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When Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York returns for its ninth season, many changes will be afoot. As the COVID-19 crisis has sent the Manhattan real estate market into chaos, castmember Fredrik Eklund, 43, goes full bicoastal, settling his family (he’s married to artist Derek Kaplan, and they have 3-year-old twins) in Bel Air and getting to work in and around L.A., home to some of the most cutthroat property pushers on the planet. He and John Gomes of the Eklund | Gomes Team currently have around 30 listings in Southern California and are representing the under-construction 8899 Beverly, a 40-unit luxury building designed by Olson Kundig.
Ahead of the May 6 premiere, Eklund — who has set up teams in Beverly Hills, Orange County and Malibu (with Michael Landon’s son Sean) — checked in with THR about his West Coast adjustment.
I’m curious: Obviously, you’re famous, which most real estate agents are not. Is that how agents make it now — you need a reality show?
I can only talk about myself. It’s been amazing. I don’t necessarily love watching myself, but I love filming. And for me, it’s done huge things. I went to Australia a couple of years ago, and people are screaming, literally, at the airport. And there’s no producers whispering in your ear, “Hey, get in a fight with this person?” It’s just your life out there in front of the camera? It really is. And there’s been many questions over the years: Is it real or not? And I always say to everybody, “I wish it was scripted. It would be a lot easier for me.” No, it’s not.
With you bringing your Million Dollar journey to L.A., you’re competing in the same sandbox as Netflix’s Selling Sunset. Any rivalries there?
I’ve never watched the show, but I’m friends with Brett and Jason [Oppenheim, the show’s twin realtor stars]. We just did a big deal, an $18 million deal, together. They’re great brokers. That’s all I want to comment on.
What about L.A. real estate agents in general?
It’s a little cliquey here. When I came in, and maybe a lot of this was in my head, I felt like I wasn’t really welcome. But that’s OK.
What do you like about living in L.A.?
Listen, we live in Bel Air. I’m obsessed. I have 2 acres, I have tennis courts, gates, I have a Bentley I drive around. I’m not saying that to brag — well, maybe a little bit. But I’ve been in New York for 15 years, hustling and bustling. And I love New York, but the winters are hard, and the darkness. So for me, this is all very glamorous.
My favorite place to eat is the Bel Air Hotel. I just love the Jean-Georges restaurant. I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to restaurants, because I don’t like loud restaurants, and I like a healthy, Mediterranean, Italian vibe. Flowers, greenery, water, fires. The Bel Air Hotel holds a very special place in my and Derek’s hearts. We always stayed at the Bel Air Hotel in the Marilyn Monroe Suite, and we were always like, “Oh my God, people live like this? Could this be our life?”
A version of this story first appeared in the May 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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