Davina Potratz isn’t a villain, but as far as Netflix’s Selling Sunset is concerned, she’s a little bit of a heel. She didn’t realize this, however, until she saw the final cut of season four the day before our interview.
What began as a show about selling expensive real estate is quickly approaching Real Housewives levels of conflict, and agents like Potratz have found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having their conversations edited by a third party for the small screen. There’s also the matter of navigating relationships with people who are both co-workers and co-stars, most of whom embody a bubbly blonde Southern California archetype that feels very at odds with the German-born brunette’s distinctly European frankness.
Potratz returns in season four looking to rejoin the Oppenheim Group after wrapping up an outside project, but as a condition of her return, she must make amends for the comments she made about Chrishell Stause’s divorce at the end of season three. While she assumed her story this season would be a redemption narrative, the truth never really comes out until everyone gets to watch each other’s interviews. This is why the Housewives get reunions, folks!
How’s the $75 million compound going?
Oh, I cannot reveal that just yet. You’re gonna see more in season five.
You famously would not turn down that listing. Is there ever a listing you would turn down or have turned down?
Yes, definitely. With the $75 million listing, there was a lot of history with the client because I had sold him some condos that we successfully purchased then sold. There was a good history there, and I thought the house was worth a shot, and it was so much money at play. But I would turn down something that doesn’t make any sense, whether it’s price or location or expectations of the seller.
What I love about Selling Sunset is it’s about real estate but also your relationships in a Real Housewives kind of way. Are you a fan of other reality-TV shows?
Um, not really. I do enjoy 90 Day Fiancé because it’s so brave of them to put their love lives out there and meet someone they’ve met online and then potentially marry them. Once in a while I’ll watch Below Deck or something, but I don’t watch too many other reality shows.
I mean, the show puts you on display as a celebrity. Was there a point during its lifespan when you realized, Oh, I need to hire a PR person to deal with the media coverage?
I had a publicist since day one — actually, Maya and I shared the same publicist. You know, I don’t think I did anything wrong as far as the press is concerned. I think they’re playing up certain things that were portrayed on the show. Once reporters talk to me, they’re like, Wow, you’re so nice, you’re really great. I wanna hang out with you. And it’s like, Yeah, this is a very different article than how you expected it to go, right? One particular person I talked to — I won’t mention from which publication, but it was a very big one — she really expected to dislike me. But she goes, “I really like you. I would be friends with you.” And I said, “Right? So now what do we do?” So the headline was jarring, but then the article was positive. It was funny.
How do you differ from your character on the show? What do you think shapes that portrayal?
I don’t know exactly what powers shape that, but I will say everyone said and did everything they did on the show. I’ve more than owned everything I’ve done in season three. I’ve processed that, and I’ve answered questions about that and cleared up whatever confusion there might’ve been. But I can also tell you with certainty that you don’t know my entire personality. You don’t see very much of me — you only see maybe 10 percent of me. When you don’t see any other part, then your perception is only what you see: You think that person equals something negative, but whatever was shown was pretty harsh. That’s what you identify that person with, but that is not the entire person. And that goes for everyone on the show, good and bad.
But you don’t see my perspective or why I said something, and you don’t see me being funny or laughing or joking around in the past season. In season four, you see more of that.
Do you watch the show? Did you watch the other seasons before you went into season four?
Yeah, of course. We usually just watch it once because we know what happened in its entirety. I don’t want to say what really happened versus what not-really happened — it’s not like that. But for example, an event could be three hours long, so they have to make it fit into a 45-minute episode. They can’t possibly show every single interaction or every conversation in the three hours, so they have to cut it down to the most interesting or relevant parts. Keep that in mind: We know the entirety of events that happen, and then we see what the audience sees and the final version of the show. So we usually watch it once to see what they highlighted.
Did you go into season four feeling like you wanted to distinguish yourself from Christine? It felt like you were kind of frustrated at being lumped in with her.
Christine is my friend. However, I feel like there were a lot of very strong opinions and emotions directed at me because I was Christine’s friend, and there are things that happened between some of the other ladies that I was not involved in. I don’t think it’s fair to lump me in. I don’t even know exactly some of the things that happened, but whatever it is, I’m not involved, so don’t put me in that same category.
I will say I did see Chrishell and Mary at an event in April. That was Jason’s birthday party. That was not filmed. And they were very lovely to me and very happy to see me and super-welcoming and nice. So I was a little bit confused as to why they were still so upset when we were filming. Because I didn’t talk about them at all. I’m a little bit like, Wow, this feels like bullying.
How much of your relationships with people on the show bleeds into real life? You have, like, three relationships with everybody: They’re co-stars, they’re co-workers, and you have personal relationships with them. Who on the show would you consider your real-life friend, where you’re hanging out when you’re not filming?
In the past, it was definitely Christine and Maya. Maya and I talk multiple times a day — we’re very close, and I don’t think that is documented much on the show. Now, having filmed seasons four and five, I’m very close to Emma. I’m pretty close to Heather too. She travels a lot, and she lives in Orange County now, but we do talk and we’re very supportive of each other. Mary and Chrishell and I are on good terms as well. But I was a little taken aback seeing their commentary. I’m kind of amazed how much they talked about me when I didn’t talk about them at all.
I’m always so amazed at how Maya manages to never be too involved in the drama. She’s there, but she manages to be on the sidelines.
Yeah, well, there’s lots of things involved in that.
The scene where they’re having the meeting about you coming back to the brokerage — what was it like to watch that?
