Bravo’s Madison Hildebrand brings his empowerment message — and killer smile — to Dallas

4Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 12.33.29 PMSince he started appearing on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing six seasons ago, Madison Hildebrand has become one of SoCal’s most recognizable — and hottest — gay Realtors. Heck, we’d buy a condo from him even if it was in the Towering Inferno.

Hildebrand will be in North Texas Friday hosting a seminar to empower people to reach their successes. But we spent a few minutes asking Hildebrand about his career, the reality TV shows he likes and who inspires him.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Voice: What are the pros — and cons — of being a reality TV star?  Hildebrand: I feel very blessed to have been with Million Dollar Listing since the show started six years ago. My business has grown exponentially over those years, and although a lot of that can be equated to hard work, drive and strategy, I cannot deny that the exposure from the show is a key factor in my success. Being on TV, people feel like they know me, and that comfort level with my skillset can translate into leads and clients when they are looking for a Realtor.

In regards to liabilities, it can feel like an invasion of my personal life. Being on a reality show, you feel a certain level of vulnerability all day, everyday. Even when the cameras stop rolling, people recognize and stop me wherever I go. It can be fun and comes in handy when I need to get a ‘hard to get’ reservation but not so great when you want to have a secret date!

Are there moments you recall from the show where you felt it was edited to give the wrong impression about you?  Here’s the thing: Yes, the producers can edit the show, but they can’t invent content. If a person says something horrible or acts a certain way, they lived that. I think the show has done a very accurate job of capturing each of our personalities. That being said, after six seasons, there’s been plenty of times that I cringe at mannerisms I use. Also, there are times when things happen you don’t anticipate — like when Heather threw a drink on me — and you can’t control or calculate your response. There’s always that element of risk when filming a reality show.

What reality TV shows do you watch?  There was a moment when I watched way too much reality TV. Being in the Bravo family for so many years, I’ve grown to know and become friends with many of the other personalities on different shows, and so I felt inclined to watch everything on Bravo so I could see what was going on in their lives. I’m friends with Jeff and Jenni on Flipping Out — love their show. I’m also friends with Patti on Millionaire Matchmaker and even went on her show to be matched up! The final straw came when I found myself indulging in Love and Hip Hop on VH1. At that point, I got rid of my TV and knew it was time to get some new hobbies.

Which career do you prefer: Realtor, TV star or public speaker?  I love having a diverse career and keeping things interesting. I also have a book, a candle line, am a brand ambassador for eSignature giant DocuSign … and am always looking for the next project.

While each of these areas is intertwined, I am really loving producing these seminars. It’s been very rewarding to provide a platform to educate and inspire agents all across the country. At our last event in Houston, we had an agent stand up at the luncheon and confess that she had been on the brink of giving up on a career in real estate, and after attending the event, she felt inspired and energized to push through and build her business. Hearing that was the best part of the day.

Who inspires you?  I’m surrounded by inspirations — my family, mainly. My father worked tirelessly and strategically to reach the pinnacle of his industry.  Watching by example, he instilled a fierce work ethic in myself and my two brothers. And my grandparents, who are still wildly in love after so many years. I’m still searching for that, but know not to accept anything less.  I try to also find inspiration in my surroundings, making a home with beautiful things that inspire me and also making time to be outdoors and in nature. I’m really blessed to live in one of the most gorgeous and inspiring places in the world.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 25, 2014.