Heather Bilyeu, 30, grew up in the real estate business, watching her father build custom homes in Las Vegas. She came to Los Angeles to make her own mark and decided to focus on high-end properties.
“It takes just as much work to show a $200,000 home as it does a $2 million home,” she said.
Four years ago, she applied for – and got – an assistant position to one of the Beverly Hills brokers featured on Bravo’s reality show “Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles.” She thought it would be a great way to boost her profile and get some contacts. Little did she know the show would do wonders for her love life.
After her first season, Josh Altman, a real estate agent with high-end firm Douglas Elliman, came on the show.
“It was love at first sight,” Bilyeu said.
The two had their first date on camera. Bilyeu joined Douglas Elliman and the pair started working deals together.
As they were both in high-profile positions and because pivotal moments in their relationship were recorded, they took their relationship slow at first. Eventually, they did get engaged.
Now, as the show enters another season, Bilyeu is working on camera at Altman’s side.
“No one expected this, nor could anyone write a better story for any unscripted show,” she said.
As for her decision to go on the show, the once camera-shy Bilyeu said it has paid huge dividends, indeed.
“It’s pushed me out of my shell and it has been great for my career – and for my love life,” she said.
Facing the Music
Speaking of moving to Los Angeles to start a career, Mike Monsalve did so when he was 19. But he had a much rockier start.
Monsalve moved from Santa Cruz with big hopes of becoming a professional musician. He and a buddy had started a band called the Force, and he said they came close to getting a record contract.
But when that didn’t pan out, his friend’s father stopped paying their rent and soon Monsalve had nowhere to go.
“It was all over,” said Monsalve, now 52. “I didn’t have anybody.”
He wound up living out of the back of a pickup truck in Hollywood for six months. One night, while parked in a residential area, someone called the cops.
“The police banged on the camper shell and told me to come out,” said Monsalve. “They had their guns drawn.”
Monsalve gave up his dream of playing music for a living about that time. But he got a job at a music store in Sherman Oaks and learned he had a knack for selling equipment.
“That’s when I started to excel,” he said.
He soon started the store’s wholesale division, which he later turned into Pro Audio Land, the company he runs today in Torrance.
Staff reporters Howard Fine and Omar Shamout contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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