'Girls' Actress Desiree Akhavan Plays Hannah's New Classmate But She's Got Big Dreams Of Her Own

At the end of Season 3 of Girls, we saw Hannah score a coveted spot in the University of Iowa's writers workshop, and now, she's finally putting her big city dreams on hold for adventures in the Midwest. The Season 4 opener, "Iowa," showed Hannah finally taking the plunge and heading out to the grad program, leaving behind Adam, Marnie, and a very pissed off Jessa. But regardless of how everyone else in her life feels about the big move, Hannah's ready to try something brand new — which means that viewers get to meet a whole slew of new people to see through Hannah's eyes, including Hannah's new classmate played by Desiree Akhavan.

We already know that we'll meet a crop of wannabe writers in Hannah's workshop class, and that one of them will be played by Akhavan. And of you've heard the name before, it's probably because Akhavan has been called "the next Lena Dunham" — she recently wrote, directed, and starred in her feature film debut, Appropriate Behavior, out on Jan. 16.

The film is the story of Shirin (Akhavan), a 20-something bisexual Iranian woman who goes through a major breakup while dealing with the cultural issues surrounding her sexuality. How does one describe a single bed in the apartment one shares with their "roommate" to their first-generation Iranian family? It's an experience that isn't for the faint of heart, but that doesn't mean that the film takes itself so seriously. Akhavan knows exactly how to deliver lines like "I'm looking for the grownup underwear of a woman in charge of her own sexuality and not afraid of change?"

MIFF on YouTube

It's clear why Girls creator would want Akhavan in her circle — Dunham's own feature, Tiny Furniture, is what got Judd Apatow's attention and led to her ultimately scoring the HBO series. Both Tiny Furniture and Appropriate Behavior show a sliver of the 20-something New York experience — and, obviously, so does Girls. Putting Akhavan's character in a corner with Hannah Horvath is almost symbolic — both characters are writers using their own experiences to explore the world, just as in real life.

I'm thrilled to see what Akhavan's character brings to the table on Girls — and stoked to see another young female writer getting the attention she deserves. Check out the clip from Sunday's episode below.

HBO on YouTube