He may have had his “Turn” as a soap opera star, but, if speaking with him is any indication, Ryan Serhant is playing nothing but himself on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York. Calling me from a car in the middle of a torrential downpour, he finds it hard to stay all business. “Are you in New York?” he asks me. “It’s pouring here.” A couple of times he tries to make small talk and I redirect him, but I think it’s more his way than a case of ADD. A self proclaimed “sweet sweet little boy” the top selling agent is more shar pei than shark. Energetic and full of charm, it’s easy to see how even the most particular client can be sold when it comes to Ryan Serhant:
TBB: Hello Ryan. You hail from Boston and came to New York City to pursue acting. You had a starring role on As The World Turns, why did you decide to become a Real Estate agent?
RS: (Laughs)If it was only that simple. As the World Turns killed me. They had me sticking myself in the chest with a syringe. It was right before the writers’ strike hit. They were killing off lots of characters so they had me kill off a lot of people and myself. So there I was, I had no money and was doing modeling jobs to get by. A friend suggested I try Real Estate. I’ve been doing it ever since and I love it!
TBB: You found a great way to blend the worlds of television and Real Estate together. Tell us the story of how you landed the spot on MDLNY:
RS: I responded to a casting call, just like the other five thousand realtors that responded at the beginning of 2010. I had only been (a broker) for a year and a half but was doing really well in a really bad market. Thus began my six month casting process. There were written applications and Skypes, then more written applications. Then they followed me for half a day, which was followed by more meetings, more written applications, a DNA swab…(laughs)
TBB: Had you seen Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles?
RS: I hadn’t really seen the LA show. When you are working in Real Estate you are into it all day long. Honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was watch it on TV.
TBB: It’s hard to believe this is only your second season. You and Fredrik (Eklund) have become big names in the Bravo landscape. Why didn’t Michael (Lorber) come back?
RS: He retired I heard.
TBB: What are your thoughts on your new costar, Luis Ortiz?
RS: I love Luis! He’s hilarious! He’s very very spunky and he’s far more Puerto Rican than I am!
TBB: Each agent on the show has his own schtick. I’d say yours has to be your interesting clients like persnickety Patty and overly flirtatious Barbara. How do you decide which of your clients will appear on the show and then get them to agree?
RS: The clients that will appear on the show are the only ones that agree to it. The crew follows us around for eight months and they film all the time. It’s amazing just how much footage they take. I give the editing team a lot of credit for sifting through all that footage.There are people who say ‘I don’t want to be on camera’, there’s really no rhyme or reason other than that.
TBB:Another ongoing Ryan theme is interesting animals. From the large python you keep as a pet to last season’s client with a kangaroo. This season you were gifted a miniature pig. Do you still have her?
RS: You need to watch it and find out. (laughs) Let’s just say the pig is NOT a miniature pig.
TBB: Last episode you called her “pig”, does she have a name yet?
RS: I named it Kevin Bacon, but I found out later it was a female pig. It actually wasn’t easy to tell. Let me say that pigs are not puppies. They are not smart and cuddly, they are pigs and they make so much noise.
TBB: You are often portrayed as a ladies man, yet you admitted to feeling lonely this season. Have you met anyone special?
RS: Maybe. Did you watch last night and see me with a certain agent?
TBB: Ah I thought I sensed some tension there…
RS: I can’t give away too many spoilers. Keep watching! Really, we are just getting warmed up as a show. All the crazy stuff hasn’t happened yet, the stuff that people will be talking about until season three hasn’t even been shown yet!
TBB: The rumor mill has linked you to both Kelly Bensimon and Sonja Morgan of RHONY. Any comments about that?
RS: We’ve always, only ever, just been friends. Close friends..but friends.
TBB: According to your company (Nest Seekers International) bio this is impressively only your 5th year in the Real Estate business. What advice would you give to somebody who is watching you and is thinking about entering the world of high end Real Estate sales?
RS: Find a company in the city or town you want to sell in and work for the best broker. You want to be on the team or an assistant . You can slowly learn from them and then network network network!
TBB: One of our readers would like to know if you ever worry about sharing all of your innovative sales strategies on TV.
RS: Not really. I thought about that at the beginning but everything is in the delivery. Everything I say works in the moment with the deals that I’ve done. Every seller is different. Every buyer is different. For example if I thought a music video would sell a listing I would do that every time.
TBB: So all is forgiven with the client whose apartment you filmed the music video in?
RS: I sold the apartment and now he thinks (the video) is the coolest thing ever!
TBB: Thank you for speaking with me. Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
RS: (Laughs) I think everyone should know that I really am just a sweet sweet little boy.