It was upsetting to watch that. It’s important for viewers to understand that a lot of time has passed since Christine’s wedding. She’s had a baby. I have seen the ladies in the meantime, and we’ve really moved past that. It was made very clear to me that Chrishell was very hurt, and I completely understand that, so I own that, and I apologized. But then I also feel like people need to move on, and they keep talking about me being so negative. In my opinion, if you focus on something very negative and repeatedly talk about it, you’re going to attract more of that. So if they’re the ones that keep talking about it, they’re going to manifest more. I did everything I could to start on a new page and move forward. I’m proud of how I handled myself.
I was a little surprised to see how much they’re still talking about the past. Mary talks about giving second chances with Jason when they meet me for coffee, but then you saw so many awkward moments. When I hugged her, she was not really wanting to hug me. Chrishell offered to hug me at the end of my apology, and that was awkward, but it was her — she wanted to hug me. It’s like, Are you sure you want to hug me? I didn’t feel like they were genuinely willing to be open-minded or actually give a second chance. And it is a two-way street, which I said in my interview — starting anew requires both parties to agree to that. You can’t just put everything on me. It’s very difficult to go into an office with those emotions you saw displayed in that team meeting.
I noticed there were a lot of Mean Girls references this season. I thought of that moment when Lindsay Lohan walks into the gym and she’s like, “Have you ever walked into a room and know everyone’s been talking about you?” That must’ve been a lot to deal with.
To be fair to me, I hadn’t seen that scene until yesterday. I didn’t know that people still had such strong hate toward me. When you saw me talking to Maya and Christine on our night out, Maya said, “We’re celebrating your return to the Oppenheim Group.” Christine asked me, “How was that?” because she wasn’t there. And I said it was great — I thought it was good energy. That was a real response because when I did walk in that day, Heather was especially welcoming. She was so kind to me, and she made me feel very welcome. And so was Emma. That unfortunately didn’t make it into the final edit. So it’s especially jarring for me to see how they talked about me considering how nice they were to me when I walked in. I’m really confused about how people actually feel.
I know reality-TV editing really chops things up out of context, but I also know you’re originally from Germany, and my family way back is German. Sometimes when I see your bluntness that people react to, I just see a different way of relating to people. Do you think there’s a culture clash between all these Southern Californian blonde women and yourself?
I do think that is a cultural thing. But I’m also a very genuine, authentic person. I like when people are honest and direct with me. Of course, no one wants to have their feelings hurt, and the fact that I did hurt someone’s feelings in the past made me feel bad. And I own that and apologize for it. I honestly don’t know what else I could do, and I’m kind of over it at this point. But it is a culture clash, and I think in American culture, it is politer to not necessarily say what you think.
There’s no right or wrong here. For me, maybe I’m too real, and that’s okay. But my friends are very genuine. I think I was also really genuine with Christine, and I think that what I said to her was really fair. I said, “I don’t know what happened. This is not my battle to fight. I can’t say either way because I wasn’t there.”
How did you feel about that finale where you’re all at the party?
Really, really sad and heartbroken. I was about to cry, honestly, when I saw Christine, because I know how many emotions she had going on. She was really late, and I texted her and said, “Please come here. Get over here. They want to talk to you.” And actually Maya and I talked to Heather. We said, “Christine really does want to talk to you. I think you guys can have a good conversation.” And we were very hopeful they would. We were trying to encourage Christine to communicate with the other women and especially Heather. When I saw that go sideways, it really broke my heart because I feel like, Okay, now there are more separations going on and further feelings hurt. I could tell that for both sides, things were becoming worse. I didn’t know what to do, but it wasn’t my battle to fight. I don’t know how to help really.
It really seems like kind of a stalemate at the end of season four.
It’s so sad, and I care about everyone involved. Emma is actually really lovely. She’s a sweetheart, and I don’t think you see how warm she is. I think Christine and Emma could be good friends, but unfortunately, how things fell apart, it’s tough to imagine them getting together at this point.
Now you’ve left and come back to the Oppenheim group. What brings you back?
Well, I have a great relationship with Jason. He’s fantastic, and he didn’t want me to leave and tried to get me to stay. He said, “Please come back.” You didn’t see much of a conversation he and I had offline where he’s asking me to come back. It looks like I’m asking to come back, but it was really a joint decision, and he was very interested in having me return.
I wanted to focus more on new development. I live less than one minute away from the office. I could probably walk there, which is super-convenient. And I am friends with the girls in the office.
You and Jason have butted heads in the past. I know you just taped season five and you can’t reveal anything, but how has it been with the revelation that Chrishell and Jason now have this relationship? Is that at all alienating?
That’s not really alienating to me. I’m really happy for them, and I did see them have genuine chemistry. Whether it was friends or co-workers or romantic at the time was not clear to me, but I did see that they have a real connection. It’s not completely shocking that they’re dating because we do spend so much time with each other.
I’ve seen Jason become even sweeter and warmer. He just seems softer all around, and I think Chrishell has had a great effect on him. Everyone has felt that way. They must be very confident in their relationship to come out officially and put it on the show. That makes me feel like it must be very significant.
And I think Jason is very fair. I’m certainly not the favorite, and I never have been, so there’s really no change, but I don’t think anyone at the office is really the favorite other than Chrishell and Mary. But there’s lots of other people at the office, so I don’t think I’m singled out.
I’m interviewing Chrishell next. Is there anything you think I should ask her?
Uh, does she feel good about what she said about me?
I will happily ask her that.
There were a lot of scenes that were harsh, so I’m curious how she feels seeing that. I think she feels very different now, but seeing season four doesn’t make me feel good about what people say about me.