'Shahs of Sunset' season 3: Lilly on what's not sexy, turning 30, and offering a new look at Middle Eastern culture

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Image Credit: Andrew Eccles/Bravo

The Shahs of Sunset are back! After a season full of crazy pool parties, insulting nose jokes, and lots of diamond water, the hit reality show about a group of Persian-Americans living in Beverly Hills — um, excuse me, “Tehrangeles” — returns for its season 3 tonight on Bravo. To get viewers ready and caught up before the drama continues, EW spoke to fan favorite Lilly Ghalichi about the upcoming new season.

“It’s exciting to be the new kid on the block,” said Ghalichi, who joined the cast at the beginning of the second season last year. “It’s sexy.” Ghalichi is definitely no stranger to sexy. The “Persian Barbie” and fashionista is already a business mogul, with her own line of eyelashes and Swingerie, a word she created combining swimwear and lingerie to produce the sexiest pool attire in the world. As for her personal appearance, the business and law school grad thanks her rocking bod to Pilates and spin classes as well as hiking. “I’m naturally a very skinny girl. But I don’t think skinny is sexy. I think even skinny girls need to work out a little so they can have a little butt, look tight, have abs. Pilates is a great way to build lean, long muscles.”

Hopefully, she won’t need too much strength to fight off MJ this season — who, from the preview video for the upcoming season below, still appears to want Lilly out of their friend group. “I think the viewers will be really shocked to see what goes down during that conversation that you got a clip of. As a person, as an adult, you don’t ever want to be somewhere where you aren’t welcome.”

Fans will be welcomed into the drama every Tuesday night, but first Lilly gives EW more scoop about what’s to come.

GG good, MJ bad. In the battle of the acronyms, it’s pretty clear where Lilly stands. “I don’t know MJ. I don’t know her at all. I don’t know her as a person. I don’t know what she’s all about, why she doesn’t like me,” Ghalichi said. “She’s never given me a chance. She’s disliked me from the moment she met me. She’s always had zero interest in getting to know me or getting along with me.” As for GG, “She’s a firecracker.” Responding to her erratic behavior last season, Ghalichi believes there is hope for the future and their friendship. “I see nothing but great things from GG. There’s a very kind-hearted, giving, loyal person underneath all that work, and I honestly have nothing bad to say about her. I get to know her a little more this season, and the more I get to know GG, the more I like her.”

It’s my party and I can be prom queen if I want to! Tonight’s premiere features Ghalichi’s over-the-top, prom-themed 30th birthday party at Bravo favorite Mohamed Hadid’s mansion. “I work so much, and I’ve always been either school-driven or work-driven, so I’ve never really done anything for myself or thrown myself a birthday party or celebrated in any spectacular way.” The party included its very own prom court, and though Ghalichi wouldn’t spoil any of the winners, “I’m sure you can guess who won Prom Queen.”

Work hard. Play hard. Travel hard? The Texas born-and-raised Ghalichi now loves to call Los Angeles home (“There’s so much to do in this city”) but enjoys traveling the world whenever she can, citing Europe as one of her favorite destinations. “I think its so humbling to travel the world and to see the way that other people live. It really makes you appreciate the American convenience that we have here. Our lifestyle is so different than other parts of the world.” As for the trip to Turkey featured on this season, which included a visit by Reza and Asa to the Iranian border, Ghalichi says you’ll have to wait to find out why she didn’t go. “I don’t go to Turkey for a few reasons. I don’t want to give away too much. But I do decide against going to Turkey. I didn’t think it was the best thing for me at that time, you know, because of work and personal relationships between me and the group. I didn’t think going overseas was the right thing to do.”

I’ve never seen a diamond in a cereal bowl. Could diamond water be getting some competition in the blinged-out food industry by…diamond cereal? “I would want to start my day, every morning, with a bowl full of diamonds,” Ghalichi says when asked which of her favorite food or drinks she would like to see with diamonds. “I just feel like that would definitely get my day started right.” A self-proclaimed lover of sweets, Ghalichi admits she’s just a kid at heart, still loving Lucky Charms and anything sour. “I eat pretty healthy other than that.”

“Being Persian is not normal.” Ghalichi is well aware that her culture is special and is proud to share it. “It’s kind of unique for a non-Persian to watch and just relate to us in ways they can relate in their culture or laugh at us in ways that they can’t relate and they think is absolutely ridiculous what we’re doing, and it’s just fun. It’s fun to get to know something that you’re not.” Once the topic of heavy controversy and lawsuits, Ghalichi doesn’t find the show to be offensive or disrespectful, but rather sees her role on TV as a way to change misconceptions. “There isn’t a lot in the media about Middle Eastern people other than negative things, you know terrorists and bombings and things like that. So it’s kind of nice to see a more humanized aspect of Middle Eastern people. There’s good and there’s bad in every culture and in every race. So it’s really fun to get to know the good of a culture that maybe the American people don’t get to see so often.”

Watch the trailer for the upcoming season below:


Shahs of Sunset premieres tonight on Bravo at 10 p.m. ET.

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