Some people have jobs so cool we'd actually enjoy attending their marathon Zoom meetings. Even the ones that could totally have been an email.
Not to say we don't cherish our all-important responsibility of bringing you every last piece of need-to-know information about the casts of Bridgerton and The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but we don't have our own glam squad or a Rolodex filled with famous names, now do we?
But the impossibly cool people we'll be profiling in E! News' latest series totally do. Plus access to things like private drivers, designer garb and the type of professional titles we'd drop with wild abandon at parties, dinner dates or while chatting with the barista at Starbucks. Welcome to A Day in the Life...
If home is where the heart is, where you hang your hat, where one's chickens come to roost and any number of well-worn idioms, then real estate agent Branden Williams is basically a cardiac specialist, a milliner and a farmer all rolled into one.
Okay, not actually. But after more than a decade-and-a-half in the industry, selling eight-figure homes to and for Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Lenny Kravitz and Bruce Willis, he's particularly adept at sussing out what exactly will make a deep-pocketed client sign on the dotted line.
Take the time he ran into childhood friend Angelina Jolie ("I knew her since we were kids and we spent a lot of time together") at a showing and started peppering her with questions.
"I was talking to her, kind of trying to pick her brain because I have to be an investigative journalist to see what she really wants and likes and what she's been drawn to," recalled the born-and-bred Angeleno, who parlayed years of acting roles like high schooler Tommy in Never Been Kissed and Homeboy No. 1 in Can't Hardly Wait into a more lucrative career in high-end real estate. "She was like, 'This is good but it doesn't have enough bedrooms for all our kids and I wish it had a little more space."
As she ran through her list of must-haves, he furiously inventoried properties in his head. "I have her right now, I probably will not see her again," he said of his reasoning. "I've got to freaking, like, crack this code." Which he did, landing on legendary director Cecil B. DeMille's former 7,500-square-foot estate in Los Feliz. "I pull up the property," he recalled. "And she goes, 'I want this.' I see her eyes light up. I see, like, where the boom happens."
That's when he turned to wife Rayni Williams, his partner in life and at their recently established brokerage firm, The Beverly Hills Estates, to come in as closer. At the property, she shared, Jolie had all six of her children weigh in: "She was like, let's go down the line and everybody say how they feel. It was really beautiful."
Dream days like that are a pretty regular occurrence for the parents of two, who first met as junior agents in 2006. "You know, we're blessed, we're selling the one thing that everybody wants: A place to live in and be inspired," Branden reasoned. "And the lifestyle."
Even if that means that sometimes Jennifer Lopez gives you a hard time about closing prices or that your days are a sprint from start to finish. Admitted Branden, "It's just a never-ending juggle."
On a recent Tuesday, he and Rayni gave E! a peek inside their new office and walked us through all the balls they were keeping in the air.
6:30 a.m. Who needs an alarm clock when you've got a toddler? Gianni will "at some point come into our room, like, in the middle of the night or in the early morning," Rayni explained of their 3-year-old son. "And he kind of wakes up like a natural alarm clock, crawls on up and then I have my coffee right away."
7:15 a.m. Fueled by her cup of joe (black, no cream, no sugar), she powers through the morning routine. Having already picked out an outfit for Gianni and 6-year-old daughter Viviana the night before, "When they wake up I just quickly throw on breakfast for them," noted Rayni. "And I usually let them watch a cartoon or something in the morning. They don't get a lot of TV, but I feel like in the morning they can just chill."
Plus the distraction gives her time to run a brush through Viviana's hair while she thumbs through the "30 to 50" emails that have come in since she cleared her inbox before bed: "I like to delete the spam right away and then I can see if there's anything pressing," she said. "Or if there is a deal pending the night before, I'll check on it." Brandon, meanwhile, types away on his own iPhone. "There was a bunch of text messages for deals that I'm trying to work, showings and just people who text me through the night or in the morning," he shared. "So I responded back, 'Yeah, working on that.' 'Okay, great.'"
