Cover story: Kara Al­loway from The Real Housewives of Toronto


North Toronto Post - - Contents - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

Cat­ti­ness, con­flict and … born-again 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 well-clad 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 co­or­di­na­tor for a restau­rant and hung out with fel­low housewives Kyle Richards and Bethenny Frankel.

“That was how I ended up meet­ing Kyle. She used to come into my restau­rant all the time, and Bethenny Frankel worked up the street. Kyle was like the apex of the tri­an­gle be­tween Bethenny and my­self,” Al­loway says.

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.”

Al­loway 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, ”notes Al­loway. “It was a re­ally cool time in mag­a­zine pub­li­ca­tion.”

As fate would have it, the next time Al­loway headed 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, Rea Law State (she came up with the name), and do­ing char­ity work for poor so­ci­eties in places

We get the low­down on this real house­wife’s favourite NoBlo hang­outs

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.”

Most 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 when she comes home, though. One of the char­i­ties she’s most pas­sion­ate about, Kids, Cops & Com­put­ers, is de­voted to help­ing fi­nan­cially dis­ad­van­taged kids ac­cess elec­tron­ics so they can suc­ceed at school.

“This pro­gram pro­vides in­ner-city 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 more than full. Al­though the fam­ily mem­bers are all on dif­fer­ent sched­ules, they still find ways to spend qual­ity time to­gether.

“It does get crazy some­times, but we are a very tight-knit fam­ily. We all sup­port each other,” she says. “If my sons know I’ll be at a char­ity event down­town for the night, they’ll of­fer to cook din­ner. I have a lot of sup­port.”

As if Al­loway’s sched­ule wasn’t hec­tic enough be­fore, her in­volve­ment 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’!” Al­loway says.

What’s next for this busy house­wife? Al­loway is cur­rently in the re­search phase for a book on fe­male friend­ships — a fit­ting sub­ject for a real house­wife. The book will dis­cuss the re­la­tion­ships women have with an­other and the rea­sons why so many women lose touch or “break up” with their friends. “I’m in the throes of re­search­ing right now,” Al­loway 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 juicy se­crets from The Real House

wives 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 once it’s re­leased.

“The dy­namic be­tween all the women re­ally is fas­ci­nat­ing, and I think that’s why the fran­chise is so suc­cess­ful,” she says.

“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.

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