Shahs of Sunset: Meet Sammy Younai

This is the third in a series of four interviews with cast members from the new Bravo show Shahs of Sunset. The first one, with Mike Shouhed can be seen here, the second one with Mecedeh Javid can be seen here.

Sammy Younai, 37, is a residential real estate developer in Beverly Hills. Both his Bravo bio  and Beverly Hills Weekly really seem to try to focus on the “Persian Palace” aspect of his business. What I like about what Sammy had to say in Melanie Anderson’s interview in  Beverly Hills Weekly (printed media) is that he points out that while he does sell the majority of his multi-million dollar houses to Iranians he also has plenty of non-Iranian clients. It seems like both a smart business statement, and a way to side-step the whole “Persian Palace”  pigeonhole. Also, he didn’t use the word Persian in the entire interview. While I know the young generation of Iranians uses the term Persian consistently, it seems like word used to avoid saying Iranian. Despite the past few decades of unstable government in Iran, the politics is not the same as the people. I like that Sammy uses the standard term to describe his country of origin.
Sammy is rich. Not Nene Leakes “rich”, but extremely rich.  MJ and Reza sell some nice houses and are 1%ers themselves, but Sammy builds houses in Beverly Hills and Tehrangeles for really rich Iranians (and others). He’s loaded. I get the feeling this causes him some problems in his love life. If you have insane amounts of money and come from a wealthy family, it must be hard to not go overboard with your spending on love interests. Also there are thousands of women in a five mile radius of Beverly Hills who are looking to land a rich, eligible bachelor.  I’m just guessing here, and I could be totally wrong, but this could have something to do with the fact his Bravo bio calls him a ladies man.

Sammy’s interview with Anderson has a lot of interesting information in it. It explains how the show was not “cast” but rather developed around a group of people that were already friends. I think that is what is going to make Shahs of Sunset a huge success. Click through the jump to read excerpts from the interview.

So, how did you end up on “Shahs of Sunset”?
One of the first people I came to meet was [Producer] Jesse [Leed]. His girlfriend [MarisaWeber] and I have been friends for 15 years. About 2.5 years ago they came up with this idea. I was the first person [that they called]. We shared a lot of fun nights together in the few years we’ve known each other before he decided to do this show. He was just always on me to do something. I said, “Okay, let’s do it.”

What’s your goal for this show? 
Honestly for me it was to have fun. I’ll look back on it when I’m 70 and say, “Hey, I was on a TV show once.”

As a residential developer, you serve a Persian clientele in the local community. Do you think appearing on this show will be good for business? I hope so. We’ve developed close to 40 homes already in Beverly Hills in the last few years and even though the main portion of my clients are Iranian, [many] of them aren’t. I think it will be very good. We have a nice little niche.

Tell us about growing up in Beverly Hills.
I moved to California around the fifth grade from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I was in [LAUSD] and then I went to Beverly High from 10th grade on. I had a great time going to high school in Beverly Hills. I’m still friends with a lot of people I went to school with. I think being Iranian and growing up together through weddings and gatherings, we’re all so mixed together as far as someone’s cousin is also my cousin. We just have a big family. We’re always together.

What was the transition like from Florida to California?
In Fort Lauderdale, I was the only non-American person in probably the whole school. It was right around the time we had all the problems in Iran, and people didn’t know what to make of it. The fact I was the only Jewish kid in that school too really didn’t help, but it was great for growing up and it definitely taught me how to run really fast. It’s a completely different world from Fort Lauderdale to L.A. Even from L.A. to Beverly High, [it was a] complete 180.

What are your memories of Beverly High?
Even though it was high school, it was like one big party all day long. Even though we were supposedly there to learn something, it was more just hanging out with friends and having a great time. They did such a good job at that school where it just came naturally. My friends who weren’t at Beverly High hated attending school. Kids that went to Beverly High enjoyed attending school because it was such a fun place to go. We had our own [TV] department there and our own channel that broadcasted to all the homes in Beverly Hills. Mr. [Dave] Stiles [was] fantastic. I was [in the TV department] for about two years after school. It was such a great change from the everyday English, math, and science. It was fun learning about it, how to operate the cameras, and behind the scenes, how to edit and produce.

What do you think viewers will learn about the Persian community in Beverly Hills?Pretty much how tight we are, how we all have each other’s backs. Just being Persian and growing up together and the way we support each other and the way we care for each other, hopefully the big emphasis that we put on family life. I think that’s probably going to be the biggest thing we’re going to see on this show.

1 Comment

Filed under Bravo, Mercedeh Javid, Reza Farahan, Shahs of Sunset

One response to “Shahs of Sunset: Meet Sammy Younai

  1. Nancy

    I’m glad to see Sammy go because he doesn’t look good enough in show biz.He has no glamour,we want to watch attractive people

Please Read the COMMENTING RULES before commenting.