Laura Soares became part of the American reality-television series, “Auction Hunters,” aired on Spike TV in 2013. She was introduced as Elle during the fourth season of the show, along with another new cast member Robin “Big Sis” Matte. The television show lasted for five seasons, but wasn’t renewed for what should have been its sixth season. Fans wondered what happened to Laura, after she was last seen in the show in April 2014.
- 1 What was “Auction Hunters” all about?
- 2 Some interesting moments in the show
- 3 Laura Soares as Elle in “Auction Hunters”
- 4 Get to know more about Laura Soares
- 5 Update on Laura Soares’s whereabouts in 2023
What was “Auction Hunters” all about?
Back in 2010, there was a huge interest in abandoned storage units in the US, and TV producers launched reality-TV shows based on it. “Auction Hunters” was one of the first few, which took a risk by featuring professional buyers, the actual bidding, and subsequent sale of items found inside the units.
The premise of the show
It had been a generally lucrative business purchasing unclaimed storage units in California, especially since the local government had a policy of letting a unit be put up on the auction block after rent hadn’t been paid for three consecutive months. Each year, auction hunters Allen Lee Haff and Clifton “Ton” Jones would go around storage facilities where they could potentially get their hands on hundreds of unclaimed storage units, to hunt for discarded treasure. Apparently, thousands of these storage units were made available for bidding in the US every single day. On some days, they would travel around the country just to look for them. Most of the time, they ended up with a valuable unit, as they already had the experience of what to buy or pass over.
The storage bidding process
When Allen and Ton reached their storage facility destination, they would scour the area and look for possible competitors. The two had already made plans on how to go about it – one of them would be assigned to bid and the other one hang around at the back to observe rival bids, so they could properly balance their act. The auctioneer would remind everyone that it was strictly cash payments and that no one could enter the units – auction hunters only had a minute to determine the value of the things inside it from the doorway when the unit was opened. When everyone had their chance to look, the auctioneer would start the bidding war. If they won the unit, they immediately paid for it, and then start rummaging through it.
Spike TV’s longest non-scripted show until it was canceled in 2015
“Auction Hunters” made its debut on 9 November 2010, on the American cable TV channel owned by MTV called Spike, which later operated under Paramount Network. It was produced by Gurney Production, the same team behind the reality-TV series phenomenon, “Duck Dynasty.” The first season consisted of eight episodes, which did well on the viewership ratings, so that 27 episodes were ordered for the second season, which aired a year later. It seemed that reality-TV fans took a liking to the show, so it was renewed for three more seasons.
Created a pawnshop for the show
To make the show more interesting for the fourth season, Allen and Ton opened up a pawnshop and added recurring cast members to it such as Robin Matte, also known as Big Sis, and Laura Soares, also known as Elle. That season, they called the show, “Auction Hunters: Pawn Edition,” which garnered an average of 1.5 million viewers per episode, which led Spike TV to order a fifth season, to the delight of their loyal fans.
Some interesting moments in the show
One of the reasons why “Auction Hunters” attracted viewers was the antics of Allen and Ton when dealing with competitors. Here are just some of those moments:
Bidding excessively on something they weren’t interested in
There were times Allen and Ton wanted to rile up their competitors by continuously placing a bid on a storage unit that they weren’t really interested in. It usually ended well for them as they were able to bait their opponents, and then dropped the bid when the price was already too high. However, it could backfire, as happened to them once when a former employee turned rival beat them at their own game.
Distracting the competitors by trash-talking with them
One of the advantages of having a partner during the auction was that one could participate in the bidding process while the other pretended not to care about the ongoing auction, and just trash-talked with them. Most of the time they succeeded, and the competitor wasn’t able to place a bid so they ended up with a low price.
