Defining Homes • How Swede it is

Gay agent Fredrik Eklund is a shark above the rest in Bravo’s new ‘Million Dollar Listing: New York’

By Rich Lopez

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With European charm and no-holds-barred ambition, Eklund swoops in on competitors’ clients and cleverly negotiates the right price for his own in the cutthroat market of New York City.

Turning its eye to the high-rise luxury space of the Big Apple, the Bravo network premieres its latest entry into reality programming with Million Dollar Listing: New York. Three hungry young agents navigate through myriad clients looking to unload jaw-dropping apartments with three floors, major closet space and automatic toilets, and buyers willing to throw down millions for them.

But Fredrik Eklund might just be the show’s breakout star with his good looks, major ambition and a slightly checkered past he has no shame about. Really, he’s a softie at heart with fond nostalgia for the TV show Dallas.

“I was so obsessed with that show when I was growing up in Sweden,” he laughs (and hums the theme music). “But I’ve never worn a cowboy hat. Do they wear those in Dallas?”

He talks with a sincere and almost childlike interest, but he’s anything but when it comes to competing in the intense market of New York City. In MDL: NY, he’s one of three young bucks with one thing on their minds: closing the deal. And Eklund is quick to boast his billion dollars in sales to impress potential clients and make his mark.

“You just have to work harder at [real estate]. Even after eight years of doing this, I am still obsessive about it. I eat and breathe it,” he says.

We see his handiwork when he slyly negotiates offers to his clients’ advantage and will even take a cut in his commission to get it done.

But with commissions running in to the tens of thousands of dollars, he’s hardly missing out. While the money is nice, Eklund says this isn’t what drives him to be the best.

“This fits my brain really well and there’s always something new,” he says. “The number one thing I want to put my mark on is new developments here in New York. Any agent can put up a website and wait for the phone to ring, but with new buildings, I can create a brand for that. That is something I’m very proud of for the future.”

On paper, Eklund has had a privileged life. A successful father provided a blueprint for the success he wanted and ultimately achieved. He studied economics in Stockholm, owned an Internet company by the age of 23, he managed a cadre of music producers to churn out Billboard charting songs in Singapore and Latin America.

Now, at 34, he’s the youngest managing director for Prudential Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company on the East Coast. Even with his golden career in his hands, the decision to add the show into a busy life was only a positive one — as well as advantageous.

“I knew it was going to be a lot of fun and I have some vanity, but to go so deep into your own life, it does become comical,” he laughs. “But the more serious answer is the international outreach is so important. Everyone wants to own something in New York and so the power of TV is unparalleled. For me, this is an opportunity to showcase my business.”

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The new kids on the Bravo block include, left to right, Ryan Serhant, Michael Lorber and Eklund.

A priceless moment in the pilot comes out of nowhere when cast mate Ryan Serhant outs Eklund’s work in gay porn to a client over lunch.

Without batting an eye, Eklund owns it and swoops in on Serhant’s guest to deliver his card. Eklund is an open book without faulting any past decisions or experiences.

“I’ve always been open about it, but it has never affected my business,” he says. “When people hear me talk about it, I hope they can see in my eyes that it’s nothing. It was a short period of my life, but it’s helped make me who I am and I’m proud of who I am.”

Fortunately for local Realtors, he doesn’t have his sights set on conquering Dallas anytime soon, but if he did …

“I would do what I did in New York and walk around open houses, scan all the top brokers,” he says. “I used to pretend to be a buyer to note who the big brokers are. Every top broker has something that makes you want to really work with that person.”

But his plans right now only include taking over New York, celebrating his engagement to his partner he met during the season and making time to enjoy his whole new life in front of the camera.

“The world s very big and our lives are pretty short. Before we know it, it’s over,” he says. “I want to do so many things and even though I’m calmer about things, I still have that urge.”

Million Dollar Listing: New York premieres March 7 on Bravo. For more information, visit BravoTV.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Yahoo News confirms disproportionate drop in gay vote support for Dems

First the article poo-poo’d the drop in gay support, then the researcher realized the drop was significant, and worse than any other groups.  This backs up the data I posted last night.

Exit polling commissioned by the major cable news networks has found that 31 percent of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual voted for Republicans on Election Day. That represents a big uptick from the 24 percent of gays who voted for the GOP in 2006 and from only 19 percent who did so in 2008. The trend appears to bear out pre-Election Day predictions from gay rights organizers that gay voters were angry and disenchanted with Democrats for not delivering on promises to the community.

UPDATE: After reviewing the full data, Sherrill says there was a disproportionate drop in Democratic support among LGB voters compared to Hispanic, black, and young voters. Though the sample size is still very small and thus there’s a large margin of error, Sherrill now says the drop may be attributed to “dissatisfaction with the pace of change on LGB rights over the past two years.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Tom Sime’s ‘Bloodletters’ staged reading at Pocket

Staged reading delivers horrors and laughs

Blood is thicker than water in more ways than one in Bloodletters. Former DMN critic turned playwright Tom Sime combines horror and comedy when suspense author Grace brings her inspiration too close to home. With her dysfunctional family as inspiration, her story begins to parallel that of those closest to her — and that’s not good. But is it coincidence or is she making it happen?

A staged reading won’t make it any less scary. Or fun.

DEETS: Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 119. 7:15 p.m. Free. RSVP to LoneStarStudios@yahoo.com.

—  Rich Lopez

American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin at suicide prevention benefit at Best Friends

Nikki McKibbin, the North Texan who finished third in the debut season of American Idol, will be the featured guest at “Strides for Shauna,” a show and date auction set for Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8:30 p.m. at Best Friends, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., in Fort Worth.

This second annual show, held in memory of Shauna Greaham who died Oct. 13, 2008 of suicide, will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In addition to the show and the date auctions, the event will include a 50/50 raffle.

Anybody interested in being auctioned off as a date can e-mail Casey Cohea at pinkertc15@yahoo.com or Kinita Albertson at kinita.albertson@gmail.com.

Wacth the Oct. 15 issue of Dallas Voice for more information about the show and about Shauna.

If you can’t attend but would still like to donate to the cause, go to OutOfTheDarkness.org, team name Strides for Shauna.

—  admin

Rewards for info on Lisa Stone’s disappearance

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the disappearance of Lisa Stone, a lesbian from Dallas who’s been missing since early June. To submit a tip to Crime Stoppers, call 877-373-8477 or go here.

In addition, Stone’s longtime friend Tina Wiley says a separate $5,000 reward is being offered by an anonymous source for info leading to Stone’s safe return, as well as the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for her disappearance. For information about the second reward, e-mail lookingforlisastone@yahoo.com.

About 75 people reportedly attended another vigil Aug. 6 outside the northeast Dallas home Stone shared with her partner. Relying heavily on Facebook, Stone’s friends have done a remarkable job of keeping her disappearance in the news, as the Dallas Observer, White Rock Lake Weekly and Mesquite News all reported on the vigil.

Above is a video featuring scenes from vigils outside Stone’s home. The video, posted by Wiley, is fittingly set in part to the Williams Brothers’ “Can’t Cry Hard Enough,” which was featured in “Brokeback Mountain.”

With police reporting no new information in the case, the outlook of Stone’s friends is perhaps best summed up by Tammye Markle in the White Rock Lake Weekly: “Our first hope and prayer is that Lisa will come back to us. However, it has been two months and the reality is that the chances of that happening are slim.”

—  John Wright