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Christine Quinn will be the first to tell you not everything on reality TV is, well, reality.
Speaking on Zoom from her Southern California home, Quinn, 33, freely admits some of the biggest storylines on Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” – which portray her as the most villainous (yet most stylish) real estate agent at The Oppenheim Group brokerage – are either hyped up for drama or entirely fake.
“Oh, I’m not allowed to share anything,” Quinn says of the show’s behind-the-scenes secrets. “But I do anyway.”
It’s this refreshing candor, coupled with her signature snark, that undergirds Quinn’s new book, “How to Be a Boss B—-: Stop Apologizing for Who You Are and Get the Life You Want” (Abrams, 224 pp., out Tuesday). Billed as “part prescriptive how-to, part manifesto, part tell-all,” the book tackles popular self-help topics like relationships, finance and manifestation with candor, humor and surprising pearls of wisdom.
Quinn also lets fans in on her vulnerable side – the part of her story that she says often gets left on the Netflix cutting-room floor.
“We’re multifaceted human beings with different elements and different personality traits, and there’s vulnerabilities that we don’t see,” Quinn says. “So I encourage people to get to know me outside the show and read the book.”
When fans do read the book, they’ll learn Quinn came from humble beginnings – and she wasn’t born confident. It took years for her to fully embrace herself, something she hopes to empower other women to do with the activities, personality quizzes and memories shared in her book.
“The secret to confidence is just being so secure with yourself that it doesn’t matter what anyone says about you,” she says. “Nothing fazes me because I feel so strong with the person inside. It’s all about loving yourself first.”
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Sometimes loving yourself means leaving situations that no longer serve you.
When asked if she’s still with the O Group – a major cliffhanger at the end of Season 5 – Quinn bluntly states “absolutely not.” Instead, she’s at her own brokerage, RealOpen, specializing in property transactions via cryptocurrency.
“That was not a healthy environment,” Quinn says of her former office. “It’s toxic. It’s a cult. I have no desire. Bon voyage.”
But her “Selling Sunset” fans need not worry: She says she’s not leaving the show any time soon.
Quinn’s O Group departure may come as a shock to some, but it was no surprise to “Selling Sunset” producers, she says, who knew for a year and a half she planned to start her company.
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Still, “it wasn’t a convenient storyline that Christine went off and started her own brokerage. That’s not good TV,” Quinn says. So instead, producers decided to “get creative” and drum up a more dramatic reason for her exit. Cue the damning accusation from agent Emma Hernan at the end of Season 5 that Quinn offered one of Hernan’s clients $5,000 not to work with her.
Quinn maintains the bribery scandal was concocted for the cameras, including the meeting she seemed to blow off in which she was supposed to discuss the allegation with her former bosses.
“When I heard about it, I was just completely shocked,” she says. “I understand they have to make creative television, but no. There was no scene where I was supposed to show up at the office, and the clock is spinning and waiting. Like, nope. You guys didn’t call me into the office that day. That’s cute, though.”
It’s not the only meeting Quinn’s been accused of ditching without good reason. She also missed the Season 5 reunion special, sparking speculation she didn’t go to avoid confronting her rival agents face-to-face.
Quinn, however, says she missed the taping for a more straightforward reason: She had COVID-19.
“Of course, they didn’t want to say that. It’s not convenient. It’s not fun. They wanted me to Zoom in. I wasn’t feeling well. I told them, ‘I’m not Zooming in. I’m in bed.’ I slept till 4 p.m. that day. I literally was a zombie.”
Quinn hasn’t been one to back down from on-camera confrontation in the past. After all, when you have a large cast of reality stars vying for the spotlight, she says picking a fight with the show’s villain is often a reliable way to get screen time, so her co-stars rarely miss an opportunity to rattle her cage. Amanza Smith did it at her Season 5 broker’s open, she says, when Smith confronted her about an out-of-context text message.
“We don’t really have storylines if there’s not conflict,” Quinn says. “So sometimes people do get creative to get airtime, I’ll say that.”
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When asked which of her castmates could benefit the most from her book’s advice, Quinn pauses to consider before answering Heather Rae Young – an O Group agent with whom she had a friendship before they had an onscreen falling out.
Though Young has a “fire” of confidence inside, Quinn laments she can be “very easily swayed.”
“I would love for her to be able to step into her own power, set boundaries, tell people ‘no,’ evaluate situations and make her own decisions,” she continues. “It would be a great read for her. But I’m not saying that in a bad way whatsoever.”
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Being a TV villain is good for business
Off-camera, Quinn comes off more grounded than her reality show reputation would suggest, and she jokes she wears sweatpants to work much more often than the head-to-toe glam she’s known for on “Selling Sunset.”
The contrast between her real-life personality and her “Selling Sunset” villain persona can sometimes be jarring for her clients.
“I work with people that are like, ‘I’m gonna be honest with you. I saw the show, and you may not be my favorite character, but no one can say you are not a boss a– b—-,’ ” she says. ” ‘You are the hardest working one, and I want you to represent me and be in my corner.’ So it’s actually worked in my favor, believe it or not. And I do. I do what’s best for my clients, and I represent them and their best interests, and I think that’s what makes me so good at my job.”
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Throughout filming and launching her brokerage, Quinn says her “No. 1 priority” has been her book. But the path to publishing hasn’t been easy.
Her initial proposal, which she submitted shortly after Season 1 debuted in 2019, was rudely rejected.
“I asked to work with someone who told me, ‘This is trash. This isn’t going anywhere,’ ” she says. “But persistence is key, and I don’t take no for an answer. If you’re told no, you just asked the wrong person.”
Quinn eventually found the right people, a “wonderful group of boss b——” who shared her vision. And now, as she’s gearing up for her book’s release, she hopes it can inspire all women – whether they love her, hate her, or have never heard of her – to live their best lives.
This includes the woman who rejected her book years ago.
“The funny thing is, I know the woman very well, and as soon as I become a New York Times bestselling author I’m going to hand-deliver (a copy) to her office,” she says with a wry smile. “I’ll even sign it for her.”
Let’s just hope the cameras are rolling when she does.
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