Meet Evangelia Pavlakos: From accountant to make-up artist


Today we're featuring Evangelia Pavlakos, mother of three boys (ages 8, 6 and 4). Eva talks to us about how she went from accountant to freelance make-up artist and hairstylist over the course of her maternity leaves. Her stunning work includes photoshoots for magazines, ads and television.

Check out her website and get in touch with her at We're big fans of her work and not so secretly wishing she was around every day to hide the dark circles under our eyes...

Describe a typical weekday in your life.

My schedule varies from day to day and week to week depending on my projects. I usually start work very early so my husband takes care of the kids in the morning and drops them off at school and daycare. Depending on what time I finish, I will do the pick up round or my loving mother-in-law will. She lives nearby and she is usually the one who picks up the kids on average.

Once the kids are home, we all eat and then the homework routine starts.

My husband and I have split the chores around the house and I am usually the one who cooks. I end up working very often on the weekends, however, so planning is key. I slip in grocery shopping whenever it’s possible and when I cook, I cook for the whole week. My mom used to do this when I was little and although cooking for 4-6 hours on a given day is long, it makes my life much easier during the week. The 2 older kids have predetermined lunches, and all we have to do once we get home during the workweek is heat up food and move along into the evening.

In that mix, add hockey practices and games for all 3 kids (in winter) and soccer (in summer) so a calendar in the kitchen has helped us keep organized and in the know.

How did having children affect your career?

In my case, I was an accountant before the kids came along and even though I have always wanted to be a make-up artist, I never had the courage to quit my job and go for my dream. I discreetly went on maternity leave and started building up a new career; I quickly went on a 2nd maternity leave and once I had my 3rd boy, my “new” career was more and more established. 

What has surprised you the most about balancing your career and motherhood?

I always thought that the balance will come to me and it will be easy and clear but the truth is is that I had to define that balance and see what works for me and my family.

What advice would you give to a new mother returning to work after maternity leave?

There are 2 types of moms: those who want to stay home forever and take care of the kids and those who can’t wait to go to go back to work.

To the moms who would ideally like to stay home but must go back to work: take things day by day and try to have a positive outlook.

To the moms who wanted to go back to work even while on maternity leave, enjoy the return!

What tips do you have on maintaining a social life once you have kids?

I have no social life. I occasionally go on date nights with my husband, go to the occasional wedding and once in a while, I get together with my friends (usually twice a year). I would like to have a more active social life but between my job and my family life, it has become less of a priority without having it set out to be that way. Having said that, I do keep in touch with my friends via phone calls and texting and social media.

Share a life hack that has made your life as a working mother easier.

Try to be organized and plan ahead. I don’t always do what I preach but it does help.

What's the most important thing that you do to maintain your sense of well-being?

I maintain my sense of well-being by going to work. I have a gym membership and I go as much and as often as I can depending on my schedule and also when I have the energy.

What else would you like to share with our readers?

I saw a video on Shonda Rhimes’ commencement speech at Dartmouth and it resonated with me deeply. The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal told the graduating class she was seriously worried she would “poop her pants,” because as a TV writer, she’s more comfortable writing words for other people to say. But she kept it together and delivered an amazing speech about the fallacy of “doing it all.” Here is part of the transcript:

Shonda, how do you do it all?

The answer is this: I don’t.

Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.

If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.

Something is always missing.

And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. There is a land and it is named after their mother. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person—and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who didn’t get to do this all day long. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who wasn’t doing.

You can read the full transcript here or watch the video, it's worth it!