Recently the Smoke Signal sat down with Kristin Lancione, co-producer and star of Beverly Hills Nannies. Beverly Hills Nannies is a docu-series on ABC Family which follows the lives of eight nannies in an agency started by Kristin Lancione that caters to the rich and famous of Beverly Hills. Kristin has many ties to Fremont. She grew up in Fremont and graduated from Washington High School in 2003. Kristin is English Teacher Katherine Mattingly’s daughter. After graduating from high school, she moved to Los Angeles to attend fashion design school. While working as a fitness studio manager, moms started asking Kristin to be a nanny for their children. Then, she started working as a full time nanny. Eventually, Kristin developed the idea for a reality TV show about the nannies of affluent families in Beverly Hills. Kristin has a large fan base at MSJ and many students watch this popular summertime show.
Smoke Signal: When you were in high school at Washington, did you ever imagine yourself being in the spotlight or starring in a nationally broadcast show?
Kristin Lancione: I always knew I wanted something more than what Fremont had to offer. I knew I wouldn’t go the traditional route of going to a college and figuring out a career. Life for me has been flying by the seat of my pants. It just happened so the only memory I do have of high school is watching MTV dating shows and at the end of it would be production cards for Califa Productions. I always remember thinking: I want to do something like that. But not living in LA, I never knew it was possible to actually create your own TV show. So the answer is no. I had a feeling it was going to be something with TV but on the other side, production, not being on the show.
SS: How has being raised in Fremont affected you as a nanny and businesswoman or just life in general?
KL: I think I’m able to bring a different aspect of life to these kids in LA who grow up with a lot of money and with high-powered celebrities as parents. They grow up in a completely different world than I do. So it’s nice for me to say, “When I was growing up….”and they look at me like “Who could grow up like that?” I think I bring a little sense of normalcy to their lives. As a business woman, I don’t know. It’s really hard to give definitive answers because everything just happened and I still can’t believe it did.
SS: What’s your favorite memory of Fremont?
KL: Family. I try to come home at least four or five times a year. I would love to say that it’s for my mom, but it’s for my grandpa. I love spending time with him. I think what Fremont reminds me of is a sound foundation, because LA can get scary. The people there are not normal. Whenever I tell people that I’m from northern California, they’re like “Oh good, you have a head on your shoulders and you’re a good person.” A lot of times in LA, it’s hard and for me; Fremont is home, not just family but also friends. This is where I come if I feel like I’m getting a little too “LA”. I can feel grounded when I come back and it’s my safety zone.
SS: Has your life changed since being on TV?
KL: Yes and no. I get noticed when I’m out. If I happen to be somewhere where the paparazzi are, they will snap a picture, but it’s not like I’m being chased down. My life is pretty much the same as it was before, except at the mall and sometimes girls come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh! You’re on the nanny show.”
SS: What’s the most important thing you have learned from being on national television?
KL: I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to really watch what I say when the cameras are around because that stuff will stick with you forever. And whether I did it for the TV show or I really did it for my own personal sake, no one else knows. I’m the only one that knows that someone else is telling me how to act. Let’s be honest, a lot of the fights that happened were either staged or got way out of hand because the producers were telling me to beef it up because we need some drama. I’m like, I’m the only one who’s going to do this because I’m also a producer. So I think I need to be a little more true to myself and not let everyone else get in my head about how I’m supposed to act.
SS: That’s tough. So, how do you balance that? Being yourself versus what the other producers want?
KL: It was hard. It was like this inner battle. Do I do this and become this person where everyone else thinks this is reality or do I help the show out for the ratings and kind of take one for the team? So now I’m telling everyone, listen, I already took one for the team, someone else can be the scapegoat. It’s hard; I had a lot people come up to me and say I hated you on the show and you were horrible and how can you say these things? And I’m like “Oh my gosh, it’s a TV show.” So, it’s definitely hard.
SS: Did your perspective of reality TV change after you were actually on it?
KL: Completely. It’s very manipulative. My mom will be the first to tell you that I’m very manipulative and I thought that I could outsmart the game. I’m telling you, nobody can outsmart the game. My idea was since I created it, I would have more power. That power was stripped the minute I signed my contract to be on the show. And everyone else made it very clear that I was no longer a producer; I was now the star of the show. So it was definitely not the experience I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t a horrible experience; I had a lot of fun doing it. It was very good to learn, and especially for me with my other projects, I’ve now been able to see the backend of it and the other side. I think it’ll help me be a better producer in the future dealing with everything that I had to deal with.
SS: What advice would you give to students aspiring to be as successful as you are but still passionate about what they do?
KL: I think passion always has to come first and success is only kind of in your own head. To someone it could mean a lot of money. To someone else it could mean I followed my dreams and I’m broke but I’m living what I want to be living. I say just always have a goal. Follow through is the most important thing because anybody can have an idea for a TV show, anybody can be just a nanny, but I put everything all together and I wouldn’t stop. I had a production company tell me no but I didn’t take no for an answer. I’m going to get this made. I know it’s going to be a good show. So at the end of the day, follow your dreams. There was a time I was working 12 hours a day and now I can look back and know that I really had to work my butt off to get where I am now.
SS: You didn’t go to LA to be a nanny, so would you say it’s important to follow the path that life gives you?
KL: Completely. I think that kids get so caught up in, even elementary school or junior high, creating this path for themselves when, let’s be honest, I didn’t find myself until I was 25. I think it’s nice to have a path to follow but I think also, you have to be open to change. Because I remember when I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a PE teacher. Then I got to college and I said I hate anatomy. I don’t want to study this. I never wanted to be in fashion, I wanted to be in LA. I knew that fashion school was my gateway to Los Angeles. I knew that I would learn some valuable skills along the way, but I had no idea what to do with my life. I think it’s important to have goals and important to have a path, but when there comes a fork in the road, don’t be scared to try something else. If you never try, you never know what could’ve happened. Basically, when you guys go to college, take every single class possible and find what you truly love rather than feeling that you had to be forced into one specific end goal or profession.
SS: What are your plans for the future? Would you want to continue in the entertainment industry or focus on your agency?
KL: I have to say I’m a lot more passionate about creating things whether its reality shows or other projects. I definitely want to go that route but I also know that if this nanny agency is set up properly, it could be my bread and butter and kind of work on its own. It’s kind of both because I love being busy.