Interview with successful real estate agent at The Oppenheim Group and “Selling Sunset” star Maya Vander.
Selling Sunset was created by Adam DiVello, the same executive producer responsible for shows like The Hills. The show was started after DiVello saw a billboard on Sunset Blvd of the contemporary cast members, and approached Jason and Brett Oppenheim about starting a show. Though the two were hesitant at first, the show ultimately became a success and will be returning for its third installment on August 7th.
Starting with her two new babies: Maya recently had her second child and has been married for three years. When she’s not filming in LA, she’s living bi-coastally in Miami, FL raising a family. During season two, Maya described the hardships involved with getting pregnant, and how family has always been the goal.
Though Maya has avoided being at the center of the ladies’ various feuds the past couple seasons, anything can happen, especially when your family lives on the other side of the country.
Follow Maya at @themayavander
Hi Maya, please tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Israel in a small town called Eilat. I had an amazing childhood: my parents always trusted my judgement and this allowed me to move to Amsterdam when I was 20. I was looking for agencies to model with and joined one (after several rejections) and this agency pushed me to book not only jobs in Amsterdam but created opportunities for me to model and live in different places like Spain, Singapore and Malaysia. As a result, I moved to LA when I was 22. I stayed for several years upon starting to date someone there.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Honest, Direct, Loyal
How’s a typical day in your life?
My days start early. I find myself to be proficient with scheduling and multitasking, however with two babies at home you never know what’s going to happen and I’ve had to learn to work around it. I wake up early, usually around 6am or 6:30am and try to get a little work done before my babies are up and about. Afterwards I try to go for a walk (with my babies in the stroller). I love starting the day with fresh air and getting some type of exercise, even if it’s a small walk. The rest of the day can sometimes be different because of showings, inspections, and of course babies. 9pm is usually my down time where I try to just relax and watch TV with my husband.
How did you get in the industry?
My mom was the one who told me to get a real estate license. I studied, took the exam and joined a small brokerage in Beverly Hills. From there I moved to Keller Williams and then a year later joined The Oppenheim Group. I knew Brett and Jason from the industry and fell in love with The Oppenheim Group for its marketing angle, and the fact that it was a small brokerage. I also knew that they had great listings that would allow me to attract more clients. This business is not as easy as it looks and one really needs to hustle unless they have a bunch of money to spend on marketing or they have a widespread network of clients. Joining the company gave me the opportunity to meet new clients and sharpen my marketing skills. It elevated my career to the next level.
What part of your job do you find the most challenging?
The hardest part is definitely finding clients and making sure they stay loyal. My line of business is commission-based only, so if you do not have leads or potential clients then it can be very hard and stressful. Buyers can flake or end up working with other agents: there is zero loyalty when you sell. Therefore, it’s better if one has an exclusive listing, but even then if you do not sell, you can spend money on marketing and lose the listing. Wearing a cute dress and high heels does not guarantee commission.
How did you get selected for the Netflix show “Selling Sunset?”
I wasn’t going to an audition and none of the girls did. We are all licensed at The Oppenheim Group. The producer, Adam DiVello, approached Jason with the idea to film a reality series. He saw an ad that Jason did in a magazine and it provoked the idea for the show. It was a two year process before we started to film.
How has your life changed after this?
As far as business, there are more opportunities with real estate and social media. I am getting a lot of recognition and fans have let me know that I inspire and motivate them, which is always very nice to hear. I try to reply to fan emails but sometimes it’s hard to keep track.
How is your relationship with the other cast members/co-workers?
I get along with all of them well and we make sure to stay in touch. Not every day, but most of the time. I truly like all of them and have known them way before the show started. Davina and Chrishell were the last to join, but even with them we all clicked well.
Do you guys have a script on what to do or say?
The show is not scripted and none of us are actresses (Chrishell is but she is also in real estate), so we just speak while cameras roll, and sometimes I regret what I say. Life happens and we film 4 days a week, most days so much that you forget the cameras are there.
What we can expect for Season 3?
