Everyone dreams of leaving the real world behind and running off to live on a tropical island and, for Miriam Novotny and Paul Brooks, that dream has become a reality. The dynamic real estate duo turned reality talk show hosts are serving up island life one episode at a time on “Keys Island Life,” a show they created to share with the world how to live the Key West lifestyle.
Novotny’s and Brooks’ hit show can be seen on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Being in the business of buying and selling homes, the duo knows that every business needs marketing. They also know the allure of life in Key West, so they created the buzz worthy show to teach people near and far how to live like a local.
On “Keys Island Life,” Novotny and Brooks romp around the island, showcasing local businesses and interviewing colorful Key West characters and telling their stories at no charge. This not only benefits the businesses (hello, free advertising!), but also tourists who want to know about those businesses. The pair eats at their favorite restaurants, drinks at their favorite watering holes and visits their favorite Key West locations, showing viewers what it’s really like to live the Key West way every day.
“Keys Island Life” first aired in the spring of 2019, with the first few episodes reaching over 17,000 hits in less than a year. The power of social media has helped Novotny and Brooks tremendously, with their show being shared and liked by locals and visitors alike. The duo shoots their content on an iPhone (with secret additions added) and Brooks’ attention to detail is put to use as he edits each episode for your viewing pleasure.
An offer to work a property management job brought the young and talented (and oh-so adorable) Brooks to Key West from his hometown of Asheville, N.C. He has spent the last four years living on the island and working as a Realtor, which is how he met his partner in crime, Novotny. Novotny, who is also a Realtor on the island, is originally from Slovakia, but she spent her childhood growing up in the Czech Republic. She arrived in Key West in 1998 and knew she found her happy place as soon as she landed on the rock.
“I have to admit that ever since that day, I always knew that I may never be able to have such a happy life anywhere else in the world,” Novotny says. “I was born in Slovakia, a beautiful tiny little country, and I grew up in Czech Republic, another beautiful tiny country. And now I live on a beautiful tiny island, so in that sense life was always good to me. I have a 10-year-old Conch boy whose biggest passion is nothing other than fishing, so it’s almost impossible to watch anything else in our house but fishing shows. He is a huge fan of Fish Monster and Into the Blue, which both feature charters that are locally owned and operated, so thank you for all your inspiration, fellow fishermen.
“We are also blessed and fortunate to have a small boat, so our island life is complete and we get on the water as much as we can. I cannot tell you how happy I am every time I see a pod of dolphins swimming and splashing around, it’s just something I will never get tired of. Just as much, I can never get tired of our gorgeous sunsets, warm ocean and delicious seafood.”
After spending my morning in a punishingly vigorous yoga class at Shakti Yoga, sweating out the tequila I had consumed the night before at General Horseplay, I stumbled upon Brooks and Novotny. The twosome was busy ordering up their favorite lunch options and smoothies at the studio’s café, Mayanjali. I noticed a camera and couldn’t help but gravitate toward them (if you know me, you know I live for a closeup).
Hungover and nosy, I approached the duo and asked them what they were filming and why. They shared the premise of their talk show with me and then asked me if I’d go on camera to share my Shakti Yoga experience with their viewers. Without makeup and with tequila glistening forth from my pores, I got on camera and shared my thoughts for the world to see, fully dressed merely a sports bra and inclingy yoga spandex.s Underdressed though I may have been, that’s exactly the raw experience Novotny and Brooks want their viewers to bear witness to — real testimonials from locals. They carefully curate their show, interviewing primarily interesting business owners with your typical Key West character thrown into the mix.
“We enjoy spending our time with interviewing people because it’s nice to connect with them,” Brooks says. “We like to find out how people got their start.”
“We hope that our mini episodes will bring a smile to your face as we share our love for the Florida Keys with all of you and show those not from here what the ‘Keys Island Life’ is all about,” Novotny adds. “Each week, we visit different parts of the islands and interview tourists, business owners, locals and artists to show people how much fun it can be to live like a local. Some episodes are pre-scheduled and some are totally spontaneous, but regardless of what we show you in each episode, it’s not a paid advertisement. It’s more of a guide to the Florida Keys. And no, we are not trying to compete with HGTV, so don’t expect perfection and fancy production, but rather keep in mind our low budget and authenticity of our show. Some of the episodes we already filmed highlight the Southernmost Point, Mallory Square, Alan S. Maltz Gallery, Key Lime Pie Bakery, Sushi Song, Fort Zachary Taylor Park, Cruisin’ Tikis with We’ve Got The Keys, Top Spa at La Concha, Key West Butterfly Museum, Blue Heaven, Sunset Pier and Shakti Yoga. So please make sure you check these places out. We had a great time and thank each of them for hosting us.”
When they’re not busy buying and selling slices of paradise, you can find Novotny and Brooks shooting content around the island. If you’ve ever wanted to live like a local or have wanted to find a new hot spot in town, then tune in to Keys Island Life. You won’t want to miss what this in-the-know team is serving up. ¦