CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Lucia Brawley danced with the Joffrey Ballet, earned an English degree from Harvard and a graduate degree from Yale, appeared on the soap opera “Guiding Light,” had featured roles in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, worked with famous film director Oliver Stone and enjoyed an illustrious film career in Hungary.
However, the career of an actor can be demanding for the mom of two small children.
“A year ago, my family moved to Miami for my husband Derrick Ashong’s job,” says Brawley, now a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Coral Gables. “We have two little girls, Bianca and Aria. There’s less acting work available in Miami compared to New York or L.A. The business of real estate is opening up whole new avenues of opportunity, so I studied for and received my real estate license.”
Brawley’s stage career began when she was a little girl. She studied ballet at the world-renowned School of American Ballet in New York City until age 15.
“I had to take time off from ballet to recuperate from acute tendonitis,” she recalls. “Time off in ballet can be a death knell – meaning, you will fall behind while your rivals surpass you.
“After having danced six days a week, year round for most of my childhood, having missed out on everyone’s birthday parties, on their bar and bat mitzvahs, play dates and sports; after having performed for thousands on world-renowned stages, basking under bright lights in timeless moments of elation; after leaving school early day after day to perform matinées; after dancing in “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Petrouchka,” and countless “Nutcracker Suite” ballets, I had to ask myself, ‘Where do I go from here?’”
The Next Step
Where does one go when the only world she knows is crumbling?
“Fortunately, my high school theater teacher, Bill Williams, had seen me dance,” Brawley says. “As a part-time job, I had taken his daughter Elizabeth to the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center on the New York City bus after school a few days a week. My locker was near his office in the basement of my high school.
“He asked me to sign up for theater classes and audition for a role in the school’s production of ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ I got a few bit parts in the show and helped choreograph some dance segments.”
Soon, she was earning lead roles in a number of shows at the school.
After high school, Brawley continued acting at Harvard. “After Harvard, I attended the Yale School of Drama and earned my master’s of fine arts in acting,” she says. The day after she graduated from Yale, she began working on the television daytime soap opera, “Guiding Light.”
From there, Brawley’s career took off. She worked on off-Broadway and Broadway shows, was cast in Oliver Stone’s movie, “World Trade Center,” and performed the title role in an award-winning Hungarian film called “Lora.”
“I enjoyed a brief vogue in Hungary, where my face appeared nationwide on billboards, and magazine covers, and I was a guest on television and radio talk shows. I was put up in fancy hotels, flown first-class and even had my own chauffeur,” laughs Brawley. She also worked on President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and recently wrote a screenplay. She writes for the “Huffington Post” as well.
Setting the Stage for Real Estate
While her acting career is on hiatus, her real estate career is ramping up.
“There are many similarities between real estate and acting in terms of the presentational aspect and how I relate to people,” Brawley says. “When I act I’m generating emotions and it can be exhausting. With real estate, those emotions are authentic, because I truly care about my clients.”
The truth is, she says, “I’ve looked at the New York Times magazine real estate pages since I was a kid. The listings always fascinated me. When I moved to Florida and wanted to transition into something flexible and potentially lucrative, real estate was a natural fit.”
In addition, she says, “I have so much life experience. I feel like everything has led me to this moment and that I have so much empathy for my clients because I know what it’s like to move and need to look for the best school district and neighborhood.”
Long term, Brawley says she would love to “marry my real estate career with my entertainment career. There are a lot of real estate investors in the entertainment world and many financiers of film in the real estate world. There’s this natural romance between the two industries.”
She adds, “By bringing my best as an experienced entertainment professional with international contacts and experience to Coldwell Banker, I believe there’s no limit to how far we can go together.”