Sisterhood Blog

'Shahs of Sunset' Missing One Thing: Jewish Women

By Lilit Marcus

Getty Images
Mercedes ‘MJ’ Javid, star of Bravo’s reality TV show ‘Shahs of Sunset’

The hit Bravo series “Shahs of Sunset” follows some members of the tight-knit Persian community in L.A., aka “Tehrangeles.” The show’s stars play pretty traditional reality show staple roles, such as the brassy girl who starts fights and the snarky gay dude, but there’s also a focus on a less-popular reality show storyline: religion. Most of the show’s cast members are Muslim (although not all of them are practicing), but both male regulars are Jewish or have Jewish identities.

Real estate agent Mike is Jewish and has mentioned several times how he’s a minority within the show and the Persian community at large. His friend Reza, the show’s breakout star, is the son of a Muslim mother and Jewish father, and he still struggles with rejection from his paternal relatives. However, one perspective is missing from this eclectic show: that of a Jewish woman.

“Shahs of Sunset” dropped one guy and added one girl this year for its second season, bringing the cast to a female count of four. Asa, Golnessa (aka GG), MJ and Lilly are all from Persian Muslim families. We see a lot of the cast members with their relatives, so we’ve heard about how Asa’s father was a top commander in the Shah’s navy before seeking political asylum in Germany and how GG’s parents spoiled her so badly that she’s 30 and has never held a job. Compared to the almost always absent parents on “Jersey Shore” and most of the “Real Housewives” franchises, the “Shahs” parents get a huge chunk of screen time and help flesh out the impressions of the Persian community in California.

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