The Sozahdahs have a lot in common with the Kardashians. They're fashion-savvy sisters enjoying the high life in Los Angeles with a habit of butting into each other's personal business and engaging in an endless cycle of bickering and bonding.
But there's a significant difference between them and Kim and company: Their lives are intrinsically tied to their faith.
"Secrets & Sisterhood," now streaming on Hulu, has its fair share of public meltdowns, ill-advised affairs and ego trips, the ingredients for many successful reality shows. But viewers will also learn a lot about what it's like to be Muslim American immigrants.
"At first glance, you may think, 'Oh, they are just like the Kardashians," executive producer Erika Bryant said Monday in a Zoom interview. "But you soon realize this goes way deeper. Not to discredit what the Kardashians have done. They've had a huge influence on the culture at large. But the Sozahdahs are in a class all their own, blazing their trail for shows in which you can explore these cultural and religious differences."
Viewers get an education by watching the 10 sisters (yep, 10!) celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the most important Muslim holidays, and talk about Zakat, an obligation to help the needy.
They perform a native Afghan dance for their mother, who they worship and fear with equal intensity. In one scene, the siblings discuss how their fashion choices might get them killed in Afghanistan, from which their parents fled in the 1980s after the Soviet invasion.
The references to their faith are sometimes more subtle. After one family fight, there's a group hug.
"Thank you, Allah!" one of them says.
"We wanted to make space for telling the story about their culture and faith, but it didn't need to be snuck in or contrived," said San Heng, another of the show's executive producers who spent four months last year filming the family all around Los Angeles. "It was so much a part of who they are."
For a long time, you rarely saw Muslims on the small screen. When you did, they were likely to be trying to destroy America on shows like "24." That has started to change. The religion played a major role in the Emmy-winning sitcoms "Ramy" and "Master of None."
"We hope to counter Islamophobia by showcasing our daily lives and our struggles and achievements," said the sixth-oldest Sozahdah, Muzlefa, in a Zoom interview. "It shows we are relatable. We're Americans. We're human."
Not all the sisters practice in the same way. Those born in Afghanistan tend to be more conservative. The ones who grew up only in the States, referred to as the "Wolf Pack," wear flashier clothes and enjoy their fair share of cocktails. One even contemplates having an affair with a woman, a temptation she's hesitant to reveal.
"Just because you don't adhere strictly to the rules doesn't mean you are any less of a good person. We're on the same road, just in different vehicles," said Muzlefa, who teaches religion. "There might be some backlash. But once people see we are at least representing Islam and that we are relatable, it will be a positive thing."
Their story may also ring familiar to all immigrant families, no matter their religion.
"We want to tell our story, especially given the social climate and what's going on with immigration," said seventh-oldest sister Jamila, who works in the medical profession. "We want everyone to know there are other families that came for this American dream."