‘Selling the Hamptons’: How Surfer-Turned Real Estate Savant Dylan Eckardt Became Reality TV’s Most Obnoxious Villain

Reality show stars are known to turn up the crazy for the cameras. In the case of “Selling the Hamptons,” Dylan Eckardt may have turned it down.

On the hit Max series, the über-Realtor — whose clients include everyone from Kanye West to Justin Bieber — comes off like the most immodest (and watchable) villain since “Beauty and the Beast”’s Gaston. Off-camera, sitting at a conference table in his Beverly Hills office, Eckardt offers an even more heightened version of what you’ve seen on-screen.

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“People wanted me to be a fisherman. Or a bartender with four kids and a fat fucking wife,” he tells me of his blue-collar upbringing in what has become Long Island’s billionaire enclave. “And now I’m driving a bulletproof G-Wagen.” (The Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63 starts at $295,000.) Although a publicist hovers nearby, he whispers, “There’s no PR guys telling me what to say.” Obviously.

When “Selling the Hamptons” Season 2 debuted on Max on March 1, 10 million watched it in the first week, Eckardt claims. (That number couldn’t be corroborated by Nielsen, and Max declined to comment.) From the moment Eckardt, the self-proclaimed prince of Montauk, makes his surprise entrance midway through the first episode, the barometric pressure drops. “The most obnoxious human being in the world,” a fellow cast member notes; another dubs him “unhinged.” His ability to charm his co-workers only goes down from there. Still, there’s no arguing with his success. Last year, Eckardt closed $253 million in deals. And his Hollywood roster, which includes Rihanna and Post Malone, continues to swell amid a surging luxury market.

It’s hard to square any degree of achievement with the heavily tattooed man in sneakers and a baseball hat that reads “Fuck” who sits in front of me. But his colleagues at the Canon Drive outpost of Nest Seekers, the upscale real estate firm featured in “Selling the Hamptons,” firmly believe Eckardt is a savant, one who can assess the right listing price of a luxury home while blindfolded and vibe with eccentric A-listers who are wary of the Louboutin-wearing “Selling Sunset” types. “My dad’s a fisherman. My mom had a restaurant here,” says the pro surfer turned real estate agent. “I bridge the gap between the locals and the rich people.”

Especially those who’ve had brushes with the law. Eckardt was fired by Nest Seekers after a 2016 DWI. He returned a year later. “I got a DUI. I wasn’t drunk,” he says. “But I had to realize that there’s a difference between being cool and being a role model.”

And as he tells it, Eckardt helped make the realty profession more female-friendly.

“Women’s lib in real estate before me, it was Capri cigarettes, housewives and white wine spritzers — I came in and I gave heart to this,” he says.

“Selling the Hamptons” castmate Peggy Zabakolas first met Eckardt about seven years ago and notes he’s changed very little since then. In a good way. “Dylan and I work very differently. But it works for him, and he attracts a certain type of clientele that I don’t necessarily attract,” she says. “I’m also an attorney, so I’m more by the rules. He’s out-of-the-box … eccentric or unconventional. A hustler. Entertaining. And he gets the job done.”

These days, Eckardt is mostly based in Beverly Hills and specializes in off-market listings. He is also selling in Dubai, South Florida and even Israel. Eckardt also is mulling the prospect of another season. “Selling the Hamptons” has already spawned a spinoff, Discovery+’s “Serving the Hamptons,” which follows the staff at a Hamptons restaurant.

Eckardt says he’s been offered his own solo series, but doesn’t think reality fame translates into more sales.

“I didn’t want to do this stupid show,” he explains. “I did it because my ex-wife was an actress. She wanted to be on TV with the kids. But all of this comes at what cost? Like, I don’t know. This did not help my business.”

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