From runway to real estate
Model-turned-broker Trish Goff wants to help fashion plates find homes
For decades, Trish Goff had an agent; now she is one. The 36-year-old fashion model, who worked on Versace, Chanel and Banana Republic advertising campaigns, recently joined Prudential Douglas Elliman as a real estate agent. Goff spoke with The Real Deal about choosing a career in real estate, how modeling informs what she does, and why fashion models can have such a difficult time landing a New York apartment.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Northern Florida, and I’m glad you asked, because if you Google, it’s wrong.
Where does it say you are from?
Pittsburgh. Even on Wikipedia, it’s wrong. I’ve contacted them and said, “It’s me!” But I can’t change it. But in some ways it has given me privacy.
When did you start modeling?
I came [to New York] when I was 15. It was so exciting; I had never been on an airplane before. I had never left the South. I got off the plane and said, “I want to live here.”
Did you travel a lot?
I easily was on seven planes a week. It was non-stop. I’ve pretty much been everywhere. You go to the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Hong Kong.
Why the Caribbean?
Oh, because they have to shoot the summer [clothes] in the winter. And if you want leaves on the trees, you have to go to a warmer environment.
Which was your favorite place?
I loved Tokyo. I also loved Mumbai. If I had to choose, it would be Tokyo. The shopping is insane. You need, like, two suitcases [to bring back your wares].
Why did you leave modeling?
I haven’t really left it. I’m older now, so the workload changes, but now I have a lot more time on my hands. If there were a huge conflict though, I would have to choose real estate, because it’s where I see my future. But I grew up in fashion, so all my contacts and friends are there and I don’t think I’ll ever fully step out of it.
What did you learn while modeling that is applicable to real estate?
What it’s like to be represented by someone.
Is that about trust, you think?
I think so, but also about honesty — about responding and being available, and also [about] dealing with people’s emotions. A home is an emotional thing.
Were there other professions you were considering?
Cooking. I love food. But I also like money and I feel like the food world is so saturated. I mean, I’m a good cook, but am I the most amazing cook in the world?
What were your biggest worries making this transition to real estate?
One of the big things is that in fashion, I was used to having an agent, and suddenly I was going to be on the opposite side, which definitely has its bonuses — don’t get me wrong. I think it’s good to switch over, and it can make the difference between an ok agent and a great agent. But I love real estate and I’ve loved it for so long … It’s a lot like in fashion, where you might want to work with a photographer, but you probably don’t want to call them yourself and ask to work for them.
Will you work with clients in fashion?
Yes, I’ve already started working with clients in fashion. It’s where my contacts are. You get people who have traveled all over the world and also have really hectic schedules… I have someone, a model, who I am talking to right now, who has two and half days to look for a house. And I can understand it, because I’ve lived it.
Is it hard finding homes for models, as they may sometimes have more idiosyncratic finances, due to being independent contractors?
I’ve had clients… that I’ve told “it’s not about the pre-approval, it’s about pre-commitment,” because they are independent contractors. Because they have S corps and LLCs, they are showing a huge amount of write-off… they need to be aware of what they need to do in the next months [to fix up finances].
What do fashion clients want in a home?
I wouldn’t want to show them something too hotel-like, because they travel so much. I try to avoid cookie-cutter places with no character.
Where do you live?
Chelsea. I’ve lived there for about a year. I just moved back from Northern Florida, where I had my son in middle school. With his parents in fashion and everything like that, I wanted him to just be a kid and not worry about having the latest [gadgets], which can happen in Manhattan. He stopped asking for stuff [when we moved to Florida].
Why do you like Chelsea?
We chose Chelsea because of our dogs. My boyfriend’s office is newly in Chelsea, therefore he is able to walk the dogs to work.
Do you plan to be in real estate for the long-term?