Bravotv.com: Tell us some more about you, why you decided to do this show and what you hope people will learn about the Persian community in Beverly Hills because of it?
Reza: I wanted to be on this show for one reason and one reason only, and that is to bring awareness to homosexuality in the Middle Eastern culture and more specifically amongst the Persian population. And I have a supportive family, I have an amazing network that loves and supports me, but I know that that’s not the case for the majority. When you have the president of the country I was born in come out and say that homosexuality doesn’t exist in Iran, it breaks my heart and it reinforces the notion that people need to keep hush about this. I thought to myself: if me living out loud on camera will force people to either talk about it, acknowledge it, whether it gives a young teenager a glimmer of hope, or some confidence or courage to come out to his or her family, then whatever heat I take for being on a reality show, is worth it ten-fold.
Bravotv.com: Tell us more about your relationship with MJ? What do you think of her saying you guys didn’t actually sleep together?
Reza: MJ and I go back 20+ years. We have been very close from the day we met, she’s like a best friend, a sister, a confidant, a colleague. We work together literally in the same office -- our desks face one another. It’s amazing; it's like having a partner in crime 24/7, someone who’s always got my back, supports me, and when someone knows you for 20+ years, there’s like a shorthand when you guys talk -- we can finish each other's sentences or just look at one another and we’ll start cracking up because I know she knows exactly what I’m thinking, and I don’t even have to say two words. It’s amazing to have that kind of a bond and to have it last from high school until our mid-30s.
Bravotv.com: So she in the episode denies that you guys have ever gotten physical. What do you think about that?
Reza: I think that it speaks volumes about the stuff that Persians need to do to save face. It happened. I will put my $30,000 Rolex on it. Whatever you want me to put on it, I will put on it. Not only did it happen, it happened twice. Not just once, but twice. She used to have the biggest crush on me before I was out. She wanted to hit that from back in the day. She needs to stop tripping and keep it 100.Bravotv.com: MJ started to describe your younger (awkward) days, but please tell us more about them.
Reza: I started out life really cute, and then it went downhill. There are a lot of things that are socially unacceptable in our culture: drinking excessively, drug use, all those things are really taboo, and they don’t just impact you personally, they impact your immediate family and your extended family. And being someone that was gay and in the closet, and not knowing how to deal with those emotions, I turned to food for comfort. And me and food had a relationship because I blossomed into about 300 pounds at one point. And she’s right -- I used to wear thick glasses and I had braces and I had zits and as soon as you start dealing with your issues, the food stopped, the zits went away, I started working out and started peeling away the layers. The authentic me came out.
Bravotv.com: Tell us more about your work with Sammy, and what you thought of the house he showed you.
Reza: I don’t know if the audience can tell from just one episode but Sammy is an amazing person, really has the most amazing disposition whether it be with friendships or business, he’s amazing. He’s a true businessman but he’s amazing to deal with. He’s all smiles; he’s great. His workmanship and his product are stellar. The homes he builds in Beverly Hills are stand-out. People are still talking about houses that he has built 10 years later. He sold homes that were close to 10 million dollars, we have negotiated in the past, friends of mine that live in his properties love his homes and specifically request projects that he has done. This one was very unique because we literally walked into a shell. You know it’s hard to sell a shell and it was a bit jarring to me and my client, and my client ultimately decided not to embark upon such a huge project and he bought something else. But I’m looking forward to listing that house when Sammy’s done with it, because I know it’s going to be an amazing product.
Bravotv.com: Let’s talk about the dinner with everyone. What do you think is going on with Mike and GG? What are your thoughts about inter-religious dating? What about GG and Asa’s H&M fight?
Reza: When you get six very, very vocal, very passionate, hot blooded Persians in a room, mix it with music and food and drinks, things get heated. Americans, when they see Persians engaged in just a heated debate or conversation, think we're arguing because our hands are flying in the air. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we use our hands a lot, and our decibel and volume is much higher, than your average American might be. Do we argue, do we debate? Absolutely. But is that all we do? Of course not, because, you know for example that argument that you saw at the dinner table? If that was all we did, we would not have such tight bonds and such long relationships. Bravotv.com: Would you be that mad if someone asked if your clothes were form H&M?
