• April 22, 2024

Who the F— Is Michael Braun? Meet Hollywood’s New Best Friend, Zelig 2023

At a Los Angeles home last December, Leonardo DiCaprio and Baz Luhrmann chatted. They attended a Celine fashion show after-party. Before DiCaprio and Luhrmann sat gazing into an elaborate outdoor fire pit, Iggy Pop performed and Kaia Gerber walked the runway. Michael Braun, another visitor, faced the renowned duo from the stone edge. He ignited.

One partygoer called the fire a mohair sweater. Braun’s entire chest flame, DiCaprio recoiled in astonishment as Luhrmann acted. Braun removed the sweatshirt, extinguishing the fire. Braun shared a video of the strange mishap, shirtless and in leather shorts and Doc Martens.

As he became further entangled in the world’s most renowned people’s exclusive social circle, it was a breakthrough moment for a man who has intrigued insiders.

Canadian real estate entrepreneur has collected famous friends for years. He’s everywhere and unknown.

“Who the fuck is Michael Braun?” one powerful agent texted me about 18 months ago. They asked first. Braun is everywhere, from his name-dropping Instagram account to group shots at the Vanity Fair Oscar party and Met Gala to dining at the hottest L.A. members-only restaurant. Only his numerous boldface buddies know who he is and how he got here.

He knows Kristen Stewart, Timothée Chalamet, Margot Robbie, Justin Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Taika Waititi, and Channing Tatum. Braun’s West Hollywood mansion, situated across from the Chateau Marmont, hosts several parties.

I called industry figures, nightlife gurus, celebrity wranglers, restaurateurs, brand managers, top event planners, and others, and they all said the same thing: no one knew anything specific about Braun, but they had all recently asked friends about him. Since Hollywood runs on status, its players get anxious when they can’t determine someone’s rank. Braun’s Instagram (@Michael) features B- and C-list stars who don’t know him. One admits to attending a Braun party because more famous people were invited.

Braun has limited internet biography. Westbank Corporation is his employment. In 2021, he threw a “Squid Game” Halloween party that gathered Rebel Wilson, Anna Kendrick, the Biebers, and others. Vogue released a lengthy picture story headlined by Braun’s name without explaining how or why he organized the event. Braun denies reports of a wealthy real estate family.

Braun says that Topshop heiress Chloe Green endorsed him and his British reality star best pal Vas J. Morgan in Hollywood. Another states Braun worked the Toronto International Film Festival circuit for years to meet the glitterati (untrue). Braun’s high-pitched, enunciated voice distinguishes him. Saskatchewan Truman Capote.

Many Braun conversations focused on his sweet and accommodating personality (which some critics say is cloying and overly flattering) and the protected environment he provides for celebrities. Numerous sources said Braun offers safe havens for stars to relax due to COVID-19, camera phones, and social media (unless he’s posting).

For years, a Canadian real estate mogul has collected famous friends

Braun is overseeing the launch of a Westbank property in Tokyo, where I contacted him. He dubbed the sweater video “a viral moment” with the same reaction: “The first question is ‘Are you OK?’ They laugh.”

Braun simply explains how he belongs within this glamorous world: His job. Braun, the son of a Vancouver doctor who leads non-invasive cosmetic surgery, said he found his passion in real estate at 22. Westbank, which owns Vancouver and Toronto Shangri-La Hotels, recruited him 13 years ago.

He was ordered to create those properties Hollywood’s home away from home. The Toronto Shangri-La hosts Vancouver’s film festival and many film and TV productions.

We wanted those hotels to be movie industry favorites. Directors, top talent, agents. “As director of sales and marketing, I made Shangri-La the place to be,” he explains. Braun claims he recruited two huge brands to strengthen his celebrity hospitality business after Shangri-La sites become industry standards.

He says the first was getting famous chef David Chang to build a Momofuku in Toronto in 2012, and the second was bringing Soho House north. Westbank is Soho House’s main tenant on Adelaide Street in Toronto. Braun says it controls 50% of such firm. Chang and Soho House declined to comment. He says his luxury residence became a TIFF must-see.

Braun stated his business approach mirrors André Balazs’ Chateau Marmont or Jeff Klein’s Sunset Tower Hotel

The family-like ownership keeps people there. I build rapport. Tom Ford is with Jeff Klein. Braun stated André Balazs will be greeted by every Oscar nominee. Not all actors greet Balazs.

Braun handles direct questions about his relevance well. “Sometimes people don’t realize my whole life and my current job is hospitality,” Braun said of his excessive praise. I understand it might seem overly beneficial to everyone. I admire tougher folks.”

Braun claims no one has had to “vouch” for him or his pal Morgan on the scene. Braun has lent his L.A. home to famous labels like Burberry, where Madonna danced in his living room last year. He says he’s been going back and forth since 2004 when his mother and sister relocated to Los Angeles.

He hopes to open more hotels, restaurants, and a fashion line. Lindsay Lohan, a former party girl, taught him Hollywood manners a decade ago. She probably exposed me to Hollywood socializing. “She was my gateway to that world,” he recalls.

Braun now guards the entry, sorry Lohan.

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