The Million Dollar Man


By Gregory Miller

Even with rumors of a recovery on its way, for now, the economy still sucks. If you're like most Americans, that means buying a new home -- much less a multimillion dollar estate -- is the last thing on your mind. But that's not going to stop Madison Hildebrand, along with two other young, hip, dashing real estate agents, from finding any way possible to flaunt what they've got on Bravo's hit show Million Dollar Listing.

We sat down with the show's bisexual star to talk about the floundering economy, his stint as a Playgirl cover boy, and what he thinks of Flipping Out's Jeff Lewis.

Out: So how has the current economic crap-fest affected the show?
Madison Hildebrand: I mean, it's affected our personalities, our stress levels, and what our clients are going through -- even in the high end. You know, for me personally, it's a season that has a lot more intensity and pressure and stress because of the economic crisis. And because we taped for so long, you kind of see the transition of the whole market coming down from when we initially started taping, and then coming to a recovery by the end of the ninth episode. Because that's what's really happening. So it still reflects what's going on. It's true, it's just a lot more intense. It's not as easy.

How long did you tape for?
It will be about a total of 10 months.

Oh, wow. That's a lot of taping.
[Laughs] I get to know my crew really well.

Do you think that viewers will be turned off knowing that the properties are even more unattainable now?
No, I don't think so at all. I think that the way the show portrays what the sellers and buyers are going through -- mainly the sellers -- and watching the amount of stress with the decisions that they have to make -- I think a lot of people are going to relate to that, and be really relieved to see even people on the high end going through the difficulties that people in the rest of the country -- who don't have $4 million homes -- are experiencing. You know, even in the high end, this economy affected everyone. So I think everyone's going to relate to it.

I'm sure you knew we'd bring this up: What made you decide to do Playgirl?
[Laughs] Actually my last interview didn't bring that up, and for some reason, I thought this was just going to sizzle away! I thought about it, and I just asked my mom, and she was like, 'You can't be serious.' I said, 'You know what? I'm not taking my clothes off, I get a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something like that, and a little controversy is always healthy.' So I just went for it. It gives people something to talk about if they want to!

Does it get brought up on dates?
Um, sometimes. It's random when it comes up, or who sees or knows about it. I've actually met two other Playgirl cover boys in Malibu, which was a really funny experience.

How did that go down?
I went into a little Thai restaurant here on the beach and I saw a group of my friends, so I went over and said hello. And then I recognized this guy, and I was like, where is that person from? And one of my friends makes the connection and goes, 'Oh, this is' He's on Playgirl!' We started laughing so hard.