Catch the Bidding Bromance between Allen and Clinton! Catch Auction Hunters at 3:20PM only on eReality, channel 108. #AuctionHunters #HookedOnReality #eReality #FallInloveWithTVAgain #Openview pic.twitter.com/3WnuyjRreA
— Openview (@openviewforever) May 21, 2020
Brought another person to do the bidding for them
In one of the episodes of the show during the fourth season, Allen and Ton brought their shop manager, Big Sis to the auction, to teach her about bidding. Some rivals wanted to bring the two guys down, and so they changed their game plan. It worked to their advantage that no one knew who Big Sis was, and so during the auction they left her to bid for them. Their rivals were shocked that in the end Allen and Ton won the storage unit.
Laura Soares as Elle in “Auction Hunters”
When Allen and Ton had a falling out in the fourth season, Laura Soares came into the picture – everyone called her Elle. She was initially helping Big Sis manage the pawnshop, specifically online sales as a part-timer, but when Ton walked out on Allen during the 13th episode, a new partner was needed in bidding for storage units. Allen decided that Elle was the perfect person to help him out.
Elle was Allen’s new wingman
“Auction Hunters” fans were surprised and excited when Allen brought in Elle as his new partner in the auction wars; Elle said that never in a hundred years did she think that she would be in an auction with Allen. The main goal at that time was to buy new items for the pawnshop, since Ton took all his items from the shelves. Elle was worried about the fight between the two boys, but Big Sis told her not to because they were brothers and would soon figure it out. Allen told Elle that this was a big opportunity for her, so she should observe and absorb everything like a sponge. He told her that he would use her as a distraction against a rival bidder.
Stick to the limit
They headed to a massive container warehouse – it wasn’t the usual storage units, as most of them hadn’t been touched for years. After the auctioneer told them to ‘look with your eyes, not with your hands,’ everyone paid attention, with Elle observing everyone and taking it all in. They lost the first unit as he didn’t want to go over the price that they originally talked about, after determining the possible value of it. He wanted to teach Elle the importance of not going overboard, sticking to their limit when bidding. They took home the second unit after outbidding his rival and former employee Carolyn, because he wanted the unit so he never placed any limit to their bidding budget. They paid $1800 for the unit, and sold vintage motorcycle parts for $3500 with an additional $500 that they sold in the shop, which gave them a profit of $2200. It was a great day for Allen, but he missed Ton a lot, especially when Elle couldn’t handle taking out items from a box when she found a dead rat inside it. Allen said that Ton probably would have just ripped it into two.
Elle met with the pissed-off landlord
Just as Big Sis predicted, Allen and Ton hashed out their differences, and Ton was back in the business after taking a breather, so Elle was manning the shop again with Big Sis. One issue that came up in the 17th episode of the fourth season was that their landlord was annoyed with them for violating something on their contract – Allen and Ton were both worried since it was difficult to find a great spot for business, knowing that the key to a successful business was the location. The problem started when they advertised that they would do a free appraisal event for a day, so many people went to the store. Other tenants from the building complained about the noise, the lack of parking space, etc. It was supposed to be Big Sis who would settle with the landlord, but she wasn’t there when he came. Elle was the one who talked to the furious landlord. With her calm and charming personality, she convinced the landlord to come back after a couple of hours and meet with either Ton or Allen.
Laura’s second time as Allen’s wingman
With Ton needed at the Pawnshop to meet with someone important, Elle was again his substitute in assisting Allen. They bought two units the day before, finding an experimental ultralight aircraft in the second unit. They were hoping that it was worth something after the bust that they had with the first unit, which contained tons of worthless suitcases. The two headed to the local airfield to meet with a pilot, who told them that it wasn’t an ultralight aircraft but a powered parachute.
Allen and Elle were so disappointed, but the pilot said that it was also valuable. Apparently, powered parachutes could be flown for up to three hours with as little as five gallons of fuel. It could be considered an aircraft, and was worth up to $18,000. The value of the one that they bought would depend on if it was functioning well. Allen and the pilot tested the powered parachute, and it flew successfully; it saved them from losing money as they sold it for $14,000. Elle sold some of the suitcases online for $300, so all in all, they made a profit of $12,300 against the $2,000 that they paid for the two storage units.
