Marika Tsircou is one of the stars in ABC Family’s reality show Beverly Hills Nannies. Her high-power attorney husband, Kyri, her, and their new born son, Xander, are one of the families featured on the show. The season started airing on July 11th at 9pm and airs every Wednesday at the same time.

Photo by Bobby Quillard

Marika is also an amazing artist. She concentrates on oil paintings and photographs. I was recently able to ask her some questions about the show, her artwork, tips on motherhood, and why she named her dogs Reagan and Nancy.

How did you get the opportunity to be on Beverly Hills Nannies?

I didn’t seek this out, it came knocking on my door. I know, it normally doesn’t happen like that but it did for me. Last September the producers of Beverly Hills Nannies called to tell me how perfect I’d be for the show. Right off the bat I told them no…I have a one month old baby, I’m fat, boring, breastfeeding every two hours around the clock, getting three hours of sleep a night and totally, utterly exhausted. How could I possibly do a reality show? I explained I’d gone from a Louboutin loving, size 0, seriously social butterfly to a pajama wearing, slipper slinging, stay at home, breastfeeding mama and that the old Marika they’d known no longer existed. I’m a mommy now, and Xander is my priority and my life. But…they prevailed and I shot the pilot, it got picked up and here we are! It’s been a great experience and I decided not to turn it down because I’d always have wondered what could have been!

Can you elaborate more on the show?

It’s a super fun reality show about a group of nannies in Beverly Hills working for wealthy families. There is some nanny drama as they all hang out, there is some light hearted drama between employer/employee such as strange requests…foot rubs, breast milk organization, etc. At the end of the day it’s just a fun, cute show that I think people will love to watch. It’s fun because the kids grow up on the show. Xander changed so much throughout the three months of shooting. It’s like having a home video in HD!! Our country is also somewhat obsessed with Beverly Hills so it’s a way for people to get a nanny cam view of our lives. I’d like to think people will realize we are similar to other families in that the most important thing is raising our children with a plethora of love. We’re all just Moms, loving and giving of ourselves and doing the best we can.

Photo by Bobby Quillard

What is like to be on a reality show?

It’s been a fun experience. The only thing I was nervous about with my baby was that they would want me to leave him alone with the film crew and nanny but because he is so young and needs his mommy I wasn’t comfortable with that. However, the producers were fine with me not leaving him while filming which is why you always see me on the show with our nanny. We had a blast shooting! The crew was amazing and it was just like having house guests (with cameras) in my home. And of course, we have fantastic nannies! Justin and Amanda are both amazing in their own ways. Clearly Amanda has more experience with babies and she’s so fantastic. I absolutely adore her and so does Xander. I really trust her with Xander.  It’s definitely been interesting to see how the show has been edited and how I’m being perceived by the viewers. They took out a lot of the scenes with Justin and me where we are more lovey dovey and left in the high drama scenes so at first people thought I was demanding because I had all these crazy requests of him. We are actually good friends and I love him so much! We are like brother and sister and have a fun banter going on. I can only hope my humor comes across well on the show. I can be dramatic and just had fun with the whole thing and I hope that comes across. Of course, no one will ever know the real “me” seeing a few minutes of edited TV of me but that’s part of what I signed on for. I’m very comfortable with who I am as a woman and mother.

You are also an artist. Care to explain what you like to paint and take pictures of? 

I have been making art since I was a little girl. I have artwork all over our house from different time periods in my life. I have two degrees and studied Psychology and Studio Art in undergrad at Denison University and Fine Art at Art Center in Pasadena.  I have had many art shows at various LA galleries and hope to have a solo show eventually. I’m an abstract oil painter and also have a photographic series called BodyScapes. I’m very into color and texture and treat each canvas as a sculpture.

Where does your motivation for your work come from?

The series of paintings I’ve been working on for the past couple of years is entitled “Candy Pill Paintings” and the series was born after I underwent two spinal fusions and multiple medical procedures as a result of a broken neck. I felt as though all the doctors I saw prescribed pills like candy and was frustrated that they saw pills as the end all be all solution to neck pain. The pills made me sick so I started collecting them in my studio and when I was strong enough to able to begin painting again I used the pills in my paintings. My artwork is and always has been a huge part of who I am and how I express myself. You can see my recent artwork on my website. Please check it out!

You are also a recent first time mother. What tips can you give for women expecting their first child?

Wow, there’s so much. The first thing is to absolutely breastfeed! Be patient with the process it can be painful and difficult at first but it’s soooo worth it and is the best gift you can give your baby! I have a whole blog article on my breast-feeding tips which you can see on my blog so please check it out. Also, take it easy the first few weeks. Really accept help and focus everything you have on the baby and not anything or anyone else. Have family members come in and cook and clean for you if you don’t have a housekeeper. Hunker down and nurse, nurse, nurse. Also limit hospital visits. If you are trying to breastfeed it can be a difficult couple of days and so I’d limit it to close family in order for you and baby to have a chance to bond. Involve your husband as much as possible. Just because he can’t nurse doesn’t mean he can’t soothe the baby. Use your big yoga ball! It’s the BEST way to soothe a baby, they LOVE the bouncing!! Watch Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. It’s sooo helpful, he has some amazing advice in there! We co-slept for six months and I highly recommend it. Get a great baby sling and wear your baby everywhere. I wore Xander all over the house, it kept him happy and allowed me to go make some oatmeal when I recovered from my c section. My favorite slings are the Moby wrap and the Ergo. Never use a forward facing sling, they’re crotch danglers and dangerous for baby. Just be patient with yourself and trust your maternal instincts. I was scared of the unknown at first but almost immediately you come to realize mommy really does know best. As long as you’re in tune with your baby you can learn to read his signals. It’s the most amazing gift and experience in life to have a baby. Cherish every moment as time flies by!!!

Finally, I have to know. You have two dogs named Nancy and Reagan. Did you name them after the Ronald Reagan and his wife?

We got Reagan right around the time Ronald Reagan died and my husband really wanted to name our dog after him as he loved him as a president. So, yes we did. My husband said that I got to choose the type of dog we’d gotten (a mini labradoodle) and so he should get to name him. Then Nancy came along four years later and we wanted to name her something that “went with” Reagan so Nancy was the obvious choice. People get a kick out of their names. Some people get offended and say “I would have liked your dogs” and some people think they’re the best names in the world. I guess it’s like anything else in life. No one is ever going to like everything.