Kayla Grey, the host and co-executive producer of The Shift with Kayla Grey, appears regularly as a host of Sportscentre and as a reporter on TSN’s live coverage of the Toronto Raptors. She is also a frequent guest co-host on CTV’s The Social and contributes regular sports updates to CTV’s Your Morning.
In 2019, Grey was awarded the By Blacks magazine People’s Choice Award in the TV personality category. Grey was also honoured on Chatelaine’s 2020 Women of the Year list, named one of Refinery29’s Powerhouse Women of 2020 and Woman of the Year in Post City Magazine. She was also recognized in 2021 by Women of Influence as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada.
We caught up with Kayla to ask her our signature set of celebrity parent questions. She dished on everything from why her son Levi is the love of her life, to her parenting superpower, what she always has in her fridge, and more.
What is your idea of the perfect day?
It changes all the time. But usually a walk in the morning, hanging out with my son Levi, goal setting, letting the imagination run wild with him. That to me is a good, fun day, filled with laughter, adventure and nature.
Why did you choose your career?
I chose it because I spent a lot of time watching sports with my grandparents. The Jays were not a good team at the time and for some reason I still put myself through that. I realized that must mean I really like sport in general. And then I played a bunch of sports in school and fell in love watching Allen Iverson play. I continued to play and then I realized I wasn’t going to get any taller than what I actually was, so it was probably better to talk about sports than play it.
What do you love most about what you do in your job?
Connecting. The ways in which storytelling is so beautiful, it gives you that opportunity to do that. Sport has given me a family, it has introduced me to my best friends in life. I was pregnant with my son when I made my debut on Sportscentre. It has been such a constant in my life, and it has always coincided with the best things.
What has been the hardest part of building your career?
Owning my voice and owning that I’m not traditional. You’re never going to get the typical broadcaster voice out of me, you’re not going to get the most clean reads out of me, I’m me. I’m someone who comes from a more diverse background. I’m a black woman in this space. I talk a certain way. That’s just how I find that I show up the most authentically. With that though, it’s not easy. Sometimes you want to recoil and fit in because you don’t want to be singled out in certain cases. The hardest part is just letting go of the fact that not everyone’s going to like you and that you’re not for everyone and that’s okay.
Who was/is your mentor?
Marci Ien and Lainey Lui.
Who is your favourite Canadian?
Any Canadian from Scarborough.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Hot mess, “It is what it is,” “Gurrrl” and “Did you have fun?”
Which words or phrases do you dislike when other people overuse?
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Levi. I have this unicorn of a boy who is so forgiving and so joyful and so innocent and has so much love to give. I wish I could take all the credit for it but that boy has a personality on his own.
When and where were you happiest?
I was on a bus for the Raptors championship parade and I looked into the crowd and I started to see people I went to West Scarborough Boys and Girls Club with. I was happiest because to me what it signified was journey. I didn’t have the best time mentally growing up—I lived on my own at 15, got kicked out of school, didn’t even think this world was possible for me. It meant a lot for me to see that it’s possible. Anything that I’ve said I wanted to do, I did because I worked extremely hard. Any room that people told me I didn’t belong in, I carved and pushed down the doors to stand in. And I get to do the job that I’ve always wanted to do.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I was organized.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom. Seeing how far she has come and how far our relationship has come. It wasn’t always the best. It makes me so proud of who she is as a person. I learn from her daily.
What is your motto?
Remember my why.
What do you always have in your fridge?
Almond chocolate milk.
How would you describe yourself as a parent?
Someone who is trying to still figure it out. And someone who to most people is non-traditional but is okay with being non-traditional. I used to be insecure that I work different hours than most people or my job looks a bit different. I am slowly finding confidence in that and realizing it’s okay.
What is your parenting superpower?
Getting in there with Levi with new experiences. I took him to his first Leafs game, which was also my first Leafs game. I am so fortunate that we get to have a lot of firsts shared together. I’m really good making new adventures fun.
What is your favourite memory of your own parents?
My favourite memories of my mom are being built now. I love seeing how she loves my son the way she does and the ways in which she has always offered to take care of him. It’s so beautiful to me. She also took me to Disney World one time and that was fun. But she also worked a lot. And I think to some that may not be a favourite but it was very important to me to understand now as a parent that these are the realities and you should never make anyone feel bad about those. It’s probably the most valuable thing I witnessed as a kid with my mom.
What is a tradition from your childhood that you’ve carried on with your own kids?
I’ve tried to make and build my own traditions. Seeking out recipes and paying a lot of attention to holiday events and Christmas, and now those traditions are taking place at my house.
What do you love most about being a parent, and what do you dislike most?
Love: Let go of the small stuff and get out of my head in things being perfect.
Dislike: It’s exhausting.
What has surprised you most about being a parent that you weren’t expecting?
How much I liked it.
Favourite family vacation and why?
Taking Levi to Montego Bay, Jamaica. He thrived. To see him in my mom’s home country and him getting such a good experience by the beach was amazing. And again, it was a first for him so I enjoyed giving him that opportunity.
What one trait or value are you most trying to instil in your children?
Kindness, compassion, empathy and to lead with love.
What one trait are you hoping to avoid?
Being a jerk.
Favourite family summer activity?
Favourite family winter activity?