This story discusses plot points from season 2 of Selling Sunset, out May 22.
Last April, the mastermind behind MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills, Adam DiVello, debuted a new reality show on Netflix: Selling Sunset. Advertised as shelter porn meets petty drama, the show centres around a group of well-manicured, well-connected, and wealthy-adjacent real estate agents working at a very real Hollywood brokerage called The Oppenheim Group. While the Sunset Boulevard establishment is technically run by two men, twins Jason (founder and owner) and Brett (senior vice president) Oppenheim, there’s someone else who really makes the show must-see-TV. Yes, luxury homes being sold for upwards of $80 million are quite attention-grabbing, but Christine Quinn is single-handedly carrying the docusoap on her designer-clad back.
Quinn originally moved from Texas to Los Angeles to pursue modelling and acting, but then realized that selling houses wasn’t that hard — she said on season 1 she took the California Real Estate Exam after studying for “like three months” on Adderall. It helps that she’s naturally competitive and thrives in social situations. And like all interesting reality show subjects, Quinn oozes drama from every microscopic pore. Per the show, she once told one of her clients, “Bitch, you don’t even cook!” during a home tour (lip-syncing the scene is now a popular TikTok trend); she disappeared from work for a few weeks only to reemerge engaged to businessman Christian Richard; and she regularly makes fellow agents Chrishell Stause and Mary Fitzgerald cry. She even wears special hairstyles when she knows she’s about to stir up shit — that is true dedication.
She’s inarguably the best part of the show, but it comes at a cost.
The tense Chrishell-and-Mary versus Christine drama bleeds into this season, resulting in awkward inner-office cliques, punctuated by a few screaming matches. Quinn tells Refinery29 from quarantine ahead of the show’s dramatic season 2 return on May 22. that she almost left the show after season 1 because of all the backlash she received for being herself. As she tells it, she was merely trying to provide the entertainment she felt the show needed. Quinn was quickly labelled the villain because of her well, at times, cruel comments, but she blames a lot of that on the show’s editing. She is, she says, just trying to do her job.
“It was really, really hard for me,” Quinn says when asked to describe the trepidation she felt about returning to the show. “It took a toll on me when I would get messages every single day like, Go kill yourself. I fucking hate you. But at the end of the day, I realized that like 90% of the people out there love it and love the show. I just wanted to inspire people and entertain them. That's all I really ever wanted to do. That's why I became an actress in the first place. I was like, Okayy, I gotta do it. My fans will be so disappointed. This would be such a fucking boring show.”
And Quinn hates being boring, or fake, which is why most of our conversation ahead of the show quickly turns into an enlightening and hilarious exploration of what is real and what is scripted on the series. Much like the million dollar houses she sells, Quinn knows how to sell herself, without becoming a sell-out.
Refinery29: Has your relationship with the show changed since season 1?
“Season 1, I went in with a lot of trust and a lot of faith in the production value of what we were working on and what the producers told me they were and were not putting in. I learned that wasn't necessarily always the case. I dealt with a lot of hate, a lot of bullying, a lot of death threats, and a lot of shit because production promised me stuff wasn't going to be put in [and it was]. Season 2, we [all] went into it in a different way, and it kind of sucks. We were a little bit more filtered.
“It's so hard to be myself because everything gets taken out of context. [Viewers] don't see the full conversation. There were a few times I was watching season 2 and they made my comments about one girl, when I was actually talking about Mary. We definitely were trying to be more real, but we're just aware that everyone is so offended by everything.”
Did you consider not returning?
“It was something that I grappled with every single day. It was really, really hard for me. It took a toll on me when I would get messages every single day like, Go kill yourself. I fucking hate you. But at the end of the day, I realized that like 90% of the people out there love it and love the show. I just wanted to inspire people and entertain them. That's all I really ever wanted to do. That's why I became an actress in the first place. I was like, Okay, I gotta do it. My fans will be so disappointed. This would be such a fucking boring show..”
Do you think people will be more forgiving as they get to know you, like, “Oh, that’s just Christine!”
“We were brand new to the show. We had no idea where it was going to go or how well it was going to do. I started Instagram when the show came out. I had zero followers. I remember when the show came out I was like, Hey, I'm on this new Netflix show, to my two followers. It was such a foreign thing. And you're probably right — it takes some time to catch on, and then what you do catches on, people are a little more forgiving.”
I dealt with a lot of hate, a lot of bullying, a lot of death threats, and a lot of shit because production promised me stuff wasn't going to be put in [and it was].
Can you tell me about the drama with your now-husband, Christian, who appears as a new character on the show?
“Right after we ended production on season 1, I met someone that's my now-husband. My girlfriend went on a date with him and she's like, ‘Hey, I went on a date with this guy who I really don't like. I know you're single; you may want to go out with him.’ So I went on a date with him after she did. The story played telephone down the line, and Mary didn't really understand what happened. [Editor’s note: The story of how Christine and Christain met is a plot point on season 2, hinged around a period of “overlap” between Christine and another woman Christian was allegedly with at the time.]
