We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Benedetti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristina, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Discovery, Adventures, Independence… My mom once told me that when I was little, I always wanted to be in my space and never wanted to stay home. Any chance I could get to go to friend’s houses, grandparents, or new trips, I would have jumped on the opportunity. I used to dream to live in different realities. Here I am as a grown up, able to experience new things every time I start a new project. Thanks to my artistic career, I have lived in different countries, learned different languages, cultures, and religions. I am grateful for this. It keeps me alive. It gives me purpose. It fascinates me. I cannot stop.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a professional creative who believes in the transformative power of storytelling. I am committed to creating meaningful, positive experiences through Art Direction, Entertainment and Dance Education. My motto is: CREATING AN EXPERIENCE THROUGH MOVEMENT. I love the process and team work aspect of creating new projects. I have been blessed to have had a pretty long career so far… (hope our friend Covid-19 will not stop it now)…but it has not been easy. I have always left the KNOWN for the UNKNOWN. I have often felt lonely (starting new lives in new countries without knowing the language). I have often felt like I did not belong, and I have often hidden these emotions to show no weakness in a very competitive world. But I am grateful for these… There will be no art without the stories of struggle and success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Los Angeles and what it offers. When friends visit, I will definitely take them first to the touristy spots (you have to see those), but then I will take them to my favorites. Multiple hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains with hidden waterfalls. The beaches in Malibu and Ventura. My favorite restaurant and wine tasting in the Malibu Canyons: The Old Place. A hidden gem. Food is amazing, The place is charming and peaceful, and the workers are super friendly. It is a breath of fresh air. Another favorite restaurant is Sake House on La Brea…Japanese food! yummy!! More places: The Art district in DTLA, flea markets all over the city, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall and all the little venues we have (hoping they will all re-open soon)… and I will get in the car, drive around and find some more hidden gems. This is actually my husband and my favorite thing to do: drive around and get to see/discover new things. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my husband Brian Bello. He has been my biggest inspiration, push, supporter. He supports my career, even if I often travel and we are separated. It helps so much to have him in my corner no matter what. In my career, I have also encountered tons of people who deserve credit for my journey. Legendary pop icon, Toni Basil, has been a great friend, mentor and inspiration for many years. Legendary dancers like Popin Pete, Marjory “Lotus’ Smarth, Ana “Lollipop” Sanchez, Dance fusion Crew, Elite Force Crew, Electric Boogaloos, and the Lockers have been a major inspiration for my art form. Also, Bradley Rapier and the rest of The Groovaloos—without them I would have never been able to start my career in the US. Sho-tyme and Anthony Thomas, world known dancers and choreographers, dear friends and mentors. All my friends and teachers back in Italy and France (too many to mention). The person I am today is thanks to every single encounter I had throughout my artistic life. Sometimes it can be even just one time, but the importance of that single moment is so vivid in my memory and has transformed me.
Rawd Emortal Aya Shimizu Brian Bello