Selling Sunset newcomer Chelsea Lazkani arrived five seasons deep into Netflix’s glorious docusoap, but she wasted no time making her mark in reality television. A whip-smart Brit with a tight schedule and natural candor, Lazkani was quickly attuned to the Oppenheim Group’s complicated dynamics.
Viewers are introduced to Lazkani in episode one of season five as she meets Christine Quinn, who at that point had seemingly severed ties with almost all her fellow real estate agents. Perched at the edge of a balcony overlooking a vast Los Angeles expanse, the two fast friends exclaim “Hi, peasants!” in unscripted harmony.
Lazkani's megawatt personality and curated wardrobe was a natural match for the glossy show. And with her cheeky quips, eye rolls, and sometimes petty exchanges, fans are primed to view Lazkani as Christine 2.0. But she quickly proves she's not satisfied with being someone's sidekick or mouthpiece.
Of her friendship with Christine, Lazkani tells Marie Claire, “Christine is a comedian. She’s a hilarious person,” adding, “Everything she says, I take with a grain of salt.” When asked if her relationship with the resident pot-stirrer affected her perceptions of the other agents, Lazkani graciously shuts down that notion. “What they show me themselves is what tells me everything.”
A 29-year-old realtor of British-Nigerian descent, Lazkani grew up in London and earned a BA in economics and a Masters in Oil and Gas Economics. Less than a decade ago, she made the switch to real estate and planted roots in LA with her now-husband, Jeff Lazkani. After working for several years at another brokerage, Lazkani put a pause on her career to start a family; she and her husband now have two young children. It's no wonder she wasn’t up-to-date on Netflix’s latest hit show.
“It’s not that [Selling Sunset] wasn’t in my lane—it totally is—I just didn’t have time to watch reality TV,” she says.
Here, Lazkani chats about her fears of being on screen, how true-to-life the fifth season really was, and which cast members she’s still friends with today.
Marie Claire: Have you been following online how people are responding to the new season?
Chelsea Lazkani: I would love to say I haven't, but I have. It's been so nice because I'm always open to listen to what people have to say—positive or negative. Despite the fact that there were some harder bits to watch, I feel like we got to see another layer to all of the cast members [as well as] myself. People were like, “Oh my gosh, I didn't think it could get better.” And here it is.
MC: When you’re joining a cast that’s so established, I imagine your hope is that people don’t wonder why a new person was needed.
CL: One hundred percent. [The show] is on its fifth season. These ladies, whether or not they've been on camera before, have gotten comfortable in their element. They know what they're doing; they know what their expectations are. They've also made a share of money to be able to live up to what is now a top three Netflix show. So coming in, you don't want people to be like, “We're on season five, but this girl's really like season one.”
MC: Did you watch the show before being cast?
CL: I had heard of it briefly, maybe a couple years before, because obviously I'm in real estate. So upon getting back into the real estate game, and wanting to join the O Group, I actually completely forgot they had a TV show.
MC: That’s funny.
CL: I almost feel like it's so much better it happened this way, because I didn't have all these preconceived notions of the show or the group or the ladies. I wasn't a fan before. But [after] having joined the cast, I then watched it multiple times because I was like, This is TV gold. This is absolutely amazing.
MC: So you wanted to work for the Oppenheim Group, but how did you end up being cast in the show?
CL: As a realtor, you need to hang your license at a brokerage. The O Group was very aspirational to me. So when I heard that they were [hiring], it was like, I can only get in the brokerage if I add some value. [Jason's] not looking for dead weight. So I went in guns blazing like, “How can I get a deal?”
Until I was accepted into the O Group it was like, I may not be a full cast member. I could just make a cameo. It was very much serendipitous. Everything happened perfectly. It was really based upon the premise of, “Am I going to fit culture-wise and work ethic-wise?”
MC: Did you have any interest in being on reality TV beforehand?
CL: Never in my life. No. It sounds crazy because I think there's a lot of people that want to be on TV. But in all honesty, I was petrified to watch it back because that would be the first time in my life I'd been in front of a lens—more so than even a little TikTok video.
MC: Before accepting the offer, did you think about how the cast is almost entirely white?
CL: Having worked in corporate and in the energy field, I was in a very white, male-dominated space. I had many times in life where it felt like, Wow, I wish there was more representation in these great rooms— where you have intelligent people doing really amazing things.
I want to take this opportunity [for fellow women of color], because I'm constantly in these rooms and I don't want to be the only one. It just starts with one, and then hopefully that one opens the door for others. So for me, it was all about paving the way. And there was no fear or anxiety or, Oh my gosh, how are they gonna receive it?
MC: Did you form opinions about the cast members before meeting them?
