East End native Natalie Lewis, an agent in Corcoran’s Westhampton Beach office, originally started out in interior design, but went on to model and act before going into real estate. Read on to discover how a girl from Moriches ended up beating Jennifer Lopez for jobs.
You grew up in Moriches. How did the modeling and acting thing take off?
I went to school at Parsons School of Design, and I was working part time at the hottest nightclubs, restaurants and bars. I got picked up by Woody Allen’s casting director. She thought that I’d be good for a role and one thing led to another. I needed to get a SAG card and an agent. So that’s how that started–I wasn’t pursuing it.
I used to go to a lot of the same auditions as Jennifer Lopez. She wouldn’t book as many as I would, and look at her today! Maybe I should have stayed with it, but I wasn’t my passion. My passion was really interior design and decorating; that was my life.
Did you ever actually do any interior design or decorating?
Tons of it. At the beginning in that career, you basically volunteer time, and you take any position you can. But at the end of the day I ended up getting a sales job. And I succeeded there, so I quit. I was doing sales for a long time but while I was doing that I would do home consultation. When I had kids–I have grown teenagers now–I was working part time at interior design. People would hire me to come consult their homes. It started with neighbors, but then I got referrals and references.
Then I would see houses go on the market and I would think, “Wait a minute. I just helped them pull that house together. Now it’s on the market.” So that’s how my real estate life came about.
That’s how you became an agent–you thought you should be making more money!
I was successful in my sales position. And then I really enjoyed interior design. So when I saw that these homes were selling, I thought I could sell that–I put it together. That’s really why I got my license.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I feel like I barely get any free time. It’s so crazy. I told my husband on Sunday, I wanted to take the day off and go to the beach. Saturday I worked till six o’clock, showing 15 houses. Sunday came and the calls started coming in. I managed to give myself three hours on the beach yesterday. When I do have free time, I just want to be with nature, whether it’s a walk in the woods with my dog or on the beach with my dog. That is what makes me happiest.
If you weren’t an agent, do you think you would still be a designer?
Yes. I would be an interior designer.
Does that background help you help your clients?
Absolutely. Actually, right now I’m working with a few builders. I know a lot of my clients are coming from my presence on Instagram.
You’re pretty savvy with social media. Do you think that’s contributed a lot to your success?
It definitely has helped. People get to know me. If you put your time in in real estate with or without social media, you’re going to be successful. Now with social media, it’s not just a call or a follow up, it’s different parties who are just finding me online. That has definitely increased my business and it’s validated who I am. People get it.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten, either personally or professionally?
I don’t think I’ve been given a lot of advice. I think I’ve been told more than anything, I’ve been an inspiration for people. I think I could give people advice. I just know what it’s like to bust your tail. Being a teenager, trying to make it through college and now presenting myself and selling real estate the past few years. It’s been a journey of lessons.
Would the younger Natalie be surprised to find you now in the Westhampton Beach area selling real estate?
I really thought that I would be doing interior design in New York City, but my life just evolved.