Selling Sunset's Christine Quinn holding a snake
Photo: ViacomCBS

'I Wanted to Stand Out' – A Candid Chat with Christine Quinn

We spoke to 2020’s favourite realtor ahead of her 'MTV Cribs' episode, about botox, British reality TV and reproducing Paris Hilton's career.
Hannah Ewens
London, GB

Christine Quinn is the kind of night owl who only works from late afternoon onwards. “In the day, I’m barely waking up,” the Selling Sunset star says with a classic Christine one-two punch (an eye-roll and a smirk).

Christine’s team told her we’d do the interview at half-midnight her time, 7.30AM UK time, and her laptop is surrounded by what must be high-end ring lights on a “sunrise glow” setting. I’m hunched over my screen and she’s perched a few feet back from hers, displaying pelvis-length extensions, a full face of highlighter and a Louis Vuitton T-shirt.


This is a reality star who “came up” while everyone else was locked down. After the pandemic hit, for the first time in a long time, everyone everywhere seemed to be consuming the same culture: we all watched Tiger King and considered going to Zoom club nights. Then, when season two of Selling Sunset premiered on Netflix in May, we all became transcendentally aroused by Hollywood Hills mansions. By the time season three dropped in August, Selling Sunset was a household name.

The glossy reality show had one immediate breakout star. Not the tiny bronzed twins who own the Oppenheim Group real estate agency, nor the hilariously French toy-boy Romain, who simply cannot be arsed with any of the drama, but Christine Quinn, top house seller, destroyer of men and any HR department’s worst nightmare.

Christine is the power bitch who hires a zebra for her own engagement party; the realtor who lures the prestige babes and gays of LA to an open house with mini burgers and botox; the bride who wears a black wedding dress and suffocates guests with fake snow as she walks down the aisle (“they were being so dramatic”); the woman whose only regret from filming the show was that she didn’t push “the envelope a little more”. 

There’s a wink-wink element to her persona, no doubt based on the fact she was an actress prior to the show and knows all too well how to work an audience into squeamish delight with a withering comment or a death stare. When I tweeted months ago that Christine was planted to be the devil and her colleague Chrishell cast as her foil, the angel, she replied with a heart eyes memoji and followed me back. I asked her if I was correct. She replied with a tinkling laugh: “I love that, so funny, no wonder I liked it…”


We’re speaking because she has an episode on the new reboot of MTV Cribs, and throughout the interview the real Christine is on display. She’s polite and sweet, with a hint of Southern belle charm, and occasionally slips into the odd wry Christine-ism.

VICE: Did you watch Cribs as a teen?
Christine Quinn: I was huge into MTV and I grew up watching the show on TV, same as you. The town that I lived in, people rode their horse to the grocery store, so to me it was just the most extravagant show ever. When I heard that they were doing a reboot, I was so excited. I can’t believe I get to be a part of it.

Well, now you have an extravagant existence, and your glam life is central to why the public loves you. What were your adolescence like?
It wasn’t extravagant, that’s for sure. My mum was a homemaker and my dad is an engineer. We’re from a very different part of town. I went to school and I did theatre. I was… not nerdy, but I guess I was a theatre nerd. Yeah, maybe I was [laughs]. I feel like I’m still performing, so maybe I’m not that different.

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Christine Quinn. Photo: ViacomCBS.

I’ll never forget your teary breakdown on Selling Sunset when you spoke about getting bullied. How do you decide, with unscripted reality shows, which parts of yourself you want to offer up and what you want to hold back?
It’s really a matter of when we’re filming what feels comfortable at the time. There are some things that are mine that we want to talk about, but it doesn’t necessarily come up in the scene or it’s not right for the scene. But I do my best to be pretty authentic and bring my own element into everything that we do. Sometimes you do have to be careful, because the girls love to gossip and they do love fights. You’ve got to pick and choose.


I can’t remember the last time a reality star was so instantly beloved by prestige media – you’ve been interviewed by Vogue, you’re on the latest Harper’s Bazaar cover – in addition to the tabloids and celeb press. Is there a reality star whose career you’ve tried to emulate?
I think Paris Hilton was a great example of someone who came from reality television – and forget she’s stunning and gorgeous and a supermodel, I’m not saying I am – but I kind of did that route as well. And Cardi B, she started in reality shows, and now she’s a rapper and she’s on the cover of ELLE and it’s pretty incredible. I feel like, because Selling Sunset is global, the reach is different, and I’m really happy to be even in that category.

Do you like any of our British reality stars?
Gemma Collins. She’s brilliant. I know her from her show, I’ve seen lots of clips on social media. I didn’t know who she was until a few years ago, and then I kinda fell in love. First of all, I think she’s beautiful. She’s funny and she’s blonde and witty and bold. She says what’s on her mind, so I automatically gravitated towards her – I think she’s really special.

