Selling Confidence: Selling Sunset Star Christine Quinn’s Take on Women and Assertiveness

Laura Haley '23, Voices Editor

If I had a dollar for every time I actively screamed at my TV when star ChristineQuinn opened her mouth, I could buy Davina’s season three $75 million listing.

For those of you who are not familiar with Netflix’s Selling Sunset, the reality series follows an elite group of women working as real estate agents for twin brothers Jason and Brett. Outfitted in Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Louboutin, the women show expansive and highly-priced mansions in the surrounding Los Angeles and Orange Country areas.

Between tense office dynamics and petty drama permeating the aura of the Oppenheim Group, it is Christine Quinn who somehow always becomes the root of the crisis du jour. Described as the show’s “Villain,” Quinn lacks a filter and is unable to recognize that not everyone is always at her beck and call. As such, she has become a source of anger and discontent not only among the other women in the group but among viewers at home.

A lively debate has sparked over whether her attitude of speaking her mind reflects just confidence, or impertinence. In a Vogue interview, Quinn highlighted her self-assured attitude and expressed her pride in it. She also pointed out an experience that many women share in the workplace, school or at home: The repeated occurrence of being called aggressive or catty instead of being praised for their confidence. Quinn states, “If I were a man, doing the exact same thing, people wouldn’t question it.” She makes a valid point.

Leadership qualities include responsibility, flexibility, and most importantly, assertiveness. Women in the workplace who exhibit the same assertiveness as their male counterparts are more likely to be penalized for their confidence. In a review conducted by Harvard Business School, researchers studied routine performance reviews carried out by companies and recorded the number of times being “too aggressive” was mentioned. The final tally revealed that 76% of the occurrences were reported for women, while the other 24% were accredited to the men in the study. These unbalanced results loop back to a common gender stereotype that women must be warm and nurturing, not strong and outspoken like their male counterparts. However, for aspiring female leaders in the office, the gender stereotyping that women experience is a large impediment to their overall success and can delay their fulfillment of powerful positions. The same HBS study found that, even after overcoming the odds, women who are elected into more influential positions are less likely to be liked by their colleagues. 

Quinn, who is known for saying outlandish things, is right when she states that if she were a man expressing herself the way she does in the show, nobody would bat an eye. It is entirely possible that she would receive praise for her behavior and perhaps be labeled “boss” instead of “bossy.” Like her or not, it is hard to deny that Quinn has been one of the leading agents in the Oppenheim Group throughout the Netflix series. 

This past year, Quinn made over $1 million in commissions, selling a total of six homes between $2 million and $12 million. Despite her mid-year maternity leave, she still made more money than three of her fellow Oppenheim agents combined. Perhaps it is her ingenuity that drives her to the top. Her “Botox and Burgers”-themed open house pulled countless potential buyers off the street looking for a quick bite and a shot of youth to go with it. Or, more likely, it is her assertiveness, her confidence and hardworking attitude that helps fund her expensive lifestyle. 


However helpful her confidence is, it seems to also be her downfall. Viewers accuse her of being too aggressive and too dominant, and chastise her when she gains success in the show. While her character is certainly questionable, it is time to consider that perhaps gender stereotypes have become so ingrained in our minds that the sight of a confident woman like Quinn is threatening. Whether her backstabbing, victim playing and party crashing counts as confidence, Quinn is a powerful woman. The public’s negative reaction to her character raises a good point about how society perceives assertive women. 

If you are interested in learning a few tips and tricks from the Queen Bee herself, she comes out with a book in May 2022, predictably titled: “How To Be a Boss B*tch”.