Christina Longobardi Paradiso: BFA, Performance, 2006
“I’ve been singing since before I could talk.” That’s how Christina explains her love for music. “I loved to sing and be in bands and write songs.” When she was a freshman at her Blacksburg high school, she auditioned for Pippin and got cast as the leading player. “It’s good when the first role you get is the role Ben Vereen starred in.”
Thanks to VCU’s Senior Showcase, Christina got an agent and moved to NYC. “I had a look…perfect for Hairspray and I sounded like her.” She auditioned several times for the show and movie, but it never worked out. However, she did get cast in the workshop for The Man in the White Suit, which later went to Broadway without her, but “I did get my first Playbill listing.”
Christina was also working 9 to 5 for a production company and “I wasn’t happy, and mental health is important to me.” So, she returned to Blacksburg and entered a massage and yoga school in 2009. After completing the courses, Christina started her own business, where she credits her acting training for helping her success, “You have to show up, look well groomed, be knowledgeable on the subject and sometimes ‘act’ when people are telling you too much.”
She later moved to Charlotte, NC, where she spent six years working with Olympic swimmers and NC State. “When working with USA Swimming, it was my first time in California. I decided to vacation in Malibu and was working out at the pool,” when she was invited to stay. She answered, “I have a bunny and responsibilities. Give me 30 days and I’ll be back.”
For the last twelve years, Christina has been active as a medical sports massage therapist, as well as teaching yoga, fitness and meditation. Her work with individual athletes also took her to the Olympic swimming trials, “My client list is crazy.”
Since Christina moved to LA, she’s incorporated her first love, music, into her classes, “I actually sing to my students. It’s part of the experience.” She’s also gotten back into singing, songwriting, recording and performing solo, also collaborating with producers. While working as a ghost writer, she thinks back to her VCU training, “It takes being able to take on the character you are representing, so the artist can focus on creating.”
Christina has expanded into representation, “One of my best friends is a multi-platinum music producer and he needed better representation. It’s a prime opportunity to take the knowledge of what I’ve learned from life and music and figure out how to put this towards marketing.” Obviously, Christina’s own advice has served her well in every stage of her career.
Check out Christina’s music (collabs with 11 Dimensions and solo project Zenor) – available on Spotify, Amazon and Apple.
Compiled by Liz Hopper (professor emeritus) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the January 2022 Theatre Alumni newsletter