Meet Christina Carreira
I first interviewed Christina back in May for my old blog, and it was that interview that inspired me to create Edges of Glory. I cannot say enough good things about the incredible skater and person that is Christina Carreira. In an environment where competition can bring out the worst in people, she has remained true to herself and led with kindness and positivity. Even more than being a technically and artistically gifted skater, Christina is a good person and a great friend. Everybody should have a Christina!
(Cover photo by Caitlyn Nicole Photography)
Birthday: April 3rd, 2000 (18 years old)
Born: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hometown: Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada
Currently: Novi, Michigan, USA
Country Represented: USA
Skating Club: SC of New York
Discipline: Ice Dance
Partner: Anthony Ponomarenko
Training Location: Novi Ice Arena in Novi, Michigan, USA
Coach: Igor Shpilband
Photo by US Figure Skating
Q: Let's start from the beginning! How did you get into skating, and when did you start?
I got into skating at the age of 3 because my mom was a figure skating coach, so I was always at the rink. I loved being there, so she decided to put me in learn-to-skate classes, and I fell in love with it right away.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue ice dancing and devote your whole life to this endeavor?
I decided I wanted to pursue ice dancing when I watched Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. I was watching them in my living room with my parents, and when they won, I turned to my parents and said, “I’m going to do that too."
#TBT to baby Christina skating - how cute!
Q: After previously representing Canada with partner Simon-Pierre Malette-Paquette, you teamed up with American ice dancer Anthony Ponomarenko in 2014, moved to Michigan to train with Igor Shpilband, and had to learn a new language and skate for a new country - what was that difficult transition like, both in your skating and personal life?
I actually went to see Igor for the first time in 2010 with my previous partner, and I fell in love with the training center right away. I knew I wanted Igor to be my coach, so in 2013 I moved to Novi, Michigan, with my old partner, but after a couple months he got injured and had to move back to Montreal. I stayed in Novi and trained there by myself for nine months; that was pretty hard because my parents weren’t with me, I didn’t really speak English, and all the other skaters were much older, so I was often alone. Once I started skating with Anthony, it was much more fun because we became really close friends right away - even with the language barrier haha. Since I’ve lived in the US for many years, I consider it my home as much as I do Canada, and I think it’s an honor to represent the US and be part of Team USA.
Christina and Anthony's first season together, pictured with coach Igor Shpilband
Q: How has the transition from the junior to senior level been for you this season? And what are the biggest differences you've noticed between junior and senior competitions - both on and off the ice?
A: Transitioning from junior to senior is extremely difficult for ice dance teams, it’s a huge step. We worked extremely hard during the off-season to make our skating look more mature and smooth. It was difficult for us, mainly because we’re two teenagers competing against 25- and 30-year-olds, so the maturity of our skating had to improve if we wanted to be competitive. I think we had a good start to our senior career, we’re really happy that we medaled at 2 of our Challengers and won our third one, we’re also very excited about our Grand Prix medal.
Q: The figure skating world is notorious for the pressure it puts on its athletes - especially its female ones - to look a certain way. What advice would you give to a young girl who may be struggling with body image issues in skating?
A: I think every girl struggles with body image issues, I still do. I would tell a young girl it’s normal to be going through this but it’s important to be mindful of what you put in your body without going crazy. I also think speaking with a nutritionist is important to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.
Christina and a puppy at US Figure Skating's annual #ChampsCamp
Q: I've noticed that a lot of skaters have dogs, and you yourself have an adorable maltipoo named Charlie! Why do you think so many skaters have furry friends?
A: In this sport it’s hard to find real friends, which is why I got Charlie. No one is more sincere and loving than a dog. I think so many skaters have dogs because they’re the best companions and friends. Coming home after a long day to your happy puppy is the best feeling.
Christina and her BFF, Charlie
Q: What's a typical day in the life of Christina Carreira?
I usually wake up at 7 am to walk my dog and have breakfast, then I do school until 10:30, then I get ready for skating. At 11 we start our off-ice warm up and get on the ice from 11:45 am until 3:45 pm (we have two 15 minute breaks during that time), then we either have a workout or some kind of dance class. After that, I go home and have dinner, go on a run, do more school, and then I just watch Netflix or read a book until I fall asleep around 11 pm.
Q: The #CPom fanbase has definitely grown in the last year - what's it like having so many people admire you and look up to you? And what's it like interacting (on social media and at competitions) with the very enthusiastic fan community?
A: The #CPom girls are honestly incredible, they are the most kind and supportive people. It’s so nice having so many people supporting us no matter what, I don’t think we would have been able to make it through the transition to the senior level as easily if we didn’t have all of you cheering for us. It’s still very strange to me that so many people care about us, but I’m incredibly grateful for the love and support.
Dream-gazing (Photo courtesy Melanie Heaney, ice-dance.com)
Q: You're set to graduate high school this year, what are your plans for the fall? And then post-skating, what long-term career dreams or goals do you have?
A: I haven’t figured out what I will be doing in the fall, but I will of course keep doing school, and I would eventually like to go to law school.
Q: I can't believe you'll be going to your first senior US Nationals in two weeks! What are your goals and expectations for Nationals, the rest of the season, and also the next four years?
A: We’re so excited to compete at our first senior US nationals, our goal is to put out our best performances this season. We’re very aware that the competition in the US is probably the strongest in the world. I don’t know what will happen with the rest of the season right now. For the next few years we want to establish ourselves as a strong senior couple, and our goal is to make the Olympic team in four years.
No biggie, just won gold at a Challenger comp their first senior season...
TV show you're currently binge-watching?
Re-watching Gossip Girl
If there was a theme song for your life, what would it be?
Favorite program you and Anthony have ever done (or are doing)?
Muse free dance
Their beautiful Muse "Exogenesis Part III: Redemption" free dance during the 2016-17 season
All-time favorite program you've watched someone else perform?
Tessa and Scott's "Hip Hip Chin Chin" free dance
What's your biggest pet peeve?
If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?
Best place to get coffee in Detroit?
My favorite place is the Birmingham Roast
If you could have dinner with any person - living or dead - who would it be?
What cheers you up after a bad day?
The #CPom girls and my dog
Quote to live by?
"Success is no accident" and "Dream big"
Christina and Anthony posing like normal tourists, obviously
KEEP UP WITH CHRISTINA
Team Facebook: Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko
Team Website: carreira-ponomarenko.com
If you want to help support these young stars, check out their GoFundMe page and pick up some official #CPom Squad Merch as well. And don't forget to follow Christina's adorable doggy Charlie on Instagram!
And read our interview with Christina's awesome partner Anthony here!
All other photos courtesy Christina Carreira