The COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow over many struggling industries, particularly filmmaking. Samantha Mathis, famed for her roles in 90s hits like “Pump Up the Volume” and “Super Mario Bros.,” felt the impact deeply when all TV and film production halted four years ago. Reflecting on those uncertain times, she shared with PEOPLE, “We were all left wondering what the future would hold.”

By chance, Mathis and her sister had just acquired a home in New York’s Hudson Valley when the pandemic struck, leading her to move upstate. During this period, like many others, she stumbled upon a new side hustle. Her real estate agent, a friend, suggested that Mathis would excel in the field, saying,” ‘You would be a natural at this. You love architecture, you love homes, you love upstate, you’re great with people.'”

Initially, Mathis was skeptical of the idea. “At first I thought she was crazy,” she admits. “I think a lot of us actors, we suffer from this thing where it’s like, ‘Oh but I don’t know how to do anything else but act.'” However, the more she considered it, the more the idea appealed to her. “I’ve always been obsessed with real-estate porn,” she quips.

With her friend’s encouragement, Mathis decided to pursue a career in real estate. She took classes, obtained her license, and began to see organic growth in her new venture. “I put the word out on social media that I was doing it, and a friend told a friend, and suddenly I had a bunch of clients,” she explains. “It was definitely a pandemic decision!”


Mathis discovered that real estate was the perfect fit for her. “I love being an advocate for people and helping them find their dream home,” she says. “What could be more exciting? It’s one of the biggest decisions one can make in their life, and it’s tied up with so many hopes. When someone finds someplace that they feel like they can build their future, it’s really moving.”

The flexible schedule of real estate also complemented her acting career, which resumed once productions started again. Mathis recently starred in “Billions” and will appear in a new off-Broadway show this fall. “I can be my own boss and work as many hours as I want to,” she says. “And I have a partner upstate, so if I get an acting job, I can say yes to it.”

In March 2023, Mathis announced on Instagram that she had joined the luxury real estate team Corcoran in Manhattan. While acknowledging that real estate in the city is a different challenge than upstate, she finds it incredibly exciting and is eager to learn.

Moreover, Mathis appreciates that real estate is a very attractive career to women. “As a woman and an actress, getting older has its challenges,” she says. “But as a woman in real estate? You’re valued. You can age.” She highlights the supportive nature of the real estate business, where women have mentored her, and she continues to have a female mentor.

Mathis adds, “A friend of mine’s mother became an agent at 60 and worked until she was 85. My agent in Los Angeles didn’t get into real estate until she was 50, and she’s 80 and still working. So it’s nice to know I can age and work. That’s not always the case in show business.”