‘Selling Sunset’ Star Chrishell Stause Talks Season Five Challenges and Being Vulnerable on TV

Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause bared it all on the fifth season of the Netflix reality series, which follows a group of Oppenheim Group real estate agents selling multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles. Audiences all over the world (the show was in Netflix’s top 10 in 48 countries after its debut in April) watched as Stause dated — and heart-wrenchingly broke up with — her co-star and boss Jason Oppenheim because their plans for a family didn’t align.

“I’ve definitely shared and gone through the wringer of just needing to put it out there because it was going to be out there anyway,” Stause tells THR. “It does feel nice to put balance into the times that can be really hard, to be vulnerable and share these kinds of things.”

After the show received its second Emmy nomination, the reality star talked to THR about what the TV Academy’s recognition means to her, what it’s like rewatching her vulnerable moments months after they happened, and where she hopes Selling Sunset will go in future seasons.

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How did you hear about your nomination?

I woke up to all these text messages. That either means something really bad happened or something really good happened. It was like 57 messages, because we’re on a group chain. I opened it and then realized, “Oh, OK, awesome! We got nominated for an Emmy!”

This is the second time the show was nominated. Does this year feel any different for you, given how vulnerable you were on the season?

It’s always special because you just never know, as the show’s following along with our lives, what’s going to strike a chord with people, what people connect to, what people will hate you for. It’s just always such a crapshoot. Obviously, it feels really nice that the show’s being recognized … because, as we all know, with reality television, it’s not always the case. It’s a real honor.

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How does it feel watching things five or six months after they happened, especially these personal moments that you did share with the audience in this season?

It’s unlike any other job in the world. It comes with extreme high highs and low lows, because when you’re living these moments, you normally aren’t able to watch them back and relive them. It’s so exciting to be able to share that with people, but there’s the flip side of that. There’s something that you feel that you were able to get stronger and move on from, but then you have to relive it, share it and hear people’s criticisms about it. You just have to take the good with the bad. It’s not for everyone, and you really do learn to sink or swim. Luckily, I have learned to swim. Sharing your life as we’re doing it, trying to go into it understanding that even in the hard times it’s going to suck to have to relive that. In the case of this last season, I had a lot of confidence. There was just so much respect there between [Jason Oppenheim and me] that it was going to make it easier than what I had experienced in the past, feeling out on a limb. It’s a very odd job.

What initially drew you to the show?

I was very naive in the beginning. I really thought we were doing a show based on real estate. I didn’t think there could be anything wrong because I was thinking, even if I look bad in real estate, this admittedly is a new venture for me, so I am going to have to learn as I go and I’m not always going to get it right, so that’s OK. I didn’t know the personal aspect and the work dynamics, [that] this is what the show would really evolve into. It was like baptism through fire. But having come through the other end of it, I’m grateful for the opportunity. So many incredible things have come my way because of this experience, and obviously it’s great for business, and that’s something that was always really important to me: to be able to build a business that I’m proud of, that I will have no matter whether the show’s a success or not.

Stause (fourth from right, in blue) with her Selling Sunset castmates and Oppenheim colleagues.

Courtesy Of Netflix

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from this experience?

That it’s important to keep everything in perspective. Keep your circle around you. Enjoy all the things, but do not let it change you. You can change for the good as far as not letting dumb little criticisms or comments bother your day. As far as what’s important in life, you can’t let any of this go to your head or you’re going to be screwed.

There’s so much reality TV — why do you think Selling Sunset resonates with viewers and Emmy voters?

There are things that just visually people love to see with the houses and the way the cinematography is so beautifully done, like a movie, which sets it apart from some of the reality shows that are a little more “grab the content and get it out with quicker turnarounds.” We have a slower turnaround, but it’s also visually so stunning, which is why it takes a little longer. And then you’ve got that personal aspect, whether it’s the dynamics of the different agents, [or] whether it’s our personal lives.

What was a challenge for you in season five?

My personal relationship with Jason. Obviously, that’s not the easiest speed bump. You’ve got the dynamics of everybody in the office, and he’s in charge. It’s just going to be a lot. And then, of course, as we all know, us breaking up and working through that, which is really difficult to walk that balance of wanting to be true to what’s really going on. It’s really hard to sometimes share such intimate things. It’s very weird to be having these moments and yet you have cameras there. Of course, they try to tuck away and be as unnoticeable as possible, but it is just one of those things that you can get nervous about, especially when emotions are running high. You don’t always remember exactly what you said, and so it also adds a level of anxiety until you see it yourself, too, which we don’t see until the week before [an episode] comes out. I don’t foresee myself doing this for a long time, but I think that as long as you’re still enjoying it, that’s the key. Right now, I’m still really enjoying it, and I really love the people that I work with.

What do you hope to see in future seasons?

I love when we lean more into the real estate. I think it’s fascinating. There’s a lot of really exciting things going on in the market, whether good or bad, which is all very interesting to follow. There are some crazy things that happen behind the scenes of some of these transactions.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the July 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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