FAIRYTALES DO COME TRUE AND SHE’S LIVING PROOF
SHIVA SAFAI: COVER GIRL
To know her is to love her. Unless you're a troll on the net and you want to judge the age difference between she and her fiance Mohamed Hadid who is 33 years older. Born in Iran, raised in Norway, and dripping in diamonds and designer clothing, Shiva believes in karma. And I tell you what, I'll vouch that she's a pretty good person because if anyone is living a real life fairy tale - it's her.
I didn’t realize you were raised in Norway. I just want a little picture of what world you were born into. What was that like?
I was born in Iran, but raised in Norway. When I moved to Norway, I was four. But it felt so foreign. It felt very cold, we moved there around December. It was white everywhere. I’ve never seen that much snow in my life! It felt very strange being that little and all of a sudden you’re not in your normal environment but it was easy to kind of adapt. It was just a very simple childhood. It was very safe. I mean, Norway’s such a beautiful, beautiful country it’s just green everywhere and especially now seeing how sad it is with all the gun violence and school shootings here, I’m really grateful for having been raised in Norway. It was just so peaceful and simple.
What did your parents do? Did your mom work?
We were from a working-class family. My mom was working at a bakery and my dad was a carpenter and he eventually then started doing more real estate, maybe ten years later. But before that, they were just hard-working parents who really did everything to do to make it comfortable for my brothers and me - and they then bought a house.
When you were a little girl, maybe ten years old, did you have any aspirations or dreams? What did you think you wanted to do with your life?
Well it’s so funny. I always loved to entertain for some reason. I would always hold my hairbrush and act like I was a singer in front of the mirror in my bedroom. I was so into hair - I would blow dry everyone’s hair - all my classmates for weekends. I loved makeup also, so I was always into that whole world.
You moved to the states when you were 18. Did you land in New York or LA?
LA. My dad’s side of the family lives here in Orange County. So we would come and visit once a year. I really started to fall in love with California, the weather mainly. I was like “My God, this is the dream to have summer year round!” I think that was probably one of the main reasons I just kind of wanted to try it out and see how it is to live in a different country for a year.
It was a little difficult because I would miss home of course. But as every month would go by I would realize this is my new home. I would love it. It was great because I ended up bringing my brothers and now my mom loves it because we’re all in one place instead of scattered around.
So the world has gotten to know you the last couple of years. You’ve become a television star (formerly on Second Wives Club on E!) you’re on the cover of all these magazines and you’re now a very public person with a high-profile romance with Mohamed Hadid. Does the modeling come naturally to you? Do you feel being in front of the camera a safe place for you? Is it challenging? What is this new chapter like?
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I was in front of the camera when I shot for the show Second Wives Club. For the print, I didn't think “Oh my god I’m so scared.” Of course, I was nervous, but I was also excited about it. The fact that I was more excited overcame the fear and insecurities but also with TV, even Mohamed was like, “How are you just so comfortable and confident?” I was like, “I don’t even know!” I guess it’s because I’m just being myself and I’m not playing a role or being someone else so it just comes naturally. So thank God people don’t hate that.
So do you have more plans for TV or more print stuff? Where is your entrepreneurial spirit leading you?
I’m really exploring ideas and I’d love to do something where I have more of the creative control of something. Whether it’s traveling, beauty, or a project with my brothers - there are ideas that are popping up. There are some things in the works!
You’re busy. You’re moving, you’ve been engaged for a while now, you are in love clearly, so from where we’re sitting it’s like, “Hello, fairytale life - sign me up!” Is it that good or better?
I’m definitely, definitely super blessed, but also very grateful cause yeah you could have this amazing house and lifestyle, but, if you’re not happy, you’re not healthy and you don’t have good friends and family support, none of that really matters. So the fact that I have a relationship that I’m so comfortable in, I can be myself, he supports me and lifts me up and gives me the courage to try new things that I might feel uncomfortable with - and have my family and friends. I’m so lucky to have it all really and health over everything else. So lucky to have my health and family first so that’s what matters first and foremost.
You know people are asking is there a date. Will you plan a wedding? Or are you over it?
I feel like we’ve been forever engaged.
With this ring. Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t want to be! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a ring like that!
He designed it himself!