“When I met him, he thought I was only in real estate. The show comes out and I'm super quiet about it because I have low expectations, and we're travelling. In Tokyo and the Bahamas, people started saying, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I love your show.’ After we got back to L.A., we got picked up for another season and I asked him, Do you want to be on it? He said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so not me.’ He's really, really shy, but decided to do it for me. He's on the show quite a bit and, bless his heart, he tries, but [filming] is a really awkward thing. It’s not organic in any way. It's not reality in any way.”
You’ve said that you felt pressure to have a relationship on the show and now you’re planning a wedding on it. Did you ever imagine that you'd potentially have your wedding on the show?
“No, girl. I never, ever wanted to, but here's what happened. I actually had coronavirus in late December. So when we were filming, I had it and I was so freaking sick and planning this wedding. We were kind of hesitant about doing it on camera, but I knew that if we didn't push ourselves to plan a wedding, we weren't gonna have a wedding. We’re the type to be like, ‘We don't really need a wedding.’ I was like 50/50 on it. I just want to be with someone that I love and that's really all I care about.”
You wear some over-the-top looks in the new season. What goes through your head when you are about to walk into a room full of people and you’re wearing a fire outfit?
“I go, Okay, how can I get this outfit the most camera time? What am I going to fuck up today? I'm ready to let shit go down. I had this fire ponytail in season 2, and I told my hairstylist, ‘This is going to see some airtime cause I'm going to fuck shit up today.’ Sure enough, that was the scene where I'm like yelling at Mary and I'm just ready to take over the world. It’s a feeling.”
So you have a hairstylist helping you out?
“Netflix doesn't pay for anything. I pay for my own hair and makeup and wardrobe and everything like that, and it's worth it. I have fun with it, and I know that people love to watch it and be like, What is she going to do next?”
Do you ever get nervous about being so outspoken on the show — with both your coworkers and clients?
“I'm going to give you another little juicy tip. In season 1, do you remember when I said, This bitch doesn't even cook!? Well, that actually wasn't a client. That was one of my best friends. Sorry, I'm going to ruin that, but I just have to. In real life, I would never, ever talk to a client in that way. It's not how I function. My sassy tongue comes from calling out friends and having fun. But when it comes to being a professional, I'm 100% professional. I deal with a lot of difficult clients.
“I actually do make really good points. Even if you think I'm crazy, everything that I say is accurate. I'm stern, but I never get upset with clients, and I would never go off on them. It's not what gets my blood boiling. Bitches get my blood boiling. My clients being unrealistic is just human nature.”
In season 1, we saw Taye Diggs buy a house through the brokerages, and in season 2 there’s a scene where two agents talk about their unnamed clients because they both signed NDAs. Do you typically work with a lot of celebrities who make you sign NDAs?
“Honestly, no. I don't remember that scene, but if that was the case then that was definitely produced, I'll just be honest with you. In real life, we have Orlando Bloom's house that we're about to sell and rent and we'll use that because it's a great selling point. Unless there's a celebrity that's living in the house and trying to sell at the same time — which usually isn't the case— that's the only reason why I would see someone signing an NDA.”
Meghan and Harry are shopping for houses in L.A. right now. What would you say they need in their house?
“I have heard they're looking at West Hollywood or something, and that's where I live. They need to be looking for something that is proper Promontory, which means like a flat spot of land on bedrock in the corner, tucked away, and private. They need to have a gated pull-up driveway, and no surrounding neighbours. They need to live in a really, really quiet area and have room for security. I would imagine they need 24-hour security."
I'm healthy. I'm wealthy. I'm blessed. I'm stress-free.
What's the day-to-day like for you during quarantine?
“I'm taking a few showings, but not [many]. The market's at a really weird time right now. We're mainly unlocking properties and doing separate walkthroughs and stuff like that. I hate it. I actually love going to the office; I really do. And I can't do that right now.”
Talking with you, you don’t seem like a villain.
“Just because I'm witty and funny and I'm quick and I'm smart and I say these things, I get cast as the quote unquote villain, but I'm not a mean girl. I just call it like it is. I think it's a quality that everyone would love to have, but everyone doesn't necessarily have, you know? It's a blessing and it's a curse, but I think a lot of people actually appreciate it, deep down. Season 1 they did me so dirty, girl, like so fucking dirty. Season 2 is so much better because I was really careful. I didn't give them what they wanted.”
You can be best described as “loyal to a fault,” especially in your relationship with Mary.
“Story of my life! I got into a fight with Mary, and someone still doesn’t talk to me to this day because of it. I'm like, Mary, I had your back, you stupid bitch.”
Say you’ve had a particularly shitty day filming, or just in your personal life. What’s your mantra?
“I'm healthy. I'm wealthy. I'm blessed. I'm stress-free. Or, ‘These hoes ain’t loyal’ [Laughs]. I'm still working on it because I still get my feelings hurt sometimes, too.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.