Q&A: Real Housewife Joan Kelley-Walker on how to throw the perfect party and the truth about the skinny-dipping snafu
Every week, we interview one of The Real Housewives of Toronto about the latest episode and life after the show. This week, party host extraordinaire Joan Kelley-Walker
You split your time between Toronto and King City. What usually brings you into the city?
It depends on what project I am working on: I am a guest columnist for a few different publications, I host TIFF Red Carpet Diaries and I do a lot of philanthropic work. Most of the time I’m in King City, but if I’m really busy working, I sometimes stay in Toronto for two weeks straight.
Have you thrown any parties in your new condo yet?
You’ll have to wait and see, because in The Real Housewives of Toronto finale next week, you will get a glimpse of that. We’ve had parties and I’ve thrown two fashion shows there. The space was perfect for it.
Speaking of parties, your Muskoka dock party was crazy. How do you handle hosting 700 people?
I wouldn’t use the word crazy. I would say it was well-planned. We are very responsible hosts. I make sure that I have enough food for people and people bring their own alcohol. I also have police officers on the lake and on the property. Safety is always my number one priority. People are just happy to be out in the sunshine and enjoying the water.
It looked like a lot of fun.
You’re welcome to come sometime.
Wow. Thanks! Out of all the Housewives, you seem particularly adverse to conflict. How painful was it for you to have confrontations in front of the cameras?
Pretty darn painful. I could have gotten angry, but I choose not to be affected by other people’s negativity. If anything, I’m more grateful for the friends who are supportive. You really saw that with Jana, Grego and Ann in the last episode. This is a television show. It’s for entertainment purposes. There are more things going on in the world that we should be paying attention to. We need to be focused on helping humanity, instead of small issues.
Why didn’t you go to the AMBI Gala?
The truth was it simply did not fit into my schedule. TIFF was starting the next day. My kids were starting school the next day, and I wanted to be home. Kara had not explained the intent of the gala and the dress party with Mikael D well. Also, I was being pushed really hard to buy a really expensive table. I mean, $25,000 to $100,000! The first house that I bought on my own was not much more than that. I am already committed to other charitable causes and initiatives, so I thought I could sit this one out.
The phrase Corporate Wife comes up on the show to describe some of the Housewives. What does that descriptor mean to you?
I wouldn’t describe myself as a Corporate Wife. I know I’ve been described as a Trophy Wife, but my husband and I have been married for over 20 years. At what point does the trophy part go away?
Overall, what was the Housewives experience like for you? Did you ever expect to talk about your panties on TV this much?
Ninety-five per cent was fantastic. The stressful part was the conflict. There were a few times that Kara may have over-reacted. Should we talk about the evening of Kara’s Muskoka dinner party? I want to set the record straight. Nothing happened that was inappropriate or disrespectful at all. It was a bunch of girls having some giggles.
A lot of alcohol was poured and dinner was served very late. I hadn’t eaten, and I was exhausted. I didn’t drink more than anyone else. Kara’s husband and children left. We talked about going swimming. Kara said she wouldn’t go, but she left to get us towels. People started getting ready to swim. I had on a long dress and I discretely stepped out of my undergarment. I did not lift my dress above my ankle. We decided not to swim and we left. Unfortunately, my undergarment fell out of my purse.
That’s the truth. That’s why the other Housewives have been so supportive of me. We were all there and they know that’s what happened. I think that Kara needs to lighten up about the whole thing.