When viewers tune into Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” on Thursday, they’ll be greeted with the expected mix of drama and dealmaking — and a new cast member, too.
Stepping in for Luis Ortiz, who moved to Paris and left real estate altogether, Steven Gold will join Fredrik Eklund and Ryan Serhant for the show’s sixth season. The Town Residential broker jumped from the runway to real estate 10 years ago, and has since brokered deals like the $4.3 million sale of Anne Hathaway’s Clocktower condo in Dumbo and the Novogratz family’s West Village townhouse for $14.5 million.
The Real Deal recently caught up with Gold, who shared his thoughts on why the spotlight could give a boost to his listings, how he thinks he’ll be portrayed this season and whether Town supported his decision to join the show.
(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
You started your professional life in the fashion industry. What’s behind the move into real estate? I started out in modeling, but it was always a part-time job for me. At least, in my head it was a part-time job — it was a transitional career. I always had an interest in art, architecture and design, so real estate really was a natural fit for me. I ended up having a friend who worked as a broker, and with the experience in modeling where I traveled around the world and met really influential people, I figured I had a pretty good network on the brokerage side. I got my real estate license and just hit the ground running.
How’d you get connected to the show? You run into certain brokers over and over and do deals with them. I developed working relationships with [Fredrik and Ryan], and they needed a replacement for the show. Fredrik had been pushing me to do it — I’ve always been a very private person, so I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do. I got in the room with [Bravo], and started discussing it with everyone and realized it could be great. I’m really glad I did it.
Do you think you have big shoes to fill now that Luis has left? Literally, I don’t think the shoes are that big.
I think the amount of love and support that Luis has from viewers, yes, I do think I have big shoes to fill. He’s really, really well received. But from a pure business standpoint, I think I will provide more of the real estate aspect than he did.
Is it trickier to sell real estate when there’s a camera in your face? It kind of goes back to growing up and modeling and being in front of the camera a lot. Oddly I’m quite comfortable with it and I really don’t feel like I change when the camera’s rolling.
Has Town been supportive of this? I know Luis was fired from Keller Williams for his role on the show. Town has been 110 percent supportive. Even before the show, I’ve gotten a level of support here that really let me take my business to the next level.
Do you think the show will impact your business? I hope so. The show provides a huge platform. I was approached early on about doing it — this is like four years ago — and I wasn’t interested because I was younger and not as established. And also the show wasn’t completely established. Now, there are over 1.5 million viewers an episode. From a listing perspective, if I could provide a million more eyes than someone else, it’s a competitive advantage. You’d have to be crazy not to see this as marketing gold.
Are you at all worried about the stigma attached to reality television? Reality television has come a long, long way since “Jersey Shore” and the more lowbrow type of TV. This is reality TV, but this is also me doing my job — it’s not just people in a house fighting over nothing. You’re watching us work, so [the show] has a professional slant to it, which legitimizes it. It’s a good thing and I’m not really worried about it all.
To fans, Fredrik is known as this energetic, high-kicking shark. Ryan has evolved into this unapologetic upstart. What do you think your persona will be? I think you’re going to have to tune in and find out. We filmed so much, so how I’m ended up being portrayed, I’m not quite sure. I hope it’s a hardworking, super-competitive dealmaker. I’m probably nicer than you think based on when you first look at me, but I would also never back down from anyone.
In one word, summarize your first season on MDLNY. Eye-opening.