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iRealHousewives Exclusive Interview With RHOT’s Joan Kelley Walker!

I recently had to opportunity to interview Joan Kelley Walker from The Real Housewives of Toronto! Joan is well known in Toronto's social scene and in the entertainment industry as a philanthropist, actress, model, fashion designer, TV host, mother and wife. Joan talks to us EXCLUSIVELY where she talks about life after RHOT, her new fashion line with, The Joan Kelley Walker Collection, future projects and much more. Read out exclusive interview with Joan Kelley Walker below!

Joan – Welcome to iRealHousewives – for those who are not familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
JKW: I am a small-town girl from Wilcox, Saskatchewan Canada. I ventured on my own when I was 18 years old to pursue my modelling career in the big city of Toronto. At heart, I would say I am still a farm girl.  Family is important, community is important and working hard is important to me. I am happily married and a mom of 4, two step children and 2 sons. Being a mother is the most important and meaningful role in my life.  I have had an expansive media career which started with modelling which opened the doors to journalism, radio, production, interviewing A-list celebrities, you name it.  I love it all! I have always been a HUGE fashion lover and love to shop! A lot of my time has always been dedicated to philanthropic work so just recently I launched my own fashion line called the Joan Kelley Walker collection. This is my passion and purpose project. My way of giving back and living with joy. I am a morning person but only with coffee and I just love popcorn!

How were you approached to join The Real Housewives of Toronto?
JKW: I was called by the production company and asked if I was interested to be a cast member. I never did find out who recommended me but as soon as I got the call I knew it was something I wanted to do. I have been on television before however reality TV was very new to me. I was curious and ready for an adventure.

Were you a fan of the franchise prior to joining the show?
JKW: OK, I do have to be honest here and tell you that I had not watched many episodes of The Real Housewives franchise prior to being asked to appear on the show.

RHOT Season 1 Promotional Photo (Credit: Slice)

How would you describe your first experience on doing reality television?
JKW: The experience was a lesson filled fun one that was exhausting at times. You really don’t know what to expect and it was living out of my comfort zone at times. Overall, I got to spend quality time with some pretty incredible women and that was awesome!   

If you could join any other Real Housewives city, which one would it be and why?
JKW: I would have to say The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I have met Lisa Rina a couple of times in Muskoka where I spend a lot of time in the summer and I admire her and the way she has developed her business. I am also a fan of Vanderpump. These women are fierce and passionate! Who wouldn’t want to hang out with them?

Looking back during your time on the show what has been your biggest regret and why?
JKW: I do try and live without regrets.  Anything that would be seen as a regret is a lesson. I own all of my actions and I think it is important we all remember that we are human. That is reality.

Despite the drama, what’s some of your favorite scenes and why?
JKW: Watching the episodes always take me down memory lane. I have so many favorite scenes now that you ask! I loved the scene when we were out in Muskoka on the paddle boards, we were floating around and talking and I remember it being so beautiful and peaceful. A memorable scene was meeting Ann at the Gaudi park in Barcelona. The architecture was stunning and we had a quality visit spending time together.  Another good one was when Roxy Grego and I were stomping grapes barefoot in the same barrel in Barcelona! We laughed so hard that day!  I mean what if we fell over?  All the laughter! So much fun!

Do you feel cheated out that RHOT didn’t get a reunion special?
JKW: OH yes of course however we have had many reunions since. We didn’t let one person ruin it for us. Most of us have stayed really close and we are a support system for one another! We are regularity uniting and although it is unfortunate we didn’t get a proper reunion social media has been great to keep in touch with the fans.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your former co-stars?
JKW: Jana and Grego were friends before the show so we have remained really close and the show even brought us closer. Because of the show I have two new friends Ann and Roxy. I have the most love and admiration for all of these women. We are all very different yet the same. I am continuously inspired by each of them, their hearts and ambition.

RHOT Season 1 Promotional Photo #2 (Credit: Slice)

Your feud with Kara Alloway became the center storyline on the show. Why do you think she feuded with the rest of the ladies – in particularly with you and Roxy?
JKW: I really don’t know why. I did try really hard to communicate with Kara. We may not have seen eye to eye on things but that does not mean we could not get along. It was a bit of a difficult situation for me because generally if you make your best effort and try and communicate with someone usually a common ground can be established. Unfortunately, this was not the case. You don’t ever have control over other people and I just tried not to take anything personally. There was a big lesson in all of it for me. Take the higher road as they say!

