Since the show debuted two weeks ago, Parisa Montazaran of Real World: Sydney has stood out. She felt, early on, like she didn’t fit in with the other girls in the house. Then, she quickly butted heads with housemate Trisha Cummings. Raised Muslim, and of Middle Eastern descent, Montazaran is still finding out who she is but isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is a graduate of NYU, with a degree in International Relation Studies. Parisa took the time to talk to BuddyTV about her experiences in Sydney and how her “crush” on housemate Dunbar Flinn was over before you can say, “This is the true story…”
Below, you will find the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview
Hey everybody, this is Gina from Buddy TV, and I’m talking with Parisa from Real World: Sydney. Hey Parisa, thanks for joining us.
Thanks for having me.
Well, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, so we can get to know you better?
Um, sure. I’m a Libra, I like to bake, I’m a daughter of Iranian immigrants. I think that something that’s being brought up a lot on the show is my ethnicity, I guess. And a recent graduate of NYU, I studied International Relation Studies, anything else? I don’t know.
I feel like I’m setting up your profile on match.com. (laughter)
MySpace, you know… (laughter) They have like favorite movies, all these specific aspects of yourself that you’re kind of ready to dish out. But is there anything in particular that you’d like to hear?
No, actually, you brought up your religion. And I was wondering if you felt sort of a pressure to represent yourself on the show well, as someone who’s of Middle Eastern descent, and a practicing Muslim?
Not at all, actually. I think the exact opposite, because going into it, it had been brought up so much in interviews. I personally wasn’t really that strict of a Muslim growing up, like my family isn’t that conservative. So I started looking into my religion, trying to find where I fit in with my faith. When I got to college, that was something I sort of did on my own.
So going into the interview process, and it being brought up so much, I thought like it was really key to include the fact that this is something that I chose for myself, and I’m still finding where I am in respect to my faith and spirituality and stuff. So I never felt like I had to change my behavior to fit into what it meant to be a good Muslim, more than I had to just be myself as much as possible. And really remember that that’s a part of me, and it’s a part of what makes me, me. You know what I mean?
Mm-hmm. Was this the first year that you had ever tried out for Real World, or had you been interested in being on the show for a while?
Actually, casting directors came to my college, to NYU. They were doing private interviews with student organizations on campus, and my sorority was one of them, so I sort of fell into it that way. I went to a sorority meeting, and they were there, and they were asking questions.
They started off talking about relationships, and people’s views on the way the government handled Hurricane Katrina, and things like that. And once I started speaking up, they took note of me, and then they asked me to stay and kept calling me back.
At that point, I was like a junior in college, I was really into my studies and what I was doing, postgraduate plans. I’d never thought I’d get The Real World. If anything, I felt like I was provoking them by letting them know, “I’m not for you.” I was pissing their buns in that way, but they kept calling me back, so it was a surprise.
And had you ever been to Sydney before filming the show?
Never, no. I had always traveled to Europe and the Middle East to visit family, so I had traveled outside of the U.S. before, but I’d never gone to a beautiful vacation spot like Australia. That was something that I thought maybe would come later on in life, never in my early 20s.
One thing on The Real World that everybody’s always blown away by is the house. I’m sure you’ve seen them on TV before, but when you actually are living in that house, is it just more than you could have ever expected?
The house is so big and it’s so beautiful, as far as the furniture, it’s just so grand, all of it. But it’s kind of like your house, and it’s kind of like a set, in that you have these bright lights shining on you all the time. And you sort of remember that there are cameras there when you hear them zooming around in the middle of the night. So it’s weird, because you’re overwhelmed by how awesome it is, but then you sort of feel like you’re on a TV set. So that in your mind, it felt like, “Is this not real? Is this not my house?” It’s kind of a mix of both.
You had to have gone into the house maybe with some kind of expectations. Was it disappointing when you realized you definitely weren’t gonna click with everybody there?
No, I think I went into it knowing that I wasn’t going to click with everybody there. But that I would learn and out them, and grow with each other, and get to appreciate where everyone was coming from. That I was looking forward to going into it, though I had expected that… I don’t know, I guess there would be more diversity in the cast?
