With the success of such popular reality shows as ‘The Real Housewives of…’ and ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,’ and America’s obsession with the rich and famous, similar series are appearing on television much more frequently. From the producers of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ comes the latest similarly-themed show, ABC Family’s ‘Beverly Hills Nannies.’
‘Beverly Hills Nannies,’ which airs on Wednesday nights at 9pm/8pm PT, follows the unconventional lives of nannies and mannies who take care of children in the world’s most famous zip code. The nannies must contend with the demands of the rich and famous families they work for. Beverly Hills native and painter and photographer, Marika Tsircou, who lives with her attorney husband Kyri and their 11-month-old son Xander, is just one of the families to be featured on the show.
Tsircou, who is tweeting about her life on Twitter @MarikaTsircou, generously took the time to speak with us over the phone recently about filming the ABC Family reality show. Among other things, the painter and photographer discussed why she decided to feature her family on the show, how her series differentiates from ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and the close friendships she has formed with her co-stars. Be sure to also follow Tsircou on Facebook, on her blog and on her official website.
ShockYa (SY): Along with your husband, Kyri, and your son, Xander, you are one of the families featured on ABC Family’s new reality series, ‘Beverly Hills Nannies.’ Why did you decide to be a part of the show, and feature your life on television?
Marika Tsircou (MT): Well, I did not look for this. The producers knew who I was, and they called me in September. They said, we think you’d be perfect for the show.
I said, absolutely not, I have a one-month old baby, and I’m breast-feeding every two hours. I’m exhausted, and I gained 65 pounds. I said, I’m fat and boring and tired, so there’s no way.
I kept saying no, and they kept calling me, saying we really think you’d be perfect. So eventually, they convinced me to do the pilot, and we shot it in November. I didn’t think it would even be picked up, and totally forgot about it. Months later, they called me back, and said it got picked up, and we would love for you to do it.
In the end, we decided to do it, because we thought this is an opportunity that came to us, and not something we went after. I knew myself and my personality, I would have always wondered what could have or would been, had I not done it.
SY: What was the transition process like when you first began shooting the season? How did you and your family adjust to having the cameras following you?
MT: The cameras were here two to three days a week, so it wasn’t like they were here every day. I did tell them from the beginning, I have a baby. He’s not a toddler or a child, he’s just a little baby. When we started filming, he was eight-and-a-half months old, and he’s 11-months-old now.
So I told them I was never going to leave my baby alone with this nanny, or anybody. So I was here the whole time with him, and I was on the show too, of course. I’m breast-feeding and nursing him every few hours.
The crew was really amazing. The producer that was at the house, the field producer was just wonderful. We became friends. You have two cameramen, one sound person and the producer, so that was four people in your home. Plus, of course, the nanny, who was filming with us.
It wasn’t that overwhelming. I think had they been in the house five, six days a week, it would have been too much. But they made it very manageable, being here two to three days a week. Since the crew was so wonderful and friendly and nice, I welcomed them into my home as a house guest. They acted just like a house guest.
It wasn’t that bad. You eventually get used to the cameras being there. The baby really loved the cameras. (laughs) He would always smile with them and crawl up to them. He was very intrigued by them.
SY: Speaking of the producers before, they also work on ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County.’ What differentiates ‘Beverly Hills Nannies’ from ‘The Real Housewives’ franchise?
MT: Well, the first thing that differentiates them is the channel. The ‘Housewives’ is on Bravo, and ‘Nannies’ is on ABC Family. So just the channel alone implies that it’s a family show.
There’s not as much drama. Sure, there’s got to be a little bit of drama, and obviously they play that up in the editing. I know they’re editing me like crazy, but that’s part of the show. But the drama’s going to be cute and family-friendly. It’s not going to be this life-altering, crazy, threatening drama, which I never would have signed on for, having a baby.
That’s why, at the end of the day, I decided to do the show. We thought it’s on ABC Family, so it will be more of a mellow reality show. I did not want any crazy drama around my child.
Everybody loves to watch ‘The Housewives,’ of course, it’s a great show. All of them are amazing, and are so much fun. But would I have that in my home, with my baby, no.
I think that’s the difference with them. The channel, the network, the general theme around them. This is more of a kid-friendly environment. It’s going to be a cute, funny show.
SY: Since ‘Beverly Hills Nannies’ premiered last Wednesday, July 11, you have already become a critics’ favorite, and your quick, witty and endearing personality make you the break out star of the show. What’s the feeling like, knowing that the critics and fans are embracing you?
MT: We’re really excited. I think we knew we had a hit on our hands going in. Hopefully we’ll be picked up for a season two and a season three, and we’ll keep going with it.
Like I said, I think the producers are amazing. The crew has been amazing to work with. I think all the moms are really wonderful on the show. I think it’s a great show, it’s really fun.
