• The JOLO Lifestyle Blog

Same Housewife, Different Show!

When it comes to living, we get to chose how we want to do it because I strongly believe that life is what you make of it. Here's the thing with life. Not only do we get to chose how we want to live it, we get to hold the ownership papers to our own destiny. This concept is something I've been embracing for the past 10 years of my life. I'm not exactly sure why it as taken so damn long to figure it out but the important thing is that I did, and now I'm pushing full steam ahead.

I still remember that feeling of transformation when I left my corporate job to become the #MomBoss that I am today. I was working 12 hour days; making excellent money, but I was unhappy. I wasn't happy with the long commute and the long hours away from my young son. I remember booking a trip to Italy in the midst of my resignation, it was crazy and thrilling all at the same time. The unknowns were stirring up all sides of fear and I think it was that moment in time that shifted everything for me. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief as soon as I got on that plane. And, that thrilling feeling continued to amplify during the 14 days I was away.

I knew that stepping away from what was expected of me was exactly what I needed. It became abundantly clear that I needed to do the things in life that mattered the most to me. I returned home with an overwhelming sense of urgency to live my life on my terms, true to my desires, my needs and my wants. Had I not done that, I'm not sure I would be an Author of 5 published books or even the beloved Blogger you've all come to appreciate. Just as an Author never wants to leave the world with stories that still need to be written, others should never stop chasing the dreams they want to come true; even if you're late to the start line.

Grego Minot embodies the meaning of chasing dreams and making them a reality...literally. Elevating her visibility as a cast member in the 2017 reality hit show The Real Housewives of Toronto, Grego knows how to be "real" on and off camera. Back in key light with her life role as a Wife, Mom and Public Figure, Grego steals the spotlight again with her new web series.

Photo Credit: Live Pixels

"My life is a party and the world is my dance floor" was Grego Minot's opening tag line in the 2017 reality show The Real Housewives of Toronto and it still holds true to this day. Grego is dancing it up again, only this time, it is on her own web series show. Staring in movies, commercials and reality shows, Grego continues to invite the camera's into her life. Welcome to The JOLO Lifestyle Blog, I'm excited to have you here. Let’s jump right in and talk about your new show. I'm a big fan because I love food and gathering with my friends. Whenever food and friends are paired together, magic happens. Tell us about this show. What is the idea around it?

The show is called ‘Kitchen Party with Grego & Ada’ and the title says it all: it’s about having fun with our guests while preparing a dish in front of a live audience. The fact that it’s non-scripted brings a spontaneous and organic component to the show.

Yes, and you do have some experience with non-scripted shows but we will get more into that later. First, I want to talk all things cooking. How did this show come to fruition?

Ada and I were brainstorming one day and came up with the idea of producing a show that embodied our common passion: eating and drinking!

All great things stem from a good brainstorming session. I know Ada from our circle of friends and also from the fashion industry. It's no surprise that each episode continues to get better as you both incorporate fashion, music and featured guests into your shows. Wonderful guests like Carl Wolf, Joan Kelley Walker, Sangita Patel have already guest appeared in some of your episodes. Can you give us a flash-forward of upcoming guests scheduled?

We just had the actress Cindy Sampson, philanthropist/author Charles Hanna, designer Kyriako Caras and singer/songwriter Jordan Heart as recent guests. Our next guest will be the funny and fabulous Ann Kaplan!

Kitchen party with Grego and Ada can be found online and is a must watch. There is so much happiness, entertainment and food! I love that you pair fashion, music, food and personalities. I mean, it makes for a perfect party in the kitchen. Take a look:

Do you feel empowered by the success of this show?

Of course! Ada and I are doing everything ourselves and learn from our mistakes as the show develops. I had never been in the producer’s chair and I love it. The response has been amazing which is keeping me very motivated to continue and enjoy the ride!

Creativity can sometimes be tricky. Exploring a creative side can be even more tricky. With all things creative, I feel that inspiration is the spark that lights up the creative path. To be stimulated by something enough to want to bring it to life is a true gift. What was the inspiration behind it?

A good party involves great friends, great food, great music, great conversations, great wine and lots of dancing! When all these ingredients are mixed together, nothing can go wrong- especially if the party is in the kitchen!

I love this concept. My brother in law is a chef and I'm always in awe of his magnificent creations. They seem so simple, yet they are divinely delicious. I like to cook, but I also know I can get stuck making traditional Italian cuisine. I'm not sure if it's because I favour those dishes or because it is just what I know. What is your favourite dish to cook?

I have many, but I would say I find it most interesting when I must prepare a meal with whatever leftovers I have in my fridge or pantry – this gives me an opportunity to be creative. Otherwise, I take pleasure in cooking Mediterranean dishes and homemade pasta.

I have to ask this next question because I'm a total business woman at heart and I'm never truly focused on only one project. If I'm not working on my new children's book, I'm blogging or creating additional content for my online class Boss Your Business. Can you give us a sneak peek on any other projects are you are currently working on?

