Emma Hernan is one of two new faces set to join the cast of Selling Sunset when it returns this fall — and she's already poised to take the reality TV world by storm.
The model turned realtor, 30, has been an Oppenheim Group employee for several years, but will be stepping in front of the camera for the first time in Seasons 4 and 5 of the Netflix series (which are set to air later this year) alongside fellow newcomer Vanessa Villela.
PEOPLE recently caught up with the multi-hyphenate star to learn a little bit more about who she is, how she entered the world of luxury real estate and what fans can expect from her when the new seasons drop.
Read on to find out all there is to know about Emma Hernan.
Her road to real estate was unique.
Born and raised in a small town outside of Boston, Hernan moved to L.A. when she was a teenager to pursue modeling. It was only after she became interested in finance and began teaching herself how to invest in the stock market that a few doors in the real estate industry started to open.
"I came out to Los Angeles when I was in high school. I knew I was eventually going to end up here somehow," she tells PEOPLE. "And then I started investing in stocks at a really young age."
She shares that as her income grew, she began looking for smart places to put her money. "With any successful run in the stock market, you tend to kind of fall into real estate," she shares. "I bought my first property with [boss] Jason [Oppenheim] and that's how I transitioned into real estate." She says Jason and his twin Brett "are like my big brothers."
After that purchase in 2017, Oppenheim encouraged her to get her real estate license, she says. She did so in 2018, joining the Oppenheim Group as an agent shortly after.
Since then, Hernan has purchased several investment properties with Oppenheim's help, and she enjoys helping her clients do the same — especially women looking to expand their portfolios.
She already has quite the following.
Fans of the show may already recognize Hernan from Instagram, where she's commonly featured in posts from the current Selling Sunset cast, which includes Heather Rae Young, Chrishell Stause, Mary Fitzgerald, Christine Quinn, Maya Vander, Davina Potratz, and Jason and Brett Oppenheim. But it's safe to say she already has a fan base of her own.
Hernan had gained an audience from her years of modeling and currently has nearly 1 million Instagram followers. She's also received recognition in the business world for founding Emma Leigh & Co., a plant-based frozen food company famous for its vegan empanadas. This notoriety has helped her in her real estate career, she admits.
"Being in the food industry is a huge part of my story and also transitioning into real estate," Hernan says. "A lot of the ties that I made from that — and from being a woman CEO and a woman entrepreneur — mean I've met other CEOs who are now purchasing homes. So you'll see it unfold [on screen], but it makes a big difference, me coming on and having that entrepreneurial background, for sure."
She's closer with certain people in the office.
Hernan admits she tries to stay out of the drama in the Oppenheim Group office, but it's hard to deny there's a bit of a rift between some of the castmates — and that impacts who she's closest with.
"I think I would probably say I'm closest with Mary [Fitzgerald] and Chrishell [Stause], but that's nothing against anyone else," she says. "I just happened to know them prior to even getting super involved in real estate."
Hernan says she became close with Fitzgerald through Jason and Brett.
"From the moment that I met Jason and Brett and everyone, started looking at real estate and then was involved in the office, we were hanging out all the time. So, the majority of the weekends we were doing stuff together." Now, she says, one of their favorite things to do as a group is go out for brunch.
Her heart is taken — by her dog!
Hernan is currently single, but she's definitely in a committed relationship... with her sweet pup, Benny! A longtime dog lover, Hernan rescued Benny, who is an Akita mix, when he was at a kill shelter and about to be put down.
She also rescued Benny's brother, who she gave to her aunt in Boston for Christmas.
She's a natural in front of the camera.
Despite being new to the world of reality TV, Hernan says filming has come surprisingly natural to her so far.
"Honestly, I will say from the first day that I started filming, it was like second nature," she says. "I wasn't nervous when the cameras were there because I think I am so comfortable in real estate. I'm so comfortable with Jason and everyone already. So, I kind of just forget that the cameras are there and I just act as if I would if they weren't there."
Having a background in modeling also definitely helped!
She's ready for the world of reality TV.
Though she's not likely to be one of the villains of the new season — "My favorite thing about myself is that I have a huge heart," she says — she does feel a little nervous about dealing with bullies once it airs.
"I think it's really difficult in general for any person to kind of see negative criticism come at you. But of course, as a woman, even more so," she says. "I've seen a lot of the girls struggle with the feedback and criticism they've gotten."
She continues: "They've warned me, and they're super protective of me, which I love. They're like, 'Don't read the comments. They might not always be the best.' But, you know what? It's been really inspiring for me when I'm out and about with them and people will come up and say, 'You inspire me,' and things like that — that's why I want to do it. So that I can inspire young people the same way that a lot of my coworkers do as well."
"I'm excited to open up my life, and share with everybody who I am as a person," Hernan adds. "I want to inspire young girls to go out there, get involved in the stock market and chase whatever their dreams are. I want to show them that you can really accomplish anything."