If August truly is the cruelest month, we’ve found a way to sooth your pain. Farhad Z isn’t just a pretty face, and body, with snuggle-up chest hair that brings the macho back to men, he’s a 41-year-old Iranian/American who’s made a documentary film, has a Masters Degree from Columbia University, speaks fluent Persian, and has a much appreciated sense of humor (“It’s my abs people really like,” he jokes, after listing his accomplishments).
Born in Westchester, New York, Farhad moved to Iran when he was three years old, and lived there until the Revolution in 1979. His family made their way to New Jersey, where they still live, while their son eventually made his way to Manhattan. Calling me from his lunch break while tanning on a nearby midtown gym deck (yeah, the single guy spends a lot of time around gyms), Farhad told me how his childhood helped shape his liberal politics.
“Part of my political education comes from the fact that, while my family fled a country overtaken by religious fundamentalists, when I was eight, I also came to the United States, where there was a tremendous amount of hostility towards Iranians because of the Hostage Crisis,” says Farhad, pointing out that many Iranians started calling themselves “Persian” to avoid the stigma.
“With chants like ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran,’ and people flaunting T-shirts that said ‘Iran Sucks’ all around you, you learn quickly,” says Farhad. “I even remember in the fourth grade, this girl sweetly asked me to give the hostages back; which had me a bit baffled.”
The education of Farhad is one in which he doesn’t like seeing the repression he witnessed in Iran happen in his new home. “Knowing what it’s like to leave a country that was overtaken by religious zealots, to see it happening here, is terrible,” says Farhad. “The next election is huger than 2008; the Supreme Court hangs in the balance. I try to inform people as much as I can and stay involved.” Farhad adds that “I’m not a single issue voter. What the GOP is doing to women, the environment, science; it all ties in. I get a little annoyed when people point out that a Republican is for gay rights. The Republicans have an anti-gay platform, so it doesn’t matter.”
So what’s a smart guy like Farhad doing in the ever fickle world of fitness modeling? “I was approached in 2006, and I turned the guy down several times cause I thought it was kind of strange,” says Farhad. “Then I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’m not going to look like this forever. I ended up on Model Mayhem and I got more gigs, and that led to the older, hairy, silver fox model.”
Farhad has no problems with his age, but does think it’s not the most marketable look for men. “They’re looking for overly juiced up body types, hairless, thin,” he says, adding, “I had one agency tell me I should do hair-dye commercials. Colton Ford looks great, there’s Aiden Shaw, Anderson Cooper. But age is such a big hang up in our culture.”
On that, and on these photos, we couldn’t disagree more.