The fifth season of Million Dollar Listing New York has been all about taking risks.
Whether it was Ryan Serhant’s risqué marketing move, Fredrik Eklunds’ dramatic game of dress-up or Luis D. Ortiz’s basketball game break-in, the Bravo brokers have proved they’ll go to any lengths to get the job done.
But those commission check don’t come without a fair share of criticism.
“I got a lot of heat when we first launched, which kind of [reminded] me not to read what people put on the Internet,” Serhant, 31, tells PEOPLE of his campaign that featured nude models painted to match a listing’s exterior. “It was very stressful.” Also stressful? Planning his July wedding to Emilia Bechrakis, a week-long affair he’s said “started at a million [dollars].”
Fredrik, who turned heads with a spirited impersonation of Andy Warhol, was also not expecting the reaction he received on social media from his well-intentioned selling strategy.
“Some people thought it was genius and funniest thing they’ve ever seen,” Eklund, 39, says. “But then there were a lot of people that thought I went way too far, that it was very odd, very weird, very uncomfortable, all these things, and I was a little surprised by that.” Eklund and his husband, Derek Kaplan, also faced some devastating personal news this season, learning this spring that the surrogate who was carrying their child has suffered a miscarriage.
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Ortiz sweated it out many times trying to impress one of the city’s biggest developers, eventually crashing a private box at a basketball game. Their job may seem straightforward, but no two deals are ever the same.
“Brokerage is not just showing a property and presenting an offer,” Ortiz, 29, says. “The real value comes in in how we structure a deal.”
Win or lose, though, it’s worth it for the experience.
“Even the [sales pitches] that I’ve bombed, I’ve loved,” Eklund says.
While season 5 has been a roller coaster, it’s not over yet. Each of the cast mates agreed that the finale — airing July 7th on Bravo — is going to take fans completely by surprise.
“It’s going to shock a lot of people,” Ortiz says. “I don’t even know how this is all going to play out.”
Eklund describes the conclusion as “heartbreaking,” while Serhant says, in no uncertain terms, that things will not end with everyone smiling.
“The reason I like the show is because it is, without fail, incredibly real,” Serhant says. “I think the audience is in for a ride, that’s for sure.”
Million Dollar Listing New York airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo.