14 Facts About Making It Home With Kortney And Kenny Host Kenny Brain

In 2020, "Masters of Flip" stars Kortney and Dave Wilson launched their new show, "Making it Home with Kortney and Dave." The show featured the couple assisting homeowners with renovations, turning problematic houses into more livable, loving spaces. Unfortunately, the couple had announced on Instagram in 2019 that they would be seeking a divorce. Though the first season of "Making it Home" aired after their split was already public, Dave ultimately did not return for the second season of the show.

Instead, the show was retooled and renamed "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny." The resulting series is a massive hit for HGTV Canada, becoming the most popular series on the network's website; it's also available on Hulu in the United States. The titular Kenny is Kenny Brain, former "Big Brother Canada" star and current master of home renovation. He handles the construction work while Kortney does design.

He's spent time in the public eye, but many fans may not know much about the handsome host. "As much as you can read and watch [about me], there is still more," he told In Magazine. "I'm still just a guy who grew up in a small town in Newfoundland who has to pinch himself when he gets a minute and realizes where his life has led him. ... I'm human and I'm figuring it all out and trying to learn as I go." With that in mind, read on for 14 things to know about Kenny Brain.

Kenny Brain has a lot of hometown pride

Kenny Brain grew up in Newfoundland, the easternmost province of Canada, and he still has a lot of affection for the place he was raised. In fact, Brain considers Newfoundland his favorite place in the world. It doesn't hurt that he owns a cabin that his father built for the family when he was a child. "It is just absolute heaven on Earth," he told Saltwire, noting that it was difficult to be able to visit home during the COVID-19 pandemic. "When I go there, I have the most calm, relaxed everything that you could possibly have. It's pure heaven to me."

The "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" star enjoys representing Newfie culture wherever he goes. Speaking with Xtra Magazine, he revealed his favorite Newfoundlander saying: "who knit you at all?" He explained, "That's like, when somebody is just like, surprising in some way, or weird or different, or, you know, just like, giving you something special... something that can only be put together by knitting."

He also plans to bring his "Making it Home" co-host Kortney Wilson for a visit. The two appeared in an issue of Downhome Magazine together, and Brain revealed their future travel plans. "I want to bring her back because I know she would absolutely adore it, as anyone who visits does," he said. "... She['s] got to be an honorary Newfoundlander.

The HGTV star learned a lot from his family

Kenny Brain grew up in a family of men who liked to work with their hands. He told The Newfoundland Herald that he picked up a lot about construction by watching his grandfather. Brain recalled, "He was a gardener. He was a builder. He could take care of electronics and put anything back together again." Still, Brain was a teenager and he didn't always want to help his father out on construction projects like building decks. "I was trying to sneak my Gameboy in with me at times, but it planted the seed," he recalled. "It gave me the breadcrumbs to what I didn't realize was going to eventually be my passion."

Nowadays, the "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" star is proud of the traits that were passed down to him from his family. He told Saltwire that he was glad to have inherited his mother's empathy, and that he took a different lesson from his dad. "From my father, [I inherited] his work ethic," Brain said. "He's always said, 'Stay the course, stick with it.' Even if it's getting hard, finishing is extremely important."

It seems that Brain's family, too, is proud of where he's ended up. While speaking with Downhome Magazine, Brain said, "Seeing how happy I am and how passionate I am about what I do, my parents are extremely proud of me." Furthermore, they love his "Making it Home" co-star! "They feel like they know Kortney and she's part of the family now," he beamed.

Before he found TV stardom, Kenny Brain worked as model

Just before Kenny Brain entered the "Big Brother Canada" house, he got a gig as a model. "It was decently new for me before I went on the show," he told GayCalgary, admitting that his familiarity and comfort with being on camera likely helped him in the house. His modeling career kicked off a few months before joining "Big Brother Canada," and kick off it did. "I kinda got these gigs that, you know, usually take a little bit more time to get," he said humbly.

Brain introduced himself as a model on the reality competition show, and it's the job he returned to after he got kicked off. Speaking on a fellow "Big Brother" alum's YouTube channel after being evicted, he said, "I'm excited to see if this brings any sort of new opportunities for me ... There's anything and everything that I'm hoping for."

