A star is born: From selling houses to inspiring women, Glennda Baker is taking on TikTok

Cobb County real estate agent Glennda Baker, owner of Glennda Baker and Associates, outside her home, a California Contemporary, in Atlanta Country Club. (HADLEY(s) Photography)

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Cobb County real estate agent Glennda Baker, owner of Glennda Baker and Associates, outside her home, a California Contemporary, in Atlanta Country Club. (HADLEY(s) Photography)

When Glennda Baker was a child growing up in Druid Hills, her mother, Betty Baker, used to them drive through the Atlanta Country Club in East Cobb. Together, they would wind down Collins Drive to Betty’s favorite home, a California Contemporary perched atop a hill where it overlooked the neighborhood and the skyline of Atlanta to the south. A mother and a daughter, dreaming of the future.

“My mom would point up at this house and she would say, ‘Pumpkin, look at that house on the hill. Look at the house on the hill,’” Baker recalled, her eyes bright and a smile spread across her face at the thought of the memory. “‘One day pumpkin, just one day.’”

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"Ultimately, what I love is the engagement in the comments," Baker said about her fans on TikTok. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

"Ultimately, what I love is the engagement in the comments," Baker said about her fans on TikTok. (Courtesy of 
HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

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"Ultimately, what I love is the engagement in the comments," Baker said about her fans on TikTok. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Today, Baker, 55, is one of the top real estate agents in the county and a viral sensation on TikTok, a video-focused social media network. In 2021, she sold two of the most expensive homes in the county (check out the list on page 14 for the top 10 most expensive homes sold in Cobb last year) and her videos on TikTok have garnered more than 606,000 followers and 9.2 million likes. This is her story.

From humble beginnings

When asked to describe three things about herself, Baker said, “I was the last person picked on the playground, I barely got out of high school and I raised two children by myself.”

Her mother, who Baker recalled as “direct” and “strong as battery acid,” was a savvy business woman who worked for a builder/developer in Atlanta. She was also the person Baker wanted to be like more than anyone else when she grew up. The two were extremely close, which is why Baker said she took to heart a piece of advice her mother gave her when she wanted to make a career change.

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“My mom told me to go be a real estate agent,” she said. “I designed and manufactured ladies clothing here in Atlanta and I wanted to get out of that business and my mom suggested I be a real estate agent.”

With her vision set, Baker hit the ground running. At the start of her career, she read a book “How to Develop a Six-Figure Income in Real Estate,” by Mike Ferry and followed the instructions to a T.

“I started (working in real estate) in September of 1992 and by December, I was agent of the month,” she said. “I watched the most successful agents in my office, buddied up with them and did whatever they needed done. I modeled them. No need to reinvent the wheel.”

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Glennda Baker chats with Cobb Life Editor Madison Hogan (out of shot) about real estate. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Glennda Baker chats with Cobb Life Editor Madison Hogan (out of shot) about real estate. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

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Glennda Baker chats with Cobb Life Editor Madison Hogan (out of shot) about real estate. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Baker began growing her team when she became pregnant with her daughter, Victoria Vasquez, and requested friend and colleague Elizabeth Coats to join her 21 years ago.

“One day she pulled me into the conference room and sat there in her St. John Knit and started telling me how she needed a partner... I really had no idea what it was going to mean,” Coats said. “No clue what I was getting into.”

Taking on TikTok

When a business coach suggested Baker get on the latest social media platform, she told the coach flat-out: “I’m not getting on TikTok.”

It wasn’t until Baker met an agent at a conference who had 43,000 views on a single TikTok video that she reconsidered.

“I looked at my friend Sergio and I said, ‘If that guy can do video, so can I,’” she said. “And I came back from that conference and got very intentional about video.”

So intentional that she reached out to a professional videographer to help her shoot videos for the app. When the videographer pointed out that she could simply shoot videos from her smart phone, she cut to the point once more: “That’s not really my brand.” Instead, Baker signed a six-month contract to shoot 11 hours for one day, once a month.

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“The last time we shot we were able to pull out 56 videos out of that one shoot, and it’s all short form for the most part,” she said.

From those shoots, Baker is able to pull together phrases and advice like, “All the money is green and everyone has a dream.” She’ll touch on everything from explaining earnest money to subletting.

Baker’s no-nonsense, quick-to-the-cut demeanor and a passion for hard work attracts a number of viewers who appreciate her guidance in the real estate world during record-low interest rates and record-high sales.