Christine is having her wedding which will be an amazing sight for viewers to see. Unfortunately, Chrishell’s divorce will have some degree of storyline and have an affect on the dynamic at the office. You may also see me doing my own thing in Miami.
Can you share something funny/crazy that happened to you while filming?
I had a great scene with Chrishell in Season One when I auditioned her as a new agent in one of my listings. We had a great time shooting the scene. I think in general we have fun doing group scenes when we are all together.
Any advice to other people thinking about sharing their lives on TV?
Be yourself but also know the risk of exposure, because we do get mean comments and people judge you based on a 30 minute glimpse into your life.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
To always be honest and humble. We are lucky to be part of this and just enjoy the ride, since who knows how long this will last.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Personal health, a healthy family, and great balance between personal and professional life. I love spending time with my kids but I also love to stay busy with work and set goals, I think it is a great balance.
Which project is still on your bucket list?
I would say I would love to do more commercial real estate but then again, it is a whole different ball game. I am that person who drives by an abandoned strip mall or old building and immediately envisions it’s potential. I think that is why I love real estate so much.
What’s next for Maya Vander in 2020?
Half of 2020 has felt like slow-mode because of the pandemic. For the duration of the year, my goal is to spend more time with my family and take my real estate career to the next level. I am studying for my broker’s license and will try to take the exam this year. Also, opening my own company is a dream that I would like to explore in the long run.
What do you think makes a woman beautiful and why?
I think confidence and a smile makes a woman beautiful. I think it’s all about how a woman carries herself, without trying too hard is sexy.
How would you explain your fashion style?
Casual: jeans, blazer, high heels (or in an ideal world tennis shoes).
Who are your favorite designers?
I do not have one, I’m very basic when it comes to style. I like to shop in stores like Zara and Intermix, which carry different designers such as Revolve.
Something people don’t know about you?
I’m great with Hip Hop lyrics for some reason. I know many songs with my accent and it’s a little funny. I am also a certified Pilates instructor and I teach.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year?
Happily married maybe plus three…Killing it in real estate, hopefully with my own brokerage. Spending summers in LA and winters in Miami.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The Power of Now, Goals, One Thing, All Motivations Which I Love. I also recently read a Hebrew book now and it’s called The Mossad (like the CIA of Israel), very interesting.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
I would love to go to Italy or to wine country with my husband. I am a big wine fan and at some point I wanted to study to be a sommelier, but then I got pregnant.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I love Oprah, she is very smart and started from nothing.
How do you stay fit?
I workout, I walk, pilates. Before the pandemic I used to go to a rock climbing class. It’s a great cardio workout.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I eat chopped Salad every day. Cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, onion. I am a vegetarian so salad for me everyday is a must.
And your favorite cheat food?
Sweets, this is something I am working on cutting now post baby and extra 15 lbs that I need to still shed.
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
A guy who does not pick up the tab.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Gabriel Macht from Suits.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Beach or pool at the One Hotel in Miami, or just relax at home and do nothing.
What do you like to watch on Tv?
I have a long list but my fav shows are: Ozark, Billions, This is Us, Better Call Saul, Suits, Silicon Valley, Workin Moms….trying to catch up on more.
Do you support any charities?
I donate when I can to Animal Organizations and Children’s Hospitals, as well as always drop stuff at Goodwill.
What do you think of Social Media?
It is a great platform to stay in touch with friends, and for me personally, to generate income. However some people seem really caught up in it. I think it feeds people’s narcissism.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “If you believe, you achieve”
Drink: Red Wine (Heavy Cabernet)
Travel Destination: The world is beautiful and so many places to see… so it’s hard for me to pick one. I would love to go to South America (never been) and explore Scandinavia (love the history and the sites), as well as Ireland/Scotland. I have never been to Canada and Australia so would love to visit there as well.
Music: I listen to everything from Soft Rock to Hip Hop to Deep House and the 90′. You can find literally every style of music on my phone.
Sports Team: I would say my local team when I grew up, Hapoel Eilat (basketball ) but I have not followed them for a very long time. I used to go to each game as a kid and when they lost I took it very hard…looking back, does it really matter?