekistan, whose birth name is Natalia Shimanchuk, decided to chase her lifelong dream of acting. Her new role in life almost evaded her.

When she was a teenager, her mother enrolled her in the University of Technology for Aviation. Her major?

Aircraft mechanics.

Natasha has evolved from a potential airplane repairwoman to "Playboy" centerfold — and eight pages worth.

"I found the Technology school boring," Alam says. "I think I would have been much happier if I was studying quantum physics or astronomy or something like that."

So, Alam said goodbye to potentially wearing blue coveralls, then headed to the big city: Moscow.

That's where she found a new start, in a new field as a model.

She performed on the runway while traveling to the perfunctory sites: Rome, London, Milan and New York.

"I was a model, but that was only half of me," she says.

She wanted more roles on the screen.

Alam's first acting role was for a cigarette commercial that aired in Italy. "It was like a James Bond-type commercial," she says. "The fast cars, the sexy outfits, the special effects."

Still, she wants to be cooler. She is most known for her appearances in HBO's "True Blood." She also has appeared in "The Bold and the Beautiful," "The Unit," "Entourage" and "NYPD Blue."

Which are fine and good, but she aims to expand her screen story. Alam doesn't mind or downplay her sexual roles per se —"It's not that I prefer them, it's just that those kinds of roles have been falling my way in life" — but ultra-cool would be action-packed movies.

She possesses action skills in at least one area, for sure. Alam competes in Wushu, an intense form of Chinese martial arts.

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