By Caitlin Abdo
A childhood spent in the shadow of war prepared Bond New York agent Moran Khousravi for the mean streets of Manhattan. But it is her passion for life that has helped her succeed here.
“The scary part of my life was growing up,ˮ said Khousravi, who originally moved to New York from Holon, Israel, to pursue a career as a dancer. “Israel was a scary country to grow up in, especially during my childhood, having to wake up in the middle of night to go to shelters. Things like that prepare you for life.”
Holon is a town near Tel Aviv that grew from just sand dunes to become a manufacturing hub, built by working class Jewish immigrants. It was on the front line in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and, as recently as 2001, was the scene of a fatal bus stop bombing that killed eight Israelis and injured 25 others.
The carnage around her did little to dampen Khousravi’s spirits, though, and she recalls an always optimistic outlook that drove her to work hard — and play hard, too.
From the age of ten, she was earning her own money tutoring local kids, babysitting and later waitressing in the town’s bustling eateries.
She was a studious child who did well in the classroom and was fluent in both Hebrew and Farsi.
During her down time, Khousravi indulged her passion for dance, particularly Hip Hop, the wildly energetic musical craze that was born in the Bronx in the 1970s.
After completing her mandatory two years national service in the Israeli army — “It was hard in a lot of ways, not least that I was forced to wear a green uniform!” — her first full-time job was as a dance teacher and choreographer. She was also the only girl in a break dancing group that made appearances in Israeli malls. “We were nutcases,” she recalled, admitting she often looks back and wonders at her exploits.
“You don’t think at that age, you just do it. Sometimes, I think ‘how did I have the guts,’ but I just jumped on every opportunity, or rather, I created the opportunities,” she said.
The next opportunity she sought out was New York, where she had determined to follow the footsteps of then emerging pop sensation, Christina Aguilera, who had captivated Khousravi with a dance video recorded on the streets of Manhattan.
The pop scene wasn’t quite ready for her though, and she found herself pounding the streets looking for work. During her first real estate interview, she said she was warned about the heavy demands of the job.
“He left me with no illusions,ˮ Khousravi recalled of the interview. “He said he was trying to scare me, but it really wasn’t working. I’d always looked for challenging opportunities and I wasn’t going to back down from this.ˮ
She admits that the first few years were tough. She stuck with it, though, slowly building a reputation as a hard-working and honest broker. “I thought to myself, ‘real estate is going to work for me, I’m not going to work for it’.”
Over the next seven years, Khousari became known as a tireless agent, closing rental, sales and commercial transactions that have earned her both gold and silver Producers Medals at Bond.
“You have to be strong, you have to believe in yourself, and you have to be disciplined,” she said of her work. “You’re always needed as a real estate agent, although what you really are is a matchmaker. I see it as an opportunity to be of value to somebody.”
As a senior agent at the firm, she now leads a team of agents working in rentals across the city, from a $6,300 a month Union Square loft to a Brooklyn Heights studio currently on her books.
She also expanded into the sales market and is right now listing a one bedroom Greenwich Village loft at $1,495,000. And she’s developing a commercial resume; Anyone need a 2,510 s/f retail space on the Lower East Side?
She attributes much of her success to avoiding falling into ruts. “I try to not just to do my job, but to provide an experience for my clients, many of whom have become my friends.”
“I also love my job, and if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.ˮ
Perhaps because she’s not really “working,ˮ Khousari has recently found her way back into the showbiz spotlight.
During a trip back home to Israel, she found an old journal where she’d written about a long-forgotten dream to do standup comedy.
After a dare from her personal trainer, she took to the stage — and found she was a natural. After studying at the Gotham Comedy Club, Khousari was soon taking bookings from the city’s Laugh Lounge, Comedy Cellar, and other noted hot spots.
“At the end of the day, people want to be entertained and they want to laugh,ˮ said the real estate agent. “Those moments on stage are very magical.”