It’s no surprise that some of Hollywood’s high profile stars and producers need a little help making their work life balance look effortless, especially when it comes to their kids! That’s where Naveed Mardi comes in.
Not your typical nanny, Naveed is a former Pro Rugby Player turned TV Host, who rides a motorcycle and surfs in his free time. He grew up in Austin, Texas and moved to Los Angeles about six years ago to pursue a TV Host role for a fitness show. So how did he become the go-to for keeping Hollywood’s kids entertained. We sat down to find out!
PPLA: First of all, we can’t gloss over your successful rugby career. Tell us about that.
NM: After winning the collegiate rugby national championship, I was invited as 1 out of 55 in the nation to try out for the US Olympic Rugby Team. After getting cut, I was recruited to play for the National Team of Iran.
PPLA: That’s pretty impressive and unique! So what brought you to Hollywood then?
NM: I first moved back to LA because I already had been wanting to and was also hired as a fitness expert for a national TV how. Sadly the show was cut faster than you can spell the word cut! From there I stayed working in the TV world for a while interviewing some of the biggest stars on red carpets and in studios for places like Afterbuzz, Maria Menounos’ streaming station.
PPLA: When did you first start working as a “Manny” and why?
NM: I first really began working with children in college working as an overnight camp counselor during the summer, as I’ve always loved working with children. Then after college, before going to play rugby abroad, I worked as a day camp counselor in Austin, Texas. Then cut to after living in LA for a bit, a high profile family found out I had worked with children before and saw how I interacted with their children then offered me my first job “mannying,” working with their children. At first I thought it would be temporary even though I loved doing it, then it really became a passion that I developed into a career becoming a professional nanny. Now coming up on 5-ish years working with amazing families in LA.
PPLA: Did you have a Nanny or childcare growing up yourself?
NM: I had a nanny when I was very young. Otherwise, I was usually the kid who walked home from school or to a friend’s house and my parents had carpools organized for after school activities.
PPLA: Who influences your parenting style?
NM: My own parents really have influenced my “style” of looking after children. My parents could’ve not been more opposite but the same, if that makes sense. I grew up as an Iranian American but involved with Persian culture. My parents at every Mehmooni (Persian party) were definitely the life of the party. So that’s where I get my energy from and love to entertain children. My Dad was also a big story teller and full of imagination. He would often be the one in front of many telling a random story and getting laughs from the whole room. All my friends I believe would agree that this is exactly me too! He also would come up with endless random games on the spot and so you would normally find all my friends and I gathered around my Dad playing some silly game he just came up with!
PPLA: So how would you describe your style?
NM: I’m definitely a man child, but IN A GOOD WAY! If there’s a better term for it let me know! I feel that I really understand how to get the attention of children and create a fun environment for them. I do this with Energy + Imagination. I love incorporating imagination into almost everything! Whether we are playing “1 word story” or doing crafts. I also consider myself the number one greatest person at creating games on the spot. If that’s a thing! It’s quickly becoming what I’m known for.
Who are some of the significant families you have Nanny’d for, if you can share?
PPLA: What are the average age of the kids or number of kids you watch at a time?
NM: I normally look after children ages 5-10, mostly boys. Yet I have also taken care of toddlers and teenagers. The most children I was looking after at once was 7-9. That was during the “Pandemic” summer. Almost like a day camp for kids and a counselor of one, I would use one of the family’s vans then pick each kid up and hit the beach for the day! A lot of people were like WHAT?! But for me it was so much fun.
PPLA: What does being a Manny entail?
NM: It can include a variety of things. This is because at the same time, my role can also be a family assistant. Yet, as for Mannying, typical job roles fluctuate on what the parents are looking for. Typically this would include wake up, making breakfast, drop off at school, pick up from school, afternoon activities, dinner, showers/baths, and tucked in bed.
PPLA: What is a typical day in the life of a Manny?
My typical day as a Manny begins pretty early at 7am. I get to the house at 7am then get breakfast for the boys made (and I am no chef so i keep it simple). Breakfast is usually french toast, pancakes, bacon, etc. Then I usually get the boys up and they get dressed for school. After they come down and they eat breakfast we’ll usually play basketball outside or something fun like that before me or their parents take them to school. Now, my schedule is a little different. After they leave to school I go back to my apartment in Venice and get to work on one of my projects! Around 1:30 i’ll head back to the house and go for school pickups. From here it varies a lot. That’s because as you’d expect theres a lot of after school activities! So I consider myself a bus driver taking the boys to all their activities or playdates. Now if we don’t have any scheduled activities, I’ll take them to the beach, a hike, the park, or any number of fun things. We usually end up always involving basketball somehow! Then head home for showers and dinner. Depends on what the family wants and scheduling so it really varies in what I do for each family but this is the usual routine.
PPLA: You’ve also expanded your Manny career to children’s book author! How did you come up with the idea for your first book?
NM: It’s quite funny or you’d think it sounds about right; I’ve always told really goofy fun stories for every kid I’ve worked with, especially for bed time. Then I decided to just run with a story and really produce it! The kids usually don’t actually let me leave until I do give a story.
PPLA: What was the process from idea to publishing?
NM: Well as I am building my writing portfolio, I decided I didn’t want to wait for a “yes” from a big wig publisher so I went ahead to produce the book myself- Maple, the Syrup-Sneezing Tree. From idea to having the book in hand is a really tedious process. When I get asked about this, I ask back how much time do you have? The whole process takes about 7+ months. Yet, it varies because it really depends on how many edits you do on your manuscript, illustrations, then printing, and the biggest one is getting shipped the book via cargo ship!
PPLA: What’s next for you?
NM: The next book that I am so excited to release is Alien Pizza! I am aiming for a Summer release. The illustrations are being finalized so all that’s left is giving the whole manuscript to the printers and creating the book!
PPLA: What about a return to your TV roots?
NM: I have a lot of projects I’m currently working on top of Alien Pizza that I hope to also release in the next few years. There’s several more children’s books that I already have ready to work on, an animated series, and a TV series that I host that involves travel and of course kids!
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