8:00 a.m. Two to three days a week, their "real, serious MMA trainer," as Branden call him, arrives at their Beverly Hills spread for a punishing session. "We went through all the punches, the different kicks," said Branden, "and I don't sweat that easy but I was sweating in my backyard."
In between jabs and hooks, Branden fields phone calls and chats with the pro about "the art of martial arts training and writing, which is cool," he said. "Then my Jujutsu coach showed up and we started rolling around practicing." Normally, he and Rayni would have to split up the school drop-off, but "it was Zoom school today," she said, so after a shower she was off to the day's first appointment while Branden threw on sweats to meet with an appraiser.
10:00 a.m. Time is money, people! Since her client arrives late to the first showing on Foothill Road, a particularly upscale area of Beverly Hills, "they missed out a chain of appointments," she explained. Still, she manages to take him from property to property "all in the flats of Beverly Hills like Foothill, Preston, and the last one was on Camden."
12:00 p.m. As her first client was inspecting his options, Rayni logs in for a quick Zoom with her daughter's school, then drives over to the Beverly Hills Post Office area to quickly show a house before coming back to meet with another client to tour five more houses in the Hills. "The key to success for us is organization and delegation," she shared. And a very-on-top-of-things office coordinator. "The night before, she sends tomorrow's itinerary around 6 or 7 p.m., and then again at 7 a.m.," she detailed. "And then a 15-minute reminder."
Her coordinator, she continued, "holds the key to my organization, and my happiness. Because, like, this morning, she double booked me on a bunch of stuff and somebody's got to be moved and I was unraveled."
Across town, Branden is dealing with putting out his own fires in between gulps of his green shake and vitamins. First a chat with the builders at an in-the-works Malibu property and then a follow-up with the client he saw during his earlier meeting with the appraiser. "Then I get a call from a stager on a property that we're about to list for $38 million," he recalled. "The wife doesn't like the staging, and then I got a call from the husband, saying he doesn't like it. Then I have to call the stager."
The moment he hangs up, "I get a call from one of my big music clients that wants to do a farm in Malibu Hills. He already owns a house in Malibu beach and now he wants a farm," he continued. The rest of the afternoon is filled with meetings and showings while also scouting Malibu properties and figuring out when he can fit in some time to take advantage of a storm that's rolling in and go surfing with friends.
5:00 p.m. While Rayni is far from clocking out (more on that later), she heads back to their place in Beverly Hills. "I will always go home around five o'clock," she stressed. "Even if I have to go home, make dinner, feed them and sit with them and then go back out, I always go home at five o'clock." On the menu this evening: stir-fry. "The kids really like that," she said, "and that's a good way to get all their food groups in."
7:30 p.m. As for Mom and Dad, they'll be treating themselves to pasta. At West Hollywood's Olivetta, they meet up with good friends of theirs who have relocated from Washington, D.C. "They kind of needed a little moral support," explained Rayni. "We have an offer on the property and so we just need to kind of talk through the process. But sometimes it's a little softer to do it over a meal versus a conference call." Taking time to truly counsel your client is all part of the gig. "A lot of hand-holding, a lot of psychology, a lot of moving parts," noted Rayni. "It's not like a transaction. You have to care to please people and if you don't care to please people, you'll hate every second of your job."
9:00 p.m. Following the kids' bedtime at 8:30, "I go straight back to my computer," said Rayni. Though Branden will often unwind with a dip in their jacuzzi and a few quarters of a Lakers game on their outdoor TV, they always end up in the same spot. "We usually like to sit in bed on our laptops," shared Rayni. As she clears out her inbox once again ahead of the morning deluge, he sends listings to clients while doing a little shopping of his own "buying cool s--t on ebay," he admitted. "I just love it.
11:00 p.m. Rayni, meanwhile, indulges in her own self-care ahead of bedtime. "I do my skin routine," she shared. "I love Sarah Chapman's products so it's a lot of essential oils. And then I put the hair up and do the whole thing." Just being in their bedroom is a natural stress-reliever, she continued, "a really peaceful setting." You might say...it's where her heart is.