Online housing platform propels actors and entertainers into homeowners

For Los Angeles based actress Heather Lee, landing a dream role in the 2003 Broadway revival of "Gypsy" starring Bernadette Peters was a dream come true.   

Heather Lee is an actress turned entrepreneur of a booming business.

"I was living in Los Angeles, and I was cast in gypsy on Broadway with Bernadette Peters and Sam Mendes directed."

But she was also quickly overwhelmed by a dose of cold hard real estate reality.

If you think finding an apartment in the city now is tough, the early 2000s was practically the dark ages of house hunting online.

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After successfully navigating the process for herself Lee was soon helping others. That’s when a light bulb went off.

"When I realized that I was sending out emails at 3:00 a.m. for people, I realized that perhaps there was a need for actually turning this into a business." Lee said.

That’s when, in 2013, Heather’s informal email blast blossomed into an invite-only global home rental listing service, called The Lee List. The site would be exclusively for those in the arts. 

It started with 6,000 members and now has more than 20,000.

And they run the gamut: from grad students, Academy Award winners, producers and actors.

Actress Beth Malone used the Lee List to find a place after landing her breakout role in the hit Broadway musical "Fun Home."

She now lists her home on the site and says she takes comfort in knowing that it’ll be occupied by fellow artists.

"I started out just helping people because i wanted to. And now I'm helping people, I think because I still want to, but now I'm getting paid for it, which has been a nice perk, but completely unexpected," Lee said.

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And her advice for anyone contemplating a side hustle is simple--"go for it!"

The Lee List is only open to those in the arts industry... and anyone interested in becoming a member needs to either be referred by an existing member or submit an application with a link to their credits to be considered.

It costs $14.95 a month or just under $90 for a year's subscription to the listings.