The untold truth of Selling Sunset

Selling Sunset is Netflix's binge-worthy docusoap. It's visual eye candy wrapped up in an easily digestible and tasty premise. Vice describes it as a series about "attractive white women who sell luxury properties for The Oppenheim Group, a major player in the Hollywood Hills real estate scene." The streaming show is wish fulfillment through the lens of wealth, power, and bottle blondes. 

While the drama-infused set-ups seem scripted, and the pretty, yet petty characters are sometimes hard to root for, who doesn't like a good, old-fashioned catfight between slow-mo panning shots of million-dollar mansions? Selling Sunset isn't ashamed to be the tanned and toned love child of The Hills and Million Dollar Listing, but how much do we really know about it? Let's take a closer look inside before we buy-in, shall we? Here's the untold truth of Selling Sunset.

Look familiar? Remember The Hills?

Selling Sunset's overproduced look, from the flattering soft-lighting to the music video-style editing, instantly gives off the same vibe as The Hills, and there's a good reason for that. The creator of both shows is Adam DiVello. The former MTV executive helped develop the seminal Laguna Beach docuseries before leaving the cable network to create its even more successful spin-off, The Hills. Although MTV is rebooting DiVello's former hit show, the television producer isn't involved in The Hills: New Beginnings, although he finds it "super flattering that there's still interest." 

Instead, DiVello is venturing into new territory with Netflix's first docusoap series. "I've always been obsessed with real estate personally," DiVello told Variety. "I watch all the real estate shows and spend many a weekend going to open houses myself. I came across these two brothers, Jason and Brett Oppenheim, and then about five or six female employees. 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. It was a no-brainer."

DiVello notes that the show has a lot of similarities with his past projects. "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,'  and show the females' lives, their work lives, take their relationships and personal lives and use the real estate as a backdrop." 

Chrishell Hartley is married to a This Is Us star

Chrishell Hartley is the proverbial "new girl" on Selling Sunset – a woman who overcame a tough childhood and to try to break into the high-stakes world of Hollywood luxury real estate. If the goody-two (designer) shoes Southern gal with the va-va-voom style and voluminous hair looks familiar, it's because she's a former soap actress who starred on Days of Our LivesWhile that could raise red flags that this reality show isn't real, Hartley does have a 5/5 rating on Zillow to date, albeit with one lone (but positive) comment from a potential home buyer: "My husband and I have been working with Chrishell for quite a few months now. Even though we have not found our home yet she has been incredible during the process!

If you're not a daytime television watcher, perhaps you've seen Hartley walking the red carpet with husband Justin Hartley, a rising Hollywood hunk who stars on the NBC hit show This Is Us. Although the two former soap actors had met previously, their love connection was dialed-in after their first date at a concert. "The next day I texted my friend: 'I found him," the former actress told People. For these two, their union represents a second chance at a forever love. Justin was previously married to Passions star Lindsay Korman, and Chrishell was once engaged to Glee actor Matthew Morrison.

Twinning the L.A. luxury real estate game

Twins Jason and Brett Oppenheim don't just play movers and shakers in the Los Angeles luxury real estate game on Selling Sunset. The siblings' Oppenheim Group is one the most well-known real estate agencies in the city. These bros are known as big-game house hunters in the Hollywood Hills. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jason "estimates they sell 10 times more homes there (80-plus in 2016) than their closest competitor." 

With such a high profile in the highly-competitive L.A. real estate industry, you have to wonder why they'd want to pull back the curtain to reveal their secrets on TV. "More and more, the real estate professional has become celebritized," Jason told the Los Angeles Times. "Clients really expect a lot. Marketing a property is not what it used to be, whether it's social media or entertainment." 

Aside from playing the big bosses, the bald brothers understand that their success in the frenzied real estate game has played a role in the city's well-documented affordable housing crisis. "We represent the upper 1/10th of 1% of our community," Jason told the LA Times, "and I think it's naive and disrespectful not to recognize and fulfill our obligation, most importantly, to the opposite, bottom 1%. I contribute a significant amount of money to Food on Foot for that very reason. The bottom 1% is just as important as the top 1%."

