We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”
With its “Million Dollar Listing”-meets-“The Hills” landscape of drama between preternaturally beautifully people in Los Angeles, Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” has become one of this summer’s most talked-about TV series. And one cast member has emerged as the breakout star, which I’d argue is due in equal parts to her bold (to put it mildly) personality and corresponding look.
Barbie-like with her long, platinum-blonde hair, porcelain skin, full pout and model-like stature, Christine Quinn stands out even among a staff of women so conventionally attractive and put-together they could only exist on reality TV. She wears capital-F Fashion, whether it’s a rare Louis Vuitton bag, a Balenciaga logo-print dress or her endless collection of vertiginous Christian Louboutin heels. It all says: “Of course I’m going to host a ‘Burgers and Botox’-themed open house.”
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Throughout the show’s three seasons, there are multiple instances where Quinn struggles to sit down or descend a flight of stairs due to her less-than-practical outfits or derrière-passing hair extensions — all in the name of a lewk. Her dedication to fashion is admirable and, paired with her impish persona, perhaps even iconic? So, shortly after bingeing the entire third season of “Selling Sunset” (which solidified our love for the no-nonsense broker) in one day, we reached out to Quinn’s publicist for an interview, and she obliged.
We chatted from our respective, probably very differently-sized L.A. homes about her expensive taste, her years as a model (she’s even been shot for Vogue), whether she and her co-stars really walk around all day in those heels and her fashion career aspirations. Read on.
“Fashion is something that I’ve always been interested in. From a young age, I remember going to the grocery store and seeing all these magazines. I was just so obsessed from a very, very young age. My parents couldn’t afford clothes for me, so I would always have my sister’s clothes. They were just so crappy. I just remember trying to mix and match, and tie things, and sew things, and just do different things to make them better. I was constantly tinkering, and just trying to make outfits work.
“Then when I was able to afford even crappy clothes — at least some clothes — I would make it look like a million bucks somehow. I always had fun doing it. I feel like I could wear a Fashion Nova getup and a Balenciaga getup and no one would know the difference. I feel like it’s all about the way that you carry it, and how you present it and style it. Because sometimes you’d be shocked the outfits that I come up with.
“I remember this very vividly. I went to the Louis Vuitton store, and I wanted a purse. Remember the black-and-white Louis Vuitton? It was the black canvas, and then the ‘LV’ was all different colors, around the time of the graffiti collection. I went in and I bought it. I really couldn’t afford it at the time, but I bought it and I just wanted to have it for a few days. I went to go return it, and the guy’s like, ‘There’s water on the handle.’ I was like, ‘No, there’s not,’ because it had never left my room. He wouldn’t return the purse. I got stuck with that purse. That was my first purchase. I still have it to this day, and I love it.
“I just knew that I always loved clothes and fashion, and always wanted to be a model. I started doing runway modeling around 15. I was doing a lot of commercial campaigns, and J.C. Penney and Sears, stuff like that. Then worked up into more fashion stuff. I had a lot of designers who were interested in me, and I did a lot of great runway shows. I was actually in Vogue three times before 25, which was really cool. Then it progressed from there. I loved that, but I was like, ‘Okay, but I have a personality. I want to try acting.’ For me, it was just so much fun to be dressing up and trying different things on. Fashion was the only thing that made me feel a certain way. I was mainly modeling when I was in Texas, and then I did a little bit when I moved out to L.A. Then I transitioned to acting.
“I would say my personal style is very stripper chic. Like stripper chic dominatrix Barbie. Sometimes I like to wear black, and then sometimes I like to look like a Barbie. It just kind of depends.
“I feel like in real estate I was inclined to dress a certain way to please people. I was constantly buying blazers and one-piece dresses, and really tried to be taken seriously as a real estate agent. But I learned that it didn’t matter what I wore. People didn’t care. They wanted to work with me for who I was. Then I realized I didn’t really have to dress like that anymore, and I started being myself a little bit more. That’s when I was actually more successful, is when I was just dressing myself and being myself.
“For the show, obviously I dial it up, for sure. Fashion, not so much. The fashion’s always been there. The hair, obviously, I dialed up. Obviously my hair is not done like that every day. But I feel like I naturally always dress pretty over-the-top. It’s just, yeah, of course I know we’re on TV, and I definitely want to bring it. I feel like I do a really good job of doing that, because I do want to entertain people visually in so many different ways. That’s my way of expression, really. I love it.
“I do a lot of coordination [for viewings]. You’ll notice, even in the show, when we were at Davina’s house, I knew what it already looked like. I hadn’t seen the house inside, but I knew it was pink and girly. I knew it was soft. For me, I was wanting to bring a ‘Clueless’ moment to that scene. I try to coordinate things with what we’re doing as much as I can, just because I think it’s really fun when you can coordinate with your backdrop.
“I’m realizing I do wear my more expensive clothes when I’m at my better listings. I don’t know. That’s maybe something that I didn’t even notice I did. I think it just comes down to … You know the old saying, ‘Dress for the job you want to have?’ I feel like, really, it comes down to that. I was always dressing for the part I wanted to have.