I am currently in pre-production mode for the next episodes of ‘Kitchen Party with Grego and Ada’, developing collaborations with a few brands and preparing for a potential dance show but really can’t say more at this time.

I completely get it. Lose lips sink ships! Entertaining with kids can be tricky and I'm totally talking from experience. When it comes to dinner parties, I find myself either cooking separate meals for the young ones or serving dishes I know all 3 of my kids will eat. It's a struggle because my 3 kids are super picky eaters. What’s your favourite kids dish to serve?

My son’s favourite dish is my bolognese sauce and my daughter loves anything with pasta. They also both love lentils with butter. It’s obviously very easy to prepare but it is relatively healthy so I happily oblige. They are good eaters now but such wasn’t always the case.

Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

You mentioned in a previous interview with L’Amour Magazine in 2017 that you were interested in taking a course to become a wedding planner. Did you ever do that?

Yes, I did get my wedding planner certificate but decided not to invest myself in that field - I still love the magic of weddings, however!

You launched an eight-piece jewelry line called GREGO (Snowflake Jewelry Collection. These pieces are made from semi-precious gems from Thailand. Is this something you’re still working on?

Unfortunately, this project is no longer in the works due to circumstances that are out of my control.

That's too bad, but I understand the process of letting go of the things (and projects) that don't speak to us energetically or serve a purpose anymore. Let's talk t.v and entertainment. You are no stranger to television and film. Your acting career includes the 1998 film The Lost World playing the role of Djena. You also played the character Ai Loo in the 1997 film Strip Search directed by Rod Hewitt and even appeared in the episode Tigre et Passion on the series Les Aventures Tumultueuses de Jack Carter as Ling and the list goes on. I have to say that’s pretty damn impressive but, really no surprise, seeing as you started acting at the age of eight. Do you regret any of the roles you accepted?

I’m proud of most of the roles I played throughout my career and never did anything controversial - I was lucky enough to be a working actor for many years in a very competitive and unpredictable industry.

You literally have hundreds of movies, shows, series and commercials spread over your acting resume. With your most recent television appearance being The Real Housewives of Toronto. The Housewives of Toronto’s originally released in March 2017 on the Slice Network. Although that was nearly 3 years ago, the show still remains in the hearts of loyal Housewives fans and followers. Can you tell me a little bit about this experience?

It was a surreal experience. I never imagined I would be part of a reality show – let alone in a Real Housewives franchise!It was an emotional roller coaster ride which represented a big risk for me and my family. I was apprehensive about how the show would portray me since cast members have no control of the outcome. This being said, this journey brought me many memorable moments and I am thankful for having been a part of it.

How did you hear about the making of the Toronto show?

My friend and neighbour Jana Webb (also a cast member), contacted me before giving my contact information to the producers. At the time, she didn’t mention RHOT but asked me if I’d be interested in participating in a TV series during the summer of 2017.I received a phone call from the show’s producers the very next day.

Being an Actor myself, I know that this casting industry isn't always based on auditions alone. Some casing directors have a private list of names that they go to for certain parts and sometimes other cast members recommend someone who fits the part perfectly. In other words, if you are known in the industry, you don't always need to audition. Sometimes it's who you know helps. Did you have to audition for this part?

Not really but I had Face-Time conversations with the producers before meeting them in person. They were trying to determine if I would be a good addition to the rest of the cast - I was the last one to be chosen for the show!

Were you a Real Housewives fan prior to being cast for Toronto?

In all honesty, I knew of the franchise and sometimes watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOB) and The Real Housewives of Vancouver (RHOV) but wasn’t addicted to the show.

I'm friends with some ladies in the Toronto Franchise as well as other Housewives Franchises, which in turn has me watching the show they are on. It's hard to keep up sometimes. I always ask my Housewives friends if they would flip over to another city. I'm not sure if production loves that idea though. I've discussed an East meets West show with my good friend Ronnie Stevenson from The Real Housewives of Vancouver (RHOV) and would love to see some of my Toronto Housewives friends work with this collaboration. You just never know what the Housewives Franchise will do next. If you were to be cast for another Housewives Show what Franchise would it to be for?

Real Housewives of Montreal! It would give me a chance to express myself with more ease and confidence in my mother tongue. Watch out (LOL)!

Brilliant! I'm thinking there will eventually be a Housewives show for every city one day. I mean, there's a Housewives of Italy and Napoli that recently launched. What's one more? Were you friends with any of the other cast members prior to the show?

Yes, with Joan Kelley Walker and Jana Webb.

Being on certain television shows can sometimes help and even hinder our career. Did the Housewives Franchise platform benefit you?

Yes, it did - in a very positive way. Even though I grew up in the entertainment industry, I had always kept a very private life (I didn’t event have a Facebook account :). With the show, my personal life became public so there was a big adjustment but as odd as it may sound, it opened the door to many opportunities. People get to know you for who you are and reach out for various reasons. As a result, I became involved in various business projects, developed beautiful friendships and even got to travel to Tanzania to support a charitable cause that is dear to me (the ONE Organization). The exposure the show gave me continues to bring me joy everyday.

