My name is Christina Monello, I'm 22 years old, and I’m a recent graduate of Pace University in NYC. I graduated cum laude with a double major in Communications and English and now I’m working as a reporter for the New York Post! In my spare time, I love spending some quality time with my friends and family in New Jersey, cooking new and different cuisines, kickboxing, reading tons of mystery novels, and writing! I hope to one day be a published author of my own mystery novel!
NAM:How did you get involved in National American Miss?
Christina: I got involved in NAM when I was twelve years old. I received a flyer in the mail and I vividly remember seeing the girls on the flyer and they looked like they were having so much fun, so I begged my mom on the spot to let me enter! I competed every year because I loved it so much- it was the one event my entire family looked forward to every year!
NAM: How did you prepare for the National Pageant?
Christina: I prepared for the National Pageant in a bunch of ways! For my personal introduction I would use my hair brush as a microphone and recite my intro in the mirror; that definitely helped me not only memorize my speech, but also allowed me to see my facial expressions! I wore my shoes for the evening wear competition all around the house to break them in that way they were super comfortable on stage! Also, my mom would help me with interview by asking me random questions – whether we were out to dinner or in the car she was always giving me impromptu interviews!
NAM: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Christina: The best advice I have ever received was to fulfill all my goals and dreams in life with integrity and an honest heart.
NAM: What quote, motto, or scripture best describes you?
Christina: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
With National Coordinator LaKishia Edwards and Sister Queen Courtney!
NAM: What are your plans for the future?
Christina: In the future, I plan to work as an investigative journalist! I have always dreamed of working on a show like “48 hours” or Dateline ID.” I also LOVE to write, and I have always dreamed of writing my own mystery novel!
NAM: What activities are you involved in?
Christina: In school I was on the Deans List and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. I also do a lot of work with my organization, Reader Achievers. Through this organization, I go to middle schools around my state tutoring children to read and write. I also organize book drives to donate books to local schools, libraries and nursing homes! In addition to my community involvement, I love going to my kickboxing group and book club every week!
NAM: What do you like to do for fun?
Christina: I LOVE to read! Whenever I’m not working or doing school work, I am reading a mystery novel! I also love hiking, hanging out with my friends, and going to the movies!
NAM:What is one item you can’t live without?
Christina:A book! Wherever I go I always carry a book with me in case I get a spare minute to catch up on my reading! A good book is the one thing that relaxes me the most!
NAM:Who is your role model?
Christina: I really look up to J.K. Rowling. She's not only my favorite author but she also is my definition of perseverance. She lived a very difficult life, but she had a dream to write the Harry Potter novels, and she did whatever was necessary to do it. She wrote on whatever she could get her hands on, even restaurant napkins at times, all so she could tell her story.
Ready to rock Casual Wear Modeling!
NAM:What is your favorite TV show?
I love pretty little liars! The four starring girls on the show are so funny and also really inspirational - they never apologize for who they are and I think girls of all ages can really relate to them.
NAM: What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Christina:I believe the biggest misconception of our generation is that we are always on the Internet! Many people reach out to me via Facebook instead of a good “old-fashioned” phone call when really I am hardly on Facebook! What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I LOVE to talk on the phone, it feels more personal!
NAM:What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
Christina:The funniest thing that has ever happened to me would have to be when I was graduating high school. When I was walking up the podium to accept my diploma, I tripped and fell on stage in front of the entire audience! Everyone started laughing and clapping as I got up. It was so embarrassing but so funny at the same time!
NAM: If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
Christina: My first wish would be for everybody to have something to eat! Being Italian, I LOVE to cook (and eat a LOT!) It breaks my heart to know that many adults and children go hungry everyday. I volunteer at a local food shelter that hands out brown bag lunches to children everyday and it breaks my heart that some children still go hungry even though we bag hundreds of lunches. My second wish would be to take my entire family to Santorini! It has always been a dream of mine to go to Greece and to go with my entire family would be incredible! My last wish would be to meet J.K. Rowling - she is my inspiration and the reason why I am a writer.
NAM:If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Christina: Santorini! I have always dreamed of going there to experience the food and the culture! I’ve heard it’s one of the most magical places on earth and I really hope to get there one day!
The Crowning Moment!
NAM: What is your definition of a NAM girl?
Christina: My definition of a NAM girl is someone who is confident, driven, and unique. As a NAM girl I have a LOT of dreams, some big some small, but NONE of them are out of reach! I strive each and every day to accomplish my goals. But also, as a NAM girl I know I am my own unique individual - and that that’s ok! It’s so important to be YOU and no one else.
NAM:If you could be on the cover of any Magazine what would it be?
Christina:I would love to be featured on the cover of Seventeen Magazine as a great young adult author! I always work toward showing children how amazing reading can be - so to be on the cover of a teen magazine for having written a book would be so amazing!