Mystery shoppers flocked to the shop
Elle, Big Sis and another part-time assistant, were surprised that many customers came in to look for items and asked tons of questions. They didn’t know that Ton had arranged for mystery shoppers to visit the shop, so that they would receive unbiased reviews on the skills and attitude of their employees. Generally, they received positive reviews, customers saying that Elle was helpful, and knew where the items were right away. Allen said that they passed the evaluation with a grade of B plus, while Ton said that they did a good job. Now their employees turned the table on them by asking for a raise, but Ton told them to quit joking.
Finances were down, and Big Sis took a leave of absence
Allen and Ton were a bit worried about the money coming in. It seemed that things were a little bit rocky, as their profits weren’t enough to pay expenses including for the upkeep of the shop; they were considering many options including selling it, however, they were hesitant especially Allen as they’d poured their blood and time into making it work. The two hired an accountant to look at the books, and could then decide on what to do. It coincided with Big Sis asking for vacation leave, because her father needed her help in their own family business. The plan was to convince Elle to work full time at the shop while she was gone, but when the accountant came in to talk to them, Elle realized that all of Big Sis’ responsibilities would fall onto her shoulders, and accounting wasn’t her strong suit.
Last appearance of Laura Soares in “Auction Hunter”
The decision to sell became easier when the landlord wanted to buy the shop. Before the end of the fourth season of “Auction Hunters”, on 5 April 2014, the boys and Elle gave a proper send-off to Big Sis, complete with champagne and some cash. It was also the last time Laura “Elle” Soares was seen in the show. It was renewed for another season but they went back to the original format when Allen and Ton didn’t own a shop, so there was no need for any part-timers.
Get to know more about Laura Soares
Laura Soares was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She lost her mother when she was 11 years old, and her father didn’t know what to do with her and her two younger sisters. To ensure that his daughters would be able to take care of their physical appearance, he early on enrolled them into a modeling class. Laura liked it so much, that at the age of 16 she started her swimsuit modeling career, but which took a backseat when she focused on earning a college degree – it was his father who instilled in her the importance of getting an education.
To widen her career choices, she flew to Los Angeles in 2006 to seek a career in the American entertainment industry. Many people approached her as she represented the enthralling image from the popular song “Girl From Ipanema.” She started to get projects, including commercials and music videos due to her exotic looks. She found others’ impression of her to be funny, because back in Brazil, no one would classify her as exotic. However, modeling wasn’t her priority, because establishing a business was at the top of her goals. In fact, when she launched Laura Soares Swimwear in 2010, she didn’t want to model her own product, but only be the designer and the CEO.
The idea of creating a swimsuit line started when she missed the swimsuits that she wore in Brazil, and never found anything close to them in the US. Most of the swimsuits that she saw in American stores were cute, and some were too skimpy for her taste; she wanted something sexy but classy. The swimsuits she designed were manufactured in Brazil, and sold in the US through trendy boutiques in California, Miami, New York and Hawaii. She was quite comfortable that her line was slowly going up and gaining attention. It was also the reason why she agreed on modeling her designs, because of the market reach that she could make each time she landed a cover of a magazine such as Maxim UK.
Aside from modeling various brands, she also ventured into hosting and acting, but not before attending relevant workshops. She started with small unnamed roles in the TV series “Dexter” in 2012, and in “How I Met Your Mother” in 2014, before she appeared in “Auction Hunters.”
Update on Laura Soares’s whereabouts in 2023
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After Laura Soares’ one-season stint with “Auction Hunters,” there hasn’t been much information about her entertainment career. Her LinkedIn Page indicated that she was the founder of Soar Estates Luxury Rentals and Aura House, a company engaged in merging wellness and real estate – she described herself as a Conscious Entrepreneur. Her Facebook account, which had more than 60,000 followers, was classified as a Health and Wellness page, with a link to the website of her business called Soar Estates. The company promised its clients to experience true balance in body and mind, through a transformative stay in one of its properties. Their wellness services included Meditation, Breathwork, Sound Bath, and Somatic Bodywork. Their main headquarters can be found at Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Her mantra, ‘Put self-care at the top of your to-do list every single day,’ was stamped on the main page of her website.
Apparently, her muti-faceted career is going along very well, as of early 2023.