It is well documented here on the blog that I am a huge fan of the Netflix reality show Selling Sunset. If you are not familiar, it follows the all-female team of real estate agents at The Oppenheim Group in West Hollywood as they sell mega mansions across LA County in sky-high heels.
The show is fantastic for a few reasons: (1) the homes the women tour, list and sell are stunning, (2) the fashion is next level, and (3) the drama never comes from the deal making, but instead from their infighting.
One of the stars of the show, Chrishell Stause, has been in the spotlight since season one. Her initial claim to fame was that she was married to Justin Hartley (who played Kevin Pearson on This Is Us), but at the very end of that first batch of episodes, she learns that Justin wants a divorce.
In the most recent season, she's garnering extra attention for her relationship with Jason Oppenheim, one of the founders / brokers of the franchise.
So naturally when I learned she was going to be coming out with a memoir, I wanted to read it.
One of my best friends loaned me her copy and I was able to read it on vacation. This is the perfect beach read. It feels like an extra long US Weekly interview.
The book is titled "Under Construction: Because Living My Best Life Took A Little Work." The cover image is beyond goofy. Chrishell is wearing a skin tight pink dress and stilettos while holding a glass of champagne and also toting a tool belt and hard hat. I wish her publicist had a bit more taste.
The book begins with her childhood. Her given name is Terrina (her middle name is Chrishell). The day she was born, her mother was assisted by a man named Chris at a Shell gas station, so her mom created this middle name in his honor. You can't make this stuff up, people!
Chrishell lived in poverty for most of her childhood. She was homeless for many years. She worked in a fast food restaurant in high school to save for college. She eventually moved out to LA to pursue acting, getting her first big break on All My Children, and later she booked series regular roles on Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless.
I learned that in addition to her romance with Justin Hartley, she was actually engaged (prior to that) to Glee star Matthew Morrison. I cannot picture them together at all.
The back half of the book is dedicated to Selling Sunset. I had no idea that the producers approached her. I assumed she had auditioned. I also had no idea she was still filming soap opera episodes while also shooting season one. I appreciated her candor about how much the show has contributed to her real estate business, particularly in the months when they aren't filming. It gave her the boost she needed to make this her full-time career, and ultimately earn enough to purchase her own home, which is a very big deal for someone who grew up with housing insecurity.
I will say, the writing itself is pretty terrible. It's full of cliches and dumb interludes between chapters like, "If Men Were Homes." That's a two page spread describing men as The Flip, The Teardown, The Airbnb or The Dream Home. Here's one description, "The Fixer-Upper: They have a smelly roommate, and you can't be sure the lat time their sheet were washed. Their clothes leave much to be desired, but they are a quality human who treats their friends, mom, and dog like gold. If you have the time / eggs for this, it can be a nice option."
She also makes some pop culture references that feel a bit forced. For example, in a story about her childhood bully Greg Chasen, she opens with, "All due respect to Michelle Obama, but every once in a while I find that taking the high road can be overrated."
Should you spend money to buy a copy of this book? No. Should you find a way to borrow it from a friend or the library in order to learn all the behind-the-scenes details of Selling Sunset? Yes.