Creativity is one of the greatest qualities we can be blessed with, but many never allow their true creativity to be expressed . . . I think if you have fun doing something and it keeps you constantly thinking and trying to figure out a new and better way, then that is what you should focus on in life because creativity is what pushes passion. It’s what makes everything around you feel vibrantly alive. That is what also will inspire those around you.
Christina Cindrich + Private Islands
Creator: Christina Cindrich (@misscindrich); 2x Emmy Award-Winning TV Producer and Host
Location: San Diego, California –> Now Los Angeles, California
Words of Wisdom – “I messed up many times but I learned from my mistakes. It’s all a lengthy process but none of us are entitled to amazing jobs or interesting projects. These are things we have to proactively seek out and they take effort to earn. It takes time to practice your craft and sharpen your skills. Not only that, but you need to build confidence and a strong body of work, which a lot of times is done through paying your dues.”
Throughout my life I have come across many talented people, and I’ve also been fortunate enough to have worked with several of them – either on my own endeavors or with others.
One thing I admired about these individuals is their work ethic. To me, your work ethic determines the outcomes of your projects and your overall future successes.
In becoming more acquainted with Christina Cindrich, I can officially say I have met one of the hardest working people I have ever met, period.
Christina is a 2X Emmy Award winning writer and producer, but it’s not hard to understand how she got there. Once you spend some time hearing about her journey, you begin to realize this woman has so much more coming.
Her career started long before most people enter the first grade and she spent her youth training in ballet, tap, jazz, acting, singing, piano and musical theater.
Need I say more?
“I’ve always enjoyed the work, the craft, and every aspect of entertaining. I left high school early a couple days a week to train with some of the best instructors in Pittsburgh.”
While other kids played and went to social events, Christina trained and performed.
And she carried that same attitude well into her “adult” life. If you’re looking for a poster child for “paying your dues”, then Christina is your role model.
While some people explore their craft, Christina has encapsulated entertainment by diving head first into it, tearing it apart, reconstructing it again, and then mastering it.
She’s explored film, television, commercials, news broadcasting, writing, hosting, producing, directing and more.
Christina Cindrich | Hosting Highlights Reel
She’s worked in the basement of Entertainment Tonight and taken a news anchor job in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina, just to pay her dues. So, it’s no surprise that she’s received guest starring roles, including working one-on-one with Mr. Steven Spielberg in Catch Me If You Can.
As if her work ethic weren’t enough, Christina is one of the nicest, most humble, character-driven individuals you will ever meet. She’s likable, relatable, authentic and someone you cannot miss.
Because I’m literally speechless from how talented she is, I’d like to turn it over to her. Here’s what Christina Cindrich had to say about life, her family, pursuing your passions, paying your dues and embracing your journey:
Christina Cindrich – Grand Cayman Islands
HDF: Hi Christina! I’m excited to do this because I’ve seen some of your work and it’s awesome!
Before we get into your television endeavors and your show, Private Islands, can we start by diving in a little bit more about where you’re from and where you’re living?
Christina: Hi! Thank you so much. I’m honored to be featured in H&DF.
HDF: We’re honored to have you (laughter).
I’m currently living in San Diego, but I’ve traveled around a bit, and now I’m moving back to Los Angeles shortly!
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (GO STEELERS!)
I moved to Los Angeles after high school to attend Loyola Marymount University while pursuing a career in the Entertainment Industry. I spent my 20’s in LA. I worked hard on my acting career but also was pretty carefree and living up my youth. It was a blast.
Loyola Marymount University – Photo Credit – TodaysCampus.com
I experienced LaLa Land in all its glory but never got caught up in the LA lifestyle. It was a nice balance of work and play. After 10 years, by 29 years old, I decided it was time for a life change and to explore some options to take my career to the next step.
HDF: And then what happened? What did you decide to do?
Christina: Within two weeks notice, I packed up the life that I loved and moved to the country mountains of Boone, North Carolina for a job as the only News Anchor in a small town.
Boone, North Carolina
HDF: Wow, big transition!
Christina: Where to begin on this story . . . well, it was a crazy experience and one that probably only my Mom would completely understand.
I lived two hours from the closest airport literally on top of a snowy mountain. We had a Walmart, a general store and an Applebees!
