Celebrity stylist and native of Kabul, Afghanistan, Arzo Anwar fled to the United States with her family at a young age and spent most of her childhood in Northern California. Although her family hoped that Arzo would become a lawyer, Arzo knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue her fashion dreams in New York City. Arzo arrived in New York at the age of 21 with two suitcases and hustled her way to the top of the fashion industry with hard work, integrity and perseverance. In 2005, Arzo opened Blend Showroom, a contemporary women’s multi-line showroom located in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District. Initially working solely as a sales showroom that helped emerging designers launch their lines, the illustrious Blend has now evolved into a sales, styling, PR, fashion show production, and a consulting business. (via Bravo TV)
I met Arzo in 2009 or 2010 through a good mutual friend Raeven Western, in NYC probably during NYFW. Now she’s the newest star on Bravo’s hit show Blood, Sweat & Heels with her great friend Melyssa Ford. The show depicted her ups, and down throughout the season, as I chat with Arzo she tells me about her friendships, business, being in front of the camera and a huge announcement that even shocked me:
What are the ups and downs of reality TV?
I’ve had a cool journey so far.. I was able to use the platform for my business and my brand. The network is great (Bravo), so all is good. Bad? You get judged easily, you see yourself from the outside looking in and some backlash comes with the territory. You got to have tough skin to do reality TV. We film a lot, 3 times what they actually show and you never know what makes the cut.
How do you get to be on the show?
I know Melyssa, and she came to me and told me the show is recasting, so I met with Bravo, they liked me and the rest is history.
What’s your take on the NYC social scene when you first arrived till now??
It’s changed a lot. I’m the behind the scenes person in the fashion industry, social media has change NYC nightlife. It was so exciting back then when I moved to NYC in 1999, now its more business for me, I show up, show love, take some pictures and go home (laughs).
What were some of the lessons you learned having your life out for everyone to see?
I have no regrets, I learned that I am a minority, because I don’t speak with an accent people don’t know that English is my second language. I was in ESL (English as a second language) class till 5th grade. Some people look at me and think “white girl” but my name is Arzo Anwar (laughs)… It’s really all perception.
Let’s talk Blend showroom, how has the show changed your business, good and bad?
Well I’m in fashion and we are all super jaded, no one thinks being on TV is a big deal, but my feedback has been well. I deal with store owners and people in their mid ages and a lot of Jewish folks who don’t really watch reality TV. I’m in the contemporary industry not so much urban and I didn’t know how my designers would take me being on reality TV but everything has gone very well. I am actually doing more consulting now thanks to the show, people will call me; here my voice, and sound star struck which is still weird (laughs). Aside from Blend showroom I also just signed on with CBS radio to start my own fashion & beauty podcast, plus arzoanwar.com is up, and also our e-commerce page for blend showroom, which we will launch in September.
How has the show affected your relationship with Yesterday?
When I first signed on, he was very proud of me, we were together for two years before I did the show, and we were friends for years before we got together so there was a strong foundation. He wanted us to succeed, and he was down and very supportive, but we are no longer together, we broke up and I am now a single woman. This happened right before the show wrapped up, he’s now in Arizona. All I can say is that the pressure can get to people, having your life viewed through a microscope can get to people. But I am currently dating someone new; I’m not in a committed relationship but definitely dating.
What’s your ideal guy?
Someone who works as hard as me, someone who’s loyal and one who matches my energy. Money and good looks are cool but I’m about the core of a person. I love dark handsome, tall men.
Do you believe Chantelle is a racist?
No, but she displayed a form of hate speech, its hate speech to call me an afghan hound. She’s also socially awkward and an attention seeker. Anything she can do to raise eyebrows, she’ll say or do. Imagine if I said something derogatory to her, I think things would be completely different right now. She tried to take back the comment (Afghan Hound) back but it wasn’t authentic. She’s not racist she’s just ignorant.
What did you think of Daisy’s comments of Chantelle’s “Afghan Hound” comment?
It was not appreciate of her to say. I didn’t have a conversation with her about it, especially since she was going through her cancer and chemo so I just let it fly. But throughout the show there was a lot of insensitive comments made, like I said what would happen Chantelle’s hair if she got in the pool, I’m thinking its because of her cheap weave but people took it as if I said that because she’s black, but on the flip side Mica and Daisy were yelling as if they were Arabic and yelling chicken kabob; again now imagine if I made a comment about fried chicken and collard greens? My thing is either make it a free for all with the comments or lets not say anything at all. There are so many levels.
What really happened during the altercation with Geneva?
It’s not my story to tell, this was something between Melyssa and Geneva (disclaimer). I was standing there as a friend, and Geneva began bumping into me and putting her hand in my face. Although it seemed fast on TV, it took a while; there was a lot of back and forth. So after Geneva continued to put her hand in my face I stood up and told her to GET her hands out of my face and that’s when Melyssa said “Don’t touch my friend” and that’s when things really started. I never pushed Geneva contrary to what people have said. It’s never ok to put your hands on someone because you don’t agree with their opinion. So who hit whom first? Geneva threw an ice bucket at Melysaa? Yes, Then Melyssa threw a champagne glass at Geneva? No, Melyssa was holding a glass, so nothing struck Geneva? Not from what I saw, from the footage that they showed. I blacked out at one point, once it got crazy and I was in the scuffle and I don’t remember most of it.
It’s still too early to tell what’s going to happen for season 3, will Geneva film with Arzo and Melyssa? Will Bravo get rid of one of the three women? Time will tell, until then be sure to lookout for Arzo’s new podcast and visit blendshowroom. Arzo can also be found on the social pages Twitter and Instagram.