"Big Brother" fans on Reddit uncovered Brain's modeling portfolio, which has since been taken down but is available to view on the Internet Archive. In addition to various modeling shots, the portfolio revealed that Brain was on the cover of HOMME Magazine. "Manliness overload," one fan commented, while another wrote, "Totally blue steel."

Kenny Brain hid his sexuality on Big Brother Canada 2

When he entered the "Big Brother Canada" house, Kenny Brain didn't initially tell his fellow houseguests he was gay. Instead, he flirted with women, hoping a heterosexual "showmance" would benefit his game. Years later, speaking with In Magazine, the "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" host reflected on his controversial strategy. "Did it work? Not really –- but I don't regret it," he said. "I know I got some kickback about that [with some people] in the media stating I was ashamed of myself and I set the gay community back." He protested that he was honest with viewers about his sexuality, and that he had already come out to all of his friends and family, so it wasn't that he was ashamed of who he was. "I'm very proud of who I am; I'm just apparently not very good at 'Big Brother' strategies," he quipped.

Brain's decision to stay in the closet on the show ultimately wasn't the game move he thought it would be. He admitted to HuffPost, "It did distract me from the game a little bit, especially since I'm an emotional person." Instead of concentrating on hiding this part of himself, Brain instead became focused on when he would come out.

He ultimately confessed everything in an emotional scene by the hot tub, gathering his roommates and telling them simply, "F*** it. I'm gay." Hugs, handshakes, and tears followed.

Kenny Brain's positive coming out experience

Though he hid his sexuality on "Big Brother Canada," Kenny Brain has been openly gay since he was 23. He told In Magazine that unlike a lot of queer people, he had a relatively easy time opening up; his family and friends were supportive. While he recognizes that he is fortunate to have such a loving inner circle, said inner circle wasn't some happy accident. "I have worked very hard my entire life at surrounding myself with people who love and support me just as much as I do them," he said. "I don't have room in my life for bad energy, and if you aren't okay with something as simple as who I love, then I don't have space for you in my life. Period."

His father was apprehensive at first, as he feared this meant their family name wouldn't be carried on. However, his heart opened after Brain explained that queer people can have families too. "He has since become my biggest cheerleader and supporter, and our relationship has never been stronger," Brain shared.

As an openly gay man on television, the "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" star knows that people look up to him. However, he doesn't like to think of himself as a role model. He explained, "The only thing I've ever wanted to do is be my most authentic self and be the happiest I can be while doing something I love – and if someone sees that and it resonates with them, I am truly honoured."

A friend suggested he try out for Making it Home

After Kenny Brain appeared on "Big Brother Canada," he never planned to go into television as a career. Instead, he pivoted to construction. Brain was living and working in Vancouver when a friend told him he should audition for an upcoming renovation show. "At first I said I wasn't really sure," Brain recalled to Saltwire. "I honestly didn't know if that was what I wanted to do, truly. But ultimately I'm a man of experience and I think I would forever regret if I hadn't said yes, and obviously now I am extremely happy I did."

The specifics of "Making it Home" — and in particular, the heart Brain saw in the show — helped convince Brain to sign on for the show. It also helped that he appreciated the approach of co-host Kortney Wilson. "[The show] has the personality. It has the humour. ["Making it Home"] has the design and construction elements too, so merging all that is a dream come true," he told The Newfoundland Herald.

Nowadays, Brain is glad he agreed to do the show. "It's been wild!" he told HGTV Canada. "It's been explosive. It went from me just doing my own thing, building and renovating, to now doing it in front of cameras for Canada. It's all blown up!"

Kenny Brain's dog is his beloved sidekick

If there's one thing to know about Kenny Brain's life outside of his hit HGTV show, it's that he loves his dog. Brain's long friendship with his dog Molly features regularly on his social media, such as Instagram, where he has a highlight reel of himself and his pup in all manner of situations: cuddled up in bed, hiking in the mountains, going on runs together, and getting muddy in the lake. In fact, Molly has her own Instagram, and Brain regularly posts photos of his precious pooch's pampered life. He elaborated on their special bond — and all their frequent outdoor activities — while speaking with HGTV Canada. "We've climbed mountains, crossed rivers, beaches," he said. "Everywhere. She goes everywhere with me."

