Are you a full-blooded Persian? We’ll call it Persia instead of Iran because it’s much more romantic!
Yes, I’m full-blooded. I have no Filipino blood in me, but I’ve been here for practically most of my life, like 12 years. I am 23 now.
How did you end up in the Philippines?
Most people think that if you’re Persian living here you must be studying dentistry in the Mendiola area, which is true. My dad was one of those people and he brought us, me and my sister, here with him. He enrolled all of us in school, so we studied here. So I finished high school, college, and post-grad all here in the Philippines.
So you’ve migrated here already.
Yes and no. They kinda all went back already. After graduation my dad went back to Iran to practice dentistry and my sister just recently went back. So I’m all alone now.
Did you take up Dentistry in college like your dad?
I would have but I didn’t. I’m scared of blood! Medicine wasn't my path. I always loved traveling so I ended up taking travel management. I also got into modeling back in colleges so that has been my path since.
We’ve always been curious why there was a time a lot of people from the Middle East flocked here to study Dentistry. Do you know the background of this?
Well, back then the Philippines was one of the cheapest countries to study medicine. It was accredited also, meaning if you graduated Dentistry here you can go back to Iran and practice immediately. But my dad was actually the last batch who had the privilege of going back to practice because Iran’s policy has changed, the Philippines is no longer accredited.
Why did you stay?
As they say, it’s more fun in the Philippines! Honestly, the opportunities for expats here are unlimited. In other countries, even the first-world ones, when you go there you start from zero, it’s so hard to find the right thing to do, to be noticed, to fit in. But in in the Philippines, where everyone is so kind, so nice to you, there’s always opportunity pasta masipag ka. That’s why a lot of foreigners come here and stay.
So how do you hustle in Manila?
I'm actually a hustler in tech! I do software sales. That's my 9-5 work. Modeling is my passion. It's funny because when I was younger, I was kinda bullied. I was, like, the dead kid. I didn't know how to speak the language in a school where there were a lot kids so I kinda got bullied. But I turned it around and I grew this confident self I am now and that kinda led me into modeling. It’s been good because i get to travel, get to be myself, take some hot pictures!