The Faces of Lake Country: Toya Washington

Meet Toya Washington! Toya is a wife, a mother of two and has been a co-anchor and reporter at WISN Channel 12 for 18 years. She grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from UW-Madison and cut her teeth in the Madison television market. 

A brief phrase that expresses an opinion or makes a statement of wisdom without the flowery language is known as an aphorism. Toya shared two of these statements with us that she believes in strongly and have helped with her quick rise to success in a competitive and high pressure profession, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, and ‘right time, right place, right preparation’.

We’d like to thank Toya for talking with us about her Lake Country life.

Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “A high school internship during my sophomore year. It was a ‘May Program’ where for the month of May, we could choose to travel abroad or have an internship. I started with a teaching internship and quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. My family suggested I intern with Tony Saffold, who was a reporter and anchor in Minneapolis. I like to read, write, tell stories and I’m outgoing, and it turned out to be a great fit.”

Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Lake Country, and what do you love there?
A. “I.d., Palmer’s Steak House, Zesti. When we have the kids along, Endter’s and Beer Snobs is great. I love a good Falbo Bros pizza, but I have to have a beer with it! I got hooked on it in college.”

Q. How long have you lived or worked in Lake Country?
A. “I’ve lived in Delafield for 13-1/2 years, and moved here from ‘Tosa.”

Q. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Lake Country?
A. “My neighbor, Fred Miller. He was a single father and is now a retired grandpa. He helps us with our dog, Ramzee. I think he is fascinating and consider him to be a mentor. We have good heart-to-heart talks.  Also, my friend Rachael Stricker. She’s an interesting, wonderful person who has lived in a lot of different places. She voluntarily entered the space that is Hope Ministries on 26th and Capitol, even though she had a comfortable life in Lake Country, helping people that may otherwise be considered a lost cause. She is a foodie, and is now working on a degree to be a nutritionist.”

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?  And why?
A. “I’m always down for warm and am a huge fan of the Hawaiian Islands. I think I’ve lived there in a past life. Recently, I went on a trip to South Africa, Kenya and Botswana, The pictures absolutely do not do it justice, it was truly a once in a lifetime trip.”

Q. What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A. “The first movie I saw in the theatre was either ‘Star Wars:A New Hope’ or ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’. My favorite movies are ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Girls Trip’, the latter of which is hysterical, I think my eyeliner was in my neck the first time I saw it because I was laughing so hard, I was crying!”

Q. What is something on your bucket list?
A. “A chartered yacht trip to Thailand.”

Q. What is your favorite music? Name some artists you would like to see (dead or alive).
A. “I like reggae, hip hop and good gospel that gets your hair to stand on your arms. I’d like to see Bob Marley and Tina Turner live.”

Q. What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Lake Country?
A. “Lynndale Farm Collection of Shoppes (Roost, The Coop, Vintage Barn Chicks, Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery and The Homestead). I used to make jewelry, and I could spend a couple hours looking through all the booths there. I also like Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda.”

Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch?  Why?  Where in Lake Country would you have lunch?
A. “The Dalai Lama. I had a chance to see him speak in Madison years ago, and I felt a wave of calm, positivity, hopefulness and optimism. I would let him choose where to have lunch.”

Q. What is your favorite thing or something unique about Lake Country?
A. “The variety of things to do indoors and outdoors, including the festivals and beaches. It’s 20 minutes to downtown, yet you’re five minutes away from standing in a cornfield, surrounded by nature.”

Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A. “I still see myself living in and exploring Lake Country. In any city where I’ve lived, I haven’t done enough integrating with the people and exploring all of it.”

Q. Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A. “I’m an open book, so there’s not a whole lot that most people don’t know about me. I would love to stage homes, I have a good eye for design and watch all the home design shows.”

Q. What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word home?
A.“Family, security and calm.”

Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A. “I’d want to be Wonder Woman Gal Gadot’s sidekick in ‘Wonder Woman 0.5’.”

Q. If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A. “A chef. I love to cook, but my younger child is a selective eater and she makes it hard.”

The Faces of Lake Country is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured, please click the button below.

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