North T.O.’s real house­wife

The Real Housewives of Toronto star Kara Al­loway on rais­ing great kids and phi­lan­thropy by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

Bayview Post - - Life -

Cat­ti­ness, con­flict and … bor­na­gain Chris­tian­ity? When it comes to The Real Housewives re­al­ity se­ries, some things are to be ex­pected — and oth­ers less so. To the joy of lo­cal fans, the buzzy new stop on the ad­dic­tive se­ries’ train is none other than our fair city. In The

Real Housewives of Toronto, lo­cal gal Kara Al­loway is one of the six dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties from the Six.

Al­loway, a long­time res­i­dent of North Toronto, is the fash­ion­ista, phi­lan­thropist and born-again Chris­tian of the group. The well­clad women of the se­ries — billed as some of Toronto’s wealth­i­est res­i­dents — in­clude out­spo­ken lifestyle brand builder Roxy Earle and French-Cana­dian ac­tress Gre­go­ri­ane Grego Minot, who, as a mom, has put her ca­reer on hold. Self-made busi­ness woman Ann Ka­plan Mul­hol­land, TV host and pro­ducer Joan Kel­ley Walker and Joga CEO Jana Webb round out the cast. The show fol­lows the women as they nav­i­gate their jobs, their re­la­tion­ships and Toronto’s most elite so­cial scene.

Prior to be­com­ing a name to know in T.O., Al­loway was all about know­ing her neigh­bours. “I grew up on McRae Drive in Lea­side,” Al­loway says. “I knew the names of ev­ery sin­gle per­son on my street. It’s a real old-fash­ioned com­mu­nity. We even had a milk­man. It hasn’t lost that charm at all.”

Af­ter study­ing English at McGill Univer­sity, Al­loway headed west to live in Beverly Hills, where she worked as an event co-or­di­na­tor for a restau­rant and hung out with fel­low housewives Kyle Richards and Bethenny Frankel.

Al­loway’s glitzy Beverly Hills gig al­lowed her to rub el­bows with the high so­ci­ety of L.A., in­clud­ing Gray­don Carter, the ed­i­tor-in-chief of Van­ity Fair.

“I re­mem­ber Ivana Trump was on the cover of Van­ity Fair in this iconic yel­low dress, and we did this big party with ev­ery­thing yel­low — yel­low flow­ers, yel­low linens. It was amaz­ing,” Al­loway says. “I had al­ways wanted to work in mag­a­zines, so I sent around some of my writ­ing sam­ples.”

She then went on to join the me­dia world at Condé Nast, where she wrote for Al­lure mag­a­zine as the as­sis­tant West Coast ed­i­tor. “It was a re­ally fun job and I learned a ton,” she says.

Some of Al­loway’s most mem­o­rable Al­lure anec­dotes in­clude de­liv­er­ing jew­els to Naomi Camp­bell and help­ing with a Kate Moss cover shoot when the ’ 90s grunge phase was in full swing.

“We were the first ones to put Kate Moss on the cover of a mag­a­zine,” she says. “It was a re­ally cool time in mag­a­zine pub­li­ca­tion.”

As fate would have it, the next time Al­loway came home to re­new her Amer­i­can visa, she met her now hus­band at a party. “It was lit­er­ally love at first sight,” she says. “I went back to Toronto and that was it.”

To­day, Al­loway splits her time be­tween writ­ing and mar­ket­ing for her hus­band’s bro­ker­age, ReaLawS­tate (she came up with the name), and do­ing char­ity work for poor so­ci­eties in places like Malawi and Nicaragua.

“My life mantra is you can’t take it with you, so you might as well send it ahead,” she says. “I think it’s very cru­cial that I teach my chil­dren to give back.”

Re­cently, Al­loway trav­elled with her fam­ily to Nicaragua, where they helped to in­stall re­verse-os­mo­sis wa­ter fil­ters, and Ecuador, where they worked in mo­bile hos­pi­tals.

“Peo­ple had 18-month-old ba­bies that had never seen a physi­cian. We take our med­i­cal care for granted here,” she says.

Al­loway’s phil­an­thropic ef­forts don’t stop there. One of the char­i­ties she’s most pas­sion­ate about, Kids, Cops & Com­put­ers, is de­voted to help­ing fi­nan­cially dis­ad­van­taged kids in Toronto ac­cess elec­tron­ics so they can suc­ceed at school.

“This pro­gram pro­vides in­nercity kids with elec­tronic de­vices, which are de­liv­ered by po­lice of­fi­cers to break down the nega­tive stig­mas. I’ve seen the kids that come through this pro­gram, and it re­ally is life chang­ing,” she says.

Al­loway and her fam­ily now live in the Hogg’s Hol­low neigh­bour­hood, which she and her hus­band love for its peace and quiet. With three boys, one at­tend­ing Crescent School, one at Blyth Acad­emy Lawrence Park and the old­est at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami, Al­loway has her hands full.

“It does get crazy some­times, but we are a very tight-knit fam­ily. We all sup­port each other,” she says.

As if her sched­ule wasn’t hec­tic be­fore, be­ing in The Real Housewives

of Toronto has upped the ante. “If I could de­scribe the show in one word it would be ‘Crazy.’ ‘Manic.’ ‘De­mand­ing’!” she says.

What’s next for Al­loway? She is in the re­search phase for a book on fe­male friend­ships. The book will dis­cuss the re­la­tion­ships women have and the rea­sons why so many women lose touch or “break up” with their friends. “I’m in the throes of re­search­ing right now,” she says.

“The show gave me a great plat­form to do a ton of re­search on what hap­pens when you put six women from dif­fer­ent so­cioe­co­nomic back­grounds to­gether. It’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing dy­namic, and I think that’s why ev­ery­one tunes in to the show,” Al­loway says. “It’s a re­ally im­por­tant project for me.”

Al­though the drama and se­crets from The Real Housewives of Toronto are un­der wraps un­til it pre­mieres, Al­loway, whose tra­di­tional val­ues some­times put her at odds with the more lib­eral ladies, says she’s con­fi­dent that view­ers will be glued to their tele­vi­sion sets.

“I also think the show will be re­ally pop­u­lar with all those se­cret male watch­ers who would never ad­mit to watch­ing it. There’s some­thing to be said for the es­capism of it all.”

The Real Housewives of Toronto pre­mieres March 7 at 10 p.m.

Al­loway is one of the six dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties from the Six

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