Ronita Kalra has been featured on multiple seasons of Bravo’s reality show Million Dollar Listing New York. She was first introduced as Luis Ortiz’s assistant. But in the current season, she and Ortiz have become business partners.
Kalra has been a licensed real estate broker since 2013. She has been working within the Douglas Elliman firm for her entire career in real estate. In a phone interview with Heavy, Kalra explained that it was her mother who first suggested that she obtain her real estate license.
Million Dollar Listing New York airs on Thursday nights on Bravo.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ronita Kalra Has Been Working at Douglas Elliman Since 2013 & Has Been Described as Luis Ortiz’s ‘Right Hand’
Ronita Kalra has been working with fellow Million Dollar Listing cast member Luis Ortiz for more than six years. Her bio on the Douglas Elliman website describes her as Ortiz’s “right hand.”
Kalra was depicted in earlier seasons of the reality show as Ortiz’s assistant. The duo was mostly absent from the show for a couple of seasons after Ortiz took a break from real estate and moved to Paris.
But they are back in Season 8 with a new dynamic. They are now business partners at Douglas Elliman. Their organization now includes both of their names in the official title: The Luis D. Ortiz & Ronita Kalra team.
In a phone interview with Heavy, Kalra explained that reality show is “phenomenal” for her career and the business. “Our business is about getting our name out there. It’s all about branding who you are, and all about word-of-mouth and referrals. And what better vehicle than national TV? It’s a great tool.” She explained that the exposure gives her and Ortiz an advantage over other brokers because potential buyers and sellers may have already heard their names and decide to give them a call.
Heavy asked Kalra what she enjoys the most about her job. She answered that she especially likes the fact that “every day is different. I make my own schedule… I’m going to different places, I’m talking to different people, I’m doing different showings, I’m in the office at different times… It’s not boring. I’m very much a creature of habit but too much of anything can become monotonous and so, I love that every week is different. Some weeks are super boring and I’m in the office every day doing administrative marketing, and some weeks I’m out and about and time is flying and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.”
2. Kalra Worked at Apple & a Financial Research Firm Before Switching to Real Estate On the Advice of her Mother
Ronita Kalra’s professional career did not begin in real estate. According to her LinkedIn profile, Kalra interned at Merrill Lynch for two years while she was still a college student. She wrote that her job involved collaborating with a “team of Financial Advisors assisting with developing new business opportunities.”
After graduating from college, Kalra went to work for a research company called Business Monitor International as a Development Executive. Her role included monitoring financial markets and providing analysis of various sectors to government agencies and corporate clients.
Kalra moved on to Apple after three years with BMI Research. She worked as an account manager for Apple for about a year and a half. According to her current work bio, Kalra “was responsible for large business sales.”
In a phone interview with Heavy, Kalra said that before deciding to get into real estate, she hadn’t been feeling satisfied. She decided to take a “big risk” and make a major change. As Kalra began looking for new jobs, her mother suggested that she obtain a real estate license.
“She said to me, ‘you know, you’re interviewing at all these sales jobs. Why don’t you get your real estate license? You live in New York City and if you’re going to sell something, why not sell the most expensive asset that anyone will buy in their lifetime?’ And I thought, ‘she’s right.'”
Kalra said that after earning her license, she ended up in the same office as Luis Ortiz. She asked her manager if she could join a sales team in order to sharpen her skills. Kalra explained that she met with five teams, including Ortiz’s. She said she and Ortiz clicked and “the rest is history.”
Kalra added that she worked with Ortiz for about a year, while he was on-camera, before making an appearance on Million Dollar Listing.
3. Kalra Attended Rutgers University & Played Club Volleyball
Ronita Kalra grew up in New Jersey, according to her Douglas Elliman bio. She stayed relatively close to home for college, attending Rutgers University. Kalra graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
She kept a busy schedule as a college student. In addition to her internship at Merrill Lynch, which lasted from May of 2007 until April of 2009, Kalra played club volleyball all four years at Rutgers. For volleyball fans out there, she played libero.
Kalra told Heavy that she continued to play rec volleyball as an adult for a while, but had to give it up due to her demanding work schedule. She added that after having a baby, she devotes all of her free time to her daughter.
4. Ronita Kalra Is Married With a Young Daughter
Fans of Million Dollar Listing: New York were introduced to Ronita Kalra’s baby daughter, Lyanna, during Season 8. Lyanna was born on April 3, 2018.
During the episode when Luis Ortiz met Lyanna, he also revealed that he’s going to become a father. Kalra congratulated him and reassured him that all parents learn as they go along. Kalra also joked to her daughter that Ortiz was “going to make you a friend!” In the video embedded below, you can see Ortiz holding Lyanna beginning at 1:57.
Kalra has been married to husband Benjamin Nerl since December of 2016. They had two wedding ceremonies when they tied the knot. One of them was a traditional Indian ceremony in the Florida Keys.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Nerl works for Merrill Lynch as an Analyst Relationship Manager. Kalra confirmed in the phone interview with Heavy that she first met Nerl when she was an intern at Merrill Lynch, but that they on different teams. She said they met in the hallway and eventually went out for drinks.
Ortiz couldn’t be there for the wedding, but he penned a heartfelt message to Kalra and Nerl on Instagram. Ortiz’s posts have since been scrubbed, but Bravo published the contents of the message at the time. Ortiz wrote in part, “Ronita! Words can’t describe how happy I feel for witnessing your graceful smile on the day of your wedding. Few times in your lifetime you meet someone so special that their happiness becomes your blessing! Well, your happiness on this, your, magical day is my blessing.” He also described Nerl as the “luckiest man in the world” to be marrying Kalra.
5. Ronita Kalra Is a First-Generation Indian American & Her Parents Were Entrepreneurs
Ronita Kalra grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Her Douglas Elliman bio explains that she is a first-generation Indian American. Her Facebook page states that she can speak Hindi. She has a younger sister named Sasha.
Kalra further explained on her work bio that she “spent much of her childhood in her father’s showroom on Fashion Avenue in New York City.” She added that the experience taught her the value of hard work.
A search of online records shows that her parents’ company was called “Sasha Apparel Inc.” It is a wholesale women’s clothing store in Manhattan. Kalra explained over the phone that the company name has since changed to NYC Trends.