Reza: You know what’s hilarious? What is beyond hilarious? I do not own a lot of H&M, I do own some, but the irony of this whole thing? The most beautiful part about it is I’m wearing a Zegna suit, with a purple Zegna shirt when I make the comment about GG not appreciating that comment because basically it means you’re ghetto, I am wearing a tie that my cousin gave me to wear that I assumed was Hugo Boss (for some reason, I don’t know why I did) but that’s a freaking H&M tie! How funny is that that I’m sitting there wearing a $1000 suit, a $400 shirt, and I’m wearing a tie from H&M and I’m talking about how that’s basically her way of calling her a brokeass -- that’s the irony of it. Is my entire wardrobe H&M? Absolutely not. But I feel like the way that it was meant in that moment, you could have substituted H&M for Kmart. I don’t know -- it was used in a way, she used it in a manner and it worked, clearly because it got GG very upset and GG got very heated and combative. Do I have an issue with H&M? Absolutely not. I feel like you can rock H&M -- clearly I’m wearing a $1000 suit and I’m sporting an H&M tie. And I didn’t even know until I looked at it way later. I mean I reached out to my cousin because I didn’t have a tie to match that purple shirt. Isn’t that fantastic that I’m sharing that story too? I feel like if you’re going to be on a show (and I feel like I have a worthwhile message, and I’m not saying the other cast members don’t, they all obviously have their own messages) and I’m trying to get my message across, I’m going to give you me. I have to be me. I can’t try and give a speech about coming out of the closet and people need to support that and then not be real on the show. I keep it 100.
Bravotv.com: Describe some pool party fashion dos and don’ts.
Reza: I had my boy coming over and I wanted to look really good. Sammy goes all out for his parties as you saw -- it’s catered, security, bartender, there were shot girls, there’s a friggin’ tiger at the party you know, DJ, all of that. So of course I want to look good, I want to represent. And I had my boy coming over, so I wanted to lay out some of the new stuff I bought you could see tags hanging out off some of the stuff. I wanted to get a second set of eyes so to speak. When we’re going to a Persian pool party, the irony of it is, at the end of the day -- how many people actually got in the pool? It’s not about the pool, it’s not about anything other than during the day, and there’s a pool at the property. There will be a pool at the location and it’ll be during the day, but that’s about it. You still need to serve it up if you’re going to a Persian pool party.
Bravotv.com: What do you think about all the drama with Mike’s girlfriend and her outfit and then with GG?
Reza: First of all, I make these crazy comments sometimes. I can run my mouth. Lana, Mike’s girlfriend at the time, is an amazing girl and she has a killer body. It looked ten times better in person than it did on camera and it still looked killer on camera. And people were jealous, she looked amazing. And she was doing something that was a little different for us than a normal Persian pool party. She was in a bikini -- you don’t see people in bikinis, and she got in the water, and there was a lot of PDA which isn’t typical for a Persian pool party. So they stood out, and they got some hate because of it. But at the end of the day, I made a mistake by judging a book by its cover because she’s an amazing girl.Bravotv.com: Do you think there is something more going on with Mike and GG?
Reza: Absolutely 1000% feel like there is a lot of sexual tension. Mike definitely loves the attention from the ladies. There’s no doubt about it. Mike wants attention from everyone in the room, forget ladies. If Mike walks in a room, he wants you to notice him -- he wants young people, old people, men, women, he wants the animals to come up to him and ask to be pet. If there was a cockroach on the wall, he’d want the cockroach to give him a little shout-out. Mike works hard at looking good, and he does look good, and he does pay that attention. There is some chemistry, some tension, and if you’re around them, you can feel it. And clearly you saw it at the pool party.
Bravotv.com: Anything else from the episode that you wanted to talk about?
Reza: I mean that whole thing with MJ and her mom and Sammy -- that for me was the most jarring of anything we saw in Episode 1. Personally as someone who lives in that circle and that’s my life, that was really hard for me to watch. Even though I know the type of relationship that the two of them have, it’s such a typical Persian mother/ Persian daughter relationship. Even though she and I have been friends for over 20 years, to hear her mother criticize her that way in front of other people, still every time I see it or hear it, it feels like the first time. It never gets any easier to deal with. I see how much of an impact it has on her. It’s really toxic to be judged and criticized by your parents so harshly on a continuous almost systematic manner -- it really breaks you down.
Bravotv.com: So next week is your birthday party in Vegas. Do you have anything you have to tease for the viewers to look forward to?
Reza: There’s so much. I can tell you that it’s like hitting a jackpot. It’s like 7, 7, and 7. We hit the jackpot, we cover it all. There’s amazing times, there might be a sloppy moment. There might be a heated moment, there’s going to be some loveable moments there might be some tender moments -- we give you the spectrum in Episode 2. And relationships aren’t always in the same place, so look forward to us exploring, and certain people might get closer, certain people might drift apart. It’s real. The beauty of this show is it’s real. We’re real friends, we really do things together and it’s going to be really fun for people to see how our friendships evolve as the season progresses.