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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Encino Spa Subject of New Reality Show

Rashel Pouri sits her visitor down in front of a plasma screen at the Encino penthouse headquarters for Medi-Spa, the first of three day spas the Valley businesswoman has opened. Clips from television segments that have aired about her spa flicker across the screen. Here, a client before and after treatment. There, an interview with Pouri, a beautiful woman who seems to grow even more striking in the camera’s lens. “Wait. I want you to see Pat Harvey,” she says of the anchor on KCAL-TV, one of several TV stations that have aired segments on Medi-Spa. “All the women love Pat Harvey.” If all goes as planned, it will be Pouri’s name that people recognize instantly at this time next year. And if all goes as she hopes it will, Pouri will be known, like Pat Harvey, as a woman of substance, whose interests and involvements extend well beyond the Botox-charged world of the beauty industry she inhabits. The Valley businesswoman and socialite has inked a deal for a reality show based around her life and her company slated to begin filming in March, Pouri told the Business Journal. Because the reality show won’t unfold until filming gets underway, Pouri could only discuss the broad themes of the show, being produced by BBC America, she said. “The show is about my life, my spa and all the celebrity clients I have and my relationship with Sen. (Hillary) Clinton,” Pouri said. According to Pouri’s publicist, Christine King, president of TMG International, the producers were traveling out of the country and not available to comment for this story. King said that the producers had initially wanted to fashion the show, with the working title “Spa Wars,” around several different spas, but zeroed in on Pouri after meeting her. “When they got to Rashel they came to a screeching halt,” said King. “This woman has such a big personality. Hulk Hogan right now is the reality TV family. If you look at who the next family will be, it will be Rashel and her family.” Iranian-born, half-Muslim and half-Christian, Pouri was promised into marriage at 14. She had two young children when, in 1985, she immigrated to the U.S., telling her husband that she wanted to visit her family, who had migrated here about 10 years earlier. She filed for divorce instead. In 1990 Pouri remarried, this time to a man of Jewish descent. They now have a five-and-a-half year-old daughter in addition to Pouri’s two older children, a son, 28, and a daughter 23. She opened Medi-Spa in 2002, and since then has expanded it to include three locations in Calabasas and Rancho Palos Verdes in addition to Encino and a surgical center. Reality shows thrive on exposing the flaws in their subjects, something that was of greater concern to publicist King than to Pouri. “Rashel says things that many of us might think, but would never say,” King explained. “With a different type of personality, that being seen on a reality show might be worrisome for a publicist. I think because she doesn’t hide anything, we had the discussion about the show and after going around we looked at each other and said, ‘why not?’ She said, I am who I am. Let’s go for it.” Indeed, Pouri is both blunt and unapologetic about her reasons for agreeing to do the show. She has long had a plan to franchise her business and she recently launched Rashel cosmetics and Ravi skin care and hair care products, efforts likely to be helped greatly by the exposure the TV show promises. Nor does she shy away from the kind of publicity considered essential in the beauty industry. She readily drops the names of clients such as Vivica A. Fox and Felicity Huffman who she says frequent her spa, and she is regularly seen in those circles looking as glamorous as any of the stars. But in the next breath, she reveals another side to lay bare her life to public scrutiny. “This is the best opportunity for me professionally, but I want to speak for women. We have a lot of women who get abused and battered, and I want them to listen to me and look at where I came from and where I am now. I started with nothing and I am so proud of myself.” A tireless fundraiser for Clinton, Pouri is also setting up a foundation to provide funds and services for children who are victims of the war in the Middle East. She hopes to organize a group of physicians and go with them to Iran, Afghanistan and other countries there to provide reconstructive surgical services, and she hopes the TV show will follow her there, televising the plight of the smallest victims of war. Just as she herself did, Pouri is hoping to help women take off the veil that holds them back, both literally and figuratively. “I’m hoping in this show that I can show the power of women who have been through a hard time,” she said. “If I can do it, you can do it.”

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