In the first episode of “Shahs of Sunset” we will be introduced to six Persian-American friends living a life of luxury in Los Angeles: Asa, Reza, GG, MJ, Mike, and Sammy.
And, as we will get to see, the “Persian Mafia” (à la Alicia Silverstone’s character in the movie Clueless dubbed it) tries to juggle their active social lives and careers while balancing the demands of their families and traditions.
Yet, in true Persian fashion, drama ensues amongst the friends at dinner.
We’ll also see the bacheh-haa (Persian: kids) at a lavish pool party complete with a tiger.
While Asa stands out with her unique wardrobe, MJ’s bitterness towards marriage is on display at a bridal store. And GG appears jealous of Mike’s date, fueling rumors that they may be more than friends.
Sounds juicy doesn’t it?
Well, with the premiere just a few days away, we’ve got one very special treat for you: An exclusive interview with super-sexy cast member, and resident self-proclaimed gherti (Persian: trendily adorned), Asa Soltan Rahmati.
The artist of the bunch, Asa, is multilingual due to her time living in Europe before she moving to Los Angeles as a teenager.
Now 35, the “modern-Persian-gypsy-bohemian” is a singer and well-known visual artist in the Venice art scene and beyond.
Not one to conform to convention or tradition: Asa dates outside of her race and religion and moves to the beat of her own song…Literally: Asa’s first single “Tehrangeles” will be released and available for download on iTunes, starting on the same day as the premiere of “Shahs of Sunset”, March 11, 2012.
PEM: How did you get involved in the show? Did you have to “audition” with Ryan Seacrest?
ASR: This show is very unique in a sense that there were no real auditions. The cast came together in a very organic way because most of us have known each other since High School and grew up in the same community.
Did you know any of your cast mates from before? (Are you guys all “cousins”?
Haha. No. We are not cousins, but I went to high school with Mike and met Sammy when I was 16.
Who are you closest to out of your cast mates?
Mmmm good question…I’m closest to Reza and Sammy.
Who is the funniest and why?
Everybody is pretty entertaining, but my boy Reza is super hilarious.
Who is the most in touch with their “Persian-ness”?
You tell me after you watch the show.
Are you nervous/excited about the premiere? Where and with whom will you be watching it?
Yeah, I am very excited!!! We will all be watching it together with our families and production team at our premiere party.
Why do you think it’s important for Persians to have a reality show of their own?
Digeh…It’s about time! Persians have never really been represented on TV.
Are you afraid of the powers of editing and how you may be depicted or are you fully confident that you will be portrayed just as you are?
You know, I personally feel that I “did me” all the way and represented myself well. Editors do have a lot of power to tell a story, but they cannot make you say things and do things you don’t want to do. Only you can edit yourself in that way. I think some people might say things in front of the camera then try to backtrack, but you can’t and that is the nature of the beast of reality TV!
Will any of your art or music be featured on the show?
Absolutely! You will see me in the studio recording Tehrangeles, my epic Persianity Pop Jam. And you will see some of my visual work. And best of all, you’ll see my amazing release party for Tehrangeles–it was a super fun and beautiful night. And you know, my home/art studio is also one giant Art installation. Soooo…There will be no shortage of art.
Where/what do you find your inspiration from when creating? What is your artistic process?
Miles Davis said it best: I am not what I do. I do what I am. I find inspiration in everything. Art equals life, equals love. [And] because of my unique journey, most of my work is existential self portraits in nature and I use different mediums to tell my story. My expressions often explore feelings of identity, self, and the concept of home. I use words, films, music, photographs, dance, food, dress, videos, facial expressions, feelings, et. al.–most importantly though, through these artistic explorations, I am hoping to create a vocabulary for us second-generation Iranians to express ourselves in, creatively…Persian POP culture! [Like] Persianty or Gherti4life! This is a movement…We are all in this together! My artistic process is living to the fullest. Live. Love. [And] Love life. Live from the heart.
What does it entail to live a modern Persian gypsy bohemian lifestyle?
Freedom! It means being free from artificial rules and boundaries about life. It means not being a follower, but instead designing your own life, style, [and lifestyle]. Life is beautiful. Explore it, soak it in. I am a universal being and a citizen of the world. Society cannot tell me who I am, a magazine cannot tell me what to wear or how to act, and I absolutely am not defined by any material things. There is no box that you can fit me in. I dance somewhere between a Persian Pop Priestess and a Gypsy Jetsetter.
*For more of Asa and the rest of the “Shahs of Sunset” crew, be sure to tune into BRAVO starting Sunday March 11, at 10/9 c.