‘Windy City Rehab’: Alison Victoria Reveals the 1 Book That Changed Her Life

Anyone who’s seen even one episode of Windy City Rehab knows that show host Alison Victoria is doing exactly what she’s meant to do in life. The 37-year-old Chicago-based designer has a natural knack for making everything look beautiful, which is quite helpful when you happen to host a renovation show on HGTV.

Alison Victoria
Alison Victoria | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Unlike so many other renovation experts, Victoria knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. She realized a passion for real estate even from a young age driving around the city with her family. “I would see all these houses and I just would like dream of living in one of them one day,” she said during an interview with Roku. “It’s an even bigger dream to be rehabbing a ton of them now.”

What inspires Alison Victoria? There are plenty of things, including one book that she says changed the course of her entire life.

Alison Victoria set a goal and went for it

Victoria admits that part of her success stems from always knowing exactly what she wanted to do with her life. “It’s very easy to stay on course when you know what you want to do,” she told House Beautiful. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas she got straight to work.

Alison Victoria had a booming career as the youngest designer at Christopher Homes, where she created semi-custom residences for clients. But then she started feeling complacent and knew something had to change.

She read one book that changed her whole perspective

Who knew reading a book could change your life? Alison Victoria explains that is exactly what inspired a huge shift in her professional life.

She explained that being an architect wasn’t fulfilling her deepest desires. “I realized that I was sick of giving the keys back to the owners at the end,” Victoria told House Beautiful. “I want to do all the pretty stuff. I want to do the window treatments and furniture, and the area rugs and lighting and accessories. So I read this book called Secrets of Six-Figure Women, like cover to cover, and quit my job.”

The book includes interviews with more than 150 women earning six or seven-figure incomes and breaks down the things these successful ladies have in common. These attributes including profit motive, audacity, resilience, encouragement, self-awareness, non-attachment, and financial know-how inspired Victoria to move on to bigger and better things.

Alison Victoria took baby steps

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Instead of quitting right away, Victoria began by launching her design firm, Alison Victoria Interiors, while she was still working for Christopher Homes. She built up her client base over time until she was ready to fully go out on her own.

“I all of the sudden get this call from the president of this casino in Vegas,” she said. “He was like, ‘Hey, we’re doing a $130 million expansion, and we would love to interview you.’ Next thing I knew, I was moving back to Vegas, I got the job, and I was the creative director there for almost five years, when I got a random email from a production company in LA.”

She made her mark on HGTV

Alison Victoria started out as a ghost designer on HGTV, doing behind-the-scenes work and getting paid next to nothing. But her talent was obvious and her hard work paid off. Eventually, she landed a spot as the first female lead on the show Kitchen Crashers.

“All of a sudden, I had a TV show. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I definitely didn’t think it was going to last for more than one season, so I didn’t quit my day jobs,” Victoria said. “We went 9 seasons.”

Alison Victoria isn’t done winning

Later, Windy Cindy Rehab got the green light and became a huge hit for HGTV. And best of all? Now Alison Victoria could be one of the women interviewees for that book that inspired her to get there in the first place.

Besides Windy City Rehab, Victoria is also running the magazine Sophisticated Living plus hosting the HGTV competition series Rock the Block. And she’s not even close to done yet.

“I’m probably going to do 10 more things in my life,” she told House Beautiful. “I’m just getting started.”