17.If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things could you not live without?
If I was on a deserted island I could not live without food, a good book, and a very comfortable sleeping bag!!
NAM:What is your most prized possession?
Christina: My most prized possession is a Christmas ornament that has my grandma’s picture on it. It was something my grandpa gave to me and every year that I take it out, it reminds me of my grandparents and how much I love and miss them.
NAM:How would your friends describe you?
Christina: My friends would describe me as fun and energetic! We always love trying new things! When trying something new it’s always great to do it with friends!
NAM:.How are you making a difference in your community?
Christina: I am making a difference in my community through my organization, Reader Achievers. Through my organization I tutor children in reading and writing. I also organize book drives to donate books to local schools, libraries, and nursing homes. I have such a passion for reading and I just want to help others experience that same passion.
With Sister Queen Sophia!
NAM:What is your favorite childhood memory?
Christina:My favorite childhood memory was when I went to Disney with my mom when I was 8. It was such a special trip because it was just the two of us! I’ll never forget all the rides we went on together and how much fun we had.
NAM:If you could go back in time and be at any historical event what would it be?
Christina: I would love to go back in time and be a fly on the wall for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It would be incredible to see and hear what our founding fathers had to say on that historical day!
NAM: If you could go back in time and meet one person, who would it be and why?
Christina: If I could go back in time I would love to meet Agatha Christie. She was one of the best mystery writers to ever live, and since I hope to one day be an author I would love to ask her where she got her inspiration.
NAM: If you could be famous for something, what would you want to be famous for?
Christina: If I could be famous for anything, I would love to be a famous mystery writer! I would love to have people lining up to buy my books! Hopefully one day this dream will come true!
NAM:What is your favorite book? and why?
Christina: All the Harry Potter books! I love this series because it allows me to believe in the magic that these books inspire. I love the characters and can relate to everything they go through. I’ve also read each book at least ten times each! (probably more!)
NAM:Where is your favorite place to shop?
Christina: My favorite place to shop is Barnes and Noble. I can spend hours in that store and never realize where the time goes! I always end up leaving with more books than I need, that’s why my family constantly gets me Barnes and Noble gift cards because I spend all my money there!
NAM:Who is the most influential person in the world now?
Christina: The most influential people today I would say are girls like us NAM girls! I believe to be influential you don’t have to do something big or be famous. If you strive to do small acts of goodness everyday we can all be inspirations.
NAM: Who or what inspires you most?
Christina: As an aspiring writer, J.K. Rowling always inspires me to continue my dream of one day being a mystery writer. She had a dream to write the Harry Potter series, and she did it against all odds - she proves that anything is possible.
NAM:What have you learned about yourself since competing in pageants?
Christina: Through pageants, I’ve learned that I LOVE public speaking! Through the spokes model competition, I learned that I love to write about topics that I am passionate about and present it to an audience.
NAM: What is your definition of success?
Christina: My definition of success is to never be afraid to dream big, set goals, and take the steps necessary toward achieving them. It’s so important to never give up on your dreams. If you don’t succeed, try again! At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, you’ll feel so good that you tried your hardest!
2013-2014 National All-American Queens!
NAM: What advice do you have for future NAM girls?
Christina: To always be YOU! It is always so tempting to look at other girls and try to shape yourself to be more like them - but as a NAM girl you should take pride and confidence in being exactly who YOU are! When I first started competing, I remember feeling really self conscious because many girls had these great talents like signing or dancing! But I soon realized that I had a great set of talents too! I love engaging with people and public speaking! NAM helped me figure out what my talents were.
NAM: What things do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?
Christina: Throughout my year of service, I hope to inspire more girls to take part in NAM! NAM gave me so much confidence as a young girl and I am a confident young woman today thanks to my involvement in this organization. I want to inspire young girls to reach for their dreams and to never give up! I would also love to take my organization, Reader Achievers, from a state level to a national level!
NAM: What would you like to be doing 10 years from now?
Christina: Ten years from now, I hope to have a family, be a successful author, and have a great job working as an investigative journalist. I also hope to have greatly expanded my organization, Reader Achievers, and to have helped many people appreciate the written word
NAM: If someone could live your life for a week, what would they find most interesting?
Christina: I think they would find interesting how busy my days are, yet how much my family and I find time to spend together! Regardless of how busy life gets, we always find time during the week to sit down and have dinner to catch up! I speak to my family at least five times a day! We’re never out of touch!
NAM:What is the best compliment you have ever received?
Christina: The best compliment I have ever received was that I was a great communicator. This was incredibly special for me to hear because I love public speaking, which is why I majored in broadcast communication - hearing that I was a great communicator helped me realize my dream could come true!