From Runways to Real Estate

Once a top model and television star, local Realtor® Michael Bergin now shines the spotlight on his real estate clients.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written by
    Laura L. Watts
  • Photographed by
    Kristin Anderson
  • Above
    Michael and Joy Bergin

Michael Bergin had an idyllic childhood. He grew up in a small town in Connecticut with his family: mother, father and three siblings. Michael and his childhood friends spent their free time running around the neighborhood, playing Wiffle ball and pretty much any other sport they could think of. During high school he served as captain of the basketball and baseball team.

He attended the University of Connecticut and worked odd jobs to help pay for school, including roofing, waiting tables and even escorting for the university’s security department. A friend of Michael’s father suggested he look into modeling to earn extra money, suggesting that he could earn up to $1,000 a day. That’s all Michael needed to hear, and he began to pursue it aggressively—taking modeling assignments while still attending school.

Role Model

Alana Bergin and Jesse Bergin

After graduation, he moved to New York City to pursue his new career full time. With his good looks, athletic body and charming personality, he quickly landed the international Calvin Klein campaign where he replaced Mark Wahlberg as the new “underwear guy.” It was that job that led to other large campaigns such as Liz Claiborne, Valentino and many more. Michael says his career “just took off,” and he began to see his image frequently in glossy magazine ads and on giant Times Square billboards.

He traveled the world for work, walking on the runways of many major cities for well-known designers and appearing in a variety of TV commercials. Baywatch became aware of Michael’s work with Calvin Klein and reached out to have him audition for the TV show. He was cast in the role of Jack “J.D.” Darius and played that part for four years, which led to guest spots on other television shows, lead roles in film and plenty of publicity in the industry.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen to me,” Michael shares. “As shy as I was, I never thought I would be a model, let alone an actor. I’ll never forget the callback for Baywatch. After reading in front of about 12 producers, they put red shorts on me and threw me in ‘The Tank’ for a swimming audition. Immediately afterward, I had to race to the airport to not miss my flight home (without my suitcase), and by the time I landed, I had a message from my manager saying I got the part! I was so excited I literally ran through the airport like O.J. Simpson in the Hertz commercial! It was such a whirlwind.”

“I love working with people, helping them find their first home or their dream home.”

After Baywatch was canceled, Michael was ready to move on from acting to something he felt even more passionate about. He had always loved everything related to the home—from furniture shopping to attending real estate open houses just for fun. He started buying, building and flipping homes in 2003 and eventually decided that this was the career path he wanted to pursue full time. His next step was to get his real estate license.

A Change of Pace

He had the full support of his wife, Joy, who now works on Michael’s real estate team as his marketing manager. “It’s been quite a journey for Michael, from being at the top of the modeling world to the top of the real estate world,” Joy shares.

Michael and Joy, who live in Studio City, enjoy being involved with their community and supporting local charities. They have two children: son Jesse, who is a baseball pitcher for UCLA, hoping to get drafted by the MLB this summer, and daughter Alana, who is a high school junior and volleyball player who wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and give the modeling world a go.

“We have absolutely loved raising our kids here in the Valley and having them attend the local schools,” says Michael. “It’s strange how life unfolds—from finding your true passion in the workforce to finding your true love and having a family you would die for. I feel extremely blessed!”

Michael has worked in Los Angeles real estate for 12 years now, specializing in the San Fernando Valley: Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Toluca Lake and the surrounding areas. Instead of giant billboards, his image now graces real estate ads on bus stop benches and in grocery stores. He works with Compass, where he is ranked in the city’s top 1% of real estate agents and #1 in his Sherman Oaks office.

“I love working with people, helping them find their first home or their dream home,” Michael says. “I keep in touch with all of my past clients, and it’s their loyalty that has given me longevity in this field. It’s everything to know that my clients are extremely happy with me—that’s all I strive for.”

It’s been quite the journey for Michael, and now he’s guiding clients on one of the most important journeys of their lives. He shares his passion for real estate with his buyers and sellers, bringing expertise and ease to every transaction.

Michael Bergin  |  Michael Bergin Real Estate
14242 Ventura Blvd. #100, Sherman Oaks  |  310-600-0715  |  |  DRE #01845572