She’s on this Cribs reboot too.
I know! I didn’t know that ‘til after [filming]. I saw the trailer come together and I was like, ‘No way.’ My boss met her, I haven’t yet.

I’d love to see you both interact in a reality format.
I know, I would love it. She seems like a hoot.


It’s fairly unique that you’ve been so open about your plastic surgery and botox and procedures – why is that important to you? Were you reacting to similar celebs who deny having “work done” even though it’s evident?
We’ve always known that celebrities get work done – and tons – but I never wanted to not be totally authentic to my fans, and people out there who may not even be my fans. A lot of my following is girls in their twenties, or even younger, so for me it’s so important to be transparent.

Honestly, I do not want to contribute to body dysmorphia in any way. I was new to social media and didn’t have it until [Selling Sunset] came out, so this was the first time I was seeing all this stuff, and I was like, “This isn’t real, guys.” I would see people genuinely get hurt because they didn’t understand why they didn’t look like that. I never want to be the person who makes someone else feel like that, so that’s why I’m open about it. Someone says “you’re perfect” and I’ll say straight up, “No, I Photoshop my shit, what are you talking about.” I’m open about it, and I feel like it’s something that everyone should do, but it is really hard.

Does that translate to your personal life, too?
My friends and I are totally transparent about everything we do. One of my girlfriends especially, that I love, she’s always like, “Hey, I got this facial and I wanna go over here and get lipo.” She’s so cool and open about these things, and I’m like, “I fucking love that you admit that you get lipo.” It’s little things like that…

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Christine Quinn. Photo: ViacomCBS.

How has your daily life has changed since the latest season of Selling Sunset came out?
It’s been really crazy, because I’m non-stop doing interviews and photoshoots and meetings and filming and, on top of it, I live in LA. Obviously there are a lot of celebrities, but I’ll be driving my car or I’ll be at the gas station, and people are screaming, “I love you!” It’s really interesting, to say the least.

What has quarantine been like in your gorgeous house?
It’s been really nice, because me and my husband have guest bedrooms that we actually transformed into our own areas. So I have my glam room, I guess you could call it, and he has his office. We have tons of room and I’ve been cooking and watching a lot of TV. Other than that, it’s been good, but I do miss restaurants.

Did you go into your reality career thinking you’d like to craft a “bitch” persona?
I knew exactly what I was doing in every single episode of the show, and it was 100 percent intentional. I wanted to stand out and I wanted to be profound: the face [of the show]. I wanted people to feel something, more than anything. That was my goal, and it worked. Whether you loved me or hated me, I made you feel – and that’s something I learned from theatre. Every day, I’d think about glamorous Christine from the show and what she’d do.

I’m sick right now – I don’t have COVID, but I have this respiratory cold; it’s hard for me to breathe and get out of bed. I just think, ‘What would Christine do?’ So there are parts that I’ve taken from me on the show and brought them to my real life. It’s kinda fun, it gives you an excuse to be someone different and be a bitch.


It’s interesting that you gravitated towards Gemma Collins – she has her alter ego, The GC, who is all about being a diva.
One hundred percent. There was Norma Jean and there was Marilyn Monroe, there’s Christine Quinn and then there’s Christie. I’m different people, I really am. When I’m at home, I don’t have glam, I’m wearing sweats. I’m not always like this.

Are you into old Hollywood?
I grew up watching Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. I loved all those movies. I’ve probably watched Gentleman Prefer Blondes hundreds of times. There was something so different back then about everything. The way they talked, they were so elegant, they dressed up, and I loved it. It’s so glam to watch.

Women in particular thrive off seeing someone high glamour being how they want to be. It was a thrill for me to see that.
Totally. I love watching The Real Housewives, and I think Erika Jayne is so fantastic. She puts on a show, and when she’s done with the show, she’s her. I’ve always loved Disney villains, and I always loved that in movies, so why can’t I do that in real life?

What other shows are you interested in doing, or will you go back to your acting roots?
It was really fun to do Cribs, because I love to be myself and be funny and silly. [I’d like to do] something that’s not scripted – my own reality show or a talk show, maybe.

Despite the contrast between the opulence of the lives in these shows and most people’s reality in 2020, they offer escapism. I think it’s why Selling Sunset has done so well this year, and why people will enjoy the Cribs reboot.
I feel like [these shows] are definitely meant to be a distraction regardless. It’s worked out really well, because during COVID people wanted to see beautiful things and beautiful homes – we’re all stuck and we’re all not feeling great about our situations and ourselves.


This interview has been edited and condescended for clarity. MTV Cribs continues every Monday night, 8pm on MTV.