Jason Oppenheim On Selling The OC Drama, Yacht Parties & Selling Sunset’s Cast Shakeup
“Some of the things that are discussed on the show definitely happened at my afterparties.”
By the time Jason Oppenheim was ten years old, he was riding around small-town Northern California helping his dad put up open house signs. The homes were modest, but both he and his twin brother Brett were hooked. “I used to enjoy seeing him do real estate when I was a kid,” Oppenheim tells Bustle. “But I really wanted to be a lawyer most of my life. It wasn’t until I quit law and I was trying to find what I was most passionate about that I realized I wanted to be a real estate agent.”
As the founder and president of The Oppenheim Group, Oppenheim is more than merely a real estate agent. More accurate qualifiers might be: the face of luxury California real estate, the broker to end all brokers, the ultimate fun millionaire boss. On Selling the OC, the newest addition to Netflix’s Selling franchise, Oppenheim steps into a new role: mentor to the next generation of real estate moguls.
While the Orange County-based spinoff shares the same glitzy sensibility and penchant for drama as its predecessor Selling Sunset, the series follows a whole new cast of agents in the newly opened Orange County outpost of The Oppenheim Group. Even though the new office is just 50 miles south of LA, the vibe could not be more different. “OC is like an oasis, a little utopia of wind, water, sun, and boats,” Oppenheim says. The agents at the new office are younger, greener, and willing to do just about anything to make it big. “They’re just hungrier,” he adds. “There are some people in that OC office that really hustle, door knock, cold call… You’re not seeing the door knocking and cold calling from the LA agents, let’s put it that way.”
Though fierce competition for listings drives a large part of OC’s drama, there are plenty of intense interpersonal conflicts, too. Personal lines get crossed in professional settings, a marriage gets disrespected, and the office turns on pretty much any woman named Alexandra (there are three). But no matter how many people are raising their voices during a staff meeting or crying at the function, Oppenheim can usually be found looking unbothered with his two beloved chihuahuas cuddled up next to him. “I’m pretty happy right where I’m at,” says Oppenheim. It shows.
Below, Jason Oppenheim talks O Group afterparties, office conflict, and traveling to Europe to see his girlfriend.
What would you say is the main difference between the office vibe in LA and the OC?
Many of the agents in Selling Sunset in LA are well versed and have considerable experience. While we do have some agents in the OC that are as established and successful, there are others who are very new. So that is interesting to get them caught up. It is a young and largely more inexperienced group, but they gelled together and are having a lot of fun with the process. It was easier for them to jump right in without any reservations after seeing Selling Sunset, allowing me to explain to them how to trust the process, trust the production team, and I think they have a leg up in that regard.
What was your most memorable moment of filming Selling the OC?
My favorite scene was the yacht scene in the last episode just because I love hanging with the guys in the office, just drinking. Not to mention I don’t get to have much time with guys on Selling Sunset, so it is really nice to just f*cking hang with the bros when we’re filming.
Any fun behind-the-scenes drama you care to share from the nights going out in Orange County?
Oh yeah. I partied with the [OC] crew so many times, I can’t even tell you. There are a couple of clubs down in OC: Country Club is one. God, we must have been there at least a half dozen times. We go to group dinners all the time, 27 of us went to A’s Restaurant in Crystal Cove last week. Almost every time I come down there we are out, then we go to the clubs. And most times we come back to my house for an afterparty. In fact, some of the things that are discussed on the show definitely happened at my afterparties.
How do you keep it professional in the office when everyone is out drinking and partying together after hours?
I have no problem if they are out partying and drinking, [or] going out clubbing with them. But on the flip side, I expect professionalism in the office and I think it’s a fair trade. I try to set an example there, because I am pretty social outside the office, but there’s a time and a place for everything. My dad always taught me that.
Well, one of the new women we added, Nicole Young, has been at the brokerage since we opened the doors and has been one of my closest friends for over a decade, as well as to Mary and Amanza and others. She was actually originally going to be on the show before she got cold feet. So we have just convinced her to come on for Season 6 and 7. She is just perfect: already a very successful agent, knows everybody, strong-willed, very determined woman, very extreme in many ways. I think she is going to be exciting to watch on camera because she has been a part of our lives and a part of the brokerage for so long, and I’ve wanted her to experience the camaraderie and the joy and the experience of being on the show with us.
Bre [Tiesi], I don’t know much about her. I met her a few times, [I’m] excited about her. I think she is going to bring some great real estate. I don’t have a longstanding relationship with her, I just like what I have seen when I met her.
It will be interesting to see how everyone melds together…
And doesn’t meld together.
Drama definitely did find its way into the office on Selling the OC. As the head boss in charge, how do you keep the peace when tensions rise?
I recognize that people are friends and people have real lives. It’s not like Severance [where] once you go into the office you shut down and are a different person. I only have so much patience, [so] if I say something, it pretty quickly goes back to professionalism. But [I say something] only if I need to. I’m not trying to be paternalistic in the office. We’re all grownups.
Do you want to do anything other than real estate? Any other dreams on the horizon?
I’ve been traveling quite a bit, enjoying that. I have a girlfriend who is out here from Europe seeing me and I’m going to go out there for a week or two. I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t spread myself too thin and I want to be good at what I do. I’m not trying to add too much to my plate. I’m balancing the filming and the two offices — maybe I’ll explore another office. Anything I would add to my plate would be adding another office or two and growing the brokerage.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.