It’s meant to be a funny show. You have to look at the way they edit you, and laugh at it. We’re hoping for a season two, and to move onwards. I think people love it, because it’s with kids growing up. Everyone can relate to having kids and babies, most people have them.
But it’s also in Beverly Hills. To me, Beverly Hills is the norm, because I grew up here. I think people from other parts of the country like to stare at Beverly Hills, and really judge.
I think that’s a big part of reality TV. At the end of the day, people like to judge people. (laughs) We wouldn’t be honest with ourselves if we didn’t say that about reality TV. I know there are people out there judging me right now.
Getting back to the first question, you have to be a pretty secure person going in, to be on reality TV. I know what kind of mother and person I am. The people out there, making either positive or negative comments about me, you really have to go in and say you’re really secure with who you are, and this is all for fun.
SY: Do you think that ‘Beverly Hills Nannies’ can show the lifestyle in Beverly Hills in a more positive light?
MT: I hope so. Like I said, we’re having fun with it. Sure, we’re showing that my baby wears designer clothes. But at the end of the day, I would hope that people realize that the most important thing in a family is the love and dedication, the marriage, the compassion, the real things in life. That, at the end of the day, is what every marriage and family is about.
You put your baby first, and we’re just like every other family out there. We’re trying to raise our children in Beverly Hills, with love and compassion, and have them be good kids. So I do hope that that comes through. Through all the fun and fancy, I do hope that comes through. That’s what it’s about.
SY: Since only the first episode has aired so far, have you been getting recognized in public?
MT: I hope not! (laughs) I don’t think so. It’s funny, I was at the market (on Monday), and I felt like one woman did a double take at me. My baby, Xander, comes with me everywhere we go. We really only have a nanny when we go out at night, which is once, max twice, a week. Plus once a week when I go down to my studio to paint. Other than that, I take care of my baby full-time.
We were at the market, and I did feel like this woman did a double-take at me. I wasn’t sure if she was looking at my cute baby, or looking at us, knowing that she recognized us from somewhere.
But who knows, I never intended for this to be huge. I didn’t think paparazzi would ever recognize or follow me, I guess if they do I have to start looking good at the grocery store (laughs).
SY: Did you know the other families on the show before you began filming, or did you meet them once production began?
MT: No, I didn’t know any of the other families. I met two of them during the show, the producers had introduced us and had gotten us together. They thought that we would have gotten along, and we did.
I absolutely love Lindsay Faulk and Tricia Fisher, we get along great. We go out to dinner, I invited them to my baby’s baptism. The funny thing is, Cindy Margolis’ ex-husband, Guy Starkman, and I grew up on the same street. In Beverly Hills, it’s always six degrees of separation.
I had never met Cindy, but Guy was a year older than me. He would drive my brother around. He was the car pool driver in high school, Harvard School for Boys. We played tennis on each other’s tennis courts.
SY: Speaking of your art before, you’re an artist specializing in oil paintings and photographs. Will you being featuring your art on ‘Beverly Hills Nannies? Has being on the show influenced your work?
MT: It hasn’t influenced my work yet. But who knows, anything can be an inspiration.
I absolutely plan on featuring it. My work is all over my house, so you can see a lot of my work by featuring my house on the show. It’s in the hallways, and literally in every room. I’ve sold a lot of work, but with the work that I haven’t sold, my home is a revolving gallery. As I make work, I put it in my house. I sell it and make new work. In that regard, I’m definitely featuring it on the show.
Also, I do paint on the show. They’ve showed me painting on the show in my studio one day. I had an art show during the taping of the show, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to be there that night, at the opening. I hoping that if there’s a season two, I’ll have an art show featured.
My art is such a huge part of my life. Who I am is defined by being an artist and a mother. First and foremost, I’m a mother. Second, I’m an artist. That’s part of the reason why I did the show, to get out my artwork out there.
As an artist, it’s hard, as a painter and a photographer, regardless of how good you are. I went to graduate school at Art Center (College of Design) in Pasadena. For all the struggling artists out there, it’s hard to get your work out there.
So I hope people will see my work on the show and appreciate it. My friends have already said how amazing my work looks on camera all over the house. It’s exciting for me to see it. For me, artwork really makes a home. So seeing my artwork in my home on camera is exciting.
SY: You mentioned earlier that you would be interested in doing a second season of ‘Beverly Hills Nannies.’ If the show doesn’t get renewed, would you be interested in keeping in touch with the other families?
MT: Oh sure, we’ll definitely stay in contact. Lindsay and Tricia, who’ve we met, are wonderful. Lindsay and I have talked about maybe going on a trip with the kids together. We really like each other and get along great.
I definitely think those are friendships we’ll continue, regardless of whether the show gets picked up again or not. But of course, we’re all hoping the show gets picked up, and we can continue our friendship, on camera and off.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard
Photo Credit: Dawn Bowery