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Celebrity real estate agent Josh Flagg has the world by the string, with “Million Dollar Listing” being a big hit on Bravo TV, and his memoirs being published later this month.
Flagg will reveal that he is gay on Tuesday’s episode of “Million Dollar Listing,” which may shock many viewers because he has kept his personal life so private, and announce that he has a boyfriend. On Flagg's Facebook page, he lists their anniversary date as Oct. 24, 2007.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News asked Flagg about the hit reality-TV show, his love life and his plans for the future, and wondered why a 25-year-old hot shot Jewish boy was already writing his memoirs (“Million Dollar Agent”).
SDGLN: When did you know you were gay, and who was the first person you shared that news with?
Josh: Alright this is a really interesting question, which for straight people boggles them and for gay or bisexual people is always something that you kind of realize one day. For instance, you reflect on your life and as a child you do things that are atypical. In my instance, dressing up in preschool and playing with the girls. The other boys were playing football. And then over the years there are other things and then one day you just realize “Hey, I am not interested in girls like that.” And from there you just go with the flow. Some people figure it out earlier than others. I probably put 2 and 2 together when I was about 12 or 13.
SDGLN: Why did you wait until now to come out on “Million Dollar Listing”?
Josh: You know my sexuality does not define me, it is not who I am, but rather it is part of me, and I did not ever want people to think of me as "the gay real estate guy," I did not want that to be the only demographic that was watching me on TV or the only demographic to associate with me. I am very glad I did things the way I did because I feel I eased people into it and I made people comfortable with ME, and then kind of just dropped the fact that I like guys instead of girls. Many people knew, many had no idea.
SDGLN: Do you think being out and proud will make any difference in your real estate career? It surely won’t make much difference with Bravo TV fans!
Josh: Like I said, it is not what defines me, it is just one asset of a multifaceted life. So proud is probably the wrong word in my instance. I embrace it, I am extremely comfortable with it, and I am happy to let anyone know who asks me, but when I think of proud, it makes me think of marching down the street in a parade, which is fine for some, I guess, it is just not my thing. I think we all bleed the same color blood and we all have lots to be proud of – straight, gay, black, white, Jewish, Christian -- and everyone is really no different from the next person.
SDGLN: Two of the three stars of the show have come out. How will this affect your working situation with Madison Hildebrand, who beat you to the punch in coming out?
Josh: Madison did not beat me to the punch. Madison just decided to come out on national television before I did, but as far as I know, I was out to the people I wanted to be out to well before Madison was. At the rate we are going, we might have to change the title of the show to "Two Homos and the Straight Dude." How will it affect my situation with Madison? Well, I certainly don't think negatively. You know Madison chose to come out on TV and make a big to do about it, which I respect. I took a different approach, a more subtle approach, and I kind of like the way Bravo did it ... slowly revealing my life, because for the most part no one knows anything about my life other than what they can read on the Internet or what they see on the show with my family, but my private life was always kind of a mystery. I guess I liked that, though. Well anyway, cats out of the bag, ha ha.
SDGLN: What does the show’s straight guy, Josh Altman, think about all this? Is he supportive?
Josh: I guess it is really not up to him now is it, ha ha. He is a great guy and a good friend of mine and we have gotten closer since filming the show. We do some business together and we get along real well. I have nothing bad to say about Josh Altman whatsoever.
SDGLN: Will being openly gay change you into an activist for LGBT causes? Is so, what issues?
Josh: I have always supported LGBT causes and Jewish causes; those have been my two interests. Jews and gays!
SDGLN: Everybody admires your relationship with your amazing grandmother, Edith Flagg. How did she take the news? And the rest of your family?
Josh: She said, "What? You think you were the only one in the family who liked men ... Please! ... Your cousin Chaim used to wear lipstick when he was 12."
SDGLN: Your grandmother inspired you to write your first book as well as your latest book, and a recent episode illustrated the initial struggle you had to write your memoirs at the tender age of 25. Why should we buy your book, “Million Dollar Agent”?
Josh: Well after I wrote my grandmother’s biography, which if I may add, if you are a Bravo fan or a fan of my grandmother, is an amazing story or an amazing gift for someone, she inspired me to write my own memoirs. And I know that sounds weird because I am only 25, but, believe it or not, we had to take a bunch of stuff out to shorten it because I had too much to say. The book appeals to three different demographics, LGBT, real estate people and young people looking for guidance and inspiration. It is also a wonderful coming of age story that appeals to all audiences.