The "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" personality told Saltwire that Molly has been his constant companion through every major stage of his life. "I got her when she was six weeks old and now she's almost 13," he gushed. Thanks to Brain's travel-heavy job and his love of nature, Molly has gotten a chance to explore more than most dogs ever do. "She's traveled the world with me," he said. "She has been through every major up and down. She was in Nashville filming. She was in Toronto filming. She's been to almost every state and province. She's my main girl."

Kenny Brain is rather outdoorsy

Kenny Brain makes a living renovating indoor spaces, spending his days putting up walls and crawling into basements to redo plumbing. Perhaps that's why, when he's not at work, Brain loves spending his time outdoors. On Instagram, he frequently shares snapshots of himself, his dog, and his similarly-adventurous friends hiking in the mountains. "My backyard is better than yours," he bragged in the caption of one video, showing himself and his dog hiking through a snowy mountainscape. Another post, depicting Brain kayaking, is captioned, "My clothes smell like bonfire and my face hurts from laughing. Such a great weekend."

"Anything outdoors for me is extremely relaxing," he explained to Saltwire, rattling off his favorite activities. "Hiking, camping, snowshoeing, anything summer, anything winter, anything in the water, anything near water. To me, the most relaxing thing in the world is the sound of water and fire and the smell of both," he said.

Brain's adventurous lifestyle influences the way he dresses, and he can frequently be seen on "Making it Home" sporting rugged looks. Describing his fashion sense to Saltwire, Brain pondered, "I would say it's kind of like a rustic urban gentleman. ... I'm definitely a fan of the flannels. I think I'm definitely a little bit of a street style in there and, given the right circumstances, I can slick it up a bit."

The reality star has sported his trademark beard for years

Nowadays, Kenny Brain sports an impressive beard, but when he was on "Big Brother Canada," he wore it even longer. After he was evicted from the "Big Brother" house, Brain gave HuffPost an interview about the beard's backstory. "My ex hated me with facial hair, well long facial hair, so I always had to trim it down," he recalled. After they broke up, Brain decided to grow out the beard, especially because he fit in with his new jobs. "I worked in a Labrador fishing lodge," he said. "Then I moved to Montreal and I got a modelling contract and they liked it."

Though he's since pivoted to a shorter beard, the "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" star does not see himself doing away with it any time soon. While speaking with In Magazine, he noted, "I was a really hairy kid and used to be very self-conscious about it. So I've had some form of beard or scruff since then ... I don't think I would ever fully shave it off. It's almost like a security blanket now." 

Being gay made Kenny Brain nervous about his career

When Kenny Brain first started in construction, he feared he wouldn't be accepted by his peers and colleagues due to his sexuality. "It is very hard, there's a machoism to it," he reflected to Saltwire. "That weighed on my mind and I wondered how I would be perceived, how well I would do in the trade. Would who I am be weighed more than my work ethic and my product and what I can actually do?"

Thankfully, when the "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" personality entered the field, he found that he wasn't ostracized the way he feared he would be. "I created that situation in my mind and that pressure, and ultimately that held me back," he said. "I worried about it so much that I think it actually was a detriment to myself." Instead, once he was open about who he was, he was able to put his energy into his work rather than on his worry about what other people would think about him being gay. That freedom allowed him to flourish.

Nowadays, Brain is glad to be part of a movement that is making construction a more inclusive industry for all. He told Xtra Magazine, "I am so proud of being able to be a part of the queer community in construction... because, goddamn, there's some good quality stuff coming out by queer people, you know?"