Do you have any regrets about doing the show, if so why?
JKW: I don’t have regrets about doing the show. I do wish more of the real me was highlighted. I have been doing philanthropic work for so many years and none of that was really mentioned. When the show was airing it was a bit nerve wracking we were seeing the episodes for the first time with all the viewers so watching things unfold had me on the edge of my seat at times. Reflectively being on the show gave me the courage to really pursue my dreams. I mean if you put yourself out there to the world you can do anything, right?

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about doing a reality show in particular the Real Housewives series?
JKW: Where do I start? Reality TV is still TV. It is not scripted but there are edits, we had call times and scenes were set up. We did not wear mics 24hrs every day. You know when you are on camera and off camera. Parts of the show are real and others are not. It is the fusion of the two that makes good TV. At the end of the day it is work and I think a lot of people forget about that- the long hours, the time and the energy that goes into it.

Photo Credit: Joan Kelley Walker

What‘s the biggest lesson you learned about yourself from doing RHOT?
JKW: When I agreed to do the show, my intention was to just be myself. You learn who you are when you are tested and I learned that ultimately, I can trust myself. This means not what other people think of me or the perception of me but my true self. I know I am a nice person. I am not reactive. I value honesty, kindness and peace. The lessons in the show was to stay true to my values despite how people treated me. There were times I felt really vulnerable and I did second guess myself however in the end when you stay true to you everything always works out.

Do you still watch any Real Housewives shows from time to time, if so - which ones?
JKW: Now I am always curious and watch the series more than ever! I watch them through a different lens since my own experience. I applaud every woman who is brave enough to put themselves out there and just be who they are.

You have been doing red carpet events and have interviewed some of the biggest A-List celebrities in entertainment prior to Housewives for Red Carpet Diary – was reporting/hosting always been a passion of yours?
JKW: YES! I have worked in media for many years ranging from hosting, radio, voiceover work, tv and I have hosted Red Carpet Diary for 10 years now and love it. Interviewing A-list movie stars is every small-town girls big dream. I know how much hard work it takes to get to where they stand before me so I respect that immensely. I am challenged by this work because you have to engage with them quickly. The show is movie specific and not personal so I get to talk to them about their art which is interesting to me.

What’s been some of your most memorable interviews you’ve done?
JKW: Every single one! There’s no way I can list them all, there are hundreds but some of my favorites have been George Clooney, Drew Barrymore, Ron Howard, Julianne Moore, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Olivia Wilde, Alec Baldwin, Emilio Estevez, Sienna Miller, Brie Larson, Kierra knightly, Chris Hemsworth, Al Pacino, Danielle Radcliffe, JENNIFER Anniston, James Franco…the list goes on and on! I also love to talk to real people that films are based on like Aaron Ralston from the film 127 Hours.

These days you’ve been super busy working on your new fashion line, The Joan Kelley Walker Collection, which is available in – What inspired your line and how did the collaboration with Walmart come about?
JKW: After the show, I was yearning for my sense of purpose. The spotlight created a real big desire to give back. Almost a responsibility.  Combining my passions of fashion and philanthropy is real and I know it is my purpose because it is connected to helping other people. The entire process was joyful. It felt right and true.  The entire collection was designed with every woman in mind. There are a variety of pieces ranging from holiday dresses, beach to bar, and warm fashionable winter jackets!  I am so excited about it because finally high fashion pieces, good quality pieces are available at affordable prices.   For every purchase made of the Joan Kelley Walker collection, I am making a donation to Breakfast Club of Canada which is an incredible organization that gives every child an equal chance by providing nutritious breakfasts.  The entire concept is fairly new and I am passionate about inspiring others to give back in anyway that they can.