SDGLN: Will you discuss your sexual awakening in the book?
SDGLN: Do you think you have more writing to do?
Josh: This is just the beginning!
SDGLN: Who is your boyfriend and what does he do? Are you guys in love? Will he appear on the show eventually?
Josh: Colton is the constant in my life. We work very well together. He is a design associate for a very prominent international interior designer and he is very talented. We share many interests such as design and traveling the world. I do love him very much. We have a very unique, unconventional and different relationship, but it is what works for us and who is to say what is conventional?
SDGLN: Are you for marriage equality?
Josh: Absolutely. That's like asking a penguin if they like the snow. Ha ha.
SDGLN: How much of your life is reflected in the show? Do you have free time, or do cameras follow you 24/7?
Josh: Well, since my personal life is now part of the show, it opens a lot more things to the cameras that we could not reveal before, now my personal life is out there!
SDGLN: What is the biggest misconception the public has about you?
Josh: The biggest misconception people have about me is that people think I am a snob or that I am weird. Let me address both. Firstly I am not a snob, I am very particular and if you don't like it, then you don’t have to be my friend. If you need help, I will be there for you and that is the most important thing. I am not weird, maybe a tad eccentric, but not weird. I just like to do things my own way and everyone should be that way. I just like to do things a little more differently than other people, but what's wrong with that?
SDGLN: Will there be another season of “Million Dollar Listing,” or is this the final one?
Josh: I haven't the slightest idea, that's a question for Mr. Andy Cohen, but I will say, with the way ratings are going, everything looks very promising.
SDGLN: Do you harbor ambitions outside of real estate or reality TV? Is so, what might they be?
Josh: Whatever I continue to do with my life will have to do with media, books, public speaking, travel and lifestyle. Of course real estate as well. I think we can take my career to a different level, we just have to figure out where exactly we want to go with it, but I do think it will involve all of the above.
SDGLN: You’ve lived the charmed life, growing up in Beverly Hills, making it big in real estate at a very young age. How has the horrendous economy affected you’re comfortable and contented life?
Josh: Ever since I started making my own money I don’t think I lived over-extravagantly, and I was always smart with my money, so it really has not affected me. I am not one to go out and blow $150,000 on a stupid car or buy the latest watch which will be out of style the next year. I am very conservative in that manner. I have everything I want, I have always had everything I wanted, what else do I need?
SDGLN: Speaking of the economy, do you see any improvement in the real estate market in Los Angeles? Are you hopeful or pessimistic about the immediate future?
Josh: I am always positive, and not because I am delusional, I am positive because that is the direction I think we are going. I really believe we are moving upwards, not down. I think things have gotten a lot better.
SDGLN: On to more personal questions. What are your politics? Do you see President Obama getting re-elected or foresee a viable candidate emerging?
Josh: I really don't want to get into politics because this never goes over well, but in short, I think he is a lot better than the last president we had, but could he be doing a better job ... probably ... but then again, I don't know what it is like to run a county like the United States, so who am i to critique him ... well, I guess, aside from the fact that I am a taxpayer and I have the right to vote, but it must be a very difficult job.
SDGLN: What do you do for fun?
Josh: Travel, Every moment I have I take the opportunity to travel. I go to Europe once or twice a year (in the summer or winter) and then I like to visit Maui once a year, Colton’s favorite place. New York is multiple times a year as I have friends, business and lots on the East Coast. It is weird, some people think I live in New York because I will be a regular in a restaurant and the waiters don't know I don't even live there, but I am there so much they think I live down the block!
SDGLN: Do you have any San Diego memories, good or bad?
Josh: The Hotel Del Coronado! I have wonderful memories there, and I have wonderful memories of being the keynote speaker for the San Diego Board of Realtors; I was the host of their event last year. I love public speaking.
SDGLN: Who’s playing on your iPod?
Josh: Bob Sinclar, Journey, the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli.
SDGLN: You have had such an eclectic wardrobe this year! Is this your new style, or does someone dress you on the show?
Josh: I wear what I feel for the day, my wardrobe reflects my mood. I pick my own clothes.
SDGLN: If you could invite to dinner any three people who have ever lived on Earth, who would they be and why?
Josh: Bea Arthur, Lucille Ball and Linda Evans. I think the reasons are pretty self-explanatory.