Kenny Brain and Kortney Wilson make each other laugh

Soap opera alum Kortney Wilson and "Big Brother Canada" star Kenny Brain didn't know one another before they started working together on "Making it Home." At first, Wilson found Brain's honesty refreshing, and that's part of what got him the gig. Speaking with Downhome Magazine, the "Masters of Flip" vet revealed, "I knew that I needed somebody who was not afraid of me in any way and wasn't intimidated." Thankfully, Brain wasn't afraid to speak up on set, which endeared him to his co-host. "I don't agree with everything she does," he said. "I don't think you should pump people up if you don't feel that they need to be pumped up." When he doesn't agree with a design decision, he tells her. "I think that's why we work together so well," he said.

Behind the scenes, though, their relationship is anything but business-like. Brain told In Magazine that they have a fun and funny dynamic. "Kortney and I didn't go a day without making each other laugh until we almost wet ourselves, and I think that is going to be really fun to watch," he teased. Brain also added, "Half the stuff we talk about can't be aired on TV."

HGTV Canada released a blooper reel for the show on YouTube, confirming what Brain says about their relationship. The two seem to love goofing off between takes, and they can be seen cracking each other up while filming their confessionals.

Kenny Brain's an actor, sometimes

After he lost "Big Brother Canada," Kenny Brain spoke with GayCalgary about his ambitions for the future. In addition to continuing his career as a model, Brain said that he wanted to try his hand at acting. "I actually just had a casting for some acting stuff, and some classes coming up, so I honestly... I don't know. I'm kind of going with it, and I would love to kind of break into the acting scene. But, who knows, really," he said.

For the most part, Brain's acting career didn't take off in the same way that his modeling and home-renovation careers did. However, in 2021, Kenny starred in a film called "Plantonic." The romantic short  features Brain as a man who grows in a garden, emerging from the ground to strike up a relationship with the sensitive musician who planted him. The role called for Brain to be buried in the dirt with only his face exposed. Alongside a photo of himself shirtless and caked in soil, Brain wrote on Instagram, "Can't say I've ever been afraid to get my hands dirty / get buried alive while filming @plantonicfilm (I'm lying. I was afraid)."

For a first foray into film, it's not a bad one. According to the film's Instagram account, the short won numerous accolades. Among others, it picked up Best LGBTQ Short from the Independent Shorts Awards and Outstanding Short Film from the Reelworld Film Festival.

Kenny Brain is a big fan of drag

Kenny Brain's got a lot of interests, from home renovation to exploring nature. He also loves drag queens! Back in 2014, Brain made a scantily-clad appearance in a teaser for the second season of "Capitol Hill," a web series featuring Seattle drag icons like Jinkx Monsoon and Ben De La Creme. "I have a pretty huge, wide breadth of interest, so [my social media following] can go from fine woodworking to artists, to my friends and family, to drag queens and prominent gay figures in the industry and around the industry," he told Saltwire. "You can basically see anything when you open my Instagram."

The "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny" host told Xtra Magazine that his favorite queen is Tynomi Banks, a contestant on the first season of "Canada's Drag Race." He said, "She is incredibly talented, puts off a show. A show! And makes every single person in that audience feel like you're her best friend, you know what I mean? ... She is ... just a gem in this world, and I think is incredibly talented." In particular, Brain said he appreciates the way Tynomi connects with each and every member of the audience after she's done performing. It seems that the feeling is mutual; Tynomi can regularly be found commenting on Brain's Instagram. In one recent shirtless selfie, she wrote simply, "Pretty."

He loves making a difference on Making it Home

On "Making it Home with Kortney and Kenny," Kenny Brain gets the chance to help out people in need. In fact, it's his favorite part of the job. He has spoken several times about how much he loves what he does on "Making It Home," being able to turn a house around to give a deserving family a shot at a new life. "It's a shared human experience to want to have a part of your home that you've always wanted to renovate done or to see a space transformed into your dream space," he told The Newfoundland Herald. "Everybody gets it." More than anything else, Brain feels a sense of genuine pride in what he's been able to accomplish on the show.

While speaking with In Magazine, Brain revealed that one episode in particular, in the show's third season, really touched him. "I will say that it has honestly changed my mindset and how I react to things in my own life that may not be going that well," he reflected, without revealing precisely which home renovation he was talking about. "These homeowners and their incredibly positive attitudes, even in the face of the hand they have been dealt, will shatter your heart and rebuild it in the same episode."