I notice that for every purchase sold, a donation goes to ‘Breakfast Club for Canada’ – how did that collaboration come about?
JKW: My family and I have supported World Vision Canada for over 18 years and this work has taken me around the globe. Together we have worked on various initiatives but a child’s wellbeing has been the priority, as a mother this is close to my heart. This includes proper nutrition, education, clean water. I was looking to partner with a national charity with similar values and Breakfast Club of Canada is it. I believe every child deserves an equal chance and I want to share this with you. Six months after the implementation of a breakfast program, teachers notice, on average, a 104% improvement and student’s attention span. School principals also reports a significant decrease in cases of bullying, violence, and visits to the nurses office. Long-term results show a 17% improvement in graduation rates between students who regularly ate breakfast and those who did not.  This is something I stand strong and proud behind. Children are the future.

For those who are not familiar with ‘Breakfast Club for Canada’ – can you tell us a little bit about the organization? 
JKW: Breakfast club is made up of over 17,000 volunteers who wake up every morning to feed over to 120,000 students in 1600 schools across the country. In some cases, the breakfast that students receive at school through the breakfast club if canada is the only meal that they receive all day.   Research reveals that the impacts of hunger reach far beyond a single child.  Hunger affects classroom learning (60% of which is done before lunch) behavioural issues such as bullying and social exclusion, as well as overall health and wellbeing.   One in five Canadian children is at risk of starting school on an empty stomach.  More than 20 years ago, Breakfast Club of Canada started its mission to nurtre the potential and grow healthy students, giving an equal chance of success to all kids one breakfast at a time.

I noticed that the prices in your collection are reasonable prices, which is perfect – was that always the intent?
JKW: Absolutely! My dream was to make a high quality, high fashion brand label accessible to many people. I love that there is a conversation happening right now. Fashion has the power and create impactful educational opportunities for the masses. When I was a young girl I was naturally drawn to fashion but I had very limited resources and I had to be super creative to reinvent the pieces I have. To this day I love mixing high and low-cost items or mixing new with the vintage or reinventing pieces in my closet. I actually name the items in my closet, they all have their own personality.

Do you have any plans in perhaps expanding the line outside of Canada? Perhaps in the U.S.?
JKW: I do have very big plans for expansion, the most immediate thing is to add more categories, like swim and shape wear, footwear and accessories, soft home goods.

Is the collection available to purchase for your fans that live outside Canada?
JKW: We can certainly ship anywhere around the world!  I would love to see all women wear the Joan Kelley Walker collection!

I know that you’re a big philanthropist and you’ve been recognized multiple times for you’re amazing hard work – what motives you to help others and why is giving back so important to you?
JKW: Simple. Giving back is part of the flow of life. We must give and receive. I think that because I am from a small town and the value of giving back was instilled within me from the beginning it is just the way for me. We were always conscious of how our actions affected others and the power of each action. A simple smile is a giveback, helping someone with groceries, there are so many ways to give. I do feel like there is a responsibility to give especially if you are someone with more than others. When we are in service we are living our best life with purpose.

November is here and that means the start of the Holiday Season! With cold weather approaching and the gift giving feelings upon us, this is a great time to take a peak at the Winter Coats from the @joankelleywalkercollection. It’s all in the details and the #JoanKelleyWalkerCollection jackets feature: •100% Soft-Touch Polyester Outer Shell and Lining •Faux-Down Fill for Superior Warmth and Protection •Removable Faux Fur Trim & Removable Hood •Rib Knit Cuffs for Additional Warmth and Comfort •Sherpa Lined Hood, Fleece Lined Pockets •Machine Washable •Water Repellent Aquatech® Coating for Additional Protection from the Outside Elements Available in the link in my bio or at where with each purchase I am donating to the @breakfastclubcanada #wintercoat #affordablefashion #canadianwinter #winterfashion #allinthedetails #walmartcanada #breakfastclubcanada #bettertogether
A post shared by Joan Kelley Walker (@joankww) on

Any other future projects that you’re working on?
JKW: Well there’s another TV show that I have my eye on…in the meanwhile, I am a regular host of a radio show and I am working with many products and events acting as emcee or spokesperson.

Anything you would like to say to your fans?
JKW: BE YOU not matter what! I am so grateful for all of the support during the show and after.  It truly means the world to me. So many people comment on how The Real Housewives of Toronto was about women supporting women and I really think that is important. We are all better together and although there may be differences at times it is important to always have compassion for yourself and others.

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Photo Credit: Lindsay Anne Delaney (@citylightlinds)

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