Chelsea Lazkani is living her dream as a real estate agent on the TV show Sunset Sale… a world away from her humble upbringing in a council house in London.
Dressed in lavish designer clothes, she has a £4 million beachfront mansion in California and sells luxury homes worth five times that amount for a living.
The glitz, the rivalry and the drama were all captured on camera for the Netflix reality show – and Chelsea, 29, is loving every minute of it.
Back in London, she used to share a bedroom with her two siblings because her parents planned and saved up to give them the best they could afford.
Chelsea remembers those tough days but she’s keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground after finding television fame in Los Angeles.
Selling Sunset has just begun its fifth series, centered around the Oppenheim Group, a high-end real estate company run by twin brothers Jason and Brett Oppenheim.
We caught up with Chelsea for an exclusive interview inside her latest listing – an £18million Manhattan Beach mansion just a stone’s throw from her own home.
Her commission, if she completes a sale, will be a delicious £350,000. Chelsea told us: “We are not from money. At first we had nothing. My father came to the UK with only 13 pounds in his name.
“When I was four to seven years old, we lived in council buildings. I remember going to a shop and not being able to pick up another loaf of bread. Since we had nothing we had to be conscious. about the price. I’ve always known the value of a pound.”
Chelsea’s dad Segun trained as an architect in Nigeria and made a successful career in the UK – while her mother Elizabeth was a human resources director at Emerson University in LA after the family moved to the US .
They also own a number of apartments and homes across London and Kent – including their former council house, where Chelsea, sister Oyinda, 30, and brother Richard, 24, share rooms.
Chelsea said: “I would never leave that house. It’s very small, but I wanted to keep it as a reminder.” We asked how she would advertise it if she made a sale.
With a smile, Chelsea replied: “Compact family home, lots of love! Room for family of five but ideal for a couple with a baby. “
She also raves about having a solid work ethic: “My parents are immigrants from Nigeria. They are workaholics, working horses.
“All my parents’ success came from hard work. I always have a strong work ethic because I see my parents working very hard. My mother worked in a supermarket when I was a child. She entered the HR field and began to climb the corporate ladder.
“She is a phenomenon. When I was 12 years old, she had the opportunity to work in Lausanne. Dad stayed in the UK for work and we all left our jobs and moved to Switzerland.
Alamy Stock Photo)
“It was a great opportunity, an opportunity for a better life. My dad is coming to visit us at the weekend. “
After a year, the whole family was reunited in Edgware, north-west London – a few miles from their old Mill Hill council house and Chelsea had their own bedroom for the first time.
After her A-levels, she studied economics at the University of Buckingham before earning a Master’s degree in oil and gas management from the University of Dundee. She worked as a business strategist and solar analyst for oil and gas companies before arriving in the US in 2015 – with just a suitcase, expected to stay a few weeks.
But she met her future husband Jeff Lazkani, a managing partner of a marketing and advertising agency, on their first date.
Chelsea, said: “I do not plan to stay long. But then I’m busy on Tinder! Jeff and I are very similar. We hit it immediately. ”
They married in 2017 and have son Maddox, three, and daughter Melia, 18 months. Chelsea obtained her real estate license in 2017 and first worked for a company called Rodeo Realty, overseeing over $10 million in revenue in a single year.
Overcoming prejudice has been difficult – but working “with great people and great assets” is a wonderful thing.
Todd Williamson / Path / REX / Shutterstock)
Chelsea said: “I have had a number of negative experiences as a black agent. I see my colleagues work less than me and get the list.
“I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ I realize that people want a real estate agent just like them. They want an agent they see. I thought, ‘I can sink or swim’. I kept working and working and eventually got one customer, which led to another, and then another.
“It is very slow, but I still want to go to a luxury brokerage to develop my career.”
Then Chelsea got their big break at Oppenheim Group.
She’s currently navigating LA’s hot real estate market and says she feels “a strong bond” with her Twilight Peninsula friends, including the haunted Christine Quinn. Photographed by Chanel, former Hollywood actress Chrishell Stause and Olympic swimmer Emma Hernan.
Chelsea said: “I knew I had to become a big character with a ‘can do’ attitude to make it work and succeed. I was feeling some pressure. But I had to make it work because I didn’t want brown women around the world to see that I wasn’t successful.
“I put pressure on myself, every day I tell myself, ‘I’m going to get better, I’m going to be more beautiful, and I’m going to sell the property. I won’t let anyone take that from me’.
“I was the first completely black woman on the show. I was embarrassed by my British accent, but I laughed it off. I got it! But I am British, I am black, I am Nigerian and I am also American, now I have an American passport. I’m proud.”
So what will the future be?
“The sky is the limit,” she said. “I would love to build a real estate team. I want a team of ethnic minorities. I don’t see many people like me in LA doing this, so I wanted to make it happen. But my main focus now is on my work for Brett and Jason and making my gig and work a success. Doing this is my calling.
“It’s my chance to give back and I know I’m very lucky.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/selling-sunset-star-chelsea-lazkanis-26901785 Selling Sunset star Chelsea Lazkani's journey from council house to California mansion