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Who Is Vanessa on Selling Sunset?

Netflix’s Selling Sunset is finally back for its fourth season, and to add some extra drama, luxury real estate agents Emma Hernan and Vanessa Villela have joined the cast. While Emma has some relationship history with fellow cast member Christine Quinn, Vanessa is a completely new addition to the gang.

Here’s what you need to know about one of Selling Sunset’s newest cast members.

She got her start in soaps.

Vanessa Villela has something in common with original cast member Chrishell Stause—they both started out acting in soap operas before joining The Oppenheim Group. In fact, Vanessa even has her own IMDb profile, featuring an impressive array of credits dating back to 1991.

According to Vanessa’s IMDb bio, she was born in Mexico in 1978, became a U.S. citizen in 2017, and is of both Spanish and Italian ancestry. She even appeared in 67 episodes of Una Maid en Manhattan, a Spanish language TV version of the hit Jennifer Lopez movie.

Celebrating her role in Netflix’s reality series, Vanessa wrote on Instagram, “For all my fans who have followed my entire career from my days in Mexico, I thank you for being on this journey with me. I’ve been dreaming of busting into the American market. And I seek to represent the Latin community, empower people to live for each day and hold the bar of your dreams!!!”

She was a total stranger to the rest of the cast.

While fellow newbie Emma Hernan was already acquainted with all of the brokers at The Oppenheim Group when she joined Selling Sunset, Vanessa hadn’t met anyone from the cast prior to joining the show.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK about season 4, Amanza Smith explained, “None of us knew Vanessa at all. But she quickly is like family. It’s funny, like Jason really is very [specific in] the way he chooses people to join the brokerage, I don’t know if he has a little checklist. She fit right in and very quickly became, you know, just one of the family.”

But she just celebrated six months at The Oppenheim Group.

It would seem that Vanessa’s career transition to real estate agent and Selling Sunset star has already been going smoothly—in October 2021, she celebrated six months at Jason and Brett Oppenheim’s brokerage.

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Sharing a photo of the Selling Sunset gang, Vanessa wrote on Instagram, “Today marks 6 months since I joined the @theoppenheimgroup I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am to be a part of this family. I love and respect all the members of the team.” But as viewers of the show will quickly find out, Selling Sunset season 4 is anything but smooth sailing.

She’s passionate about animal rights, yoga, and travel.

As noted by her official bio on The Oppenheim Group’s website, when she’s not working, Vanessa supports international animal welfare fund, ifaw, and she’s passionate about yoga and regularly attends Naam Yoga Los Angeles.

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Vanessa is also an advocate for traveling the world. In October, she shared on Instagram, “Traveling is about enriching your own life. It’s about making memories, creating life long friendships, and so much more. … Those chances aren’t always there, so take the chances you do have to travel and explore. Be adventurous and feed your soul with memories and good times.”

Vanessa caught COVID-19 during filming.

Joining Selling Sunset was undoubtedly an exciting time for Vanessa, but Netflix’s newest reality star unfortunately caught COVID-19 while filming was underway.

While it’s unclear how Vanessa’s diagnosis affected the show, she wrote on Instagram, “In August 5 I contracted Covid, and it stole 5 weeks of my life at the most important times as I was filming and doing my real estate. Today almost 3 months after and I’m still dealing with getting my body to a 100% I’ve had insomnia, hormonal imbalance, severe lack of energy, brain inflammation etc.”

Vanessa also thanked the medical team that cared for her, and revealed that she was still dealing with some of the after-effects of COVID-19 as recently as October 2021.

Vanessa is also an aspiring designer.

It’s undeniable that Vanessa is a multi-hyphenate with a plethora of strings to her bow. The luxury real estate agent, actress, and reality star is also an aspiring fashion designer. In 2021, she revealed on Instagram that she’d been collaborating with swimwear brand Lascivious on some designs, and she shared several photos modeling the looks.

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While Vanessa’s collaboration with Lascivious doesn’t appear to be available right now, it’s a sure sign that Selling Sunset’s newest star is hoping to break into the world of fashion sometime soon.

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