Q&A with Reza Farahan

Bravo's "Persian Jersey Shore" about Beverly Hills Middle Easterners, is in full swing and the tensions high! So much so that the show's breakout star, the openly gay real estate agent Reza Farahan, is worried about whether or not the juiciest bits will air! Nevertheless, despite the drama and fights that has Reza worried his Mom will disown him, Farahan acknowledges the show has done wonders for his personal life. When he chatted with us at GoGoMix, we discovered why being on Shahs has helped Reza personally and helped others! That, and of course, his favorite things!

GGM: Season four just premiered, and it’s very intense so far! Can fans expect more of that intensity going forward?

RF: Totally! It’s a super intense season. So many ups and downs and laughs and tears. I pushed the envelope so much. I am so afraid and excited at the same time, but I also don’t want to cop to anything because I don’t know if some of the stuff will actually air! I’m being so careful with what I say because I already know my Mom will try to disown me and Adam will be thinking twice about letting me in the house!

GGM: I read in a piece on Bravotv.com where you said that while a lot of people have negative things to say about reality shows, you are really thankful for how this experience has helped you grow. Can you describe how you’ve grown over the course of four seasons?

RF: Absolutely! If you’ve seen the show, Season 1 opened up with me talking about the difficult relationship I’ve had with my dad over the years and the nonexistent relationship I had with my grandmother. Being on the show caused me to confront my Dad and deal with some issues we hadn’t dealt with for probably close to a decade. He and I have a great relationship right now. His health is deteriorating and I’ll be eternally grateful he and I were able to mend our fences. He’s not remembering things so clearly right now and is having early dementia, so that time is priceless. And I’ve built a relationship with my grandma, which is something I’ve never, ever had! I feel a million times lighter.

As far as other stuff, doing a reality show as an openly gay Middle Eastern man, I’ve been able to access a lot more people in my private life, and I’ve gotten so much feedback from people who say their cousin came out because of me, or they feel they were able to come out to their family, or a million other amazing stories about how I was able to empower someone.

GGM: Shahs of Sunset is often talked about in terms of representation: of Iranians, of gay people, etc. Do you ever wish that weren’t the case, or that the criticisms are unfair?

RF: First of all, it’s on Bravo, not MSNBC or CNN. It’s entertainment! If anyone thinks there are six Middle Easterners or one gay man who can represent an entire population, they’re probably needing to have their heads checked! I’m not trying to represent every Persian. If I did, every one of them would be a little more fly! (laughs) And I don’t represent every gay person. What I do represent is a side to Persian Americans and Middle Easterners other than what is portrayed in the media since the time I arrived in this country, which was around the time of the hostage crisis, and then 9/11! The only thing you’ve seen from 1979 on about Middle Easterners in the media is usually in a movie about a dictator, or something not so positive. The fact people hit me up on Twitter to say “Oh my god, my family is Puerto Rican and just like you!” or Italian, or even White people saying “Oh my god, I wish I were Persian!” That is a huge deal to me, to have people look at us in a different light. As for the criticism, I don’t spend too much time hanging out in negative.

GGM: We like to talk about favorite things on GoGoMix…

RF: Excellent! I have a lot of those.

GGM: Do you have any reality shows you watch in your spare time?           

RF: You know, I have my favorite people on Bravo. I can’t wait to watch Real Housewives of New York, because my girl Bethenny is back and I freakin’ love her! On other channels, I like watching Mob Wives. I wanna see who the rat is gonna be that week! It’s very fascinating to me for some reason. And I love this Alaskan family. I think the show is Alaskan Bush People? They have crazy accents and spend every episode just trying to survive in the cold. It’s the antithesis of how I grew up.

GGM: How about non-reality shows?

RF: My man and I love Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and I love any and all crime shows! Anything that has to do with murder, like Dateline NBC and The First 48.

GGM: What’s a favorite movie, one you consider a classic?

RF: I’d have to say, being an immigrant, The Joy Luck Club is one of my all-time favorite movies, as is The Color Purple. They touched me in a crazy, significant, underdog-coming-up-in-the-world type of way.

GGM: Favorite Books?

RF: I love to read! I just finished Mrs. Astor Regrets, about Brooke Astor. And as we speak, I have with me An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah, which was written by the Queen of Iran about her life with the King of Iran.

GGM: Favorite LA Restaurants?

RF: There’s an amazing place on Melrose called AGO. It’s an Italian restaurant with amazing food and pretty great atmosphere. I will always be obsessed with The Ivy on Robertson. Between the crab cakes and cobbler, it’s like a gastronomic orgasm! It’s amazing. Even though it’s kinda OG, I love Madeo’s. And I love Craig’s, though it’s super OG, because there’s always amazing people watching. A new place across the street from that is called Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant, and the drinks are insane.

GGM: What music do you like to listen to? Can you tell me a couple songs you’re playing a bunch right now?

RF: For sure. Rita Ora and Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow": I was running on the treadmill, and found I love that song, even though it’s not super current. I made a little running playlist with that on it, and a remix’d version of Keri Hilson’s “Turnin Me On,” then I got OG and put some Rick James up in that bitch.

GGM: Do you have a go-to outfit or suit you like to wear on a night out?

RF: That’s a good question! It depends how fancy it is. If we’re talking about a night out at a great restaurant, something kinda fancy, I definitely go to designers who fit me really well. Gucci suits fit me really well. The largest sizes are still tailored really well. You don’t look like you’re wearing a bag. If I were to go to Banana Republic for a suit, I would have to spend twice as much to get it altered to fit my body. A suit I buy at Gucci, though it’s really expensive, I just need to have a couple tiny alterations to have them fit me.

If we’re talking a little more casual, I’m probably wearing a pair of Civilianaire jeans and an American Apparel t-shirt, a John Varvatos leather jacket and a pair of Alejandro Ingelmo high tops.

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