I was a big fish in a small pond and was basically isolated for 8 months. I didn’t have any friends there and I couldn’t escape on the weekends because the mountain was either too icy to drive down or I was out filming the news.
As the only news anchor in 12 counties, and being a one-woman team, I had responsibilities to fulfill so I was very focused.
Stepping outside my comfort zone and taking this big risk was the catalyst for my personal and professional growth. It provided such powerful motivation to pursue my dreams.
Christina in Boone, North Carolina
Christina in Boone, North Carolina
HDF: What a transition, but an awesome experience. Not a lot of people would have taken that leap coming from LA, but it really shaped you.
Christina: Yeah, and after 8 months of a complete life shock, I decided it was time to move back to California.
Once back, I was hired for a position as a TV Producer and Host for an international network based in San Diego, CA. That’s where I’ve currently been living the past 5 years.
I love San Diego but I don’t get out and explore as much as I’d like. When I’m not out filming, I’m working in an office cubicle 45 hours a week doing pre and post-production.
My brother, sister-in-law, and 2 nieces are in San Diego though so when I need some family time, they’re just a short drive away.
Christina Cindrich – San Diego
Christina Cindrich – San Diego
HDF: Christina, your background is amazing. One of the many reasons I wanted to do an interview with you is because of your exceptional work ethic and dedication to your craft.
I read on one of your bios that you started musical theater and dance at the age of 2. I know that’s very young, but do you think you knew that you’d go into performing arts the rest of your life – whether as an actress, writer, producer, etc.?
Christina: Thank you so much. I can only speak for myself on this, but I believe being raised on the East Coast is one of the things contributed to my work ethic. It’s a bit of a different mentality there with a huge emphasis on punctuality & competitiveness.
The west coast, although I love it and it’s my home, is a little more fluid and laid-back. California attracts a lot of dreamers – part of which why I love it so much – but the East Coast ingrained a work ethic in me with value on the process, not just the outcome.
HDF: You got that right!! I’m originally from New Jersey and my family is from New York. Their work ethic is unparalleled. Love the West Coast, but the East Coast gave me my work ethic.
Christina: Yeah, I think work ethic is also inherent and something we’re just born with. From the age of 2, I knew I would be a performer for the rest of my life.
I have a diary entry excerpt from the 3rd grade on the wall in my bedroom. The end line is “I want to be an Actress.” I got that framed after co-starring in one of the final episodes of NBC’s hit sitcom, Frasier.
Christina Cindrich’s Diary Entry – 3rd Grade
I’ve always enjoyed the work, the craft, and every aspect of entertaining. I left high school early a couple days a week to train with some of the best instructors in Pittsburgh. I went to Piano camp out of state during the summer.
I remember one summer in high school taking the most grueling dance workshop, I’d come home every day and have to ice my bloody toes for hours. Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acting, Singing, Piano, Musical Theater.
That was my childhood.
I also represented the state of Pennsylvania in Donald Trump’s Miss Teen USA pageant when I was in high school. I missed out on a lot of social events, but those were never my priority. Performing was.
HDF: Christina, to do that much at such an early age is a huge commitment to your craft!
So, you’ve been appearing in movies and television for quite awhile? How old were you when you first started acting in major TV and movies?
Christina: The first movie I was ever in was filmed in Pittsburgh, PA in 1994. “Only You” starring Marisa Tomei. I originally auditioned to play Tomei at a younger age…I didn’t get that role but was still included in the movie.
I was only 12 or 13. I remember my mom and I spending all night on set at Kennywood Amusement Park. We had so much fun just being there. It’s a memory I’ll never forget.
After moving to Los Angeles for college, I got an Agent and a Manager. I started out in a recurring role on the Soap Opera, Port Charles! I played a Vampire (laughter). It was fun.
Christina Cindrich – Port Charles Soap Opera
There’s consistency with Soap Operas. Almost like having a 9-5pm job.
From there, I started working in TV, Films, and National Commercials. I’ve had some pretty special experiences in this business.
Christina Cindrich, 2004
Christina Cindrich – Las Vegas on NBC
Leonardo DiCaprio | Tom Hanks | Catch Me If You Can
HDF: Uh, working with Steven Spielberg is an opportunity of a lifetime!!! (laughter).
