After leaving home at 14 years old, Ann Kaplan Mulholland turned her life into what is probably one of the greatest success stories The Real Housewives franchise has ever seen. While she was still a single mother, Ann founded a national finance company that she grew into one of the biggest in Canada. As if that wasn’t enough of a feat, Ann went on to amass a jaw-dropping luxury real estate portfolio and is married to one of the country’s top plastic surgeons.
We sat down with the dynamic cast member of The Real Housewives of Toronto and dove into everything from the party that brought all the women together, to her greatest regrets about this season.
You mentioned in your ET Canada profile that your education might set you apart from the other women. Can you walk us through those accomplishments?
I have a Masters in Business from the Rotman Business School, I’ve got a Master’s of Science, and I’m just finishing my Doctorate in Business. I have a corporate governance designation as well, and I have a degree in interior design from way back.
Did you go into the show hoping you could showcase that type of woman on TV?
What I hope comes out of the show is that women, young women too, see that they can have a future. They can have an academic future, they can be in business and be as big as they want. I have a large real estate investment portfolio that I own on my own, I have a happy marriage, and I have eight kids [four that she gave birth to herself] – and we have fun! I [hope to] demonstrate that you can do all that and still have fun.
How did the idea of the procedure party come about?
[My husband and I] go on the road and we give lectures to doctors. I teach marketing, and my husband teaches different procedures. It is not the first time we’ve done this. I owned a show called The New You Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Center where we had 60,000 square feet of procedures going on, and then I’ve also hosted three television shows all about procedures.
What was it like when you first met the women at the procedure party? Did you connect with anyone right away?
I don’t know that I ‘connected’ with any one person right away. Joan, I had already known before, she’s just so elegant and lovely, and so there [was] a bit of familiarity there. When I met the women it took me a while to connect, I think because I’ve always been so busy with my work and my kids and my own circle of friends that I don’t let people in easily.
There’s a scene where Joan is nervous to meet you because of something that had happened in the past. Were you harbouring any feelings about that moment with Joan?
I had not remembered that moment. It was a non-event. She just happened to bring up something that triggered a moment. When I watched a bit of that [back], I broke down in tears because it brought the memory back of what was discussed, and that [moment] was horrific, and it still is to this day. [Joan] didn’t do anything wrong, and she was very eloquent and elegant about dealing with it. It was just that she touched on a subject that was painful for me.
So you’ve seen a lot of procedures in your day, what’s the one you can’t stomach?
The one I [don’t] like watching is breast augmentation. And not because it’s gruesome…because it smells. I would NOT go in and watch that again.
In the premiere, nearly everyone on the cast admitted to being okay with a procedure here or there… Is there one part of yourself you’d never touch?
Anything that I’m not happy with, I’ll work on it.
How do you think people are going to perceive you ladies? There’s a lot of people who have never known about this side of Toronto.
They might not have known, but I think they’re going to get inside the lives of people who have the money spend on fashion, and are really into fashion. This is how we live our lives, and it’s fun to see. There’s a lot of sparkle.
Do you have any regrets when you look back at filming this first season?
I don’t have regrets from this season. There’s a lot of moments where I look back and [say] ‘did I say that?!’
I think you need to own it. And you should be smart enough to know how to control when the unexpected happens and you’ve got to say the right thing, or when somebody sort of slams you. Then there’s moments when [something] comes out of someone else’s mouth that I wish I had a retort back. But at the same time, I don’t want to throw back something I don’t want thrown at me. I have to be myself. I’m not going to say the types of words that are coming at me, and I’m glad I keep it in check.