Arash Tebbi: I Want to be Great.

S&F initially became familiar with Arash Tebbi through his hilarious ‘Shahs of Sunset’ Parody: “Queens of Sunrise” (see below). We’ve watched every video since, and none have ever disappointed.

When I interviewed Arash, I realized it was one of those rare moments that I was going to walk away from the conversation with more than I expected. Great advice is hard to come by, especially because we usually tune out our parents’ lectures. And also because finding someone who is young, but wise beyond their years AND articulate enough to talk about their story is rare.  Oh, the fact that he was charming also helped- so Kudos to his momma who raised him right!

I know we’ll be seeing A LOT more of Arash and his company RUGGER PRODUCTIONS, because his ambition has no limit and his intentions are good. And I’m not sure if he’s a Nicki Minaj fan, but ‘Greatness is what we on the brink of’‘ was the lyric I couldn’t get out of my head while writing this.

Joonies, I hope you enjoy and take away as much as I did.

–  Tell me a bit about your background- have you ever lived in Iran?

I’ve lived in San Diego since I was 8 months old, and my parents are from Tehran and Rasht. I was raised in a household that was modern, yet traditional at the same time, so it kept me in the culture. I went back to Iran once in 2000, but I’ll never go back. I made a few videos for the the uprising in 2009, and I got a few death threats. They’re still up on youtube (Check his Channel Here).

–  The best or worst thing about being Persian?

The best thing is the consistency of hospitality.

Every Iranian home has a welcoming, “We’re gonna give you every type of food in our house, challenge you to eat everything” vibe.  

It is so warm and welcoming, and that is definitely one of the best traits.

–  Do you think you’ve taken on that “extreme hospitality?”

Yeah definitely, whenever anyone is over I’m alway ‘let me get you some fruit’ and all that. It’s all great, but you gotta be careful because when you’re constantly offering to people who aren’t familiar with the culture, you end up having to do a lot, because they don’t refuse. If you say ’’let me give a ride bro’–you gotta do it.

–  Tell me how you got started making videos.

I went to UCSD, and I was a Biology major there, contemplating dentistry. I went to clinics to volunteer when I realized I can’t be doing this, it doesnt keep me happy or excited. So just for fun, I made a music video for myself, put it on YouTube and then I got contacted by Ahmad Kiarostami (Kiarostami’s son) that he wanted to buy the concept of the video off of me.

That’s when I thought: wow, someone likes my work, wants to give me money…maybe I could make money off of this?

I was horrible at first but people critiqued and I improved, and soon it began to pay the bills.

–  Motivation behind your work?

My motivation always lies in “how do I reach as many people as possible.” This can happen through music, videos, blogs, whatever. I chose videos and photography.

–  Do you think it is important for Iranians to have more of a prescence online and in the media?

Persians should have a presence everywhere honestly, because they are talented in a lot of different areas. The other day I was watching a commercial for Red Lobster, when I saw that the head chef was Iranian- Reza Mostafavi, and I thought:

Wow, we’re breaking everywhere…we’re at Red Lobster!

Seeing things like that is inspirational for other people and help us see that there are so many options in life.

–  What is your ultimate goal?

Whatever I’m touching I want it to be great, if that involves making a film, I want to affect as many people as possible.

I want to make as many videos as I can, and expand my business in the meantime. Right now in the San Diego area, many people expect to see the ‘Rugger Productions’ banner in videos. So if I’m affecting SD, OC-LA are the next target areas, and hopefully, maybe one day in other countries.

–  Would you consider yourself a doodool tala?

No, not at all.

–  Do you have siblings?

I have a younger sister who just graduated, and isn’t that connected with the Persian community.

–  Are you a protective older brother?

I was protective over her, but I realized the more protective you are the more you’re distancing yourself and the less they confide in you. (#wisdom- Saaghi)

–  Since you made the video, Black Saffron, what are your thoughts on Persian girls and black guys?

I know a few Persian girls that ONLY date black guys, and they’re missing out, because they’re limiting themselves, but hopefully they find a good black guy!

–  Views on sex and the Persian culture?

You have to have your own philosophy and your own logic. If you think having sex 150 people is OK, then good for you. I know people who have sex with 3-4 people and feel tainted, and they stop until they’re married. It’s really different for everybody, so there’s not one rule to the population.

Just, think about what you’re doing, make sure you’re OK with it– not your mom and dad, not your best friend. Do you, and someone will accept you for you.

–  3 things you value most in life.

1. Integrity 2. Honesty 3. Loyalty

–  Recent memory that touched you.

This amazing blog that interviewed me recently (told you he was charming- Saaghi).  I’m just happy that I’m pursuing what I love.

At the end of the day, life is about not conforming, taking your own advice, and staying true to it all.

–  I know I’ve made it if…..everybody knows my name.

–  My favorite persian dish is: BARG.

–  Advice to people who want to change paths, like you did, or pursue the unconventional?

I remember I had this fear of taking a loan out to buy my first camera, I didn’t know if it would all pan out: “What if I do this, and nobody likes it?

Then I realized, its not the end of the world. If I fail or succeed, its 100% me, and at least I did this with my heart.  Try anything your heart desires, don’t let fear be an obstacle.

–  How do you like your Fessenjoon?

I don’t really like fessenjoon, I had it once as a little kid– and I thought I’m never eating this again.







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  1. I thought he was cool until he said he didn’t like fessenjoon. Disappointing, i had high hopes. In iran’s next dictatorship, appreciation of fessenjoon should definitely be made mandatory.

  2. lol the video was funny. a lot of iranians unfortunately don’t realize that iranians come in all size, shapes and colors ( and no, its not necessarily due to interracial couples, we really are a diverse looking group of people). I liked the piece, seems like a genuinely nice and honest guy. I wish him success in his future endeavors. :)

  3. Seems like an awesome guy. I’ll definitely follow his youtube page. Relatedly, I’m always impressed by the authentic accents on you LA persians. Lucky to grow up around so many other Persians, I suppose.

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