If looks could sell

If you only crack open a Playboy to read the articles, you may not recognize Oppenheim Group realtor Heather Young, aka Playboy Playmate Miss February 2010. On Selling Sunset, the blonde bombshell is a hot mess, juggling million dollar listings, a long-distance relationship with her European hockey playing boyfriend, and a modeling/acting side hustle (EMG Models is listed on her Instagram bio). According to her IMDb page, the Southern California native has appeared in a number of B-movie roles with titles such as Christmas in Compton, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and The Malibu Tapes. 

Fellow Selling Sunset cast member Davina Potratz is also a familiar face if you're a fan of real estate reality TV. The German-born beauty has been on a reality real estate show before, peddling mega-mansions on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing Los AngelesThis former Ford Agency Model has done well as a high-stakes realtor, earning an impressive job title as "Director of the New Development Division of The Oppenheim Group." Although Potratz gets the least screen time on the show, she's arguably the most accomplished of the Selling Sunset cast, with a five-star rating on Zillow. She's also a member of Top Agent Network, which represents the top 10 percent of agents in the market. 

Selling celebrity cribs

Selling Sunset's Guggenheim Group caters to the Hollywood Hills, so it's only natural that they would be showcasing celebrity cribs (actor Taye Diggs appears on Episode 3). One of the luxury real estate company's most famous listings is the home of actor Orlando Bloom. Oppenheim's Mary Fitzgerald gave use a peek inside with a candid Instagram tour of the Pirates of the Caribbean star's $8.9 million hillside property. 

The stunning "indoor-outdoor living space" sits on "Billionaire's Row," according to the Oppenheim website's listing, with a "zero-edge pool" that Marie Claire described as "to die for." So why is Bloom giving up his dream house after a series of painstaking renovations? Jason Oppenheim told People that Bloom "spent quite a bit of money and quite a bit of time" on the pad. "The pool took almost a year and a half." However, after Bloom got engaged to pop star Katy Perry in February 2019, he apparently decided to sell. "It's not really suitable for them right now as he's no longer a bachelor," Oppenheim said.  

Relationship drama goals

Every docusoap worth its weight in gossip has a tumultuous relationship centered around a couple that we aren't sure should be together (think Justin Bobby and Audrina Patridge on The Hills)On Selling Sunset, that duo is Mary Fitzgerald and Romain Bonnet — a successful career woman dating a much younger, French pastry chef/Wilhelmina model. Much of the show's first season is centered around the the odd couple who (spoiler alert) eventually get engaged. Of course, even that tender moment sparks office whispers when Fitzgerald reveals that her engagement ring is Moissanite (aka a fake diamond), drawing arched eyebrows from her co-workers — and we're not talking about Botox. Add that juicy nugget to the fact that Fitzgerald's ex is also her boss (Jason Oppenheim), and she has a son that's not much younger than her beau, and you've easily got enough drama to fill eight episodes. 

The big question: Did the two lovebirds stay together after the Selling Sunset cameras stopping rolling? According to Fitzgerald's Instagram, they haven't tied the knot at the time of this writing, but they are still very much together. Fitzgerald traveled to France to meet her future in-laws, and Romain has settled in the States. To be continued … on Season 2? 

Season 2 could be on the way

Netflix is notorious for not releasing ratings numbers, so we may never know if Selling Sunset was a hit. If we go by social media, a lot of fans bought into the real estate docuseries, but is that enough to warrant another season? The View co-host Meghan McCain certainly hopes so. The outspoken daytime talk show personality straight-up hijacked an interview with Justin Hartley in April 2019 to ask his wife, Chrishell, what was up with the binge-worthy show. "Are you still at the Oppenheim Group, and is there going to be a season 2?" asked the self-proclaimed "superfan." 

Chrishell, who was sitting in the audience, gave McCain the inside scoop: "I am still there. Everyone watch, because we're still waiting to hear from Netflix if we get the go on Season 2. But it looks like — it looks like it's going really well."

For what it's worth, executive producer Adam DiVello thinks the concept has legs. "Los Angeles real estate is something the rest of the world is interested in," he told Variety. "LA and Hollywood culture plays well in other countries … You're seeing these gorgeous $30 million, $40 million mansions that they're selling that people rarely get to see the inside of … some of them have two swimming pools and helipads on the roof."