SHIVA SAFAI

Liv­ing Her Best Life

Upscale Living Magazine - - Front Page - | By Heléne Ra­mack­ers

With her ex­quis­ite beauty, Shiva Safai is the per­fect model for any look and any era. Go­ing back in time with pho­to­graphs to de­pict the style of the 1950’s, Shiva lends her beauty to sym­bol­ize time­less glamor. She spoke to Up­scale Liv­ing mag­a­zine about her rise to fame and lead­ing a fairy­tale ex­is­tence.

Shiva, tell us a bit about your for­ma­tive years. You were born in Iran and raised in Nor­way? What are your most pre­cious mem­o­ries of the dif­fer­ent places where you lived? Then you moved to Los An­ge­les at the young age of 19. Why the move and what were your first im­pres­sions of Los An­ge­les? My fond­est mem­o­ries of liv­ing in Iran were my grand­par­ents. I spent a lot of time with them un­til we moved to Nor­way when I was four years old. Nor­way was def­i­nitely a cul­ture shock at first, but I adapted quickly, and I re­mem­ber Nor­way be­ing my home. Where I grew up felt safe and I be­came an adult. I de­cided to move to LA for one year af­ter high school, but one year turned into 17 years later. I was just so drawn to the peo­ple, mix of cul­tures and how peo­ple blended so eas­ily. The weather was un­beat­able com­pared to Nor­way or any other place in the world for that mat­ter. And I just started work­ing and met my ex-hus­band (then boyfriend) and de­cided to stay.

You ran a very suc­cess­ful crim­i­nal back­ground check busi­ness for over a decade. That sounds like an in­trigu­ing field to go into. Why did you choose that?

I started work­ing at a crim­i­nal back­ground check com­pany when I first moved to LA. Even­tu­ally, I de­cided to move on and open my own and I had it for over a decade.

With­out giv­ing too much away, this job prob­a­bly came with a level of ex­cite­ment and sus­pense. What en­joy­ment did you get out of be­ing a crim­i­nal back­ground checker?

I loved my job; it was dif­fer­ent and ex­cit­ing every day. The cases were dif­fer­ent, and it gave me new chal­lenges and made me learn new things through­out the years. I would travel and meet other com­pa­nies like my own, so I truly loved what I did and it didn’t feel like work to me.

In­ter­est­ingly, you didn’t do what ev­ery­one else does when land­ing in Los An­ge­les – look to be­com­ing an ac­tress? Was that not an av­enue that in­ter­ested you?

It never ever crossed my mind. The rea­son I moved to LA was never to be­come an ac­tress or a model. I never even thought it was a pos­si­bil­ity.

I have no idea how you and Mo­hamed met. We would love to know when and where you met and when did you start dat­ing?

I met Mo­hamed very ran­domly on a beau­ti­ful spring day in Bev­erly Hills. He was hav­ing lunch at his fa­vorite res­tau­rant and that’s where I was with my girl­friend. We locked eyes and there was this in­stant chem­istry. We never talked but I went home that day just think­ing about him, I found him on Face­book, reached out to him and the rest is his­tory. We talked for a few weeks be­fore we went out on our first date.

When and how did you re­al­ize he was ‘The One’?

When we went on our first trip to Europe and he also took his chil­dren, Bella, Gigi and An­war along. I could im­me­di­ately gauge the type of man he was and still is - a car­ing fa­ther, a good friend who treated me with so much love and re­spect. And I truly loved his morals and val­ues.

When and how did he pro­pose?

Af­ter two years of us dat­ing, we went to Bali, it was New Year’s Eve and af­ter we fin­ished din­ner, he pulled my chair and said “I need to talk to you” I thought I was in trou­ble ... lol then he started the pro­posal and I re­mem­ber I just started cry­ing and I said yes yes yes !!!!

He seems like a ro­man­tic per­son and looks like he ab­so­lutely adores you. Do you think he would mind telling us what first at­tracted him to you, apart from your gor­geous looks of course!

