Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles may have undergone several key changes since its first season in 2006, including cast and location shifts, but one thing has remained consistent: the presence of Madison Hildebrand, the diplomatic, hunky blond agent whose sexual orientation remained something of an enigma for a couple of seasons. Officially he’s shifted from “polyamorous” to classic old “gay,” and just like his now-out castmate Josh Flagg, he’s living a visibly homosexual existence in front of the cameras. And yes, he looks blithe and sandy-haired while doing it.
We caught up with the 31-year-old Bravolebrity to discuss the upcoming season (featuring season four’s cocky newcomer Josh Altman), the process of coming out on TV, and what it’s like to oil up your body for Bravo’s summer advertisments. The new season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles — the show’s new name since Million Dollar Listing: New York premiered in March — premieres tonight.
AfterElton: The show has had a number of different casts and forms in its five seasons. You’re the only cast member who’s been a part of it since the beginning. What do you think of the show’s shift over the years?
Madison Hildebrand: It has had a few forms! With all the changes, I personally think it gets better. I think the drama moves around between the characters, and the real estate’s always really good. The drama behind the scenes gets better and better every year.
AE: You began working in real estate only a couple of months before joining the show. Could you ever see yourself working in real estate without the TV element?
MH: I’d be bored if I were just doing real estate. [Laughs.] Every day is so different, especially with the TV element there. I won’t say it makes it exciting, but it takes it up a notch for me.
AE: Do the cameras inspire you to be bolder with clients? Do they make you better at your job?
MH: I don’t know that it makes me better at my job. I think I’d be me regardless of the cameras, whether they’re there or not. I don’t really change much for the cameras. I think the cameras may change some of the clients, and the clients are maybe more apt to make decisions on a quicker basis just because the cameras are there. I think it might benefit me that way.
(L to r) Madison Hildebrand, Josh Altman and Josh Flagg of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles
AE: Can you tell when the camera is compelling a client to make a decision? Do you use that to your advantage?
MH: Sometimes, yes. I don’t like to manipulate anyone, especially if they’ve never been on camera or something, but — well, usually the decisions they’re making on camera are small, things they wouldn’t necessarily feel uncomfortable making so quickly. But sometimes I don’t know what they’re thinking.
AE: Broadly, what can we expect from this season?
MH: The drama has escalated. Throughout this process, you see that there’s a lot of emotion and anger. I feel betrayed and hurt, and those interactions are as vulnerable and as intimate as it would be without the cameras. It’s going to make for a good season, because it’s pretty raw.
AE: Your former castmate Chad Rogers caught a lot of flak for being obsessed with his looks. Josh Flagg garnered bad press for allegedly stealing artwork from clients. On Million Dollar Listing: New York, one of the cast members is a former porn actor. You’re a pretty low-key reality star. Is there any pressure to be a bigger personality on and off camera?
MHL: I mean, sometimes. I try not to get wrapped up in making up a personality that people want me to be because a lot if it is sensationalism. I’ve found for me that the best way to survive in this business and uphold my reputation and a real estate career is to make all decisions based on my intuition.