Given the level of ludicrous drama on Netflix’s uber-popular reality real-estate program Selling Sunset, I can’t say I blame the naysayers who’ve accused the show of being “fake,” “scripted,” or otherwise misleading. But Jason Oppenheim of the show’s brokerage, The Oppenheim Group, is here to put the rumors to rest. And he brought receipts.
First, let’s rewind for a moment and examine how we came to this reckoning. Much of the uproar started on August 18, after Chrissy Teigen tweeted, “I will say, I look at LA real estate a lot and have never seen any of these people lol either [sic] have our agents, who I have obsessively asked.”
At the time, Oppenheim responded to Teigen’s tweet with the following: “Chrissy, thanks for watching our show! Regarding your agent's knowledge of members of my team, I respectfully don't know him either although that doesn't mean he isn't successful and didn't just sell you a stunning home in Weho (seriously, I love your new house)."
So was Chrissy onto something? Maybe. Suzi Dailey, a luxury real estate agent in California, also told Oprah Magazine, “I’ve never heard of them.” Another agent from New Hampshire, Sophia Weeks, added, “Honestly, I'd think you were lying to me if you told me that they weren't actors.”
Some of the cast members have indeed confirmed there are scripted moments on the show. Agent Chrishell Stause posted on her Instagram Stories that, "[The crew] can sometimes nudge us to address things but what we say is all us.”
One major example (that perhaps merited a bit more than a “nudge”) was the scripted engagement between agent Mary Fitzgerald and Romain Bonnet in Season 1. Turns out, legal documents prove the couple were married in a courthouse ceremony several months prior to Bonnet popping the question during season 1—which means the onscreen wedding was definitely a made-for-TV moment. A representative for Fitzgerald told People, "Mary and Romain had a civil union a couple of months before the show began filming in June of 2018, but they chose not to tell any of their friends or family…In their minds, they weren’t properly married until the wedding that was filmed during the show."
No doubt that’s a little fishy. But it still does nothing to discredit the cast’s actual real estate chops. To finally quell the rumors that his team is fake, Oppenheim released a statement.
“Mary, Heather, Maya, and Christine were licensed and successful real estate agents at The Oppenheim Group many years prior to filming our show,” his statement reads. “Amanza worked with us as a designer, and has been a close friend of Mary’s and mine for many years. Chrishell was a practicing agent at another brokerage, many years previous to filming Selling Sunset. As a licensed agent, Davina had transacted many deals before joining the team in 2018. Any insinuation that the agents on our show are not experienced, successful, or licensed, evidences a complete disregard for the facts. Even a superficial investigation would identify previous team photos, hundreds of millions in transacted sales, and more than 50 years of combined licensed real estate experience from these agents.”
To back up his words, he provided screenshots of each of his agents’ licenses from the State of California, as well as a list of when each agent joined the brokerage. You can see several examples below.
Regardless of the reality, let’s all be honest: No one’s watching this show for tips on breaking into the real estate business. (If you are, let’s have a chat.) We’re in quarantine. This is self-soothing drama at its finest. If a few moments are scripted, à la Selling Sunset creator Adam Divello’s The Hills, well…as they say, it makes good TV.
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