I think or know he al­ways says I was “dif­fer­ent” from any­one he ever dated. I was some­one he felt could be around his kids, some­one who is safe (some­one who is a good per­son). He loves the fact that I bring ev­ery­one to­gether and en­cour­age fam­ily time.

With­out stat­ing the ob­vi­ous – he is re­ally hand­some on a dif­fer­ent level – what at­tracted you to him?

I truly be­lieve he is a ge­nius. He thinks out­side the box in a way that’s very unique. What I love about him the most is his kind and gen­er­ous heart and de­spite all his power and wealth, he is so down to earth and hum­ble.

You are very open about your re­la­tion­ship and is­sues that most peo­ple would shy away from, like the age gap of 33 years be­tween you and Mo­hamed. Do you be­lieve that be­ing in the pub­lic af­fords you the plat­form to ad­dress these ques­tions in such a way that peo­ple in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions don’t feel like they are alone in the world?

I have no­ticed that through­out the years as my plat­form has grown, it has been a great way show­ing other cou­ples in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions that it is ok. Age is just a num­ber, and no one has the right to judge you or your re­la­tion­ship due to just our age gap. I re­ceive many mes­sages from women say­ing how our re­la­tion­ship has been a great in­spi­ra­tion.

Has the age dif­fer­ence ever been an is­sue? If yes, how have you re­solved it?

There has never been an is­sue for me or Mo­hamed.

You will be the third Mrs. Ha­did and Mo­hamed will be the sec­ond Mr. Safai. With no guar­an­tees in life, how do you make your re­la­tion­ship work to want to be to­gether for­ever?

With both of us be­ing di­vorced, we have learned that there are no guar­an­tees in life. We both try and have learned from our past mis­takes to be a bet­ter per­son for each other and to live in the mo­ment rather than think­ing of ‘what if ’ and ‘how about’ .... this works for us and hope­fully will for the rest of our lives. :)

What pres­sure is there on you to be bet­ter than the two wives be­fore you?

I don’t feel any pres­sure; I am my own per­son and I’m not try­ing to com­pete to be any bet­ter or dif­fer­ent.

It looked like a lot of fun to film Sec­ond Wives Club. But then there were also chal­leng­ing times with some of the ladies not get­ting along. Was that very stress­ful and how did you re­solve is­sues amongst each other?

Putting six women in a room is with­out a doubt go­ing to cre­ate drama sooner or later. Some were more dra­matic than oth­ers. I did try to be the one who would try to bring ev­ery­one to­gether; it was chal­leng­ing at times, but I wasn’t stressed out. I had a won­der­ful time film­ing with the ladies, I went in know­ing it would be dra­matic at times, but I also knew I should just be my­self and hope­fully the view­ers would like me and my char­ac­ter.

You are so classy – you turn a camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in your per­fectly man­i­cured gar­den into an event. I sup­pose there are no half mea­sures for you?

I love to be hands on with ev­ery­thing I do my­self. I guess I am a lit­tle bit of a per­fec­tion­ist

and I like to make sure things are done the way I like it, so many times I end up do­ing a lot of the things my­self. Set­ting din­ner ta­bles and mak­ing flow­ers and ar­rang­ing par­ties all on my own.

You and Mo­hamed have the most ex­quis­ite home. Do you ever wake up think­ing you are a princess in your own real-life fairy-tale?

I do wake up every day feel­ing grate­ful, first and fore­most for my health, the fact that I am blessed to wake up to see an­other day, but I some­times have to take a minute and take it all in. I am blessed and some­times do feel like a princess liv­ing her fairy­tale life.

Your house is enor­mous in size – who is in charge of the up­keep and are there ar­eas that you hardly ever use?

We have a house man­ager who is in charge of the up­keep of the house. He sched­ules main­te­nance of what­ever the house may need and over­sees the other em­ploy­ees work­ing around the house. The base­ment level of the house is prob­a­bly least used where there is poker room, ball room, the­ater and Moroc­can room/Turk­ish bath.

What are your fa­vorite rooms in your home and why?

