Why Actress Samantha Mathis Is Now Also a Real Estate Agent: 'You Can Age and Still Be Valued' (Exclusive)

The '90s star, who made a "pandemic decision" to obtain her real estate license and recently joined the real estate team at Corcoran in New York, opens up about loving her second career

<p>Courtesy of Samantha Mathis</p> Actress Samantha Mathis, at 54, recently became a high end real-estate agent

Courtesy of Samantha Mathis

Actress Samantha Mathis, at 54, recently became a high end real-estate agent

Four years ago, actress Samantha Mathis, who rose to fame in the '90s starring in films like Pump Up the Volume and Super Mario Bros., was, like all actors, suddenly out of work after the pandemic forced the shut down of all TV and film productions.

"We didn't know what was going to happen," she tells PEOPLE of the industry.

At that exact same time she and her sister had closed on a house in New York's Hudson Valley, so she moved to upstate New York, and did what a ton of people did during that time — discovered a side hustle.

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Mathis says her real estate agent, who was also a friend, told her, "'You would be a natural at this. You love architecture, you love homes, you love upstate, you're great with people.' "

"At first I thought she was crazy," Mathis says. "I think a lot of us actors, we suffer from this thing where it's like, 'Oh but I don't know how to do anything else but act.' "

But the more she thought about it, the more she was drawn to the idea. "I've always been obsessed with real-estate porn," she jokes.

Related: Actress Samantha Mathis Shares Her Real-Life 'Rear Window' Story: 'We Thought a Guy Was Dead'

"And my friend kept encouraging me to pursue it. So I went and took classes and got my license. It sort of organically started happening for me. I put the word out on social media that I was doing it, and a friend told a friend, and suddenly I had a bunch of clients." She adds, "It was definitely a pandemic decision!"

It turned out to be the perfect fit. "I love being an advocate for people and helping them find their dream home," she says. "What could be more exciting? It's one of the biggest decisions one can make in their life, and it's tied up with so many hopes. When someone finds someplace that they feel like they can build their future, it's really moving."

Related: Elizabeth Olsen Reveals She Has Real Her Estate License, Plus More Celebrities Who Are Agents

Of course, the schedule has also been a perfect fit with her acting career, which picked up again once productions did too. (She recently starred in Billions, and this fall she'll be in a new show off-Broadway.)

"I can be my on boss and work as many hours as I want to," she says. "And I have a partner upstate, so if I get an acting job, I can say yes to it."

On March 26, Mathis announced on Instagram that she'd joined the luxury real estate team Corcoran in Manhattan. She says real estate in the city is a different beast than upstate, but it's been incredibly exciting. "I'm learning a ton," she says, noting that she's also seen some incredible properties.

But she says there's another amazing aspect to having a career in real estate: It's kind to women.

"As a woman and an actress, getting older has its challenges," she says. "But as a woman in real estate? You're valued. You can age. I was mentored by a woman. I have a mentor now who's a woman. We're really supportive of each other in the real estate business."

She adds, "A friend of mine's mother became and agent at 60 and worked until she was 85. My agent in Los Angeles didn't get into real estate until she was 50, and she's 80 and still working. So it's nice to know I can age and work. That's not always the case in show business."

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