New Bravo reality series co-headlined by gay Iranian Reza FarahanBreaking News, Top Highlights Sunday, March 11th, 2012
A new reality show Shahs of Sunset will hit airwaves Sunday at 10 p.m. EDT on the Bravo Network featuring the lifestyles of “glossy, high-living members of the Iranian-American community” including Raza Farahan, 38, who dubs himself as a rarity amid people of his culture. Farahan, who is openly gay, is decidedly funny, brass, and real – a trio of qualities that Bravo hopes will make their latest reality series a hit with LGBT allies and activists alike.
“I have an important message, all the bling and Mercedes aside: I’m an openly gay Persian man. According to the president of the country I was born in, I don’t even exist,” he said in an interview.
Iran is known for extremism against homosexuals in the country, namely the executions of gays. In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted, “in Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country” and Iran has executed an estimated 4,000 gay and lesbian citizens since 1979 amid the country’s Islamic revolution.
“It compelled me to want to have and use this platform to talk about myself and show how I live my life. My family loves me, my friends love me and I’m really supported,” he said.
Farahan added that his inspiration to do the reality series is due in part to the It Gets Better campaign.
“Reza’s personal story is an inspiring one on many levels. I think it’s wonderful that he wants to share his story,” said Ryan Seacrest, the show’s executive producer.
Shahs of Sunset will aim to feature the most luxurious side of the Iranian community, complete with high-spenders, designer brands, shiny cars, and lots of bling-bling.
“I don’t mind being stereotyped as materialistic,” he said. “Middle Easterners have many stereotypes, and materialism is one of the better ones. We’re usually viewed as evil terrorists, so if you’re going to stereotype me I’d prefer it be because we love gold and Mercedes instead of Uzis.”
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