“[For hair,] I just make it up as I go. I don’t really have a vision. I’m not like, ‘Hey, come over to my house. I want you to do a ponytail with chains.’ That’s not really how it works. My stylist will come over to my house and we’ll see how much time we have. Sometimes I’m running late, so my styles can’t be as ornate and detailed. I go with a feeling. Sometimes I want my hair up, sometimes I want my hair down. It takes, I would say, a minimum hour to do my hair, unless I’m doing really extravagant looks. That can take around two hours.
“I always use clip-ins, which I love to play with. You can just do different lengths with your hair, and I love that. A lot of the fun stuff that I use in the show, like the hair stuff, was actually from craft stores. The butterflies are from craft stores. A lot of the diamonds and the chains. I just go to Michael’s and pick out fun things that I think would work. It’s not meant for hair, but whatever.
“I’m always flattered when I’m asked [if I work with a fashion stylist]. It’s all me. What I do is, I’ll figure out what we’re shooting over the next week, and I’ll pull for that week. I’ll go through my closet and I’ll figure out looks. If I notice that we’re filming in a certain environment or doing something special, I’ll go out shopping and I’ll find certain pieces. I’m basically my own stylist. Then I’ll return those pieces or I’ll keep them. It just depends. I work with a lot of high-end [brands] like Balenciaga and Gucci. Obviously I’ll keep stuff like that, but then some pieces I’ll get from Intermix, and I’ll return those. I only wear something once, so I do my best to be able to return it.
“I’ll pull for the week. We shoot Monday through Friday, and then over the weekend I would be returning stuff, or keeping stuff, moving it in my closet and arranging it. But during the week I’d always be shopping online, looking for, what just came out? What’s new? I would be on Women’s Wear Daily, like, ‘Okay, what’s the newest thing?’ I was constantly looking for things while we were filming the show. There’s so many looks that you don’t even see in the show, because we filmed so much. So, so, so, so much. A lot of it gets edited out. When I watch it back, I’m like, ‘Damn it.’
“It was really easy if I found sets that were coordinated. Because I’m like, ‘Okay. If I can find a set, that cuts out 50% of my work.’ I was definitely looking for sets just because it was a little easier on me. It just so happened that I had a few really great Off-White pieces this season, so I was wanting to play up the lime green and match the Off-White details. It was kind of an accident, but people really liked it, for some reason.
“My favorite places to shop… I do everything online. Everything. When I didn’t have a lot of money, I used to shop on Revolve. I loved Revolve. I think it’s such a great place of curated, affordable brands. Then when I moved up a little bit more on price point, I was on Intermix. I think Intermix is great. They have really, really good brands. Then from there, I started working with Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior. For that, I don’t really go into the store too often, but I love to shop online. Those are my favorites.
“I love Louis Vuitton. It’s probably my favorite. I think everything that Virgil [Abloh]’s done recently has just been so cool. I wear a lot of the men’s collection, actually, in my everyday life. I love it. I wear a lot of track suits, sweatpants and shirts.
“During quarantine, I got a lot of pajamas. I called my representative at Gucci and I got all these really cool, great silk pajamas. Louis Vuitton, I just got a bunch of sweat looks. I’ve been wearing track suits, sweats and T-shirts, stuff like that a lot. I haven’t really been fancy at all, or dressing up at all.
“My representative at Louis Vuitton works for the top 1% of Louis Vuitton. I think it’s really, really cool, because I’ve made it into that bracket. I get everything first. Do you know the Virgil cloud collection? I got it like a month ago. It’s really, really cool because I just get all this really fun stuff early. I love that I have access to it, whereas before it was so hard. I didn’t understand how the process worked. It’s such an interesting thing. I thought people just released things in stores. I didn’t realize that clients get to pick certain things first. Then when it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s interesting to see that dynamic and how all that works, because this is new for me.
“[My husband, Christian Richard] loves my style. He thinks my shopping habits are a bit egregious, but it’s all right. He has a little, little, little portion of our closet, because he kind of wears the same stuff. He has a little, just, eighth of our closet. I also have one of the guest bedrooms, too — I’m going to convert it into a closet, just because we’re running out of space. He doesn’t care about fashion or anything at all.
“I’m really into exotics. Louis Vuitton had an exotics collection in Paris. All the purses there are $50,000 minimum. I got one of those for my birthday. It was an emerald green steamer, and it was probably around 50 [thousand]. For me, it’s just, exotics are just so easy to spend money, and I have a problem, because I just love the exotics.
“I remember growing up like, ‘Oh, my God, Christian Louboutins.’ I could never have them. It wasn’t until I was like, 25 that I got my first pair. From then it just became an obsession. It just really makes me feel powerful. I feel so confident. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s really just a feeling. Obviously, every day for walking around properties and stuff like that, we’re not wearing Louboutins like that. But, for the show, I do like to bring it. I try to be in flats as much as possible. Or if I’m at open houses, I’ll just bring my shoes with me and a pair of flats as well. Because, yeah, we can’t walk in those all day long. No way. They’re so uncomfortable. I never have them on for extended periods of time, ever.
“I do [want to pursue fashion more]. I’ve thought about this before, and I’m really bummed that Covid’s going on right now, because I wanted to be at fashion week. I always thought about starting my own line. I thought that would be really fun to do. It’s something that I teetered with. Maybe I will someday, because I love it. I feel like there’s good stuff out there, but there’s not great stuff out there. There could be great stuff out there.”