McKenzie Ryan is putting her own spin, quite literally, on the luxury real estate market.
The former Olympic-trained gymnast and classical ballerina is now a New York realtor with Douglas Elliman, and she's expanding her business to the West Coast. Plus, she's taking a dip into the world of reality TV and debuting on season 2 of Kendra Sells Hollywood, which premieres on Friday, May 26 on Max.
On the heels of Selling Sunset season 6, its glamorous listings—including one estate formerly owned by Harry Styles—and brewing drama (looking at you Nicole and Chrishell!), you don't need to ask us twice to tune into another real estate-based series.
Ahead of the season 2 premiere, which focuses on Kendra Wilkinson's transition into a new chapter of her professional life, McKenzie chatted with My Imperfect Life about joining the cast of the show, the extraordinary listings she worked on and, of course, a few of her must-have beauty buys.
McKenzie Ryan chats 'Kendra Sells Hollywood' with My Imperfect Life:
MIL: What was your experience like on Kendra Sells Hollywood?
MR: I joined the cast as a New York City real estate powerhouse expanding into the L.A. and Beverly Hills market and finding my own footing amidst other agents who have worked out there for decades and, of course, Kendra, who is just getting into real estate in the last two years.
It was a fascinating and incredibly empowering experience to expand my business out there while interacting with a cast of very wonderful and colorful characters and finding the similarities we all have as real estate brokers and as humans trying to build a great life for ourselves and do the best that we can for our clients.
You work primarily in New York and California. What do you love about each location?
MR: I love New York's incredible history and architecture and the magnetic energy— there's just something in the air in New York that makes you want to hustle and makes you want to be your best, and it's part of my DNA, since I'm born and raised there. It's something I love coming home to.
In LA and Beverley Hills, I absolutely love the landscape and architecture. The homes from Malibu to Beverley Hills to the Hidden Hills to the Valley, there's such a depth of diversity in architecture itself and the types of incredible homes that you can work with that doesn't really exist anywhere else.
MIL: How would you say Kendra Sells Hollywood compares to shows like Selling Sunset, Million Dollar Listing, etc.?
MR: What I love most about Kendra Sells Hollywood is really the background story of myself, of Kendra, of other cast members I got to meet and become very close friends with. I think our show digs a little bit deeper into the lives and experiences and paths that have brought us all here. Most people don't choose real estate as their first profession, so everyone has a story!
Before I started selling real estate, I started training for the Olympics as a gymnast, which is totally different—I've never met another real estate broker that comes from that path. And I love that our show explores the real nature of what this business does for you but also what it can do to you because it's a very, very tough, grueling industry. I love that we peel back the layers to show what the real emotional side looks like.
Tell us about your most memorable moment on the show.
MR: My first day of filming, I was doing a broker's open house that I was hosting. I had not met anyone yet, and in New York, I had this legacy for doing amazing performances for some of my open house parties, so I figured, what better way to introduce myself to the cast, the cameras, and the world by doing a little ballet performance at this open house? It was one of the crazier things I've done. It took a lot of courage but I'm glad I did it because it's part of who I am. It's actually a really incredible creative way to show off the architecture and the space itself. No one forgets seeing a house where there's a classical ballerina!
MIL: What can we expect this season on Kendall Sells Hollywood?
MR: You should expect to get a deeper look into Kendra's path. I think you should expect to get a deeper look into who I am as a real estate agent, but more importantly as a person. On my end, a lot of people know me as a successful, young and hungry individual who's constantly achieving and performing at top levels but I don't think a lot of people get a look into what I've gone through to get here.
MIL: How do you incorporate your athletic background into what you do today?
MR: I attribute so much of my professional success and also my personal success to my dancing and also to my athletic background. Being able to physically perform at a high level and to do ballet or dance pretty much every day is not just a physical win, it's a mental and emotional win because they help ease a lot of stress, but more importantly, they make me feel the way I want to inside: to be creative, to be free, and to be grounded in my own truth.
I really equate what I do as a real estate broker and I bring my performance background into it. I treat real estate as a production and I look at homes as a great performance piece.
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MIL: What shaped you throughout your career?
MR: Some of the biggest factors that helped me get to where I am is failure, and I think, also within failure, learning to shape that in a constructive and meaningful way that propels you forward.
In real estate, you're not paid unless you perform your job at a high level, and if you're not supported by anyone, and you're doing this completely on your own, it can be a very lonely and isolating career. You have to be able to hold it together, you have to be able to get knocked off your horse and get back up and you have to have faith in your future even when success doesn't exist.
Being a woman of color in a very corporate and very competitive industry, it's taken everything I have and everything I never knew I had inside of me to work past incredible criticism, people not believing in me, not getting listings, rejection. I think my story is one that is still developing and I'm still figuring out who I am in the midst of this incredible, crazy real estate world.
MIL: What’s been your most memorable listing?
MR: I got to visit an incredible newly constructed wellness house in Beverley Hills that was completely wired to create relaxation and a sense of serenity and to reduce stress for anyone who's visiting. It had an Acadian light system, all the materials were naturally sourced, and it overlooked Beverley Hills. And what I loved most about the house was its indoor/outdoor architecture...with an infinity pool overlooking the hills. It's a very special house to visit!
MIL: You're now on a TV show, but which shows are you watching right now?
MR: I have to be honest, it's the NBA playoff time of year, so I'm watching a lot of basketball. The last show I watched and absolutely loved was The Last of US on HBO. It was just riveting and such a deep and moving series. I get the chills now just thinking of it. And I watch a lot of Seinfeld—it's kind of like my therapy.
MIL: Any favorite reality shows?
MR: I've been getting into the OG reality TV shows from like the mid-2o00s and I just have to say, none of it would fly today, but there's something so golden and nostalgic about that era that I just can't part ways with. So this is like Real World: Las Vegas, Flavor of Love—maybe because it brings me back to my teenage years. What I like most about them is everything's a little easier, more freeing, pre-smartphone era. You just kind of went out and partied, which I loved.
MIL: Let's talk beauty: what are some of your favorite products?
MR: Drunk Elephant; I love their B-Hydra intensive serum. For the amount of grinding I'm doing, from my workdays where I'm walking 3,000 steps to working out for two hours a day, riding my bike and going to events when you have makeup on, it's kind of like an all-in-one, 'make my face feel better and shinier' [product]. It definitely does the trick for me.
MIL: What styles are you looking forward to trying this summer?
I love color and glitz and glam in the summer, especially because it's warmer and it's hotter and you can get away with being a little more scandalous. This summer, I'm going for a 1970s honey look which is going to include a lot of really poppy colors, a lot of cutouts, a lot of sequins, maybe some feathers here and there. I just want to have a summer of fun!
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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