Kathy Ireland From Model to Mogul
The former supermodel owns two homes in Honolulu, and is using one to benefit Toys For Tots
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When Ireland and her family aren’t in Hawaii, her luxury homes are available for weddings, private events and as a vacation rentals, as well as for use by nonprofit organizations.
“When I was told of this opportunity with the Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce and Toys for Tots, we just jumped for joy,” says Ireland.
“I love the work Toys for Tots does. It’s such a special time of year, so to really bring joy to children is really exciting.
“There are so many needs out there and we feel very blessed to be able to give back. It’s something that everybody can do in some way, shape or form, whether it’s giving up our time, our resources, our prayers.”
This Christmas, Ireland will be with family in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she grew up and continues to reside.
“A tradition we have is we used to get up when it was still dark and go down to the beach and just have a quiet little Christmas out there,” says Ireland. “If there’s any surf, we’d go out for a little surf. We have our Bible, gather and really focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and we bring some hot chocolate down there.
“As our kids got a little bigger, they were too excited for Santa, so it was too hard to do that on Christmas morning. So now we usually do that around Christmas.”
Ireland first visited Hawaii at age 16, tagging along with a girlfriend and her family. She had just “retired” from a three-year paper route, and spent $500 (25 percent of her life savings at the time) on airfare for the trip.
“It was a big decision and I just thought you know what, if I don’t go and make these memories I really might regret it,” she recalls.
The next year, she started modeling, which turned into a career that included the highly coveted cover of Sports Illustrated‘s 25th anniversary swimsuit issue, as well as roles in numerous films, including Necessary Roughness.
“Oh, that was a 100 years ago,” says Ireland about her days under the spotlight. “It was a wonderful experience. It exposed me to the best designers in the world, people of all different cultures and travels, but I always knew that I belonged on the other side of the camera.”
Now, Ireland is focused on her business, her family and her community. But it’s her job as a mother that she notes as the most difficult. So, how does she balance it all?
“Some days I don’t do it very well at all,” she answers. “I feel very strongly that all moms work whether we get paid or not. I can’t think of anything harder or more important than raising children.
“It’s challenging, but I really believe you can have it all, but not all at once, and that’s key. Every season you have to prioritize your life and for me, my priorities are my faith, my family and then it’s of being of service to our work.
“I think it’s important to figure out what your values are, what’s really important to you, and then put some boundaries in place to protect them.”
KATHY IRELAND Q&A
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
To raise funds to help the extraordinary children around the world. In different places, we have different wishes. In Hawaii we are planning a Toys for Tots drive. People can contact our family members, including our niece Mirasol Domingo and our nephews Justin Panoke and Tommy Meharey, at 808-222-1868 to get involved. We have toys that have been gifted by many famous people. Miss America, Tony Dovolani of Dancing With The Stars and Janet Jackson have all been gracious and helpful. Yesterday at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, our partners at Kathy Ireland Home by Window World, hosted a holiday celebration. We toured the hospital and enjoyed surprises with the children. Giving toys, painting faces, playing games and other fun activities, brought everyone so much joy. Having the honor, opportunity and privilege to speak and meet with the doctors, the executives of St. Jude and with the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) was powerful. Our Christmas wishes are celebrating events such as these wherever possible.
My favorite Christmas ornament is ...
My favorite Christmas ornaments include our children’s photographs. We sit together and design new crafts for our tree with their photographs, using Kathy Ireland Design It Yourself by Belagio and Cousin products to make ornaments fun and exciting. Crafting is a family passion for the holidays. We make crafts to give as gifts. Our Christmas cards are sent via kathyirelandgreetings.com. It’s easy, affordable and fun. An amount equal to all of our company’s income during this season is given to nonprofits.
The best Christmas gift I ever received was ...
Our family taught us that “all that you give, is all that you get ... and that the best gift is giving.” And today, our three kids are amazing heroes. Each of them is involved in nonprofit activities all year-round. They serve in foreign countries, disaster relief, world hunger and local education efforts. Our kids just don’t stop giving. Their compassion is a great gift all year-round ... especially at Christmas!
My favorite Christmas movie is ...
I can’t name just one, but three favorites for our family are: It’s a Wonderful Life, Once Upon a Christmas and Twice Upon a Christmas. Those last two air every year on ABC Family. They were produced by HRH, Prince Edward. And our children enjoy the message. They also have fun seeing Mom playing Santa’s daughter, with all the other fine actors.
My favorite place to eat in Hawaii is ...
It’s not fair to choose one. Some are Le Bistro, BluWater Grill and for very special occasions, if we’re being truly extravagant, we also visit La Mer.
My favorite place to be in Hawaii is ... Is on Oahu! At either of our beachfront homes.
My favorite thing to do in Hawaii is ... Meet new people.
I stay healthy by ... Making healthier food choices, cutting down on snacks and my favorite - desserts. Regular exercise sessions make a real difference. I like getting my exercise with sports. I love to surf ... hiking and biking are great too.
My favorite fashion designers are ... Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and anything from J. Crew.
I’m really good at ... Having enough patience or understanding of someone else’s point of view. Working on it every day!
I’m really bad at ... Getting enough sleep. I’m also working at it.
I am obsessed with ... My Bible. Reading, learning and understanding God’s word, every day.
What is always in your fridge? Fruits, green vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and lite salad dressings.
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