Million Dollar Listing Miami's Chris Leavitt: "My Guilty Pleasure Is Leaving Miami"
Bravo Media/Alex Martinez
Reality TV cast members tend to have -- how to put this nicely? -- outgoing personalities. But it takes a special kind of exhibitionist to bare your ass on national television. Bonus points for doing so in the first five minutes of your new TV series' first episode.
Chris Leavitt is that guy.
Leavitt is one of three Miami real estate agents starring in Million Dollar Listing Miami, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Bravo. He's also the guy who holds the record for the most expensive apartment sold in Florida's history at $34 million -- and its building hasn't even reached completion yet. Leavitt has resided in Miami for just five years and already, in addition to his resume of impressive, expensive deals, is an all-knowing being when it comes to spas, able to tell you where to get the best deep tissue massage from the Gables to Palm Beach. He talked to us about Miami versus the northeast, Manhattan transplants to Miami, and how he prepped his butt for its on-screen debut.
New Times: What should we be expecting this season?
Chris Leavitt: Lots of deals, lots of fun. Lots of positive drama and a new cast member that I don't think has been seen yet.
You've been in the real estate business for over 20 years. How have you seen the Miami market change?
When I first came down to Miami it was coming out of the dip, in 2009. It's just gone in a straight arrow up. The prices just keep getting higher and higher and higher. We're reaching New York City price levels on many buildings. I've watched Miami become a world-class city, from a vacation destination to a world-class city.
Do you feel like you had a part in this?
I definitely feel I had a part in it. I think that that deal I did for $34 million, basically $3,800 per square foot, set a new record for the Miami market and set the bar a lot higher and created a new market for high-end luxury.
So where is the next wave of Miami immigrants coming from?
If you look at the transactions that have occurred over the past year, the major major sales have all been to New Yorkers... Major major wealth coming down from Manhattan.
You mention in the first episode that you'll "never lose your Northeast class." Is Miami not classy enough for you?
Oh lord. I'm prep school. I come from a town in Massachussetts, north of Boston. A very preppy, conservative, snooty town. What I mean is that I have a certain way about me, I guess, that is a little bit Northeast.
Your butt is in the first five minutes of the first episode. How do you keep it so tight?
Does it look tight? I haven't seen it.
Oh, it does.
Good. I do JetSet Pilates. It's South of Fifth. And I do Bikram yoga as well.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Leaving Miami, driving to Palm Beach and spending the day at the spa. Palm Beach is like my haven. It's the place where I go when I have the time to just unwind, hide, go into a cocoon state. I'm talking Palm Beach island. I have a house on the island. It's sort of like living in Greenwich and living in Manhattan.
Describe this season in a hashtag.
#OneOfAKind. I feel very different from all the cast members on every show. A lot of people will say, "Is that acting or is it real?" It's actually real.
Send your story tips to Cultist at email@example.com.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Miami and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.