Going into it, I was the last person to get into the house, so I didn’t know if there were any gay roommates. So immediately I put it out there, if I had to room with a guy, I’d be OK with that. Because I know there have been gay cast members, that maybe wouldn’t feel comfortable rooming with guys, or would want to room with guys.
Whatever it was, if it was a female, maybe the other females wouldn’t want to room with a gay cast member. So I had no idea going in there what to expect, or who everyone was, or where they’d be coming from. So when we sat around and sort of assessed everyone’s place, and what walk of life they came from, and then the status quo. A good majority of our house from the South or whatever, and they had all these things in common, and I really didn’t have too much in common with them. I don’t know, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, because I grew to love every one of my roommates so much. But I think I definitely went in there thinking it was gonna be like this huge mix.
And when you’re watching these early episodes that are on now, what is your reaction to, when you hear what people say about you? You know, when they’re in the confessional or when you’re just not around, and you’re watching it back and you hear these things for the first time?
Well, when you’re seeing people that you think are close to you and were your friends at the time, saying things behind your back, that hurts. You had a different idea of what was going on at the time, but in a way you learn so much from it, because how many people have that opportunity to see actually what’s going on?
When they’re in one room and people are saying things in another room. And people who you think are actually your friends, you know, what they’re really like. I think it’s definitely eye-opening. It’s really nice and comforting, sort of, because you get a perspective of everything. Watching yourself and other people, and the way they relate to you.
And when you first got to the house, your immediate attraction was to Dunbar. What was it about him that really got you?
I think my immediate attraction wasn’t to Dunbar. But the way it works out, as far as interviews and confessionals go, you sort of get some time to reflect. And my immediate take on everything was, “Holy crap, I’m in this house in Australia and the girls are all very similar, I’m feeling out of place.”
Dunbar was the one person that I was talking to when we first met, we got along right over and got to talk and learn a lot about each other. And I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the military man from the south was sort of progressive, and we had some more values as far as education and life and things like that go.
So I was drawn to Dunbar, in that we had a lot in common, so I wanted to get to know him better. And I got to know him over a few days, I was like, “Well I guess he’s kind of cute, and he’s cool. But he has a girlfriend, hands off, don’t even think about it that way.”
And then in seeing the way he was interacting with Kelly Anne, I just got completely turned off. Because I’m like, “This is the guy who has a girlfriend, he’s my friend, and he’s all over this other girl.” It was a huge turn-off, so it was a huge like uphill, and then it immediately plummeted.
It was over as quickly as it began.
Yeah, basically, it was over very quickly. It only takes one time of seeing a guy just being all over another girl that is not his girlfriend, to realize this is probably not a guy who would be very fit for a relationship. If he doesn’t have enough respect for his relationship, then what makes you think he’s a quality guy to be going for?
So in that respect, it was literally a three-day period. And you guys are getting this to you over the space of three episodes, of thinking like, “Oh man, Dunbar’s kind of cute, I think I kind of… eww.” So that’s the reality of the relationship with Dunbar.
Looking to your future on MTV, do you have aspirations to do the challenges, like a lot of these new Real World members end up going on to do?
This is all so new to me, that like, just learning about the fact that old cast members look forward to doing challenges and getting to be a part of the huge MTV family. Stuff that, I never went into this thinking like, “That’s gonna be my future.” So at the moment, I’m just focusing on the other stuff that I had plans to pursue, prior to even finding out that I had the show.
I’ve been wanting to really sink my teeth into recording an album, I’m getting that done after graduating college, so I think I’m gonna focus on that a little more. As far as the challenges, I have no idea what that kind of stuff is, nobody’s even approached me about that kind of stuff. So I don’t know too much about it.
Well, we really like watching you on the show, we’ll definitely be watching all season long. And I just want to thank you for your time, Parisa, I’m so glad you’re on the show this season.
Thank you so much for having me.
– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of MTV)