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Selling Sunset’s Chelsea Lazkani Is Brushing It All Off

Photo: Todd Williamson/Path/Shutterstock

The fifth season of Netflix’s Selling Sunset began with a meet-cute. Game recognized game. Balmain recognized Balmain. Christine Quinn met Chelsea Lazkani. As the Oppenheim Group’s newest realtor, Lazkani stepped into the season looking like the Christie to Quinn’s Barbie and refusing to settle for anything less than the starring role. While the original O Group realtors are wary of Quinn’s influence on the newcomer, Lazkani’s actually the one doing the finessing, bringing in a buyer over asking price to secure a desk at the office. And not only is she a qualified real-estate agent, she’s also “soul sisters” with Alexandra Jarvis from Selling O.C. So why did we have to see half a season of an extensive and expensive interview process? “We would love to capture every single thing in the moment, right?” Lazkani said, keeping it real. “We’re gonna do our best to do that just so you guys get organic reactions. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that is the case, but on the odd occasion you don’t get to capture that, it’s re-created to mimic it.” Sweet, sweet reality TV is what these realtors are actually selling.

By the reunion episode, Lazkani formed friendships with most of the women, setting up new circles for season six. Even though the show is threatening to go on without Quinn, the show’s A-plot thus far, Lazkani’s command of season five makes her the obvious new main character. In her words, “How many Black gorgeous British people do you know?” Vulture asked her about the season’s allegedly fake phone call, her evolving relationships with the realtors, and almost disliking Davina Potratz as much as Romain Bonnet.

How aware of the Oppenheim Group were you as a realtor before joining the show?
Everybody knows the Oppenheim Group in real estate. Jason is a legend in this industry. So before actually getting my real-estate license in 2017, I was always familiar with Jason and his brokerage.

I had my kids, my son and my daughter, and I knew I wanted to get back into real estate full time and hang my license at a luxury brokerage. By luxury, I mean brokerages that really focus on selling the high, high, high-end homes. Now it was very serendipitous that my husband had a connection with him, as well as the fact that Jason was actually looking to recruit new agents that are familiar and doing well in the luxury real-estate sphere. It came together perfectly.

What were the concerns you had about opening yourself up to an audience? 
There were loads of concerns, some anxiety. My husband and I have remained private most of our life. I love real estate, and I know there is a lack of representation in my respective field. I wanted to have a platform to showcase how women of color can really succeed in this industry to encourage other minorities to get into it. There’s power in numbers. Because there was that overarching bigger message, it was a no-brainer.

Everyone is talking about Jason’s phone call to the client whose house you sold and whether or not it was real. I wanna know what sort of rigging you had to do to get that “astounding offer.” 
Any deal that you see on the show are real deals hounded by us as agents. That’s why you see some agents doing business and some agents not doing business. If it was in any way not accurate, we would all be killing it.

I was literally poaching all my clients, all my previous clients, because I knew I had to bring something to the table or my seat at the O Group wouldn’t be guaranteed.

How has it been getting to know the other girls?
What we don’t see on-camera is that I started having a relationship with a lot of the girls midway through the season. Some of them are so amazing, and I’ve got such a great fondness for them that you don’t get to see transpire on-camera.

How does working at the Oppenheim Group compare with your experiences working elsewhere as a Black woman? 
Hmm. I had been in corporate a couple years before getting my real-estate license, and I worked for an oil and gas company. At that point in time, I was still the only Black woman in many of the rooms I was in. Growing up, I was always told that I should be seen and not heard, not have such a strong opinion, not overstate anything, just be a shell of myself. I realized early on that wasn’t going to take me where I needed to go.

How does it feel using that voice now?
It feels marvelous. If I can inspire anybody who was once like me: I gotta just shut up because people are not gonna understand me or people are gonna misinterpret my confidence or bubbliness as aggression. Although filming the season, I’ve been misperceived by some of the cast members.

At the reunion, you get to address your conflict with Davina. One of her shadier comments was a dig at your husband being a sugar daddy. How did you interpret that when you heard it?
I just brushed off my shoulder. I assumed she’s being shady, but that was one of many shady things that was said. If there’s anybody saying a quirky, funny comment here or there, it’s me. So when it’s thrown back at me, I’m not reading too much into it. That wasn’t my gripe with Davina. There were other things that really inhibited me from having a true relationship with her.

When you did try to address those at the lunch, what did you make of her walking away?
There were many things that were said off-camera. Listen, I get it because I, too, have a very strong voice and a very strong personality. If you are a strong person and you are opinionated, then don’t be offended by another strong, opinionated person. But I was met with some microaggressions. There were many things I witnessed that just didn’t sit well with me.

Do you have anything to say to the editors who left the rubber bands on your dress in the show?
Guys, I’m looking at everybody in post-production right now and I’m shaking my head. Why would you do that to me? 

This was a scenario whereby I had to film a scene that wasn’t planned. I was fortunate that my husband was able to bring me something from my wardrobe that I hadn’t yet tailored. I did what I had to do and I made it work. I obviously didn’t think that part would make it to camera just because we all knew we had to make it work. I’m sure it was a mistake because nobody’d wanna do me like that, but it happens.

We got to see you and Christine become friends over fashion, but it seems like you’ve also gotten close with Emma since filming. What did you bond over?
Emma’s a boss, okay? Emma’s about her business, and she’s very intelligent. We have very high-level conversations about things that we want to do.

Do you like her empanadas? This answer will determine how close you really are.
Oh, I love them. What’re you talking about, babe?

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Selling Sunset’s Chelsea Lazkani Is Brushing It All Off