Being on a hit television show immediately heightens a person's visibility almost instantly. Instant fame can be a good thing if you use the platform for the greater good. But fame can inadvertently change a person too. Did the housewives show change you at all?

Definitely not. I’m still the same Grego and my family and my friends would agree!

As an Actor myself, I know the feeling of excitement when you get to watch a series, movie, commercial and or television show that you're staring in for the first time. It can be exhilarating, fascinating, surprising and even disappointing; especially if your line was cut or your scene didn't make it to the final cut. When you watched the Housewives series for the first time, were you surprised by anything?

Well, I was surprised by some of my fellow co-stars’ actions.

There is a ton of work put into filming, editing and producing a show. Many people think that a reality show is filmed and aired as it was taped; not realizing that the production team pieces it all together and creates a watch worthy story with an interesting story line. The Housewives Franchise is founded on drama. With that being said, was filming true to production?

Yes, they did a pretty good job of keeping the narrative as close to real life as possible.

What was your biggest take home lesson from being on The Real Housewives of Toronto?

I made sure I always stayed true to myself and didn’t try to be someone I’m not.

The film and television industry is huge and continues to grow year after year. We see more reality shows now than we did even 10 years ago. What advice do you have for anyone thinking of getting into reality television?

Be authentic!

What were you doing before the Housewives of Toronto? By this I mean, what projects were you directly involved with leading up to being cast?

I was busy working as an actor and being a mom.

Did you have to abandon them once you were cast?

Yes, I put my acting career on hold and haven’t revived it yet but you never know, I still love this industry so if the right role or opportunity were to come along…

Of all the people you know in the industry, who do you admire the most?

I admire a lot of women in this industry but the ones who come to mind right now are Tracy Moore, Ann Kaplan and Sangita Patel because they successfully balance their professional and personal lives with so much grace. They also remain humble and authentic despite their achievements and support other women. I feel very fortunate to know them personally.

My motto and the center of my business model is Mom first, Boss second. I feel like Mom’s all around the world can resonate with this. Becoming a mother is one of the best blessings I’ve ever been granted. It’s difficult to juggle a career and motherhood and yet, you make it look so easy. What is your best advice to other moms who want to master both their career and their family life?

Thank you and yes, I completely agree - being a mom is a true blessing.Being a mother to Tristan and Camelia gives me so much joy and I treasure every moment of it. I think finding a proper balance between your personal and professional life remains the key component of a fulfilled life. I also make sure to be surrounded by people who inspire and challenge me.

Do you have a hard and fast rule when it comes to balancing work and family life?

Abide by a predetermined schedule in order to ensure that you are entirely devoted to each responsibility without mixing the two.

I meet up with new entrepreneurs a few times a month. I've noticed that many of these ladies are also Mom's looking to start their own businesses while raising their children. There seems to be a multitude of reasons as to why many of the ladies struggle with this. Some have expressed exhaustion, guilt, time restrictions, distractions and even lack of understanding with peers. What advice would you give other Mom’s who struggle with balancing their career and family life?

Don’t let your professional passion supersede precious family time.

I'm the type of person that gets inspired easily. From watching a commercial to attending an event, inspiration is gracing my imagination. What is inspiring to you right now?

Kindness and empathy in people.

Kindness gets me too. There's something magical with kindness. Okay, let’s get to some light, fluffy and fun questions. I like to call these questions my lightning round because they are fun, easy questions that don't need a whole lot of thought. What is your favourite shade of lipstick?

Light pink or neutral.

It’s clear that you love fashion, and fashion absolutely loves you. Who is your favourite clothing designer?

Zimmerman because it is fun, bohemian and chic! I also love Stephan Caras for its timeless elegance.

Do you have a mantra?

‘Live life to the fullest and focus on the positive’. I try to live by these words and make the most out of every day that passes while isolating myself from negativity in the process.

What are your favourite brand of heals? Okay, that question was totally for me because your style is gorg!

Thank you!

What is your favourite quote?

‘Success is on the other side of your comfort zone’.

Photo Credit: Live Pixels

I know, I know! Comfort zones are totally yesterdays fashion. I also know you are a passionate and loving woman. Being ethical is high on your priority list and I’m certain you are instilling these values in your children too. Using your heart to guide your dreams, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Remain mentally and physically healthy, discover new people, places and cultures through travels, launch a beauty cosmetic line, a women & children’s clothing line and have a network show! Additionally, I wish to continue spreading love and kindness through charitable and community work.

How do you want people to remember you?

As a kind and loving person.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with you at different events and gatherings around the city. In fact, we have quite a few mutual friends that continue to bring us together but today I want to thank you for sharing such a big part of your life with me and my readers. I know it’s not always easy being a public figure, so thank you again. I look forward to our continued friendship as well as more of your delicious food.

Thank you for this opportunity and for your kind words – please know that the feeling is entirely reciprocated.


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