CL: Oh yeah, of course. I’d be stupid to say that I don't have any opinions on anybody. The most prevailing thought that I had was: Christine's my cup of tea.
I’m so used to being the unfiltered person. [Being] somebody [like Christine] who challenges the norm and is very brazen and not scared to speak their mind. And I’m that person who’s trying to learn how to reel it in a little bit and honor a sense of appropriateness, but I respected that in her. She’s not perfect. People who aren’t perfect are usually authentic. I thought me and her would vibe.
MC: I'm curious how you were able to take in Christine's perspectives, once you met her, without letting it inform your own opinions or assumptions.
CL: As I was listening to her, I'm like, “I love this. I love the fact that you're sharing.” Because it's really nice to enter a group that you are not familiar with and have some information.
Mind you, my information was very much asymmetric, but it was nice to get something.
MC: Now that you’ve had time to watch back season 5, do you regret defending Christine at any point?
CL: I don’t regret defending Christine ever, because I think ultimately I'm an emotional, reactive being. So when I see somebody in a place where they feel upset or alienated or intimidated or ostracized, that's when I react. So what you saw, everything that transpired on the show, I do not take back.
I do feel like I prejudged Chrishell a little bit, but I’m still human and make mistakes. If I could go back, I wish I had led with grace and gave her the benefit of the doubt.
MC: At times it probably seemed to the other cast members like your directness was coming from a defensive place.
CL: More than anything, I had to be true to myself. If I go above and beyond to explain my stance and also show that I care about [the other women] and care about building relationships with them, maybe they’ll see that it comes from a place of love, as opposed to defense. It’s never that with me.
Me and the girls' relationship started evolving actually very early on, but you don't see it so much early in the season.
MC: That has me wondering…were there any scenes that didn’t make the cut that you wish had? Or anything that you felt wasn’t accurately depicted?
CL: From my part, I'd say it's pretty darn accurate. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t know any of these ladies at all. I met Christine first and I had this budding organic, energetic relationship with her that flourished. I didn't meet any of the other ladies until that brokers’ open. That was halfway through filming in the season.
I didn't just suddenly start going to lunch with them or chatting with them on late-night phone calls. It was really just like being at these events that you saw. Now that the season finished filming…now we have more time together.
MC: I saw on social media that you’ve remained friends with Chrishell and Emma. Are those the two agents you’ve stayed in touch with the most?
CL: I speak with Christine, obviously. And I speak with Jason a lot. I’m super close with Emma and Chrishell, and I speak to Amanza as well.
MC: Let’s talk about these outfits. Do you do glam before every scene?
CL: Believe it or not, most of my looks are planned the night before or the morning of. Fashion is inside of me. I've always been very fashion forward and love to try new things with my look. I'm of Nigerian descent, so we are naturally very ostentatious. My looks are just kind of like, What's my mood today?
In terms of hair and makeup, there are times I did my hair myself, and I've got an amazing makeup artist [Hendra Nasril] who does my makeup. If it's left to me, I’ll just wear lip gloss and eyebrow pencil and walk out the house.
MC: And is there a budget for these looks? Did you work with a stylist?
CL: No, everything you saw me wear was all from my own personal wardrobe, all purchased by myself. I say that because I'm very proud of it, and it took a lot of resources and time to go out and curate my style. So it's all stuff that either I've had for many years, or I was shopping [for the show].
As far as budgets for hair and makeup, this is our real lives. This is us in our natural elements. So we don't get a budget [from Netflix] for wardrobe or for hair and makeup. It's all about what you want to put into it.
MC: So you’re really wearing stilettos to all these showings and events?
CL: Yeah. I don't like flats. I genuinely do not like flats. I don’t.
MC: The season ended on a pretty emotional note. I’m curious how you felt about it.
CL: I had chills towards the end. Everything kind of came full circle and we saw how these real-life relationships, personal or friend-wise, can deteriorate—or are amplified [on camera]. And that’s real life.
MC: Are you going to be around for the next season, if there is one?
CL: I would love to be a part of it. I haven't heard much from the next season just yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I really enjoyed this process.
MC: And you’re still at the Oppenheim group?
CL: I am. I have a $22 million listing that I’ve been working on for the past few months. Me and Jason are stoked. I'm showing my client a $27 million house tomorrow in Hidden Hills. Work, work, work, work, work.
Because you know, you saw it. If you're not putting in the work, you're gonna be on the chopping block. And Chelsea Lazkani won't be on the chopping block.
Lucia Tonelli is the Social Media Editor at Marie Claire, where she oversees and creates content across the magazine’s social platforms. When she’s not sleuthing the internet, she can be found tending to her sourdough starter or placing bids on vintage furniture she doesn’t need. Prior to Marie Claire, Lucia held positions at Town & Country and ELLE Decor.
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