Engel & Völkers
  • 5 min read
  • 10.03.2020

From professional dancer to real estate professional - in conversation with Oliver Tienken

Celebrated professional dancer, international model, casting show judge - Oliver Tienken has already gone through many impressive career stages in his life. Now the 39-year-old is realising his potential as an estate agent in a field that is completely new to him. In an interview, Mr. Tienken explains why he was drawn to the real estate industry and why Engel & Völkers was the only employer he could consider:

Hello Mr Tienken, please tell us what you did before Engel & Völkers.

O.T.: It is not easy to talk about my career because I have done so many different things. As a young person, I danced a lot during my Abitur and civilian service, became German champion, European champion and finally even world champion. Building on this, I then naturally acquired all kinds of licences to be able to work as an adjudicator and trainer. For many years I worked in dance schools myself.

You are also known from numerous TV shows such as Curvy Supermodel, Das perfekte Dinner or Promi Shopping Queen. How did this step into show business come about?

O.T.: That was in 2003, when I took part in a casting show called Star Search, hosted by Kai Pflaume. A friend had signed me up for the show because I was chronically broke as a dancer - after all, I constantly needed new competition clothes and had to travel around the world for competitions. In the end, I had more luck than sense and won first place.

After that, however, I wanted to expand my portfolio, so I studied sports management to combine my passion for dancing with professional knowledge. The next show I took part in was then Let's Dance with Brigitte Nielsen. Besides dance lessons and my appearances on various TV shows, I also worked as a model for an agency here in Hamburg. At some point, however, I had the feeling that this was nothing half and nothing whole.

How did you then become aware of Engel & Völkers?

O.T.: Most recently I ran a dance school and was the managing director there. One day I was faced with the choice of whether to buy the school because the owner was already very old. However, that was out of the question for me. During that time, I studied all the job advertisements of Engel & Völkers for over four years. I knew the company, as did many others. I just never had the courage to apply because I thought I simply had no basis at all to get a foothold in such a business and was afraid of failing miserably.

Why did you apply in the end?

O.T.: It came about through the TV show Curvy Supermodel, where I was on the jury. There I always preached to the contestants that you have to pursue dreams and goals, until at some point I realised that I wasn't doing that for myself. For years, I rather shuffled from job to job and simply didn't dare to do many things. I always wanted to work for a company that was known all over the world, so that I wouldn't always be seen as this "TV boy", but also as a serious businessman. Curvy Supermodel definitely held up a mirror to me and that gave me the courage to apply.

There are several global companies in Hamburg - why Engel & Völkers of all companies?

O.T.: I have had the opportunity to do many high-quality jobs in my career. Financially, it has often been a rollercoaster ride for me, sometimes earning more, sometimes less money. And it was clear to me in any case that if I applied again and started something completely new, it would only be possible at the first address. That's why I only wrote one application and that was for Engel & Völkers. I saw that there is an academy here, that you can get further training and that you are prepared for the job. That's why it was clear to me from the start: here or nowhere.

Where does this fascination for real estate come from?

O.T.: I come from the country and grew up on a farm. My grandparents and at times my parents were farmers until my father retrained. As a result, my grandparents' farm was sold and my parents built a new house. As a 10-year-old, I was already fascinated by the process of selling a house, how proud I was when I built a new home myself, brick by brick, and things like that. Later, in my first rented flat, I often thought about whether it would make more sense to buy the flat or not. To this day, I'm someone who often looks at internet portals to see what's happening in the real estate market, because I enjoy it.

Is there any experience from show business that comes in handy when it comes to real estate?

O.T.: In fact, the public relations work, the frequent speaking in front of people and the approaching of people, which is part of show business, takes away a big inhibition for me when it comes to real estate. I do think that it makes me more confident in situations that are new and unfamiliar to me. Fortunately, you don't notice it so much if I'm nervous. I can simply shut myself down very well in such moments.

For show business, social media is an important part of the job. How does it look in the real estate industry?

O.T.: It's just a nice thing to share things with followers - whether it's about sports, nutrition or my everyday life. I always get an incredible amount of questions and comments. In terms of my work as an estate agent, I can imagine that it will be very important to use social media in the future. I believe that you can inspire and win people for a cause through it. After all, people from my private circle of friends have already approached me because they are looking for commercial space, for example.

Your Instagram profile has a clear visual line. How do you decide which things to post?

O.T.: It's really just pure chance. I don't give much thought at all to what pictures I post, when and how. Of course, I am lucky in that I know many photographers and therefore often have professional material.

Dance coach, real estate agent and podcaster - how do you reconcile all that?

O.T.: In fact, except on Mondays, I still go to my dance school every evening after my work at Engel & Völkers. I also spend six hours there every day at the weekend. During the week, I'm usually back home around midnight. But I'll only be doing two things until April, after that I'll be devoting myself entirely to my duties at Engel & Völkers.

Good luck with that!

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