Shiva Safai wears a number of fabulous titles. She’s the fiancée of real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, and she’s the soon-to-be stepmother to supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid (plus three additional children). Now, with the return of E!’s reality hit, Second Wives Club, the 35-year-old is donning yet another title: television personality.
Safai was born in Iran and spent the majority of her formative years in Norway before moving to Los Angeles 17 years ago. As a mixed mutt myself, I ask Safai if her previous homes still hold a place in her heart. “Absolutely,” Safai says. “My parents moved us to Norway when I was four, so I don’t remember much from Iran, but my parents were good at speaking Farsi at home and teaching us the culture,” she says. “I definitely do feel and am proud of my roots and our culture. Growing up in Norway, there weren’t so many Persians. So my parents really made an effort for us to remember where we came from.”
Fast forward to today, and it’s been two years since she and Hadid met, and Safai has moved passed being bothered by chatter about the 33-year age gap between them. She believes her relationship is no different from yours or mine – except in one respect: a very memorable first-date guest-starring Lisa Vanderpump.
While Safai introduced Hadid to her friends gradually, she got a crash course in his social circle – starting with a double date with Ken and Lisa Vanderpump. “Our first date was at Madeo [listed below] with his best friend Lisa Vanderpump and her husband and dog, Jiggy. He had brought her to kind of give him the approval, so she was grilling me the whole night asking me all kinds of questions. But at the same time we’re laughing and having a really good time,” she recalls. “It was funny and different.”
One might expect a first date with Hadid to be unusually high profile given his family tree. In addition to Gigi and Bella, son Anwar is a rising model, and ex-wife Yolanda co-starred with Vanderpump on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. So when she signed on for a role on Second Wives Club, a Real Housewives-esque portrait of the second (and in Hadid’s case, third) marriages, Safai was simply following suit. And naturally, when it came to broadcasting her and Hadid’s relationship, Safai had LVP’s blessing. “[Originally] Lisa wanted me to join [RHOBH],” explains Safai. “We were in talks, but it wasn’t the right fit. His ex-wife and his best friend were on it and having some conflict, I did not want to be a part of that at that time.”
But while RHOBH didn’t work out, Safai sought Lisa’s advice when it came to shooting for the E! Network show. “I have to say I was very hesitant and afraid before shooting [the first season of] Second Wives Club, and I did ask Lisa for advice,” she says. “But I had a surprisingly pleasant experience filming this show. It was fun and exciting!” So exciting, perhaps, because against the backdrop of Los Angeles, this jetsetter was truly at home.
Below, see Safai’s guide to Los Angeles, California.
Cup of Joe: My terrace….I love to take my cup of coffee outside and enjoy the serenity that my beautiful garden/terrace has to offer.
Power Lunch: Il Pastaio is by far my favorite lunch spot. You feel like family there and the food is delicious.
Cocktail Hour: I love to go to Hotel Bel-Air for drinks by the bar/piano area. It’s just old glam Hollywood and it’s quaint and private.
Retail Therapy: I feel like a kid at a candy store when I go to Sephora. Just coming out of there with a new product to try makes me super happy.
Field Trip: The new Marciano Art Foundation is an absolute new favorite. I love all the contemporary art, it’s definitely a place to visit.
Date Night: We went to Madeo on our first date and ever since it has been my favorite place to go for dinner dates. The food is out of this world and they hands down have the best branzino in town.
Don’t Miss: Hollywood Bowl is one of the top iconic places in Los Angeles to view your favorite artist perform under the stars. That’s magical.
Hidden Gem: Larchmont Village is a place a lot of people don’t know about, it’s a super charming little village with great shops, restaurants and coffee shops.