If you’ve tuned into Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset, you’re familiar with Lilly Ghalichi, the cast’s self-proclaimed Persian Princess. You may think you’ve seen all the sides to this dog-toting, Birkin-owning, Herve-Leger-wearing reality star, but I got to see the Lilly Ghallichi the cameras didn’t capture: a fiercely entrepreneurial, down-to-Earth girl who hails from Texas and hasn’t forgotten her roots.
Lilly’s business, Want My Look, will debut at Fashion Week on September 10. The huge career move comes right on the heels of her the announcement that she won’t be returning for season 4 of Shahs. It’s been a busy, transformative year for Lilly, who got engaged to Dhar Mann back in April. I chatted with the lawyer/designer/reality star about her career, love life and everything in between. Read on to learn more about the Lilly Ghalichi you didn’t see on Shahs of Sunset.
STATEMENT/scene: What’s something that you wish people knew about you as a business woman as opposed to as a reality star?
Lilly Ghalichi: How much I work. People see me and think I just go shopping all time and pet my little dog and hang out with friends but that’s not real, that’s entertainment. That’s what the show provides. My real life is business from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep because when you own your business there is no 9-5. Every second is work because it’s your business and things won’t get done unless you do them. I think the misconception is that I was just born into this privileged life and that’s not true. I’ve worked very hard for everything that I have.
SS: Have you always been a self-starter? Did you grow up knowing you’d go on to have your own business?
LG: Absolutely. I grew up in a very modest household. My parents are immigrants from Iran and have always started their own businesses. I saw them working so hard, being completely self made, not even knowing the language and I realized that if they could be self starters, I had no excuse to not be one. I had everything – they put me through college, they supported me – so it was easy for me to be a self-starter.
SS: You went to law school but decided to pursue another line of work. what advice do you have for someone who goes through all that work to get a degree and then realizes ‘wait, this just isn’t for me?’
LG: You know, I know many, many, many attorneys who have done that exact thing, including myself, but if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. I don’t think that education is ever a waste. I have used that knowledge and the skills I learned in law school every day in my business. Anything you can do to educate yourself, whether it’s college or law school, business school, dental school….you’re growing your mind by educating yourself. Your reading will be better, your writing will be better, you’ll just be a smarter, more well-rounded person. I would say don’t sweat it. Our goals and our dreams change all the time in life.
SS: Shifting gears a bit – what was your feeling when you got approached to be on Shahs?
LG: Well, I was approached to be on season 1 and I turned it down because the thought of being on a reality show didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t know what the show would be like and I could only picture Jersey Shore. I was approached again for the second season and I looked up the numbers online and the show had done pretty well. I watched it and the show seemed harmless so I decided to join the cast.
SS: Can you tell me a little bit more about two of your ventures, Lilly Lashes and Lilly Hair? What sets them apart from everything else on the market?
LG: Sure. With Lilly Lashes, the biggest thing for me are the bands. False lashes have these really thick, uncomfortable bands They’re uncomfortable for me to wear, they bother my eyes and they also look very artificial. You have to wear a lot of eyeliner to cover the bands. Lilly Lashes are all on invisible bands, meaning there is no band, just a very thin piece of plastic. Because there is no band, you can easily stack them. You can add pairs and all you see is lashes. With Lilly Hair, what sets that apart is the thickness. An average set of hair extensions is about 120-130 grams. Lilly Hair is 260 grams – that’s more than twice the hair of your average air extensions. I did that because I want big hair. That’s what I like, I’m a glam girl. The reason I started both of them – I have to give credit where credit’s due – was because of Shahs. I was always in hair and makeup and I was so unhappy with the products that were out there. I decided to make my own.
SS: What about Want My Look?
LG: Want My Look is very affordable. I was wearing all these dresses and gowns that were $1,000, $5,000 even $20,000, that lot of people can’t afford. Even I can’t afford them, I was just fortunate enough to be on TV and able to wear things for free but I realized that I was sending out the wrong message to people by wearing these things and I wanted to create a line of affordable outfits that I love
SS: What’s your personal beauty routine like on a normal day – no filming, no events, nothing like that.
LG: I really don’t wear makeup. A regular day means I’ll wash my face, put a good moisturizer on and if I’m going to be outside a lot I wear SPF. If I had to wear one makeup item it would be mascara. Sometimes I’ll even throw on a strip of lashes even if I don’t have any makeup on because I think when your eyes pop, your whole face looks beautiful. I definitely don’t wear makeup everyday. I give my skin a break.
SS: You’re going to be a bride soon!Have you started thinking about hair and makeup for the big day?
LG: I am! We’re actually going to have two weddings. We’re going to have an American wedding and an Indian wedding. I haven’t given it much thought. We’re just enjoying being engaged.
SS: How do you stay inspired and motivated to work all the time?
LG: I think it’s like with anything else. Once you see results it motivates you more and more. It’s like getting to gym. At first you don’t want to do it, you hate it. Then you see small changes in your body and it motivates you to exercise more. The same thing is true of business. You work so hard in the beginning, you’re so tired but as soon as you start to see a little bit of success it motivates you to do more and work harder. It’s always a really great feeling walking out at the end of a fashion show, seeing all the models out there in your bikini. It’s rewarding to see someone like Kim Kardashian in your bikini on the front page of a magazine. It makes you feel good to work hard, create something and then see that other people love it just as much as you do.
SS: Do you have any plans for new lines, expansion, anything like that?
LG: I’ve been thinking about releasing a nail polish. I love polish. But honestly, I’m focusing on working less and taking a step back and just being in love.
SS: Has being in love served as inspiration for you?
LG: Oh my god, hugely. It doesn’t have as much to do with being in love as it does with who I’m love with. My finacee is such a self-made business man. It is so inspiring for me to see what he’s accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’m kind of all over the place. I want to do everything myself, work 20 hour days. He’s kind of the opposite. Instead of working harder he tried to work smarter. That’s so inspiring and he’s just a really great role model for me.
SS: How did you guys meet?
LG: There’s a cute story. We were actually at a hotel pool having lunch. I was with my circle of friends, he was with his. We kind of just ended up all sitting together and talking. We didn’t start dating right then. It’s nice to kind of know someone and have your friends know them before you start dating.
SS: You guys got engaged after a few months of dating. Did you ever think you’d be that girl who gets engaged so quickly?
LG: No. I never thought I’d be that person. I’m a huge skeptic, especially when it comes to men. There’s that saying ‘when you know, you know’ and I absolutely understand what that means now. I was in a ten year relationship and I had still had doubts. You can be with someone forever and not know if that’s what you want and then you can be with someone for ten days and just feel like you never want to be without that person.