by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie
At the airport bookstore, I immediately overlooked Bruce Willis’ and Emma Hemings’ smoldering stares on the cover of this month’s W. My attention went directly to the top left: “Meet the Neighbors: the Persian Conquest of Beverly Hills.”
Knowing the history of glossies and their historic portrayal of racial ethnicities more as props than as cover stories, I was simultaneously worried and intrigued—how would W fare as documenters rather than voyeurs?
A patio party introduces us to the Persians of Beverly Hills: with lounging guests, designer duds in the pool, and lavish tents, the spread is vaguely reminiscent of a harem bath scene combined with a Sultan’s caravan theme. The font for “The Persian Conquest” is done in an Arabesque font, with sinewy flourishes and random dots evocative of the Aladdin soundtrack. “Here we go,” I say to myself.
But reading the introduction, I learn that these aren’t just any Persians W is profiling—they’re Persian Jews, who are a large part of Los Angeles’ huge Iranian diaspora.