So, you’re clearly a writer. I was looking at all your background work and you’ve written numerous shows in previous years. And you’ve also been a reporter at one point. Were you always a writer?
Christina: Ha! Writing is the part that challenges me the most. I’m a Virgo and a perfectionist. I’ll sit for hours and days over-analyzing my writing. For the most part, I’m happy with the final result, but it takes a while to collect my thoughts. I have to be inspired and uninterrupted to get into that creative zone.
The “news reporting” writing, I never really enjoyed that much, especially if the news wasn’t happy news. I’m also not a big fan of Hollywood gossip. None of that feels authentic to me.
For my travel shows, the writing is different because I get to tell my story and share it with my audience so they can live vicariously through it all. I think that’s why I always want it to be perfect.
After so many episodes of Private Islands though, there’s only so many times I can say “White sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters!” (Laughter). At this point, when I’m at a loss for words, I write “Montage” in the script and let my editor tell the story through some incredible visuals.
Christina Cindrich Snorkeling
HDF: I completely feel you on that. I’m a huge perfectionist when it comes to my writing. It has to capture everything it’s supposed to.
And you hit it right on the head with “Authenticity”. That’s probably one of the most important characteristics of a journey piece.
How did your show Private Islands come about? What were you doing that ultimately led up to this show?
Christina: Oh wow. Private Islands gives me inspiration on so many levels. It’s incredible how Mother Nature just goes crazy in these places.
I started working on the series 4 years ago. I was doing other shows at my network, but hadn’t really found my “niche”.
My company bought one out-of-house episode that featured a couple islands and it played really well with our audience. I ended up picking up the series from there and made it my own.
One of the first episodes I produced, I flew to Vegas to interview David Copperfield to talk about his incredible piece of paradise, Musha Cay, which is located in the Exuma Cays in The Bahamas. I then filmed in the Exumas and literally had tears streaming down my face the first time I was in a helicopter flying over the crystal clear waters.
Christina Cindrich | Musha Cay in the Bahamas
When Neil Armstrong was on one of the Apollo missions, he actually pointed down and said the Exumas was the most outstanding view of Earth. I’d say that was my “aha” moment!
HDF: That’s when you know you’ve gotten yourself into something life changing.
Christina: Yeah, when I first started Private Islands, I had never even been snorkeling. Over 4 years later, I’m a little too comfortable with Sharks, Manta Rays, Jellyfish and every other fascinating creature underwater. It’s brought out such the adventure side in me.
Christina Cindrich | Swimming with Sharks
Christina Cindrich | Amongst Sting Rays
Christina Cindrich | Jellyfish
Christina Cindrich | Swimming with Sea Turtles
The show has given me the opportunity to check so many wild experiences off my bucket list.
HDF: Any challenges putting it all together?
Christina: There have been some challenges with the series. The whole point of a private island is for it to remain exclusive for the owners and guests. I received many “no’s” before “yes’s” because a lot of properties just don’t want or need publicity.
Eventually, I started adding some of the big private island names to the list and developed a personal relationship with many of the island owners, realtors, and PR reps.
From there it just sort of took off and I’ve been fortunate to feature some of the best in the world in my shows. These islands are beyond magical. We’re dealing with big boy’s playgrounds that are equipped the all the toys, amenities, and experiences you could possibly dream of.
Also, There are many elements of nature to deal with when we’re filming. Sun, sand, wind, water, and all types of bugs are always present and can make some situations challenging, but we have some tricks for all of that now!
Christina Cindrich | Filming Underwater
HDF: So you are the writer, producer and the host of your show? I think that’s amazing! How do you do it all? (Laughter).
Christina: Yes, I’m the Producer, Host, and Writer of my series. I also b-cam on shoots and off-line edit in post-production. I oversee all aspects of production but have a cameraman and editor who know my format and know what works best with my shows.
There is so much work that goes into it that most people don’t see. It’s funny, I’ll post a photo on Instagram laying in a hammock and people seriously think that is my job. Laying in a hammock whilst drinking a fruity concoction with a mini umbrella!! (That does sound nice!)
Christina Cindrich | @misscindrich
HDF: (laugher). Christina, seriously, thank you for saying this. I think a lot of people see all these photos on Instagram and Social Media and they don’t see the work that goes into it. They just see the results and say, “I want that job.”
Christina: The truth is . . . I travel with only one person, my cameraman. We’ll fly 20-30+ hours and as soon as we land we go straight to work.
I can’t think about Jet-lag until the week is over. We have about 4-5 days to film a 30-minute episode so there is no time to waste or rest. If I’m in a hammock, I’m literally laying in that hammock for 5 minutes to get the shot then we move on to the next activity. My shoots are extremely fast-paced and I have them planned down to the hour.
I spend a couple months of pre-production so I know the destinations inside and out before I even get there. I have interview questions and my storyline laid out, but things always change once we actually arrive. That’s what it keeps it exciting!
We film 6am until 9pm for a little under a week then fly home. It’s not until the last day that I can finally let my mind relax once I know I got all the footage I need to put the show together. I’m in the office the next morning loading everything in and starting the lengthy post-production process.
Christina Cindrich | Writing, Producing & Filming in the Caymans
HDF: How long is that process?
Christina: It usually takes me a couple weeks to organize the footage, I lay it onto a timeline, write the story, lay in the interview sound bytes and my voiceovers, then hand it over to my editor who then has it for about 4-6 weeks. After that it goes to an audio engineer. (Bless his heart, he has to fix all the wind noises and has to pump up my audio since it’s hard to conceal a mic pack in a bikini!)
The show then gets an airdate and we hype it up until the premiere! All of this while I’m planning the next shoot.
Learning how to do it all at once has been the most valuable experience. Eventually, I’d like to expand my team, but I’m grateful I’ve learned how to be a one-woman show.
HDF: You’re awesome and your work ethic is incredible! Were you always into Travel?
Christina: I’ve always loved traveling. When I was little, my parents would take my brother and I on these crazy family vacations. Climbing the Great Wall of China, visiting the Red Square in Moscow, and meeting extended family in (former) Yugoslavia are standout memories as a child.
Traveling gets me completely lost in the moment and stretches my understanding of the world and of myself.
My life is so much richer as a result. There’s a sense of humility that you get from traveling. I’m blessed to have been to a lot of places, but I’m also humbled by the fact that the world is huge and I’ve only still seen such a small part of it.
HDF: What has been your favorite destination to date?
Christina: As far as favorite destinations, that’s such a tough question. I find beauty everywhere.
Some of my favorite destinations, in no particular order:
Christina Cindrich – Laucala Island, Fiji
Christina Cindrich – Another Photo of Laucala Island, Fiji
El Nido, Philippines (Surrounded by Limestone cliffs and feels like a Tropical Jurassic Park);
Christina Cindrich – El Nido, Philippines
Christina Cindrich – El Nido, Philippines
Jellyfish Lake in Palau (Swimming with over 20 million Jellyfish is like entering Euphoria in a whole different world);
Christina Cindrich – Jellyfish Lake in Palau
Jamaica, Jamaica (I was fortunate to experience Jamaica with the Marley Family. It was spiritual and just incredible.);
Christina Cindrich – Victoria Falls
Christina Cindrich – Zambia School Children
Christina Cindrich – Zambia School Children
Cayman Islands (Love Caymanians. The locals always make the experience and I met many people in Cayman who I’ll be friends with for life);
Christina Cindrich – Cayman Islands
Venice, Italy (During Carnivale! It’s mysterious, romantic and “Renaissance naughty”!);
Christina Cindrich – Venice, Italy
The Caribbean, India, Thailand, Tahiti, Maldives…Wow….I could keep going. I’ve left my heart in so many places around the world.
Christina Cindrich – Phuket – Phi Phi Islands
HDF: WOW!!! But I completely understand. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t experienced as many countries and cities around the world that I have.
And I see you’ve won some awards for your work. Congrats on your Emmys!!! Does winning an Emmy feel as good as it sounds? (laughter)
In all seriousness, how does winning an Emmy feel in relationship to your work?
Christina: Haha, thank you!! I have to say, why yes, it sure does!! 🙂
Winning my first Emmy was the most surreal experience. Winning my second Emmy just recently, completely blew my mind. I don’t think any of it has truly sunk in.
