With over five billion dollars sold in real estate and decades of experience under his belt, you would think nothing could shake Fredrik Eklund – but Million Dollar Listing New York’s superstar salesman is stepping out of his comfort zone by partnering with The Real Housewives of New York’s Bethenny Frankel to flip multi-million dollar properties in New York City.
Fredrik built a relationship with Bethenny when he helped sell the infamous loft she shared with her ex-husband, Jason Hoppy, after the couple’s nasty divorce. The four-bedroom property sold in just one day for its full asking price of $6.95 million, and it launched the idea for their new series, Bethenny & Fredrik.
Slice caught up with the charismatic NYC broker to talk everything from real estate to fatherhood, his new show, and what it’s really like to go into business with a Real Housewife.
Slice: We’ve seen you shine on MDLNY for six seasons, and now you’re joining forces with someone who’s constantly in the public eye. So with two shows on the air and a mega successful real estate career, how does it feel to be entering celebrity territory yourself?
Fredrik: You know, I never think about those things. In Million Dollar Listing New York I’m a real estate agent, and [Bethenny & Fredrik] is more about me as a person…and that was scary for me [when] filming this show; I can’t hide behind the role of the real estate agent. This is everything. This is who I am. I cry on this show with Bethenny, I laugh – it [gets] very personal. It’s funny. It’s a little bit crazy, and there’s a lot of fighting, but I don’t see myself in terms of “celebrity.” Bethenny certainly is. When I was out with her looking for apartments she had all these paparazzi following her around and I’ll always remember that moment thinking “this is so stressful.”
Slice: What was it like entering into a business relationship with Bethenny?
F: In the beginning I was really scared shitless because the cameras were just there! We didn’t know what was going to happen. She’s so unpredictable and this partnership is so unpredictable. We were figuring it out in real time as the cameras were following us. This is our real money, so millions of dollars are at stake here. I’m really used to selling, and then getting commissions on other people’s money… But this is my money, and I’ve worked hard for that money. I think it was really scary…but then [also] kind of freeing.
Slice: Fans have been watching both of you on TV for years now, but in just the first few episodes we see a different side to both of your personalities that we’ve never seen before.
F: I haven’t watched [The Real Housewives of New York] that much, [just] a little bit here and there over the years; I feel like she’s much happier here [and she’s] smiling and laughing. This is how I’ve always known her to be and I hope I bring that out in her. There’s something a little childish about me, like the idiot that I am, I think she likes that. She’s the same way, so we certainly have a lot of fun.
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Slice: A big congratulations to you and your husband Derek on becoming parents to twins! The babies are adorable and you guys have been sharing the most beautiful photos of your journey on Instagram.
F: I keep posting these perfect, perfect, perfect pictures of the twins when I should probably post a poopy diaper on my head… [my Instagram makes] it looks kind of glamorous – and it is in many ways – but the reality of it is, behind the beautiful Instagram posts, it’s a lot of work, and we’re very overwhelmed…[but] in a good way.
Slice: You must still be on that new parent high?
F: I feel like I’m on drugs – baby drugs! You get super powers. I have this roaring career, and I have two television shows now, and I just feel really blessed and thankful, but I do feel very overwhelmed right now.
Slice: For six years we’ve seen you working at such an intense speed, do you think fatherhood is going to change the pace of your career?
F: For sure, it already is. I’m going through it now. I think at the end of the day it’s a really good thing. You become more efficient, you prioritize, and you learn to say no to clients. In my case it’s a little more complicated because my career is peaking, and I’ve been working so many decades to get here – and it’s just all happening all at once. Full disclosure – I’m still trying to figure it out, and I’m taking it day by day.
Slice: Obviously you’re an expert in your field, but did working with Bethenny teach you anything about real estate or renovations?
F: Yeah, I hope it’s clear on the show that I’m not an expert in renovations – if anything she’s more seasoned through her own renovations than I am – so I really need her. Thank God she was on board [to cut down] the budgets – I like to spend. I look at a renovation and I want [everything], but she looks at it like “Here’s our pot of money, and whatever we can fit in that is our max.”
We were fighting over different budget items, which is [actually] good, [it’s] very helpful. It’s what you want in a business partner.
Slice: Was there anything you two could never agree on?
F: We agreed on a lot of things after a little bit of discussion. I think there [are] some misunderstandings between us when it comes to money. We’re so opinionated… it’s hard to mix friendship and business – I mean that’s the best kind of business, but also the most difficult because you can get emotional…and I’m very sensitive as a person.
Slice: We’ll see you try to hook Bethenny up with someone in the second episode, can you let us know if you were successful?
F: I think it was successful in the [sense] that they both [at least] liked each other… but I don’t think they were romantic. I remember when I was setting her up on those dates, I just [wanted] her to be happy. I don’t really care [who she’s with] as long as she’s happy.
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Slice: Finally, what can fans expect to see as the season of Bethenny & Fredrik unfolds?
F: [You’ll see] a real friendship evolving over the season. I think if you watched me over the years, or her, I think you’ll really enjoy it because we’re so frickin’ goofy. We’re just two goofballs running around New York City. But I think there are [also] some really good interior design takeaways. I had a lot of fun shooting it.
Watch Bethenny & Fredrik Tuesdays at 10e/p.