It is hard to believe, but it has been an amazing four years since Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset” debuted! Since then we have been treated to the lives—and antics—of its amazing cast. The show has been groundbreaking, not just with its ratings, but its concept. Never before have the lives of Persian Americans been so lightheartedly portrayed, let alone in a reality television setting. Since its inception, fans everywhere have been enamored with all of The Shahs, but one in particular is a crowd favorite—especially when he smiles– meet Mike Shouhed, real estate tycoon, businessman, son, brother, fiancé, and sex symbol!”
Reality television is by far the most controversial genre on television. This is largely due to its muckraking and drama. However, Mike brings a righteous fury and humor to his show. Besides being an all around great guy, he admits to being completely authentic, especially when the cameras are rolling. “What you see of me on the show is one hundred percent real…This is my life so I’m going to keep it real, be authentic, and have fun while I’m doing it…that’s what it’s all about in the end…” Indeed, “Keeping it real” is what Mike does even to his detriment at times. He has had altercations with most of his cast mates, but declares he genuinely loves each and every one of them. “We’re friends and we’re a family…you know families fight, but they make up too…” Most of his most dramatic scenes involve Reza Farahan and Mercedes Javid (MJ). He cannot reveal where he currently stands with his cast mates, but reveals a lot happens in the upcoming fourth season of the show. “Asking me which one of them [his cast mates] is my favorite is like asking a father who is his favorite child?”
As aforementioned, “Shahs of Sunset” has never shied away from the drama, or shedding light on issues that plague Persian culture; such as homophobia, women’s rights, or family relations. Neither, has Mike, in each case he has risen to the occasion to fight the righteous cause. The most memorable of these is undoubtedly when he stood up to his best friend and cast mate, Reza (who is also gay), after he used a homophobic slur against another guy in a gay club. “It’s not cool for straight guys to use that word [faggot/fag] to down someone or when something is silly or stupid…it’s disgusting, ignorant, and in poor taste…just stop…” His actions formed a wedge between him and Reza. Although the two have since mended their friendship, he holds steadfast that he did the right thing. He even feels this way when it comes to the beef between former and current cast mates, Neelufar Seyed “Lilly” Ghalichi and MJ. The two women had an epic fallout where MJ declared the other Shahs to be her friends and not Lilly’s. The other Shahs remained silent during her declaration; something Lilly admits hurt her and compelled her to distance herself from the cast. Since then it has been rumored and then confirmed, she was let go from the show due to this decision. “Her [Lilly’s] decision to leave was a mutual decision…I hate to see her go…she’s a good person and a good friend, but I have no regrets about not acting during that situation…it was an issue between the two of them and I have no regrets for not taking part in it…” Mike goes on further to say he has no regrets about anything or any of his actions on the show. “I live a life of no regrets…”
There is one word that truly describes Mike—dashing! Talking to him about any topic definitely leaves you feeling like you have just been charmed. Still, this debonair man came from admittedly humble beginnings. His parents were immigrants from Iran, who fled their country after the Shah was overthrown in the seventies. Being that they are Persian Jews, their lives were in particular danger. “The Shah was friendly to the Jews and when he was overthrown people like my parents had to leave the country or be killed…my mother has told me stories of the terror she experienced during those times…” Although he is not defined by his Persian Jewish religion, he has great pride in it, choosing it over his Persian culture. Last season, he boldly stated if he had two choose to fight for Israel or Iran he would choose Israel. Mike admits the backlash from that statement was intense. “I received a lot of hate mail for that…Islamic Radicals were sending me death threats…people were saying I was a traitor to my native culture…but I have no real tie to Iran…my mother was pregnant with me in 1979 when they fled the country and I’ve never physically been there…Besides Israel is the only country in that region that offers the same freedoms as the United States…it’s a democracy…” Anti-Semitism and its tales still haunt Mike, as witnessed on a visit to Turkey and hearing the hourly bell for call to prayer. His other cast mates found it moving and had a deeply spiritual reaction to it. Mike, however, was tense with fear. “I was in a country that is like ninety-nine percent Muslim…when I heard that bell it just reminded me of all the stories and terrors my mother told me she experienced while she was pregnant with me…I was feeling her fears, her concerns, her worries for her safety…”
Mike Shouhed is destined to become a household name and soon Jessica Parido, better known as, “Mrs. Mike Shouhed,” will be joining him in Holy Matrimony! Mike popped the question to her earlier this year and she happily accepted. Fans will see the entire proposal on the upcoming season. Mike reveals Bravo TV executives called to tell him whole proposal had him in tears. Clearly we are all in for a treat. “Jessica was made for me…there’s nothing like having someone tell you they love you more than they love themselves…She said once to me she hopes she dies before me because she wouldn’t want to spend a day on this planet without me…I knew she was The One…” Besides love and being a Shah, Mike fills his downtime with even more hard work with his real estate company, being a spokesperson for the anti-aging cream, Nerium, and working out. His polished physique earned him a spread in “Playgirl,” and has him labeled as “The Sexy Shah.” “…of course I’m the sexy one…have you seen my cast mates…” he jokes! Mike admits his high school teachers would eat their words if they saw him now. They often told him he would never amount to much. Clearly, they were mistake. For this Shah, past the sunset and beyond the stars is where his wit, charm, and work ethic will take him. With his family, friends, and the love of his life by his side there’s no stopping Mike Shouhed! You can catch Mike on Bravo TV’s “Shahs of Sunset” (Check your local listings) and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikeshouhed!