It’s common knowledge that reality shows don’t show the whole reality. But that’s never stopped TV drama lovers from tuning in. While the entire world was on lockdown, Netflix’s binge-worthy reality shows, such as Tiger King, became extremely popular. Another fan favorite is Selling Sunset. The show revolves around real-estate agents at The Oppenheim Group office on Sunset and Boulevard. A bunch of gorgeous girls in an office together is sure to stir up some drama.
Between the love triangles, gossip, breakups, and favoritism, viewers get to look at some of the most luxurious multi-million-dollar properties in Los Angeles. But as reality shows go, Selling Sunset is more focused on the personal lives of the cast. As it turns out, there is more to the reality stars than their over-the-top, on-screen personality, and there is more to the show than producers want you to see.
This is a behind-the-scenes look at Netflix’s Selling Sunset.
Back in 1889, Jacob Stern opened the Stern Realty Co. in Los Angeles. Stern is the great-great-grandfather of identical twins and house selling moguls Brett and Jason Oppenheim. According to the company’s website, Stern’s residence was built on the now-famous corner of Hollywood and Vine.
Eventually, Cecil B. DeMille, Jesse Lasky, and Samuel Goldwyn spent $75 a month to rent out the horse barn on the property and used it to house Paramount Pictures, Hollywood’s first movie studio. Back then, they had no idea that the iconic site would become a National Historic Landmark. Five generations later, Jason founded the Oppenheim Group, following in Stern’s successful footsteps.
With all the big personalities working at the Oppenheim group, it’s hard to imagine adding another person into the already tight-knit crew. However, there are numerous employees that work at the company but don’t appear on Selling Sunset. That’s right; we don’t get to see all the agents on screen.
Christine Quinn told StyleCaster, “The whole office is not in the show. We have a lot of people who work in the brokerage who aren’t featured.” She went on to explain that they did go through a casting process, and two other ladies were originally in the pilot before deciding not to do it. “There are around an additional eight people who work there who aren’t on the show,” she said.
We know that Jason is the founder of the Oppenheim Group, but he truly inherited his great-great-grandfather’s real-estate skills. The charming twin was named the No. 1 real estate agent, based on individual sales volume, by an agent-owned brokerage in the Hollywood Hills/West Hollywood area. According to The Wall Street Journal, he is number eight in the world.
Wow. That’s pretty impressive. I guess talent really does run in his blood. That wasn’t the only time he was recognized for his work. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter also ranked Jason a top agent.
When your daily schedule consists of selling multi-million-dollar properties, it can be easy to lose touch with reality. Jason told The Los Angeles Times that he encourages his employees to volunteer at local charities to keep things in check. It’s really important to be grateful when you’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission.
“One of the reasons that I encourage my team to volunteer at Food on Foot (a nonprofit that helps the poor and homeless) is because it’s so easy to lose perspective – we’re driving around in Rolls-Royces showing $10-million homes to tech billionaires,” he explained. At least someone is keeping them grounded.
Jason also expressed how the real estate industry helped feed into the city’s affordable housing crisis and feels a responsibility to give back in whatever way he can. “We represent the upper 1/10th of 1% of our community, and I think it’s naïve and disrespectful not to recognize and fulfill our obligation, most importantly, to the opposite, bottom 1%,” he said.
“I contribute a significant amount of money to Food on Foot for that very reason. The bottom 1% is just as important as the 1%,” he clarified. In March 2020, Jason organized a fundraiser for Food on Foot and revealed that the Oppenheim Group would match the $10,000 they raised! What a generous donation.
Chrishell Stause is a fan favorite on the reality show. She had her real estate license before joining the Oppenheim Group, but the aspiring actress didn’t work at the brokerage until Selling Sunset started filming. Prior to the reality show, she appeared on soap operas like Days of Our Lives and All My Children.
“She’s just a sweetheart, to begin with, and she really is a Realtor and has a real estate license selling homes when we met her,” the show’s executive producer Adam DiVello revealed. “I think we were lucky to get her, I think she adds something that is very unique to Los Angeles.
If you watch the show, you have seen Chrishell’s relationship with Justin Harley unfold. But before she married the heartthrob, she was engaged to a different actor, Glee star Matthew Morrison. He proposed in 2006, but the couple broke things off in 2007.
Morrison told Cosmo U.K., “When I was 27, I proposed to my then-girlfriend, but I didn’t do it for the right reasons. We’d been going out for a year or so, and I felt under pressure from society. I was thinking, ‘This is the age when I should probably start having kids, so this is what I should do…’ But after I did it, I immediately felt in my heart it wasn’t right. My instant thought was ‘What did you do.’”
So, one of the major storylines in Season 2 of Selling Sunset is Mary and Romain’s wedding. I mean, there was so much drama surrounding it, and whose not allowed to come. Although we all watched them tie the knot on TV, that wasn’t exactly the case…
After the show aired, it was revealed that the couple was already legally married when we watched them exchange vows on screen. TMZ got ahold of their real marriage certificate proving that the pair got married on March 9th, 2018! It’s not rare for a couple to get married legally and throw a party later. However, producers made us believe that this wedding ceremony was the real deal.
A significant plotline of Season 3, was Chrishell Stause’s heartbreaking split with Justin Hartley. By the end of the season, the newly divorced agent found herself confronted by her coworkers. Davina Potraz was especially harsh claiming there are two sides to every story, and seemingly taking Justin’s side without even speaking with him.
Chrishell was visibly (and understandably) upset, and even left Christine’s wedding reception early… or so we thought. We watched the iconic moment of the brunette getting up and walking through an archway about to burst into tears. Well, she didn’t leave. But the producers do what’s necessary to keep viewers tuned in.
Morrison went on to admit, “It was messed up. It turned out to be one of the biggest growing experiences I’ve had as a man. I’d made this massive decision; I’d promised this girl life together, and I couldn’t follow through. It was awful. All I could do was hold up my hands and be like, ‘I’m the a—hole.’”
Stause referenced the breakup in the first season of Selling Sunset while speaking with Davina Potratz about Mary and Romain’s relationship: “I didn’t know who I was at 25, and I didn’t know what I wanted because actually if I ended up with the person I was with when I was 25, I would want to kill myself.” She added, “You can Google that. You were a d—!”
According to their Instagram, the Oppenheim Team works with a variety of celebrity clients that own property in Los Angeles. On top of working with successful businessmen and tech billionaires, some of their high-end clients are recognizable Hollywood stars: Nicole Scherzinger, Chloe Moretz, Sean Rad, and Kris Humphries, just to name a few.
They also sold Alex Rodriquez’s Hollywood Hills residence, listed Orlando Bloom’s Beverly Hills mansion, and sold Dakota Johnson her dream home- you can check that one out on Architectural Digest. Even A-lister Meryl Streep bought a house with the help of The Oppenheim Group.
Adam DiVello is the owner of Done and Done Productions and has worked on big projects like The Hills and Laguna Beach. Still, he always had an interest in real estate. “I’ve always been obsessed with real estate personality. I watch all the real estate shows and spend many weekends going to open houses myself,” he said. “I’ve been interested in this world for a long time.”
So clearly, he wanted to create a show surrounding the real estate industry, but how did he find The Oppenheim Group? Turns out, DiVello learned about Jason and Brett through their marketing strategies. The producer also revealed that the twins were approached several times with reality show ideas, but they turned down all previous offers.
DiVello said: “I saw their ads in magazines: It’s the two of them, and then about five or six female employees they have working for them. And I thought that’s the cast of a show right there. They’re super attractive, and they’re the No. 1 realtors selling in the West Hollywood and Sunset Strip area. They’ve got billboards up and down the strip, and it seemed like a no brainer.”
He went on to explain, “I wasn’t trying to make a ‘Real Housewives.’ Nothing against the ‘Real Housewives,’ but we’re just trying to showcase more of the real estate and glamour of it all. Kind of take what I did with ‘The Hills,’ which is also set in the Hollywood Hills and show the females’ lives, their work lives, take their relationships and personal lives, and use the real estate as backdrop.”
Even though DiVello has a true interest in real estate and wasn’t aiming to make the show a Real Housewives replica, Selling Sunset still revolves around a bit of drama at The Oppenheim Group, as well as the personal lives of the agents. Jason revealed that he was under the impression that Selling Sunset would be more attentive toward the “nuances of real estate.”
“Had I known the show would be this focused on our personal lives, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it,” he admitted. “I wanted it to be all about the nuances of real estate, but I now realize the show I envisaged wouldn’t be that popular! I’ve come to accept the idea that I’m on more of a reality show than a real estate show.”
Christine Quinn is one of the more memorable characters on the show. Whether it’s her extravagant personality or over the top outfits, this girl certainly knows how to get noticed. During an interview with Refinery29, the blonde beauty revealed that Netflix doesn’t compensate the stars for any of their clothes, makeup, or hair.
“Netflix doesn’t pay for anything,” she said. “I pay for my own hair and makeup and wardrobe and everything like that, and it’s worth it. I have fun with it, and I know that people love to watch it and be like, ‘What is she going to do next?’” She definitely keeps fans on their toes with her adventurous style.
It’s no secret that girls take a long time to get ready, and Christine Quinn is certainly no exception. “My hair takes a minimum about two hours depending on what I’m doing to it,” she admitted to People. “I give myself a four-hour window from when I have to leave my house.” The realtor also explained that choosing her outfits can be a “really tedious” process.
“I’m not just throwing on a T-shirt: I’m planning everything. I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s the scene, what’s the background? What are we doing? Am I going to be walking? Am I going to be sitting? Is this outfit going to be wasted? It is being showcased?’” She added, “I take all of that into account.”
Christine’s outfit planning sounds really stressful. As someone who wears leggings as pants, I respect her dedication. But her clothes aren’t the only thing she is dedicated to, she is also devoted to her fans. During her interview with People, the realtor discussed the Instagram “giveaways” she does for her followers. She even gives gifts to the teenagers who run her fan account.
“I got a laptop for a 13-year-old girl the other day who runs all my fan accounts. I got an iPhone for one of the girls who runs another fan account, so I’m helping people go to school. I’m doing tons of stuff for girls that people don’t ever see,” she said.
Before becoming a successful real estate agent at the Oppenheim Group, Heather Rae Young was featured in a Playboy magazine spread in February 2010. During a 2020 interview with Playboy, she said: “My theme was mountain girl because I grew up in Big Bear and nearby Lake Arrowhead in California. I shot my video as well during that time.”
Once she landed the magazine spread and made connections with people in Los Angeles, she wanted to embark on a career in real estate. She loved the networking aspect of it: “I’d met so many people, and I’m really good at building relationships and making contacts.”
During her first three months in the business, she worked with a different brokerage and sold an impressive $7.2 million house as well as a $1.5 million condo. She actually met Jason during a showing, and shortly after, he offered her a job. Now that her playboy shoot is a decade behind her, Young looks back at her experience fondly.
“If I hadn’t posed for Playboy, I wouldn’t have met the people who led me to where I am now. Playboy got me used to being in front of crowds and being good in camera,” she explained. “Playboy first catapulted me into a modeling career and the career I’m in now.”
Heather Young met fellow-reality star, and real estate agent Tarek El Moussa on a boating trip in 2019, through a mutual friend. If El Moussa’s name sounds familiar, you might recognize him from HGTV’s Flip or Flop and Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa.
Young revealed in an interview with Buzzfeed that since HGTV filmed the couple’s proposal, the networks agreed to allow El Moussa to appear on an episode of Selling Sunset. “I’m so excited to have him on camera with me and film with him,” she expressed. “We have so much fun together, and we love filming together.”
With her sassy charm and over the top personality, it’s no surprise that Quinn originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a model and actress. The Texas native really wanted to make in showbiz before landing on a real estate career path.
“I was originally a model and an actress, but weren’t we all? I was getting cast in the dame roles. I wanted to do comedy, and I was only being showcased in dumb-girl roles, so I got really tired of it,” she admitted to People. Now she gets the best of both worlds. Even though she isn’t exactly acting on Selling Sunset, she clearly has a made-for-TV personality and has gained fame as a reality star.
Quinn said that she and Jason were old friends and that he got her into the real-estate business about five-and-a-half years ago, and she is so happy with her job: “I really love it. I’ve had properties all across the board, in Orange County, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and I’ve really had it all.”
Despite not being a model, Quinn is doing pretty well for herself. She added, “I think it’s a great job someone that wants to work for themselves, and has the motivation to do it, because you don’t get a paycheck unless you sell something. You’ve got to be your own boss, but I’m great at that. I love my boss, she’s fabulous.”
Maya Vander is one of my favorite characters on Selling Sunset. On top of being gorgeous and successful, she seems so grounded, has a great sense of humor, and has a way of saying what everyone else is thinking. The Israeli real estate agent’s kids, Aidan and Elle, weren’t featured in Season Three of the show because of the expenses that come with filming children.
She explained to Women’s health, “Apparently, it’s expensive to film a baby in production. They have to hire nurses. The baby can only be up to 30 minutes. It’s a whole thing.” If you’re wondering, her kids are just as stunning as she is. She shares photos of them on social media, but we are hoping to see them in Season 4.
Davina Potratz is an extremely talented real estate agent and was featured on other shows prior to Selling Sunset. Even though she is thrown into the mix with other agents on the show, she’s actually a broker, and according to the Oppenheim Group’s website, she is the director of the new development division.
Her impressive title might explain her decision to take on a $75 million listing after the Oppenheim brothers advised her not to in Season Two. Originally from Germany, the beautiful broker had deals that were featured on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing. Plus, she’s affiliated with the Top Agent Network, which means she’s in the top 10% of agents in the market. Wow!
It’s no surprise that Christine Quinn wanted to give someone on the show a makeover, and Davina Potratz was her prospect. Christine took credit for improving Davina’s style in season three of Selling Sunset. She told People, “100 percent, that was me. I take all credit.” She added that Davina mistakenly “thought the show was about real estate.” How dare she?!
“Bless her heart. I can’t say that without laughing,” Christine explained. “when she realized, she was like, ‘Oh, wow. I realize I didn’t look good in Season One.’ I’m like, ‘it’s okay, it’s fine. You learn.’ But it is a show, at the end of the day – so let’s put on a show.”
Lisa Lafferty was Christine’s wedding planner, and she revealed that her gothic winter wonderland-themed wedding to Christina Richard cost approximately $1 million. With swans, fake snow, and black champagne, the wedding planner explained that the “special effects” drove the price up.
She said, “I worked with a special effects company that actually does Hollywood movies. This team came in and brought a full snow machine they would use for a ‘Polar Express’ type movie.” The bride also wanted two custom gowns designed by Israeli fashion designer Galia Lahav, and reportedly cost $50,000. “We struggled with the dress a little bit in the beginning because she wanted two custom dresses,” said Lafferty. She also added that they planned most of the wedding in two months.
Unsurprisingly, Quinn wasn’t very pleased about all the time spent filming the drama at her wedding. “I was a little disappointed. It just didn’t really showcase the way that it was,” she admitted to People. “The wedding was the best day of my life, and it was hard for me to watch it on the television show because that’s not really the way that I remember it.”
She did mention that she understands that the producers “wanted to get certain storylines in there.” But she was “disappointed” with the episode. “I was like, ‘This is not my wedding, this is not my wedding.’” The reality star admitted that she actually cried while watching that episode.
I definitely understand Christine’s frustration. I mean, she spent so much money, time, and energy to make her wedding the most romantic day of her life. The last thing any bride wants is producers stirring up drama at your wedding and then blowing it out of proportion on screen. Quinn said that if she could change the on-air portrayal of her wedding, she would.
She would include the vows, the conversations she had with her coworkers, and more of her playlist. The agent also revealed she might upload some of her own wedding footage to YouTube. She told Glamour, “I was thinking of putting it up on YouTube: 15 minutes of just my wedding because I feel like that’s what people deserve to see!”
Quinn got married in front of 130 guests on December 15th, 2019, just one month before the first confirmed case of COVID 19 in the United States. But Quinn revealed that she had the novel coronavirus on her wedding day. “I was really, really sick on my wedding day. I actually had what I now know is the corona,” she admitted.
“I got really sick in late December, and we were traveling, and I was sick for about a month when we were filming. I couldn’t even have a bachelorette party. I was so bummed about that because I was so sick.” Even though the first documented US case showed up in January, evidence suggests the virus reached the country in December. Christine didn’t detail her symptoms or if she was ever tested.
The beginning of the couple’s relationship stirred up some drama in the second season of Selling Sunset, with some of the agents gossiping about how Richard was allegedly dating someone else when he met Christine. According to Christine, one of her friends went on a date with him and wasn’t feeling it, so she introduced the two. But he had no idea that she was a reality star.
“When I met him, he thought I was only in real estate. The show comes out, and I’m super quiet about it because I have low expectations, and we’re traveling. In Tokyo and the Bahamas, people started saying, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I love your show,’” she said.
It is interesting that Christine didn’t choose to tell him. I mean, if I just started dating someone, I would probably tell them that they might see me on Netflix sometime soon. And given Christine’s personality, it’s actually surprising that she didn’t bring it up. After they returned to Los Angeles from their couples’ getaway, she asked Richard if he would want to be on the show; he said he would do it for her.
“He’s really, really shy, but decided to do it for me. He’s on the show quite a bit and, bless his heart, he tries, but filming is a really awkward thing. It’s not organic in any way. It’s not reality in any way,” she admitted.
During the first season of Selling Sunset, Jason and Mary Fitzgerald revealed that they had adopted their first dog together, Nico, during their one-year-long relationship. When they broke up, they continued to co-parent their pet, who is frequently seen playing in the office. In the third episode of the series, the two briefly discuss their decision to get another dog, Zelda, after they had already broken up.
“Jason and I got Zelda together when Romain and I were together,” she explained to her co-workers. Jason said, “It worked so well, sharing Nico that we just adopted another dog.” Mary admitted that she and her ex-boyfriend “couldn’t be closer. We’re the best of friends and just really respect each other. We understand each other and can calm each other down.”
I’m not going to lie, it’s a little weird that they adopted a dog together after they broke up but to each their own. I mean, they even have an Instagram for Zelda, @zeldathedogwarriorprincess, and Mary is referred to as her “mommy” while Jason is the dog’s “papa.” So, of course, fans are going to suspect that something else is going on.
After Mary and Quinn got in a fight in Season Two at Heather Young’s open house, Jason comforted his ex with a distinctively long hug. Fans wondered if there were lingering feelings between the two, but Mary said that producers made it look way more intimate than it actually was: “The hug wasn’t that long; they did some editing with that one, but it still shows how close we are.” She added, “we know we will never do anything to hurt each other.
While Christine was showing a $12.4 million house and the client criticized the kitchen, the agent’s seemingly rude response was, “This b—- doesn’t even cook.” The sound bite went viral on TikTok. But Christine later revealed in an interview that it was one of her friends: “That actually wasn’t a client. That was one of my best friends. Sorry, I’m going to ruin that, but I just have to.”
Christine went on to say, “In real life, I would never, ever talk to a client in that way. It’s not how I function. My sassy tongue comes from calling out friends and having fun. But when it comes to being a professional, I’m 100% professional. I deal with a lot of difficult clients.”
Christine confirmed the rumors that since the production of Season Three ended, Brett had left the Oppenheim Group to start his own firm. “Brett has left to start his own brokerage,” she told Glamour. I wonder what this means for the show. Will he be featured in Season Four? Or will there be some kind of brother rivalry storyline?
Christine added, “The girls are fed up with the favoritism of Mary in the office, we don’t know who will move where. It may be the battle of the brokerages! I think if Season Four goes ahead, it is going to be the juiciest season ever.” It should be noted that Brett has been removed from The
In the Season Two finale of Selling Sunset, Mary and Romain Bonnet walked down the aisle in a beautiful ceremony at the home of one of their clients. While everything at the wedding was going according to plan, Mary admitted that there had been a little malfunction as she was tying the knot.
“Then a funny part of my wedding that kind of calmed my nerves when I was walking down the aisle our drone crashed,” she told Screenrant. “I died laughing.” The drone fell down behind the house that the wedding was at. “I have footage of people’s expression, too,” the bride said. “It’s great.”
As you can imagine, Mary didn’t want any of the workplace drama ruining her special day. On-screen, we got to see maid-of-honor Amanza step in if someone was stirring things up at the reception. What we didn’t get to see was that the bride had a backup plan, just in case things got out of hand.
“I didn’t know about all the drama that was going on with the girls. But I did hire a security guard and told them beforehand that if anything started, they were going to be quietly escorted out,” she said. “It was very discreet, but I just didn’t want to give them the satisfaction.”
A consistent storyline on Selling Sunset has been the feud between Chrishell and Christine. Chrishell revealed that they were pinned against each other from the beginning by the show’s producers. Christine also said: “From day one, obviously the producers had certain things in mind.”
She went on to explain, “They wanted us to clash obviously, and at first, we didn’t. We got along great. We were friends. She was at my house. We were drinking, having a good time. I was getting to know her, and the storylines came into play. We thought that we were good at separating things.”
Christine added that things got worse when Chrishell blocked her on social media. “Then we realized, ‘Oh s—! This is affecting our real lives.’ I never wanted to fight with her. Are you kidding? Her and I had drinks. I made her dinner. I didn’t want that. That wasn’t me.” It’s sad the producers meddling had a lasting effect on the girls.
Fun fact: The agents often make jokes about Jason and Brett’s height. The girls are often towering over them, which could be explained by the incredibly high heels they tend to wear. But according to various reports, the identical twins are 5 feet 6 inches tall.