Around Town

From Newport Beach to Newport

A West Coast reality TV star finds a new home in Rhode Island hosting Real Estate Wars

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It takes a lot to choose a New England winter over the sunshine of Southern California, but Kylie McCollough and her family dove right in, leaving Newport Beach and landing in Newport, Rhode Island, last year. “We cancelled a vacation to Hawaii,” Kylie says. “We came to Newport for the kids’ spring break. It was freezing cold and snowing, but we crossed over that bridge, and it was incredible. My husband took me horseback riding at the Vanderbilt Stables; we went down to the shipyard. This [place] is a whole other level.”

The other new thing in her life? Her Bravo TV show Real Estate Wars, in which two teams of realtors vie to be the top agents in one of SoCal’s most expensive markets. “My previous boss and mentor John McMonigle was literally the number one agent in the county in 2007,” Kylie says. “He lost everything in the downturn and he’s rebuilding his brand. I’ve raised two kids and I’m building my brand. We’re going head to head to see who can sell the most in Newport Beach.”

For Kylie, her move to the East Coast is a kind of homecoming. She grew up in Maine and wanted her kids to be closer to her parents; her husband David is a yacht designer, so Newport was a natural fit for him. It’s also not so different from the place they left. “Newport Beach and Newport, RI: they’re small towns, there’s a lot of crossover, people are friends with brokers on both sides, and you sometimes see some rivalry.”

Besides selling homes and making a name for herself in the real estate world, Kylie is working hard to set a good example in a genre that doesn’t always portray women in the best light. “I want to be able to showcase that you can hustle and work hard,” she says. “Real estate is a male-driven industry. I want to see strong women in roles that aren’t housewives. We’re businesswomen, and we’re mothers, and athletes. We’re telling a story in a different sort of reality TV genre.”