I per­son­ally love my bed­room, and then the kitchen fam­ily area where we cook and en­ter­tain friends and fam­ily.

Fa­vorite key pieces of fur­ni­ture with a story at­tached to it that you would never want to go with­out?

I ab­so­lutely adore and trea­sure the por­trait Mo­hamed painted of me. That to me is price­less and I could never part with it.

I be­lieve you are quite the cook – what are your fa­vorite dishes to pre­pare?

I en­joy cook­ing from time to time. I can al­most cook any­thing, but I love cook­ing Per­sian food. I have this chicken and rice dish ev­ery­one in the fam­ily loves when I make it.

Does Mo­hamed also like mak­ing food and if he does, what are his sig­na­ture dishes to whip up?

Mo­hamed is by far a bet­ter cook then me. It’s a tal­ent and he has it. He can cook for 40 peo­ple with­out a prob­lem. He usu­ally cooks our thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas din­ners at home. He can whip up any­thing re­ally but we all love his fa­mous ‘eggs from Nazareth’ as he calls it.

The por­trait Mo­hamed painted of you is some­thing re­ally spe­cial. How did that make you feel when you saw this larger than life im­pres­sion of you by the man you love?

It was a pleas­ant sur­prise when he un­veiled his lat­est work. I have never ever had any­one do some­thing so spe­cial and ro­man­tic be­fore. I look at it every day with so much pride and love. I ad­mire his work so much, not only the paint­ing he has done of me but also all his other art­works.

Apart from his artis­tic side, what other hid­den tal­ents does Mo­hamed have?

Mo­hamed has so many hid­den tal­ents, any­thing he puts his mind to he can do. But some­thing maybe peo­ple don’t know is that he can fly a plane. He got his pilot li­cense about thirty years ago.

You are a bud­ding flower ar­ranger (par­don the pun). What are your fa­vorite flow­ers and I as­sume they dif­fer sea­son­ally?

I never knew I en­joyed mak­ing flower ar­range­ments so much un­til I moved in with Mo­hamed. We have a fresh flower de­liv­ery every week to fill the house. It’s al­most like ther­apy for me. I truly en­joy mak­ing them. My ul­ti­mate fa­vorite is pe­onies, but I love most flow­ers. They are all so beau­ti­ful and dif­fer­ent in their own way and de­pend­ing on what look or sea­son you are in, the flow­ers will vary.

Let’s talk a bit about you and your dropdead-gor­geous looks. What are your beauty se­crets and your fit­ness regime?

I be­lieve moder­a­tion is the key to any­thing in life. Don’t overdo any­thing re­ally, even when it comes to a fit­ness reg­i­men and/or beauty. If you overdo it you can get tired and just not want to push your­self. If I’m not in the mood or I feel my body is aching, I won’t work out. I try to be con­sis­tent but some­times I fall off the healthy eat­ing and ex­er­cise wagon when I travel and deal with jet lag. I have al­ways been at­ten­tive to tak­ing care of my skin since I was a teenager. The best ad­vice I ever re­ceived was to wear sun­block on my face every day no mat­ter what. I like to main­tain my skin with monthly fa­cials with my fa­vorite fa­cial­ist Shani Dar­den.

You have trav­elled ex­ten­sively. What has been your most spe­cial desti­na­tion and why?

My re­cent trip to Beirut was one of the best and most mem­o­rable trips of all times. The food, the cul­ture and the hos­pi­tal­ity re­minded me so much of my home­land, Iran. The sounds of traf­fic and honk­ing horns and call to prayer were so nos­tal­gic. It’s a place I will go back to again and again.

You are an in­flu­encer. What does that en­tail?

Be­ing an in­flu­encer, I see it as be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers. And to reach out and maybe be able to make pos­i­tive changes in the world with the plat­form we have been blessed with.

What cur­rent projects are you in­volved in?

I can’t give much de­tail, but fun things are com­ing in the near fu­ture. All I can dis­close is a pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion in fash­ion and beauty.

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