I’m so grateful when I meet amazing people through FFB who feel like they’ve been my friends all along. We just click with immediate giggles and good vibes; which is exactly what happened when I met Christiani. You can literally see in her photos how she embodies so much positivity, fierceness and fun. I walked away from our photoshoot thinking yep, THAT is the kind of example I want to be and friend I’d want to have in our wild world of Broadway! To say I’m inspired by Christiani would be an understatement. I’m so thrilled to share her story today of determination and drive that led her to be Fit for Broadway!
NOTE FROM CHRISTIANI: Hey I’m Christiani! I love Broadway and everything it represents to those involved and those who watch. I’ve had dreams of being on stage in New York City since I was a little girl growing up in the small town of Decatur, Georgia. I have always dreamed of evoking change and inspiration in the hearts and minds of other people through my art, and being on Broadway has helped me do that! I am so thankful to God, my family and my angels who have helped me get here.
Q: GIRL!! We lived our BEST life during your photoshoot (recap for anyone who missed out: we took over a skate shop in Soho and got decked out in neon before noon!) Many more adventures to come, including me coming to A Bronx Tale to see y’all rock it! Can we start from the beginning first… What’s been the journey to Broadway?
A: I still cant get over how fun that shoot was. I felt like we went to two different fashion events all before lunch time lol. This journey to Broadway has been difficult but incredibly exciting. I have studied theatre since the 5th grade and have had a passion for performing since I was 3 years old. I performed in various school productions and the community theatre in my town. In high school I was mentored by my incredible theatre teacher and director Linda Stevenson. She pushed me to break barriers that I didn’t even realize existed. She helped me get into Florida State University’s prestigious Music Theatre program and was always available to me when I needed advice or coaching. Unfortunately Mrs. Stevenson lost her battle to cancer while I was at away at FSU and she never got to see me perform a lead role at the university or anywhere else. After losing her there was a spark of strength and focus that ignited in me because I felt obligated to “make it” for her. I continued to perform at summer stock theatres across the US and moved to NYC hours after graduation. I worked as a principle singer on a ship for 6 months after moving and then came back and hit the audition grind hard. After various no’s and close calls for different projects I got the call of a lifetime from my agents and manager. They said “so what will you wear to the opening night of your Broadway debut”. I dropped my phone and sobbed. This is the manifestation of some of my dearest dreams.
Q: How have health and fitness been intertwined into your journey as a performer?
A: I have always enjoyed physical fitness from being an athlete and dancer all my life. However it wasn’t until doing the show “Cabaret” my senior year at Florida State that I learned about the importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet along with a dedicated fitness regimen. Without a strong focus on those things I didn’t feel like I could give my best work, or sustain the stamina necessary for a steady performance. I have found that to be true with every show I have done since.
Q: Any other holistic practices to stay balanced as a performer?
A: The power of meditation is REAL. I take pride in giving my energy to God in the morning when I wake up and the next step is trying to silence all of the noise and anxiety within myself before beginning my day. I love to set a 5 to 10 minute timer on my phone (depending on how much time I have to get ready) and sit in complete silence and try to relax my mind until it is time to dive back into the day. There is so much self doubt and pressure that comes along with this job, it feels great to check in with yourself and acknowledge your self worth before you do anything else.
Q: Top 3 tips for being on tour or cruises and still living #FFB?
A: Top 3…
- Drink as much water as possible.
- Find time to work on other things you enjoy.
- Set new fitness goals for yourself weekly.
Q: I’ve had recent requests from readers who are interested in knowing about your survival jobs pre-Broadway? Any advice for performers who are looking for part time work while auditioning?
A: I found it to be pretty fun and interesting to turn my hosting job into an acting exercise. As crazy as it sounds, those survival jobs can be the most miserable and taxing things on the planet when your working them, However using them as character study can be uselful for the future and help pass the time. Finding a survival job within the business like teaching class or coaching would be ideal but some times things don’t work out that way. Don’t be afraid to work in an unfortunate position to fund your life’s dream. Greatness takes time and investments, and what better investment than hosting or babysitting money. 🙂
Q: Can we play “My Week in Fitness!” ?
A: My Fitness Week…
- Monday-Morning cardio on the treadmill and full body toning (burbies etc..)
- Tuesday-Morning Cardio + Leg and Abs
- Wednesday-Rest for that two show day
- Thursday-Morning Cardio + arms and back.
- Friday– Straight cardio. I try to increase the mileage on the treadmill every week.
- Sunday – Late night cardio and legs
Q: How does nutrition play a role in feeling your best for each Broadway show?
A: It is amazing how lethargic you can feel after eating too much before a show or eating too close to show time. It is also fascinating how many different foods and drinks effect your vocal performance. I love cheese and pasta more than I can express but consuming so much dairy and hearty wheats before the show is the ultimate set back. Consuming as many vitamins and electrolytes as possible will leave you feeling as refreshed, strong and ready for an 8 show week.
Q: Can we play “What I Ate Yesterday”?
A: I ate…
- Breakfast: A smoothie and egg white omelet.
- Lunch: a pesto Portobello salad from Sweet Green.
- Dinner: Quinoa, chicken and sweet potatoes (either I cook it or stop at Roast)
- Miscellaneous: skinny pop popcorn!
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My mother and father inspire me every single day. They both work so hard in their perspective fields and don’t let anyone discourage them. Not only do I want to make them proud, I want to be just like them!
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: I would tell someone to continue the fight. Because it is indeed a fight to protect and fulfill your dreams. Understand that greatness takes time and attention to detail, so never give up no matter how much time it takes. The longer it takes, perhaps the greater you will be.