'Shahs of Sunset's Reza Farahan Gets Candid on His Estrangement From MJ
Along with his entrepreneurial endeavors, Farahan has been caught in a firestorm centered around an ugly falling-out with Mercedes “MJ” Javid. It’s a feud rooted in he said/she said that rages on during Season 8 of the reality series.
Here, Farahan talks business and if fences can ever be mended with MJ.
How long has your hair care line been in the works for?
Reza Farahan: It has been in the works for a little over a year. The response has been phenomenal. It’s one of the only times you see someone invest their hard-earned money getting the quality ingredients they want. I was at a dog park with my dog, who attacked this humongous dog. I have this small Chihuahua, who has body dysmorphic disorder and thinks he is huge. I have to regularly walk up to people and apologize to them. I looked up and there was this gorgeous woman sitting there. I apologized for my dog’s rude behavior.
She recognized me from the show and introduced herself. She went to tell me how great my hair was and how luxurious it was. I thanked her and told her what a difficult time I had in my life trying to figure out how to control it. She asked me if I thought about owning my own hair care line. I spent the better part of my 20s trying different shampoos, conditioners, gels, and mousses trying to figure out what would work with my hair. A few dinners at the Beverly Hills Hotel later, we decided to go into business together.
I love there is a charitable component where five percent of proceeds go to the St. Jude’s Research Hospital.
I’m an immigrant who has benefited tremendously from living in this beautiful country. I don’t take for granted that if I were at the place of my birth ... I would be persecuted for who I am, what I am, and what I stand for. So, to live in a country that allows me to be who I am and celebrates me, the least I could do is to give back wherever I can.
Is there anyone in the cast that uses your products?
Everyone in the cast is a big user. MJ is a huge fan of the leave-in conditioner. When we were on better terms, I was selling on home shopping ... she would call in and praise it. Nema uses the pomade. Mike uses the shampoo and conditioner. Destiney uses the entire line.
Speaking of Shahs, this has turned into a pretty explosive season already. What has the experience been like to recount everything that went on?
It has been an explosive season. On one hand, it really is exciting the fans enjoy watching. Obviously, it is really hard that what people are finding so exciting is something that was so traumatic and difficult for myself and Adam to go through. Reliving it isn’t easy. I love the fact the fans are responding positively, but watching every episode is like pulling the scabs off of old wounds and pouring salt on them. It’s very difficult.
Does it make you feel like your relationship with Adam is stronger knowing what you have endured?
As far as Adam and I are concerned, absolutely. We went through a difficult time with one another. We realized how much we rely on each other and how much more we can rely on each other. He has been my rock through this whole journey, and I for him. He and I are in a much better place than we were a year ago. If there is any saving grace with all the drama between MJ and I, it’s that my marriage is much stronger now. We’re much more there for each other, even more than we were before.
What does it mean to you for people like GG have your back?
I feel like we’re a group. I want everyone to feel supported. With that said, it feels good to have people support me when I feel that I was wronged. And I feel like my friend was up to no good. I’m glad there are other people who can see the writing on the wall. Some of them have also seen and heard recordings which prove some people really weren’t up to any good.
This season we see you participating in a Mud Run. You are a weight loss success story and have certainly inspired people with your journey. Is it hard for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Being on television, it’s a good thing for someone like me who is one of those people that responds to tough love. So when I see things like, “You’re looking kind of chunky. It looked like you packed on a few.” Those things affect me. Having a million accountability coaches, so if I’m out here telling people I’m on a weight loss journey and have lost this weight, it’s really hard to put it back on — people notice. Every time I want to put that delicious confection or whatever it is into my mouth, I always think about the consequences.
Given the emotional rollercoaster you’ve been on, are you apprehensive about another potential season?
As far as being on television, for me the only reason was trying to change homophobias, stereotypes about homosexuality in the Middle Eastern community. I came up at a time when being gay was beyond taboo. Parents were taking their kids to conversion therapy and sending them back to Iran. Some of them committed suicide. For me, being on television was always about helping other young kids who might be in the same position I was in or changing minds of parents watching the show. Changing the line of thinking where it’s, “Look, his family and friends love and support him. He has a career. He has a partner. He is successful.” The endgame doesn’t have to be humiliation or suicide.
Many viewers are talking about your confrontation with MJ at Sara’s pool party, which we see teased in previews. What was that day like?
I can tell you that it’s outrageous. I had no clue MJ was going to show up there. Nema decided that he knew better than I did. He knew better to manage a 30-year friendship in turmoil. Instead of talking to me and running it by me or checking with me, he decided to bring MJ to the pool party. Once you watch the episode, you’ll realize MJ came there with the worst of intentions. She called me a b***h when I left the party because I didn’t think it was a good idea for me to stay there and have a conversation feeling the way I did. I was dragged back into the party to talk to her. She started in on me and, unfortunately, I didn’t hold back. I say some pretty foul things, all of which are true, but things that shouldn’t be repeated.
Even with all that has happened, do you feel there is still hope this relationship can be salvaged?
I’ve said this several months back, but if MJ acknowledges what she has done and apologizes her behavior, there is definitely a new path toward friendship for us. I don’t think my friendship would be what it used to be with MJ, nor do I want us to be what we used to be ever again. But having her in my life, I definitely don’t want to throw 30 years down the tubes.
Shahs of Sunset, 9/8c, Fridays, Bravo