Reality fame 'worth sacrifice'
Although she was happy to work quietly alongside her loud and showy husband on the television program House Rules, letting someone else take the reins is a relatively new situation for WA Museum Geraldton operations manager Karina Day.
“Prior to meeting Brian, I was a strong independent woman, had my own mortgage and travelled the world,” Mrs Day said.
“I’d achieved many goals in my life, but I’d never really met the man of my dreams. I guess, ideally, you want to do all that before you’re 30.”
Content building a career that included recreational management, community development and drafting, she was 36 when she married Brian Day, a divorcee with two children.
“Before that, I was Karina Thomason, it’s hard to change your name when you get married later in life," she said.
“I have a very proud career history with my name as Karina Thomason and suddenly that person disappeared off the face of the earth and was no longer achieving things career-wise.”
She said she wasn’t “feminist enough” to retain her maiden name when she got married.
“I’m also traditional and wanted the wedding, but I didn’t give the loss of my name as much thought as probably I should have,” she said.
Preferring to avoid situations of which she has little control, a shy Mrs Day has ventured from her comfort zone repeatedly in her life.
She credits a cultural exchange program to Japan at the age of 17 for teaching her to be courageous and make the most of every opportunity.
The belle of the ball in high school, she has worked as a nanny in Switzerland, travelled Europe and in 1993 she was even crowned queen of Geraldton’s premier attraction, the Sunshine Festival.
“It was nothing I would ever have volunteered for, but I got approached by my workplace to do it,” Mrs Day said.
“Every now and then you put yourself out there and come back with big rewards … I won a holiday and a bracelet and I thought it was amazing I could win stuff for just doing what I enjoyed.”
Mrs Day said while it may appear things fell nicely into her lap, instead she had to seek them.
Being a contestant on a reality television program wasn’t on her “bucket list” but she saw House Rules as a way to lift the family out of massive debt while doing something her husband would enjoy.
She said Mr Day loved having the opportunity to show off his skills and enjoyed the thrill of performance.
For her, it was a sacrifice to be away from their children for four months, but a risk worth taking.
“Brian’s the person that lifts me and I’m the one that stabilises him,” she said.
“It was funny, on the show they would try to stir us up and say, ‘so Karina you’re the dream killer, are you?’ and I’d say, ‘no I’m his lifesaver’.
“I am shy and very conservative and I like nature and I’m about natural things, whereas Mr Bling comes along and he’s about noise, dancing, laughter, social gatherings, spending money and living for the now. I’m like, ‘no, save for the future’.
“He often tells me … that I’m level headed and calm him down.”
Although the couple were eliminated early in the show, having their home renovated has eased their financial burden by enabling them to pay off their mortgage instead of saving for desperately needed renovations.
Unlike her husband, Mrs Day has no desire to go on to bigger or better things after their House Rules experience, but she said she would do it all again if the reward was worth the sacrifices.
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