How did you become a nanny?
I grew up in Orange County and would babysit there when I was younger, but when I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting and music career I didn't know any families so I started to work as a receptionist at a hair salon in Beverly Hills during the day and I would wait tables in Hollywood at night. I wasn't making enough money and I was working 14-hour days! I soon realized I was only working to barely make ends meet and that left very little time to work on my career, which is why I moved up to Los Angeles in the first place! One of my fellow receptionists at the hair salon was a Los Angeles native and a part-time nanny for a few families. One day she asked me if I was available to cover one of her nights with a family she worked for and I did. I began working with that family regularly and through word-of-mouth I created a business for myself, as a nanny! Before I knew it I had left both day jobs, I was making great money, had 6+ families I was working for regularly. I had time to work on my career and I was having fun at my job!
Are you a career nanny or are you hoping that working as a nanny is a stepping stone to other career opportunities?
For now I am working as a nanny to support myself so I can move forward with my music and acting career. I love it, but I don't see myself doing it forever.
You work in an elite neighborhood. Do you ever find your charges, the parents, or even the nannies sometimes feel entitled?
Absolutely. A lot of families that come from money see their having money as power thus giving them entitlement, which in a way it does give them some power, but in my opinion everyone should be treated with equal respect, regardless of your personal possessions or financial status. I am extremely particular about which families I choose to work with, so I tend to steer clear of the bougie ones!
Marika asked Justin, her nanny, to rub her feet. What's the craziest thing a parent has asked you to do?
The craziest thing I have ever been asked to do was accompany a woman's dogs on a flight to Utah. The kids were away at camp, and they were planning to go out to their home in Utah and wanted to send the dogs out on a flight and they wanted me to be their "flight buddy." It was hilarious and bizarre, but totally worth it as they compensated me quite well and the dogs were adorable.
What's the biggest challenge you have encountered being a nanny?
This job is a great one, but there are many challenges. You are not handling paper work and crunching numbers at a desk, you are dealing with children -- other people's children, and they often require guidance and discipline and that's a hard one because you don't want to over step your boundaries with them. But, at the same time you need to find where you fit in because essentially we are filling in the gaps while the parents are not there, we are helping to raise their kids. It requires a lot of judgment calls and you rely a lot on instinct.
What do you love most about being a nanny?
The greatest part about being a nanny is watching the kids grow and learn and connecting with them. I am constantly reminded by them to stay in the moment and I try to apply that to my own life. Kids are so focused on the present, the right now -- not tomorrow, or yesterday, or next year. That's such a gift. We often lose that perspective as we age, but being around children all the time helps reinstate that.
Has being on the reality show Beverly Hills Nannies helped your nanny career or hurt it?
To be honest, I am still discovering the ways it will help me. With that being said, I have met a lot of great nannies and families through the show and I believe with time, more opportunities will arise from this experience.
What’s your best advice for others wanting to work as a nanny in general or specifically in Beverly Hills?
As with anything in life, have confidence! Be prepared, do your research, and find what makes you unique. What can you offer to a family that someone else couldn't? Swim lessons? Music lessons? Do you cook? Tutor? Every family is looking for something specific, and it does you no good to accept a job with a family that isn't a good fit. Just like in dating, you have to find that chemistry and it's important to click with whomever you decide to go with. Everything may be good on paper: the right hours, the right pay etc. but if there is not connection and you're not on the same page with the family it will be difficult to make it work.
Watch Beverly Hills Nannies Tuesdays on ABC Family