- Mary Fitzgerald starred in 5 seasons of Selling Sunset.
- She said the show made it difficult to hold open houses and work at the Oppenheim Group offices.
- Fitzgerald shares how the appearance of agents on the show affects their business.
This factual article is based on a conversation with Mary Fitzgerald, a top agent in Los Angeles on Netflix’s hit reality show “Selling sunsets.” It has been edited for length and clarity.
People may or may not be surprised to hear this, but — reality TV isn’t actually my cup of tea.
Watching dramas and people fighting makes me uneasy. Take “Sell OC”, a spinoff of our show – it’s more dramatic than I like to watch or appear every day. It’s definitely a different show than “Selling Sunset” because the agents are younger and they have more drama.
As far as I can tell, it’s very well done – it’s great, but I’d rather watch food, travel shows, or romantic comedies.
Having said that, attending “Selling Sunset” is good for our business.
I think I speak for all the ladies when I say we’ve got customers from the show and we’re selling at higher prices. Personally, I have a price limit right now: I won’t sell anything under $2 million unless it’s for the help of a friend.
We’re so busy shooting right now that it takes just as much time and effort to sell a home for a fraction of the money you get.
There must be good and bad about doing business on a reality show
While I did get a lot of clients from the show, I also got a lot of fake clients because of the exposure. People write and pretend to be potential clients because they want to meet us. We have to be extra careful about fattening people so as not to waste our time.
We also had to be extra careful about our safety in a way we didn’t need before – it’s much harder to host an open house for a sale now. We have to have security there because there are a lot of lunatics out there.
Working at the Oppenheim Group offices has also changed a lot since “Selling Sunset.” We had to have armed security outside the door, especially when we were filming and there were groups of people outside. It will definitely make it harder to work there.
When we’re advertising, we never reveal where we’re going at a certain time, especially when we’re going alone.
It’s really uncomfortable for me to be recognized when I’m out
You might not be able to tell from the show, but I’m actually a privateer – so going to “Sell Sunset” definitely changed things for me. I’m great in front of the camera because I’m with friends I’ve known for years.
I’m even comfortable on stage, whether I’m giving awards or whatever – those things don’t bother me at all. I guess that’s how I work.
But if I’m going to dinner with a few friends and people are staring or taking pictures and videos, I’m like, “Oh my God, stop.” It makes me nervous. In my private life, I like to be closed off a bit, but it’s hard to do right now.
That’s what we signed for, but there are still days where I feel like I don’t want to do it
I’m on hormones right now because Roman and I are working on fertility – so I’ve basically been a hormonal mess for the past few days. Just the other day I cried like “I don’t want to do this anymore”. But I think we know this month not to take anything I say seriously.
We’ve all had days when we’re overwhelmed by being on a show. We have lives that the show doesn’t cover. Shooting takes a lot of time, and trying to balance family, kids, work — normal work that isn’t seen on the show — is a lot.
We all have a great relationship with each other, which helps tremendously with the changes and pressures on the show. Whenever we feel stressed or frustrated, we turn to our coworkers and lean on us because we are all going through the same thing, or we at least understand where the other person is coming from.
My role on the show isn’t an issue for me in real life – but it might be different for other actors
I’m sure our credibility as real estate agents was affected by our clients at some point after the show aired. I think I’m well portrayed and I’m not in the middle of the drama. It’s very real to me – so I don’t think my image on the show affects me as much as some of the other girls.
The producers often say they want to strip a few more layers in my personal life – but I’m happy with the way I’ve been portrayed. I would say the only misconception is probably that I am not as introverted as I am in real life.
Having drama following you doesn’t mean business is bad, though. Girls who cause a lot of drama also get clients from the show – so I’d say it’s really about what the client’s personality is and whether they’re attracted to that guy. They might think it’s really cool, who knows? I think it works for all of us.
The first season was the scariest
I’m really worried about the first season of “Selling Sunset” because we have no way of knowing how we’re going to be portrayed by the production.
Some new cast members can look back and know what it’s going to look like – but for those of us who were involved from the beginning, we don’t know if they’ll twist the storyline and say things we said that made us look bad.
It’s a big risk and we’re all very, very nervous. During that time, we struggled a lot with the production because we would ask “why are you doing this?” After the first season, I think we relaxed a little bit and it was more natural because we knew what to expect.
We know production has work to do
We have about 15 or 20 agents in our Los Angeles office. The production crew did the casting and met all of us and decided who they liked, and that’s how we got the agents that people see on the show. Some agents just don’t want to go on “Sell Sunset” – they don’t want to put their lives there, which is understandable.
Most of the time, I think there is a lot more trust between us and production than before. We also understand that they have work to do – so if we’re on the mic and say something we don’t want them to hear, that’s too bad. They will use it.
In that sense, we just need to be careful and know that they won’t always protect us. I would say that if we felt there was something wrong with what we said, they would tell the story well because they would give us the opportunity to talk about it in an interview and clarify it.
At the end of the day, our priority is to sell a good house
I think I’m the second best-selling agent in the office after Jason. Chelsea were our new additions last season and have done really well this year. Our agent Nicole has been with the company for a while but is new to the show – she’s killing it too.
It’s a lot easier to have a support system in the cast than we do with a bunch of strangers. It’s a lot of fun, despite getting used to it a lot. I know how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do this and have so many great clients and opportunities, so I’m so grateful.
If you work in Hollywood and want to share your story, please email Eboni Boykin-Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.