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July 10, 2012 > Beverly Hills Nannies: the Fremont connection

Beverly Hills Nannies: the Fremont connection

By M. J. Laird, Photo by Bob D'Amico

When the new ABC Family docu-series "Beverly Hills Nannies" debuts July 11 at 9 p.m., Kristin Lancione, formerly of Fremont, isn't sure where she will be. She prefers to be home, cuddling under a blanket, watching the program alone.

Beverly Hills Nannies is her "baby." The idea came to her as she was driving down Santa Monica Boulevard. Immediately recognizing the idea's value, she worked with an actress friend to develop the idea and pitch it to Evolution Media, the production company known for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

Referred to as "Mary Poppins meets Rodeo Drive," the hour-long program also stars Lancione, who has hired herself out as a nanny in Beverly Hills for seven years. Cameras follow Lancione and eight other nannies and mannies, who are "the help" caring for children in the "most exclusive zip code in the country."

"The limelight kind of scares me," says Lancione, a 2003 Washington High School grad, who had write ups and photographs in three Los Angeles magazines last week. "I'm not sure I want to be at a huge party. I'm not sure I'm ready for all this."

Internet blogger Andy Swift has described the first episode as "hilarious" and Lancione agrees, having seen it for the first time 10 days before the show airs. "Oh my gosh, I was laughing so hard, I was crying. I turned to the producer and told him 'Even if I had nothing to do with this program, I'd watch it. It's that good," she says unabashedly, also acknowledging that she is her harshest critic.

Lancione headed for Los Angeles right out of high school, never dreaming of the big screen or television. She set her sights on LA for its energy and fashion design schools where she expected to find her passion but never did; at least until now.

Working as a fitness studio manager with days starting at 5:30 a.m., she ended her daily work schedule by mid-afternoon, in time to pick up children from school and care for them until parents came home in the evening. Her boss at the fitness studio, Drew Gerstein, turned out to be her best referral, recommending her to a number of studio clients.

Two years ago - trying to figure out the rest of her life - Lancione quit the fitness studio to nanny exclusively. Even while in fashion school she was in high demand. Recognizing that nannying would not become the rest of her work life, Lancione considered starting a nanny placement service. Then, when the idea came to her for a show, Lancione, an unabashed fan of reality TV, realized a career move was right before her, among friends she had made - young, cute and fun nannies "renting the lifestyle" of the rich and famous for a few hours as they worked toward their own aspirations and goals, just as she was doing.

After initial meetings, Evolution was contacted by ABC Family, which needed an idea for a summer show, and Beverly Hills Nannies moved into production in March for nine episodes.

Since tapings began, Lancione says she has grown more comfortable in her skin, realizing that cameras were taping everything. "Everyone sees what I'm doing right and what I am doing wrong. This has made me think a lot. I'm not portraying a character, I'm playing myself. I'm asking myself, 'Who have I been these last 26 years?' I want to be genuine to myself and for people to see the most genuine version of me. I've seen scripted reality TV where people act for the camera. I didn't want that. In a weird way, this has been cathartic."

The show captures nannies on the clock and off, as they re-enter their own reality dealing with personal struggles of their generation, being young, single and living in LA, dating and working through the ups and downs of friendships.

As for the Beverly Hills families featured in the series, it was no small task for Lancione to help convince them to open their houses to America, but she and the producers succeeded. The cast includes six families; among them are the Thames family with their three children and mom Tricia Leigh Fisher, daughter of Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher, and dad music producer Byron Thames; Lindsay Faulk, currently separated from Marshall Faulk, a former NFL running back and Hall of Famer, with their four children ages 12 to 4; the Margolis Family with model/actress mom Cindy Margolis, known as the "Most Downloaded Woman of 1999" and three children ages 9 to 6; and same sex partners, Sherry Solomon and Dana Soloman, who own a high-end LA design company and have a one-year old daughter.

While Lancione may be home alone on July 11, her mom, Katherine Mattingly who teaches at Mission High School won't be. She is headed to her sister's house. Karen Ottoboni, a teacher at Glenmoor School, will gather the family around the big screen television.

"We are very excited about the new reality show," says Ottoboni. "Kristin has always been a very determined person, setting goals for herself and achieving them. She really went out and made her life happen. We are so proud of her." She plans to serve champagne with Lancione's favorite appetizers.

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