Model and realtor Trish Goff tells Oribe, the celebrity hairstylist, how she began working in real estate and has never looked back.
After gracing the covers and pages of Vogue around the world, Trish Goff made the decision to turn away from the spotlight and forge a new career in real estate. Only a few years after completing an accelerated real estate program at NYU, Trish has now helped some of the biggest names in fashion find new homes in New York City. She tells Oribe, a longtime friend who has styled Trish’s hair “a million times,” the story of how she went from posing for the camera to buying luxury property.
ORIBE—You were the first “cool” girl. You had spectacular hair and took a risk by cutting it. Do you feel that being a risk taker helped you go into another field?
TRISH GOFF—I definitely chose competitive careers. It’s funny—you thought I was cool. I didn’t think I was cool at all. Everyone else was cool!
ORIBE—That’s what a cool girl is: one who doesn’t believe it. That kind of insecurity made you super cool.
TRISH—It reminds me of getting into real estate: when you start, you’re taking a risk. I came from a world where you are the brand. It’s not doing paperwork, understanding a marketplace, or the applications and systems of the corporate world. It was all new. I learned I didn’t have to know everything, but had to be willing to try to find out.
ORIBE—Describe your first years at Douglas Elliman [Real Estate].
TRISH—Douglas Elliman allow you to be yourself and create your own brand within their their infrastructure. I needed that support, and worked in the most boutique of all the offices, which fit me. I hadn’t finished training and already had a rental client and a sale listing. [Laughs] I remember leaving class to go to my manager, and say, “What do I do?”
ORIBE—Was this is because you were a supermodel?
“I am able to connect with people very quickly without making them feel like I’m prying into their private lives. And for real estate, that’s perfect. For fashion it was great too.”
TRISH—It’s a combination of a few things: it was an obvious passion for real estate; even though I was new at being a real estate agent, I had bought and sold many places: a townhouse, a coop, a condo. I’ve rented places. I had gone through all of those things multiple times, so I knew I liked to be the customer.
ORIBE—And the first year you were quite successful, right?
TRISH—I was the highest earning new agent at Douglas Elliman.
ORIBE—That’s incredible. So now you must be the cool girl?
TRISH—I don’t know. A lot of people in real estate didn’t understand what I was looking for. I’d give specifications and then go see a place. “This has nothing of what I’ve asked you for. Did you hear me?” That’s where there’s a huge gap. It’s not a matter of being cool, it’s a matter of listening to people. It’s what you said from the beginning: you’re not trying to be cool, it’s just being who you are. If you’re trying, you’re not very cool [Laughs].
ORIBE—Was it hard to give up big paying modeling jobs for another career?
TRISH—It wasn’t, because I was getting so much money doing real estate—it was comparable. Being a model, your days are numbered. With modeling maybe you have a good money job once or twice a month. I like to work, and there is no guarantee! With real estate, the investment has longevity. There is a lot less risk—hopefully we don’t have a crisis again, but even then, it would bounce back.
ORIBE—You’re a beautiful woman with wisdom. Do you feel having a very strong mother who wanted the best for you and your siblings influenced your drive?
TRISH—My mother is definitely a figure to reckon with. We moved a lot and were constantly in a new school, but no matter what happened we had to have straight A’s—it didn’t matter. She worked nights, and we looked after ourselves. She would demand our chores be done when she came home. If we hadn’t finished our chores, she’d wake us up and we’d have to do them then. “Get up and vacuum the floor, right now! Then you will not be lazy—I will never settle for that.”
ORIBE—She must be so proud of you! You went to a lot of schools and got to know people quickly. Does that help you sell real estate?
TRISH—I am able to connect with people very quickly without making them feel like I’m prying into their private lives. And for real estate, that’s perfect. For fashion it was great too. That’s where those two worlds are parallel; at a shoot you’re not going to spend every day together, but you spend a very concentrated amount of time with these people.
ORIBE—What I usually do to real estate agents is say, “I want something glamorous.” When someone says something like that, what comes to mind?
TRISH—I would think you want something fabulous—you want to walk in and have a wow factor. It’s the agent’s job to find out what that is.
“I was the highest earning new agent at Douglas Elliman.”
ORIBE—Now, I’ve done your hair a million times, and I learn so much speaking to you. You are very discreet—you were discreet as a model.
TRISH—In my job it is vital. I’m not a gossip, I have never been that way. I don’t even know who half of the famous people in the world are, actually probably 80 percent [Laughs]! Discretion is so important, and a lot of times my clients know each other. It’s fine if they want to tell each other what their situation is, but it’s not for me to say.
ORIBE—Where do you want to go next?
TRISH—There are different paths. There is an amazing market for purchasing one bedroom apartments and doing thoughtful inexpensive renovations. So many people need to rent an apartment, but so few people that care to give someone an interesting product. There is so much money to be made.
ORIBE —Would you expand into other markets?
TRISH—I would like to expand into the global marketplace, like an island somewhere. Or being a worldwide broker for high net worth individuals. “I want to get property in Chile. Can you go down to scout?” We have a small team and have kept it intimate. It’s a chance to grow, get really confident on each level we explore.
ORIBE—I’m obsessed with the show, Million Dollar Listing New York. Would you consider being on it?
TRISH—My clients wouldn’t want to be on a TV show during the purchasing or the selling of their homes. It’s an emotional and invasive process to go into people’s homes. Reality TV makes it cutthroat and exciting. But when I go into a negotiation, the other broker has a seller who wants the same thing: to buy or to sell. Most of the time, we come to a deal without a lot of ego and attitude. You have to be tough and matter of fact, and unfortunately maybe you’re not going to get it the way you want.
ORIBE—One day we can work together, and you will find me the perfect place.
This conversation first appeared in Document’s Spring/Summer 2015 issue.