After many years of sacrifices and hard work, to be recognized by this industry is the most rewarding achievement. It’s a huge honor and I am so blessed to have been given the outlet to express my passions and creativity.
I was first nominated 4 years ago for a show I did on Remy Martin in Cognac, France. I didn’t win that year.
The following year, I wasn’t nominated. I was bummed about that but it pushed me to work even harder.
Last year, I received two nominations, against myself in the same category. Both for Private Islands! I won my first Emmy that night and suddenly I had a title to my name. A title I had dreamt my whole life about having. To have my parents by my side and to see how proud they were was the best feeling in the world.
This year, I was completely shocked to be nominated again. It was for a show I Produced on the Venice Carnivale. I spent a month and a half convinced I wasn’t winning this one. I was pretty laid back leading up to the big night. I didn’t even get my dress until a couple days before the event.
I spent half the night at the cheese platter chowing down and drinking wine, just happy to see some of my former co-workers. But once the show started and when they finally got to my category, I had butterflies. My best friend was on one side of me and I was holding her hand SO tightly just trembling and waiting for the announcement.
I can’t even put the feeling into words when I heard my name. I was completely shocked and that feeling of pure Joy is indescribable. The outpour of support, love, and encouragement I received is so overwhelmingly amazing. One of the best feelings is hearing people say
“You deserve it.”
Christina Cindrich – Emmys Acceptance Speech
HDF: Christina, you really do. Hearing how much work you put into all your creativity and passions is something to be rewarded for.
You seem real close with your parents. Are they your number one fans?
Christina: My family has played a huge role in my life. Through watching my parents and my extended family, I knew that hard work and determination could take me places I had always dreamed of.
My dad, in particular, set the example. His passion was and has always been football. He was a small town boy who not only had a lot of talent but also worked extremely hard in life to become a four-year NFL linebacker, then a nationally recognized sports lawyer and agent.
When I was super young, I remember hearing him argue on the phone with NFL team owners. He was fearless and never took NO for an answer. As I reflect on it, that’s how I learned my strength. He’s powerful. (Such a badass)
My mom is my rock and my best friend and has always been totally invested in my happiness. I call her multiple times a day to talk about everything going on in life. Her therapy sessions don’t always come without tough love, but that’s why I go to her for advice.
She’s also incredibly smart. (She was Valedictorian!) And she always comes to my defense when I need her to. I greatly admire her kindness, generosity, and patience..
The respect and love I have for my parents is so high and I can’t imagine life without them. They know what’s best for me and they’ve supported me through every step of my career.
Christina Cindrich With Her Parents Mary & Ralph Cindrich
HDF: I completely understand. I’m very fortunate to have the same relationship with my parents. I admire them both.
What’s the best advice you can give someone just starting out in the entertainment industry? What about writing, producing and/or hosting?
Or maybe just pursuing their dreams?
Christina: I get asked this question a lot. The truth is, this is an industry where you have to pay your dues and work your way up.
I remember interning in the dark basement vault at Entertainment Tonight, peeling labels off of old tapes all day. I was an “extra” on movie sets before I started booking the Guest-Starring roles.
I worked in a very small TV market in the middle of nowhere before getting the opportunity to do what I actually wanted to do.
I took classes. I studied. I trained. I messed up many times but learned from my mistakes. It’s all a lengthy process but none of us are entitled to amazing jobs or interesting projects. These are things we have to proactively seek out and they take effort to earn.
It takes time to practice your craft and sharpen your skills. Not only that, but you need to build confidence and a strong body of work, which a lot of times is done through paying your dues.
Everyone’s journey is different. People tell me often how lucky I am to travel the world. I don’t believe in luck though. Luck implies something that comes from nowhere.
I believe in blessings, miracles, and the rewards of our efforts. I truly believe that if you work hard, amazing things will happen.
HDF: That was perfectly put. I feel like sometimes people forget that paying your dues is part of the process. You have to really go out on the line for what you believe in and hustle your way up.
In an Instagram (@misscindrich) quote, you had posted:
“I’m building a brand. I’m always busy.”
This is one of the truest statements, and often something I think many people have a hard time understanding. I know and appreciate this statement first hand.
If you could describe the essence of your brand, how would you describe it?
Christina: Ahhh yes. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I’d like to get done but as they say,
“If Beyonce has only 24 hours too then there’s no excuse!”
