There’s a certain balance to the world. A give and take if you will: some are extraordinarily beautiful, or wonderfully kind, or even exceptionally smart. Few encapsulate all these qualities because that would just be downright unfair. So it was with a lot of dismay I found all those qualities and more in Christi Maraccini when I sat down to interview her. After a bout of full on Pearl jealousy, however, I found what everyone else finds when they meet Christi. You cannot help but love such a beautiful heart. Here’s what she had to say about modeling, Tales of Reese, and how all of it has impacted her.
First of all, Christi, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the world of fitness modeling.
I grew up in Westchester, NY with a two older sisters, my mom and dad and a crazy Italian family. With my dad having all girls, I became the tomboy. I spent a lot of time playing sports such as soccer, swimming and track and field so have always been into athletics and fitness. I had a family friend introduce me to Wilhelmina having no idea this is something that I would be doing seven years later. I signed with them a month before I started college. It was never my plan to become a model. I always pictured my life doing something business/marketing related.
That certainly is a switch in directions! I imagine though a career in modeling would involve some business and marketing. Have you found that to be the case?
Having an understanding of business and marketing definitely helps. Modeling still is run like any other job or business. Even though I'm with an agency, I am still considered an independent contractor so I am responsible for certain things one may encounter with a more "normal" job.
Social media has a big influence on the industry. When I first started modeling, your agents were the ones that created your image/look. That would then translate to your portfolio to present to clients during castings. Now, with so many business as well as agencies and models using social media, it's another representation of yourself. Some clients will have you write down your handles while Wilhelmina has a link to your social media accounts from your online portfolio. It's created another platform within the industry to promote yourself
What are some of the challenges and joys that come along with modeling?
The most challenging thing would be scheduling, but it is also a blessing. My schedule is always changing and one week is never like the week before. I usually don’t find what out what the next day will bring until the night before, so it is challenging to plan. It was a big adjustment since I lam a very organized person - some may use the word control freak but I have learned to get used to it. Since my schedule is never the same, it keeps things interesting. I have learned from being in school as well as internships that a 9-5 desk job is not for me. As hectic as running around NYC can be - It allows me to be able to do many other things. I also get to meet and work with many talented people that you are able to learn so much from.
I’m sure they learn a lot from you as well. Speaking of which, what are some of your hottest fitness and nutrition tips for those of us trying to get in shape?
Drinking a lot of water, or at least the recommended daily amount, is huge! It really makes a difference in the way your body functions. Of course getting enough sleep – which is easier said than done. The hardest part for me is getting back into a workout routine every time I have taken time off. For people that are new to working out or took some time off, set realistic goals so you are not easily discouraged. For example, going to the gym once a week for the first 2-3 weeks, then going twice a week and so on. You also want to pick a fitness program that you fine enjoyable and something that you can look forward to doing.
It must be a challenge to balance it all with your busy schedule because in addition to modeling, you also spend a lot of time on charitable giving. How did that come about?
I have been very fortunate in life. I have a very loving and supportive family that worked hard to give me the childhood and life I have today. I think a strong support system is a huge part of being successful. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for my family. Being able to provide some assistance to others hopefully brings a sense of support and stability they need to get through a challenging time in their life.
This charity work eventually led you to Sparkly Ray. How were you first introduced to the Tales of Reese organization?
I actually found The Tales of Reese on Instagram. Carl Paoli had posted a picture featuring Reese and I think that's when I became hooked. I researched the cause and fell in love with the idea of and everything that Tales of Reese represents. Reese is also so cute, I am not sure how anyone couldn't love him!
That’s very true! What about the Tales of Reese organization drew you to be an ambassador?
I have always loved working with kids. Having younger cousins and being a part of teams that had younger athletes brought out my maternal instinct. The ambassador program has created a place and a platform where I am able to give back and hopefully encourage more people to do the same. Reese has also become more than a character in a book. He represents hope, spreads love and is a friend to anyone that needs a little mouse in their life.
So what do you exactly do as a Tales of Reese Ambassador?
My main goal as an ambassador is to promote and educate people on The Tales of Reese and all the challenges a family may be facing when they have a sick child. Tales of Reese is more than a children's book series and an events program. We want to be that support system for families; that cause that people can look to help get them through a tough time.
It certainly has an impact on the lives of these families, but how has Tales of Reese impacted your life, and what upcoming projects are you working on?
It reminds me every day how lucky I am to have a healthy family. Having had sick family members, I know that toll that it takes on loved ones; however, I could never begin to understand the difficulties and discomfort of actually being sick. I am trying to think of ways to get more gyms/people involved and bring awareness to not only Tales of Reese but to the families a part of it. Our events now have great energy and are always fun, but my hopes are to have Tales of Reese reinvent charity events
After talking with Christi, I sat down with Sparkly Ray and asked her what she thought was special about Christi. Here’s what she had to say.
When Christi Marraccini first found Reese and contacted me – I had no idea the enormous blessing that Reese and I were about to receive. It’s hard to put into words the beautiful heart that you have the privilege to come to know when you meet this spectacular woman.
When you are with her you find yourself staring at her in awe! Can someone this beautiful actually be even more beautiful on the inside?! Thoughtful, selfless, humble, compassionate, fun and generous are just a few of the words I would use to describe her.
Her love for my beloved mouse Reese truly touches me at the core of my heart. (She. Truly. Loves. Reese.) Not the way we casually throw out the word “love” these days. She actually LOVES Reese with to the depths of her soul. She believes in him and his power to heal. And you can feel it when she speaks of him. Reese is so real to her it’s as though she created, gave birth and mothered him herself! When you create something it’s easy to fall in love with it. But to have Christi fall in love with Reese to the same capacity speaks to my soul in a way few things in my life ever will. Having her join in as part of our organization feels like we found a missing family member that had been lost. My love for her is enormous, she has filled a giant void for Reese and I - and we will be indebted to her forever!