Like any major American city, Los Angeles is a patchwork of subcultures from around the world, some better known than others. On Sunday, March 11, Bravo and executive producer Ryan Seacrest ("Keeping Up With the Kardashians") introduce one of those subcultures with the premiere of "Shahs of Sunset."
The reality series focuses on a group of Persian-American friends living in the Westside neighborhoods in and around Beverly Hills. They trace their roots back to parents who left Iran after the fall of the Shah in the late 1970s, but they're now focused on making it big in America.
"We are six unique individuals," says 33-year-old real estate agent Mike Shouhed. "We're very good friends, and the show is a glimpse into our lives. We're juggling our family life, which is very, very important to us, our social life, our upcoming careers and our love lives. We're six friends who are Persian, so it gives you a glimpse into the culture.
"It's going to give the audience a chance to see our friendships evolve on this show and also a glimpse into our culture. So the Friday night Shabbat dinners that we do, it's different than my friends who are just American Jews. So it's going to give the audience an opportunity to see that."
Some audience members may be surprised to learn that a sizable percentage of the Persian-Americans in Los Angeles are Jewish.
"That's the biggest misconception," says Shouhed. "Iran's a very Muslim-driven country, but there are persons that are Jewish, that are Baha'i, that are Christian, Catholic. I'm seeing a lot of comments about how people are thinking this is an all-Muslim cast, and it's not true."
But the show is much more about the friends' social and work lives and the pressure to find spouses inside the culture. But Shouhed says he's not feeling that from his own parents, who have been in America for more than three decades.
"If I fall in love," he says, "with a woman who is not Persian, they're going to love her the same as if she was. They just want me to be happy."Copyright © 2015, CT Now