But…it’s really not about who’s busiest, who makes the most money, or who has the most followers. It’s about doing exactly what you love, figuring out who you are and what your plan is, and constantly putting yourself out there.
My brand is about living life to the fullest. Being a go-getter, a dreamer, and a doer. I live a life of adventure where I continually leave my comfort zone and check off my bucket list. I keep it positive. Inspiring. And wild.
My job has given me the opportunity to share the beauty of this world though my own personal experiences. From private islands and traveling… to adrenaline-packed animal encounters that people see and think WOW, she’s nuts.
As Steve Jobs once said,
“People with passion can change the world.”
If you’re given the chance to influence people, as a leader, your best days are ahead if you remain passionate about your brand and its unique benefit to the world.
I am a huge advocate of what they are trying to accomplish. Can you tell me more about the relationship between you and the foundation?
Christina Cindrich with the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation
Christina: Wow…I love Eddie (@BlackJaguarWhiteTiger) and my whole Mexican family.
I visited the foundation earlier this year and am long overdue for a trip back. Walking into his home is the most surreal experience. There are literally big cats everywhere. I was having dinner at the dining room table with a baby lion and baby tiger running around below my feet.
I would wake up in the morning to all types of noises right outside the guest bedroom door. When I’d look out the window, there were lions, tigers, jaguars and more playing in the yard.
The beautiful part about it is all these animals were rescued from very sad circumstances, whether mistreatment in circuses, zoos, or other terrible conditions.
Christina Cindrich with Black Jaguar White Tiger
When they arrive to the foundation, many are underweight, weak, and frightened. With the right treatment, proper nutrition, love, respect and care, they are given the opportunity to heal.
Unfortunately, none of the animals can be released back into the wild because they’ve been in captivity since birth and their chances of survival would be low, but they are given another chance at life.
Eddie, the founder, is a hero. He has opened his heart and home to his babies who mean everything to him. They are not pets. They are powerful and unpredictable creatures of nature…but they are intelligent and loving and have a ton of emotions just like we do.
To be able to interact with these amazing animals is an incredibly magical experience.
Christina Cindrich with the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation
HDF: I can imagine what that experience would be like. I seriously applaud what he’s doing because he’s taking animals that are an important part of our ecosystem and preserving their very existence. It’s really remarkable what he’s doing.
What’s the best part about creating for you?
Christina: I love this quote from Picasso:
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
Creativity is one of the greatest qualities we can be blessed with, but many never allow their true creativity to be expressed, especially with society wanting us to be robots living the average American Dream life that entails nothing more and nothing less than our basic needs.
Fortunately, my passions and hobbies have always allowed me to unleash my creativity. I’m also left-handed so they say we’re more likely to be artistic or innovative.
I think if you have fun doing something and it keeps you constantly thinking and trying to figure out a new and better way, then that is what you should focus on in life because creativity is what pushes passion. It’s what makes everything around you feel vibrantly alive. That is what also will inspire those around you.
HDF: Okay, last question. I always ask this – If you could meet any person from within your industry throughout all of history, current or past, who would it be and why?
Christina: Bob Marley. He’s one of the few artists that can truly bring people from all walks of life together in the name of love, peace, and music.
His fame and cultural impact continue to grow around the world every passing year. He has shared his wisdom, raised awareness and celebrated positivity…what’s not to love about him?!
He’s my kind of man! 😉
HDF: You’re talking my language now. Bob Marley is the man. He had purpose, character and impact. He transcends time as if he’s never left.
Is there anything else you’d like me to know that I didn’t ask? Is there anything you don’t want me to say? (Laughter)
Christina: Haha! Well, I’m happy to announce that I will be moving back to Los Angeles this coming week!! I’m excited for the next stage of my life.
It’s been fun. Thank you so much for the interview! This was a wonderful wrap up for the past couple chapters of life.
It’s nice for once to be on the other side of this! 🙂
HDF: Christina, you absolutely deserve it. I’ve said it a thousand times that you’re work ethic is unparalleled. I truly think your Emmys are only the beginning.
I’m looking forward to co-writing / co-producing something with you. (laughter)
Christina: Thank you! It’s all about the journey. And yesss lets set something up!!