Her most viewed video on the platform, which has more than 10.4 million views, opens with a quick one-liner; “So once upon a time, I sold a big-a-- house,” Baker says to the camera. “I made $137,000 in commission on that one house. And rather than taking that money and investing it in real estate, I went and bought a brand new Mercedes, I went on a shopping spree, and I p---ed that money away. Instead of buying a townhouse on Lennox road. It was right in the middle of foreclosure season, I could have bought that townhouse for $100,000. That townhouse today, that in 1995 was $100,000, is $1 million. That Mercedes is worth zero and those clothes, don’t fit. This is a cautionary tale.”

She’s a straight shooter, a strong Southern woman who resembles a character straight out of “Steel Magnolias” or Julia Sugarbaker from “Designing Women.” With her blonde locks curled, her makeup set and a smile on her face, Baker won’t hesitate to tell it like it is, and her brutal honesty is what keeps her fans — her Glennda Rotties, as she calls them — coming back for more.

“They are loyal, they are fierce and they are protective... You know that you have a loyal following when you don’t even have to respond to the negative comments,” she said.

Baker said according to the analysts at TikTok, she has the “stickiest” audience in terms of engagement among any non-celebrity real estate influencer on the app. She averages 185,000 views a day across her entire video catalogue, more than any other creator on the app in her sector. Comments are up 21% and the following for 2022 is up about 17%.

“Ultimately, what I love is the engagement in the comments,” she said.

In nearly every video, Baker sports stars on her clothes, her earrings, her jewelry, as a signature look. The trend began after fans started commenting they loved her star-studded green jacket and she’s worn stars on her outfits ever since.

“My mom always told me I was a star and I’ve always had an affinity for stars all of my life,” she said. “Sure enough, we started wearing stars in everything and it just stuck.”

A rising tide lifts all boats

Today, Baker runs her own brokerage with Coats, her daughter, and four other women on her all-female agency, Glennda Baker & Associates. Baker said her mission in life is building up women and helping them in every facet of their life.

“My deal is I want to inspire, impact and inform,” she said. “I want to inspire women… I want to help the girls on my team build generational wealth through real estate. It’s not about just teaching them how to be a great real estate agent. I want to teach them how to buy and invest and sell in real estate, to create generational wealth for their families and for themselves. For me, I’m divorced, I raised my kids by myself and I feel strongly that so many women are stuck because they don’t have their own income, they don’t have their own life, they don’t have their own way to make a living.”

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Glennda Baker and Associates, from back left to front left: Elizabeth Coats, Zahra Mendscole, Evelyn Olson, Glennda Baker, Victoria Vasquez and Jewell Frey. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Glennda Baker and Associates, from back left to front left: Elizabeth Coats, Zahra Mendscole, Evelyn Olson, Glennda Baker, Victoria Vasquez and Jewell Frey. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

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Glennda Baker and Associates, from back left to front left: Elizabeth Coats, Zahra Mendscole, Evelyn Olson, Glennda Baker, Victoria Vasquez and Jewell Frey. (Courtesy of HADLEY(s) Photography)

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

Credit: HADLEY(s) Photography

That mission has spread to inspiring women who’ve seen her TikToks to get their real estate license, including some of the women on her own team.

“The story that touched me the most was a lady from Afghanistan who had five children and her husband left her and she got into real estate because I inspired her to do so,” she said. “I think that inspires me, that touches me, that sits with me because you never know who you have the ability to impact with your video.”

But the true impact, Baker said was how her fans held her together.

“I went through a divorce in 2021,” Baker said candidly. “I had had my company prior to marriage. Through that divorce, my company was part of the battle ground and it was shocking, to me because No. 1, it was a personal services business with my name on it. And the mere fact that I had to fight to keep that company intact, it was crippling for me, and I feel like I was on this video journey through that divorce… I don’t think they knew how they held me together, and also, as a woman, I don’t think you realize how vulnerable you are through a divorce.”

On March 20, 2021, Baker drove through the winding roads of Atlanta Country Club to look at the house on the hill she had driven by hundreds of times with her mother before.

“I drove by, wrote down the address of this house and I drove off the street. I turned right on Atlanta Country Club, and I said, ‘One day. One day I’m going to live in this neighborhood,’” Baker said. “And this house came on the market within 30 days of my divorce being final. And I snapped it up, I didn’t think twice about buying in this market… So I think everything happens for a reason.”

Though her mother passed before she could see the dream become reality, the house on the hill, Baker said there’s a peace and a piece of her in the house.

“This was my mom’s dream home,” she said. “I look around this room, I look around this house, and there isn’t anything in here that doesn’t have my mom’s fingerprint on it. That was one thing about this house when I walked through the door. I just felt like she was with me.”


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Credit: Marietta Daily Journal

Credit: Marietta Daily Journal

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