The women of 'Selling Sunset'. Images all via Netflix.
When one of The Twins – bald, short, shirt crispier than a slab of Ryvita –tells the camera, “It may have our name on the door, but it’s all the kick-ass women who make this brokerage what it is”, he’s speaking only truth. Netflix’s Selling Sunset is a reality TV show about competition and hustle, Los Angeles real estate culture, the unsanctity of marriage and romantic relationships with age or money gaps. But above all of that, it’s about the women. It’s only ever about the women.
The very real world of Oppenheim Group Real Estate centres around a team of female real estate brokers who dress like everyone in LA dresses – like British students in the early 2010s but monied. Think tonged hair, bronzer, bodycon dresses with chunky waist-belts, fuchsia lipstick, diamond Circle of Life necklaces, cursive script tattoos of their own name. These women are millionaires in their own right, selling what my dad would call “music video pads” with infinity pools and basketball courts in the Hills. They are truly living, (fake) laughing and loving (in their own funny way).In many ways, the Oppenheim Group is the most convincing case I’ve ever seen for making on-commission work illegal. By day, the women move from the office – a space where they pick apart each other’s failing relationships like vultures and give pieces-to-camera facing a string of blogger lights so forceful any features left on their faces are blown out, somehow both shiny and matte – to the properties. In these properties, they flirt outrageously with ugly tech bros called ‘Matthew’ and ‘Andrew’ and recite every last deeply specific fact about the house (the forest that each bit of flooring material was taken from, solar-panelled heating systems, the square foot of each annex and corridor). They will sell these properties if it kills them, without breaking a sweat or tripping in a stiletto. They will barter in innuendo and talk of “the bedroom” and raise a laminated eyebrow.
By night, in the dry Californian heat, they eat slithers of steak and send each other looks like needles as they swing wine glasses as big as their heads. I wouldn’t say there’s a cult energy to the business but there is the regular socialising with colleagues, which involves drinking a lot of Oppenheim branded wine at each other’s houses! Evenings and weekends! Very few if any outsiders! Also one of them dated the boss who still calls her the greatest woman on the planet and whose relationship only ended because he couldn’t commit! They bought a dog together months after they broke up! All good, healthy stuff.You’d be forgiven for not knowing about this Netflix show. No one did until two months into lockdown, because it provided the two things many of us felt we would never have again, never attain at all: bitching sessions and house porn. The third season is out now and it’s so instantly mesmerising that you could dive right into that season with only the information I provide here. It’s everything TV commissioners have realised reality TV needs in 2020: both tacky glamour and genuine opulence, impenetrable smarm and deeply impenetrable foreheads… and relative evil. The only other thing you do need to know now is just how Much* these women are so I’ve ranked them to 0 to 100. Here come the girls…*It’s necessary to luxuriate in this show to accept that no one here is a “good” person. No one needs to be “good”. It’s LA, bitch.
New mum of the bunch, I would let her have my kids. Looks like a cross between Giselle Bündchen and Gwyneth Paltrow. Honest hard-working woman who made a mood board for her marriage and doesn’t talk shit about anyone – yet you know she conceives of herself as above the others. Emotionally disconnected from the whole industry. She is the very rare case of Girlboss gone right: quite literally has it all, meticulously presented, with precisely the right amount of botox.
MAYA – 5 percent evil
An icon of a single mom. A massive laugh, who, like all enormous legends, doesn’t take work anywhere near as seriously as she should. She does seem to fall over in heels a lot and turn up to viewings an hour late. The only other one besides Maya I can imagine engaging with outside of paying for their hitman services.
AMANZA – 0 percent evil, 99 percent chaos
There’s no doubt that Chrishell is the American Dream writ large. Grafting and grafting, she came from poverty and no doubt endured a lot of pain to live the LA lifestyle and impress The Twins. She’s a bonafide sweetheart but as she lasts into S3, further than we thought she might, the toxic environment is sure to corrupt her more profoundly than anyone else. Know her by her baby voice.
CHRISHELL – ? percent evil
Heather could feasibly be any rich white woman from The Hills, Laguna Beach or any of the Real Housewives franchise. Between the blonde hair, LV weekend bags and black cowboy hats, it’s difficult to know what to make of her. Sly moves to come? It can’t be ruled out.
HEATHER – 20 percent evil
Mary’s French child bride. On the brink of smirking at all times. In a way, Romain is both the most relatable and decent of them all – his irritability and obvious disconnection in group setting is a rational response to spending any time around these women. It’s also very normal for a heterosexual European bloke in his mid-20s to not want to plan an overblown wedding.
ROMAIN – 25 percent evil
Little Mary. She’s been married twice and is now engaged to someone with slightly differing life goals: she wants kids while her biological clock allows, he envisions potentially having kids when she’s menopausal. Very good at her job. Nice hair and sick car.
MARY – Mary percent evil
Into her forties, Davina is the oldest of the bunch. Not “mean” necessarily but she did tell a woman her engagement ring is crap because it wasn’t made of diamonds. Tends to turn up wearing a pussybow blouse and an air of darkness.
DAVINA – 35 percent evil
Christine is an evil Barbie with a river of hair that men drown in, never to be seen again; the alter-ego Taylor Swift thinks she did with Reputation. Ten skill points for her terrifying memory (in the pilot, she remembers one brief meeting with the new girl, Chrishell, unbeknownst to her, on a night out years ago). Fifteen skill points for her hazing abilities, which she enacts, drunk on Cristal and/or bloodlust, on any person who has ever-so-slightly pissed her off. Thirty for her lines, the best in the show – one example: when she goes to Mary’s house and is served a lipstick marked wine glass, she says, “I feel like I’m in a Cheesecake Factory”. Are you serious? Knock me out as you swing your arse-length ponytail like it’s a medieval flail, Christine.As the queen herself tweeted the other day, “My back hurts from carrying this show”. Selling Sunset is Christine’s playground, her world. We just pay our £9.99 subscription a month to live in it.@hannahrosewens