“It’s to see how the other half lives”
Luxe Listings Sydney trio reflect on the appeal of property shows, but note that money doesn't always buy everything.
“When I was little, I used to make my dad drive me around the suburbs, because I’m not from the eastern suburbs,” says buyer’s agent Simon Cohen.
“I’d peer over the fences of all these big mansions and waterfronts and try to peek inside.”
Cohen, joined by Sydney property agents Gavin Rubinstein, D’Leanne Lewis, are the stars of new Amazon Prime series Luxe Listings Sydney.
In the series, lavish harbour-front mansions worth upwards of $10m are bought and sold via the three. After a bumper launch, the show has already been renewed for a second season.
But what is it about seeing into luxury homes that draws viewers in?
“I think to answer your question, the answer, in my opinion is: to see how the other half lives. See what life at the top really is like,” Cohen continues.
“Everyone loves to see the glitz and the glamour”
“We’re blessed because we all get to see it every day. Everyone loves to see the glitz and the glamour of how the 0.11111% of the world lives. Coupled with Sydney being such a beautiful city, and a little bit of drama, it makes for a great show.”
“I actually find what I do, unbelievably inspirational,” suggests Gavin Rubinstein, founder of the Rubinstein Group.
“For many years, going into some of the greatest properties, it develops your own internal hunger to want to go out and get that for yourself.
“I guess, it’s got an aspirational side of it that I think people are interested in, and I think someone could watch this and get a spark to work hard in their field to have a dream and get that for (themselves). I think that’s why people are so interested in these sorts of shows.”
“How much is enough?”
D’Leanne Lewis, a principal of Laing+Simmons Double Bay, believes while the show seeks to be aspirational there are is also time to smell the roses.
“I think there comes a point where you see people with an inordinate amount of wealth. But the lesson for me in my journey is ‘how much is enough?’ Money does not make you happy. You learn through your life about where to give back. It’s good to learn what moderation is. It’s good to appreciate those people around you. Because there are things in life that money cannot buy. Great houses is one that you can actually buy with money, which is great for us.
“There are other things as well that are that are equally as important. The journey in the show (captures) our personal lives as well, which is kind of cool.
“I don’t watch a lot of TV but I believe that what’s different about the show. It’s not just real estate and bitchiness … it’s a holistic approach to selling real estate in Sydney, which I love.”
“It was an absolute no-brainer”
Rubinstein was first to be cast in the series and admits to having knocked back other overtures to enter reality television.
“Over time, I’ve had multiple people approach me on the basis of doing a show.. something like Million Dollar Listing, Selling Sunset, or a real estate reality show. With what was offered and who was behind it, this was definitely the most exciting opportunity I had heard to date. When they identified Simon and D’Leanne as the other two cast members, it was an absolute no-brainer. I think we’ve got an interesting, dynamic, bouncing off each other, and we offer something for everyone. We all had a relatively-established career prior to the show being launched.
“I thought it was the first of its kind and after watching Season One, I was right.”
All three were cast by executive producers Ben Scott and James Kennedy of Kentel, who also conceived the concept, while the series was executive produced by Eureka Productions’ Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin, Rikkie Proost, Sophia Mogford, John Karabelas and Anastassia Gerakas.
“We want to show off Sydney in a particular light”
Amazon Prime Video’s global reach was another key factor.
“Generally, I think people talk a big game but few execute,” Rubinstein continues. “When someone like Amazon comes and really gets involved, there’s going to be execution. And look, that’s exactly what they did. Aesthetically, the brief for this, -which they made clear to me at the outset- was: we want to show off Sydney in a particular light. That hasn’t been portrayed before. The aesthetics really got me because I have an interest in that.”
“It was much more enjoyable than we expected,” Cohen suggests.
“It landed in a different place to what we thought. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, well, you know, you just pop in and that’s it.’ But there’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” says Lewis.
While Lewis concedes the Sydney property market is full of fast cars, fast money and w**kers, that’s not uncommon to the upper echelons of industry.
“There is a lot of w***y stuff. Obviously, the show films the competition between us, and there’s a lot of things that happen with each of us that I don’t necessarily agree with,” she insists.
“But that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes the show real.”
Luxe Listings Sydney is now screening on Amazon Prime Video.