Former local Ryan Serhant’s career takes ‘Million Dollar’ turn
April 27, 2012
Steamboat Springs — As Ryan Serhant walked down the windy streets of Manhattan on Friday afternoon, a woman rolled down the window of a car and yelled after him.
"I love you!" she screamed.
He laughed it off. He's only "kind of" a celebrity, he said.
"Well, if you're from New York, people from New York love to watch shows about New York," he said.
The woman recognized him from "Million Dollar Listing New York," a reality TV series that airs on Bravo. Serhant is one of three young real estate dynamos featured on the series. The season finale airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Serhant, whose parents live in Steamboat Springs, started in real estate in 2008 just as the market crashed. But in his first two years, he sold $102 million, according to his bio on http://www.bravo.com.
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Working to his advantage was a background in acting. Once a student at Steamboat's Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, Serhant said all of his training prepared him to feel comfortable in front of the camera, which followed him around a few days each week for seven months in 2011.
"I think it's funnier than everyone thought it was going to be," he said about the show in an interview Friday with Explore Steamboat. "It's about the characters. It's not about, as much, the properties or the transactions."
After moving to New York in 2006, Serhant landed a spot on the soap opera "As the World Turns." With the writer's strike hitting and the show winding down, Serhant's character was killed off.
He then did a stint as a hand model for AT&T, and the well-known ad campaign was distributed worldwide. In it, Serhant's hands and arms were painted like different places and things, such as the Great Wall of China, Big Ben and pieces of coral.
He said he never had the intention of being a daytime TV star or a hand model, so it makes sense that he just fell into real estate.
He said it began as a part-time endeavor to fill his extra time and help pay the rent.
Now, he works seven days each week, starting his day at 5:20 a.m. and usually not getting to sleep until after midnight.
His most recent vacation was 24 hours in Turks and Caicos, where he had a day to snorkel and eat conch salad. He might get another day off near Christmas.
His father, John Serhant, said he's proud of his son's successes in real estate and acting. But, he said to be wary of the way reality show portrays its stars.
"To be fair, it's television, and it's entertainment," he said. "The person my son Ryan is playing is himself. But they show him as some sort of wise guy.
"The fact of the matter is Ryan is a very nice young man. He's just a really good guy. We love him a lot, and we're proud of him."
Ryan Serhant thinks he excels at his job in real estate because it's really not that different from acting.
"It's all about people, and when you're speaking in terms of apartments, it's all scripted anyways," he said. "In terms of acting, it's all about improvisation. Every single person you meet, you have to look at their personality and their role."
He said his boss at Nest Seekers, the agency's founder and CEO Eddie Shapiro, took him under his wing.
"It's a total roller coaster," he said about being in real estate. "Not just in New York, it's everywhere. People walk all over you all day long. This TV show makes it very glamorous. It's not at all. I don't sleep, you know."
Still, he said there's a little bit of Colorado left in him that helps him keep a level of inner serenity.
"It took me a long time to get rid of my Colorado driver's license," he said. "I loved showing it to people. They'd look at it and be like, 'Why are you here?'
"New York is all about money, and it's a rat race every single day. There's a lot of life that's lost in the cement here. It's very true. And there's something very serene and peaceful about being in Steamboat."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com