So you didn’t see this til he presented it to you?
No, I hadn’t seen it at all!
Do you ever take it off?
I didn’t in the first few years, but then I realized I should, so I take it off at night.
So you’re just kind of like, “I love my life” and you don’t feel the need to go to the next step at this point?
I love my life. I count my blessings every day. I thank God for being so so blessed.
Do people ask you the "do you need babies" question?
I get that all day, every day.
Well, where are you? I remember interviewing George Clooney over the years. He was the eternal bachelor and bam, boom -suddenly he has twins. Do you feel the need to procreate?
When I was married, I had my whole life planned and when that didn’t go the way I had planned, I realized I’m not going to plan anymore because life is going to throw curve balls and it’s going to go the way it wants whether you like it or not. So, I’m at a point in my life, especially getting closer to forty, I think what my mantra now is “Whatever’s meant to be will be.” So if it happens, it happens, and if not, I’m ok with that because it wasn’t meant to be. So I’m not dying to have kids right now cause even when I think about it I don’t think I’m ready for kids. I’m taking in a new chapter in my life and I feel like I want to do so much and I’ve been getting my feet wet in entertainment, beauty, fashion, and I’m happy with that.
Your star is rising and the paparazzi follow you and you’re on Daily Mail every other day. What do you think the biggest misconception about you is? Do you think there is one?
I mean, of course, it’s the age difference and people automatically just judge you and they’re like, “Oh, she’s with him for the wrong reasons” But I’ve learned throughout the years that I don’t care. I let it roll off my back.
And you’re good with that? Cause everyone deals with that differently.
You could be perfect, but people would still do it. So at this point, my friends know who I am, my parents love and support both of us and really that’s really what counts. It’s mutual respect on both ends.
Before I get into the rapid-fire questions, I have to know what you’re wearing. I love your Balenciaga jean jacket. Is that for sale right now? We need it on our site.
I think I got a month and a half, two months, ago. I think I got it from Elyse Walker.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Coffee. Need to have coffee. I can’t even open up my eyes!
How do you like your coffee?
What was the last gift you were given?
You know what, I’m trying to think, but I can’t even remember. I think I’m being spoiled because I get things all the time.
Does Mohamed just like surprise you? Like it just shows up? Are you talking about him or other people?
Yes, he’s generous, but he’s generous with everyone. He really, really has a heart of gold.
What was the last gift you gave?
I went to a friend’s house for the first time and she’s into crystals. So I gave her this beautiful pink crystal heart shaped bowl.
What’s the one tacky fashion fail you hate?
I didn’t like the fanny pack, but I’m starting to warm up to it. But I feel like too much logo of anything is bad. We get it. It’s a little obnoxious.
Do you have a favorite designer right now?
I really like RE/DONE. Their t-shirts are just so good. Simple, but really good.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
Yes, I do. I’ve had this celebrity crush ever since I was 14 or 15. David Beckham. He’s always been on my list. I’ve met him a few times - even better in person. He’s really, really, really handsome. He’s very classy. I just like his mannerisms. I like the way he carries himself.
What outfit would you want to be buried in?
Has to be Chanel. Going out in Chanel.
You know what, I never watch Netflix. I'm so embarrassed. We were setting up our new TV and you know how there’s Hulu and Netflix and all that, I was like “So how does it even work?” It’s embarrassing!
Do you watch TV?
CNN only, but that’s all thanks to our President. I’ve cut out all the other entertainment channels. I mean, this is entertainment by itself every day.
What about Anthony Bourdain?
I woke up this morning and heard about the sad news. I mean, I would look forward to his shows and it’s so heartbreaking, so sad because he truly was a genius - so talented. He made the show not only about food but about people, but about culture, it’s so much more than just food. You learn so much by just watching the show without having traveled to that place. Such a loss.
Daily mantra you live by?
I think at the end of the day it’s all about feeling good about who you are. I believe in karma, so being mean, wishing evil on anyone - it’s going to come back to you. So you’re going to want to go to bed knowing that you did the best you could, you were as productive as you could be, you did good, you helped people - you really just want to be a good person. Might be boring, but it’s true. Because that will take you a long way. I feel like mean people are just, not nice.
Photo Credit Jetset Dress