With The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills rapping up it’s second season, a new show is on the horizon that will show a totally different side of Beverly Hills. From Bravo and Ryan Seacrest comes a reality show called Shahs of Sunset, premiering Sunday, March 11 at 10pm. The show follows a family of Persian-Americans juggling their active social lives and up-and-coming careers while balancing the demands of their families and traditions.
It looks like it has the glamour and scenery of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Real Housewives mixed with a more toned version of the Jersey Shore. There’s one gay cast member on the show named Reza Farahan who often receives a lot of gossip and prejudice regarding his sexuality. He is one of few openly Persians in his community.
I have to say, I’m really intrigued that this show will show what it can be like being gay in the Persian community. Based on my own experiences and observations, I’ve noticed that some Persian gays can be self-loathing and even homophobic because of how they were raised and the views on homosexuality in their culture. Hopefully this show will help their families change their perceptions of gays or even open their eyes and hearts a bit more. I also hope somewhere in the storyline, it can give gay Persians the confidence to be who they are within their community. Check out the trailer below, as well as the cast pictures & bios.
Mercedes “MJ” Javid
MJ is a 30-something year old, luxury real estate agent living in the Hollywood Hills. A known party girl, she sometimes struggles balancing her “networking” at night with her early mornings at the office. Coming from different sides of the spectrum MJ and her overbearing and unconventional Persian mother, Vida, fight over everything including the way MJ dresses. MJ struggles to find out who she really is and what she really wants from her friends, from her work, and from her family.
Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Beverly Hills, Reza is a 38-year-old prominent player in the Los Angeles real estate world. He is one of few openly gay Persians in the community and often struggles with gossip and prejudice regarding his sexuality. Reza’s family supports him in spite of the pressure they feel to ostracize him. Despite his untraditional style, Reza is an old fashioned guy at heart who wants a partner, a family, and the American White Picket Fence happy ending, but he is going to have to get past the baggage he carries from his upbringing to achieve it.
A$a is a controversial singer/artist who prides herself on living the “Modern Persian gypsy bohemian lifestyle” and is prominent in the Venice artist scene. A refugee who fled Iran as a young girl A$a grew up in Europe before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager. The sassy 35 year old is often considered an outsider in the group doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants including dating outside her race and religion. With little desire to settle down any time soon, A$a’s main priority in life is staying true to herself and her career.
Sammy is a residential developer in Beverly Hills specializing in building multi-million dollar homes specifically for the Persian community. Constantly working to make a deal, Sammy feels the pressure from his family and culture to be wildly successful in his career. The 35 year old is a “ladies man” and is always on the prowl for his next fling, but recently began debating if it’s time to find the right Persian girl who appreciates what’s in his heart and not in his wallet.
Mike is part of the self-appointed “Persian Real Estate Mafia” in Los Angles. After being a high roller in the Vegas commercial real estate market, Mike lost his shirt in the crash and has moved back home to rebuild. The 33 year old reformed player has the best of intentions, but old habits are hard to break and Mike can’t seem to stop charming every girl in the room. His friends joke he’s looking for “the one” every night at the club, but ultimately he is looking for a woman he can bring home to his mother.
Golnesa “GG” Gharachedadhi
GG is an exotic beauty with a fiery temper and very little filter. Fully supported by her father, this classic “Persian Princess,” goes out to lunch with her friends during the day and shops for Mr. Persian Right at night. More than ready to start a family, GG is definitely looking to settle down, but the 29 year old is having a hard time finding a man that can support the lavish lifestyle and handle her unapologetic personality.