Reality star Nema Vand opened up about growing up with Meghan Markle — and their flirty moment at a high school party

By Stephanie Petit
May 13, 2020 01:49 PM
Meghan Markle and Nema Vand
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty; Trae Patton/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

Meghan Markle left a strong impression on Shahs of Sunset's Nema Vand.

The Bravo reality star opened up about his high school friendship with the Duchess of Sussex on the latest episode of the Reality Life with Kate Casey podcast, sharing that her all-girls high school was a sister school to his.

"I grew up with her. We were friends for a long time," he said. "She was a year older than me."

The branding executive and self-professed "unorthodox Persian" recalled that Meghan once learned words in the Persian language Farsi to catch his eye.

"She knew what she was doing. She toyed with our hearts masterfully," he said. "We were at a party one time and she sat on my lap. She got nose-to-nose with me. For a 16-year-old guy, that is an emotional moment. She said to me in Farsi, 'You are so beautiful.' I asked her, 'How do you know Farsi?' She said, 'I learned it for you.' Then she walked away."

Vand recalled Meghan as a "woman among girls," adding, "Everyone was in love with her. She was sweet and very kind."

Meghan Markle
Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty

Meghan, 38, attended the all-girl Catholic school Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, where notable alumnae include A-listers Pat Carroll, Mary Tyler Moore and Tyra Banks.

"Meghan was really charismatic and was a very hard worker and very focused and you could tell she was going to do something special with her life," her schoolmate previously told PEOPLE.

Before graduating in 1999, the future wife of Prince Harry starred in several school productions including a part in Damn Yankees! at neighboring all-boys school Loyola.

"She acted as a TA in drama and most kids our age wouldn’t have felt as confident in their skills," the classmate recalled. "She was bubbly, optimistic and positive. She was also very focused and had her eye on the prize – she knew where she wanted to go to college and she knew she wanted to do drama."

The classmate added, "She had the talent and focus to back it up, and you could tell she knew the work it would take — and she was willing to put in the work."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

During her visit to Macarthur Girls High in Sydney as a part of her 2018 tour Down Under, Meghan praised the students saying, "You guys all remind me so much of myself when I was growing up. I went to an all-girls school which was incredibly diverse as well."

"I think being around such empowered young women, it becomes something that you all just grasp onto to understand your world," she added.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit Macarthur Girls School

Meghan recently moved back to her hometown of Los Angeles with Prince Harry and their son Archie, who celebrated his first birthday this month. The proud mom baked a smash cake for the occasion, while Prince Harry took point on the festive decor.

"Meghan made the cake — strawberries and cream," a source tells PEOPLE. "And Harry helped with decorations and blew up balloons."

Meghan Markle and Archie
The Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK

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The small celebration also included video chats with loved ones. "They Zoomed with godparents, friends and family and had a really simple but incredibly joyous day," says the source.

Also among the celebrants: the family's two dogs, Guy the beagle and a black Lab the couple adopted in 2018.

Archie "is best friends with his dogs," says the source. "They make him laugh and are gentle with him."