Christina Garibaldi: Full Circle

For a particular brand of New Jersey teenager who loved The Backstreet Boys and dreamt of catching a fleeting glimpse of the quartet waving from MTV’s Times Square Studios, there may be no greater Cinderella Story than Christina Garibaldi’s.

“I was a boy bander,” she says. “My dream was to be in Times Square with Carson counting down the videos.”

For nearly a decade in the mid-aughts, Christina lived that teenage dream. She started as an intern while still an undergraduate at Marist College, was hired as an Assistant after graduation, and quickly rose to the rank of Segment Producer, before being tapped to be an on-air correspondent.

Prior decamping to US Weekly in 2015, Christina Garibaldi interviewed all of her adolescent faves, from Britney and Taylor to Backstreet and ‘NSYNC to Katy and Selena, plus up-and-comers like Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Austin Mahone. She co-hosted numerous Video Music and Movie Award pre-shows, co-created “Live From MTV,” and much, much more.

And these days, Nick, Howie, AJ, Brian and Kevin all know Christina by name.

“My favorite shoot of all time was The Backstreet Boys,” she says. “Full circle.”

“We wrote like a Christmas story, and they reenacted it with me. They had a mistletoe, and they all gave me a kiss.”

“My mom printed out a photo. It’s an ornament now. It hangs on my tree every single year.”

“They could have sat down with a morning show and have a seven-minute conversation,” she says of MTV News’ role in the pop ecosystem. “But we spent the time because we wanted to tell their stories and tell them the right way.”

“And “I think that’s what so many fans appreciated [MTV News], and fans kept coming to us; we were their voice. We wanted to get the answers for them. It wasn’t an agenda. We were doing it because we loved the music.”

On this week’s “You Hear It First: An Unofficial & Unfiltered History of MTV News,” Christina takes us behind the scenes the day that Michael Jackson died and the night Kanye nabbed Taylor’s Moonman. 

She remembers Taylor Swift’s first interview, Ariana Grande’s tears, warming up a prickly Avril Lavigne, dealing with a very late and very, ahem, non-present Justin Bieber, and the timeless advice she received from MTV News Legend, Sway Calloway, just seconds before going live at her first VMA.

Listen to “You Hear It First” on Apple (, Spotify ( or wherever you get your podcasts.

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