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When Monika Tu was asked to star in Luxe Listings Sydney, she had one note for the show.

If you have even a mild addiction to high-end real estate shows, then this face is one you'd immediately recognise.

The face of Monika Tu. 

Praised for her love of labels, skyscraper heels and penthouse apartments, Monika was a breath of freshly spritzed air when she walked onto our screens on Luxe Listings Sydney.

Watch the trailer for the second season of Luxe Listings Sydney right here. Post continues after video.

Video via Amazon Prime Video.

While we would happily watch house tours with Monika on repeat, how the real estate agent got to the lofty heights she's at now is arguably much more interesting than the $10 million mansions she's showing.

Especially because she started her career selling floppy disks at Paddy's Market. 

So we decided to give Monika a call, to find out exactly how she went from bumbags at the markets to Birkin bags in million-dollar mansions. 

The moment Monika Tu flipped her life upside down.

Monika moved to Australia from China in 1988 and immediately got to work finding a job.

She spoke almost no English, but worked as many hours as she could as a waitress and sold cosmetics, all while trying to study for her degree. Monika admits she worked "any job that would take her" – even washing dishes for 12 hours straight. 

However, after graduating in 1992 she moved to Sydney and began hustling at Paddy's Market, armed with only a bumbag and a hand full of floppy disks she was trying to flog. 

But that role built up her drive, and she went on to grow her market business into a national corporation that now sells over a million tech products every year.

After taking stock of that success, Monika was looking forward to winding things down and treating herself to a well-earned early retirement at age 45. 

But then her husband asked her a question: "What about real estate?"

He had a passion for it, and with Monika's business skills, there was potential for them to make a lot of money in this space. So they did just that. They registered the business name 'Black Diamond Property Concierge' and began cracking into the market they knew they had an edge in - international investors. 


"We just looked at what was missing in the market. And we found a niche in providing international buyers with high-end property services," Monika tells Mamamia

It wasn't until her first commission cheque rolled in that she realised just how much money this business could make her.

"The first was for $13.5 million or so, and I just thought, 'Oh my god, that's good money'."

How Monika Tu ended up on Luxe Listings Sydney.

For Monika, Luxe Listings Sydney wasn't the first TV show to come knocking on her door. But it was the first she properly considered.

"I've always been invited to go to a lot of programs," she tells Mamamia. "But Luxe Listings is the one I chose."

That's despite her grievances with the first season, which she says was "really good" but had "too much of a focus on the Eastern Suburbs". Viewers of the show will know this, as she 'controversially' listed a penthouse in St Leonards - an area a stretch too far for the Double Bay agents she works with.

Speaking of, Monika tells us her first impressions of the show's agents. 

With Simon, she always has a laugh, sharing that "he's got a sense of humour". She credits D'Leanne with being "hard-working because of her little children". And for Gavin, Monika has one word and one word only: "Competitive."

Listen to the latest episode of The Spill - Mamamia's daily pop culture podcast - right here. Post continues after audio.

Competition is an unavoidable theme of Luxe Listings Sydney, as the agents go to battle for their clients with every property. It's an environment that Monika says she thrives in, feeding off the adrenaline and drive to break records for her clients. 

When asked about where her confidence comes from to secure these incredible deals, she credits "getting older". Monika hit a new level of self-belief in this industry, allowing her to feel like she can "be herself" in real estate.

But when she first started, she wasn't trying to stand out from the crowd.

"When I was first in real estate I would wear a man's jacket, a silk shirt, and a skirt. Dressing for the job you want, right? But now I have my own style."


She enthusiastically runs us through every element of the look she likes to wear for house inspections, noting the brands that she wears when she wants to show her clients she means business.  

Her uniform now: "A Carla Zampatti top, a Balenciaga coat, a lower heel (because you walk up and down a lot of stairs!), Paspaley pearls, and one of my Hermès Birkin bags."

Monika mentions that there's a certain gravitas with a luxury item that only her clients will know about. 

"It's not just that you can afford it; you also have to be invited to buy [a Birkin], which gives it prestige and exclusivity." 

What's next for Monika Tu?

As season two of Luxe Listings Sydney wraps up, it seems things will not be slowing down for Monika. 

She's in the middle of renovating a new property for herself in the Eastern Suburbs, which she calls "very nice, and very clean" but also stuffed full of "brass and marble". Monika assures us that once she's finished it, she'll be throwing a big housewarming party to celebrate. 

And of course, she's still running her multi-million dollar business and eyeing up new properties for her clients. When asked who her dream client to work with would be, Monika told us without hesitation: "Chris Hemsworth."

So perhaps we'll be seeing her up in Byron Bay soon. 

You can now stream all episodes of Luxe Listings Sydney on Amazon Prime. 

Feature Image: Amazon Prime Video 

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