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By Jerome Stuart Nichols
“Sexy” is probably the best word to describe Madison Hildebrand, star of “Bravo’s Million Dollar Listings: Los Angeles” and real-life realtor. Landing over 120 million dollars in sales in six years is pretty sexy. Sitting pretty on the cover of Playgirl wearing just monochrome briefs and a smile is even more so.
On Sept. 15, he’ll be setting another landmark in sexy as the special celebrity guest at the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and Michigan AIDS Coalition fundraiser, Dining by Design.
Even in the best economy, finding success in real estate is difficult. Pulling off a rocket ride of success in the luxury market of Malibu in an economy that, at the time, was firmly in the danger zone, is nearly impossible.
Despite this success, Hildebrand has managed to stay humble. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t proud of the nine-digit, and growing, sales figure.
“That was a few years ago. So, (the number has) climbed a lot, especially this year. It’s been a really busy year, which is great,” he says.
This year has been busy in more ways than one. Last year’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” date never got a second. His date with “Eating Out: Drama Camp” star Chris Salvatore didn’t work out either. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t still trying.
“I’m dating right now, which is fun,” he says, with a chuckle. “It’s kind of funny: (‘Millionaire Matchmaker’ producer) Patti Stanger actually texted me last night; she’s still hooking me up. It’s a lot harder to date when you’re on reality TV.”
Overall he might be flying high, but Hildebrand recognizes the importance of having a backup plan. In fact, he’s pretty sure he knows what he would do if he had to change careers.
“I would dance,” he said, jokingly.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be cast in “Step Up” any time soon. So, for the time being, he’s enjoying his life in front of the cameras.
“The most exciting part is that my life is documented on video. So, when I have kids or a family, even my dog’s memorial service is on there,” he says.
Although he seems acutely aware of his success, in many ways, it hasn’t yet set in for the 31-year-old openly gay professional and reality TV star.
“I don’t think it has (set in). I feel like there’s always a new challenge and more to grow and learn every day. So, I’m kind of chasing the carrot every day. I feel successful ’cause I’m happy and balanced. But I still feel like there’s always more to do in life.”
He may be busy chasing metaphorical root vegetables between closing sales of multi-million dollar homes but he’s not too busy to enjoy other, slightly smaller, wins. With over 100,000 followers on Twitter, Hildebrand is firmly in the lead against his “Listings” castmates, Josh Flagg and Josh Altman.
What does Hildebrand have that many others don’t? By most accounts, it’s Hildebrand’s friendly charm and B.A. in advertising from Pepperdine University that have been the keys to his success. That might be true, but it’s his allergy to clothing, beach-ready body and killer smile that has caused fans to swoon and helped him standout from the Bravo reality TV crowd.
In 2008, just two years after starting on “Listings,” he was casually lounging and nursing his clothing allergy on the cover of Playgirl. In his “Risky Business”-themed spread entitled “Frisky Business,” Hildebrand strips down to just a towel and a few beads of sweat. He even dons the iconic bright-white socks, dress shirt and tighty whities, naturally.
“That was a fun opportunity that came my way,” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, when do you get asked to do the cover of Playgirl? Why not?’ I’ve always kind of been a rebel. I might look coiffed but I am a rebel, in all ways. I get myself into so many random activities and shooting for Playgirl happened to be one of them.”
Most recently, he can be seen in a Speedo in Bravo’s “Summer by Bravo” promo. But, in the third season of “Listings,” we find him frolicking shirtless and gaily with another similarly tan and fit gentleman by the pool at sunset. It can be frustrating at times but his clothing allergy isn’t all bad.
In the episode prior, he was also lounging, shirtless, in a pile of equally shirtless men. This time, his affliction helped to promote the NOH8 campaign. Having come out of the closet on the same episode, the statement was apropos. NOH8 is just one of his many charitable and philanthropic efforts.
Although publicly closeted at the start of his career, Hildebrand has become a LGBT spokesperson within the community. In June he served as the celebrity grand marshal in the 2012 Houston LGBT Pride Parade. He has volunteered his time in an emergency room, with GLAAD and has hosted several charitable events.
September’s Dining by Design is up next. The fundraiser is being thrown by DIFFA to benefit the Michigan AIDS Coalition. The two-part event will feature a cocktail party on Sept. 13 and a gala dinner on Sept. 15, which Hildebrand will attend.
For each event, artists create art installations that serve as seating for guests. Aside from some seating requirements, artists have complete creative control over their creations. So, the pieces can range from avant-garde to “oh my god,” which is part of the fun.
Although unlikely to be shirtless during the festivities, Hildebrand still will be channeling his powers of persuasion for a good cause. “I’m excited to be a part of what looks like an esteemed group of people and an organization that has a good purpose.”