Volunteer Hero: Christian Scalise, Country Stars Central
1. Where are you from? Chicago area.
2. Tell me a little bit about you (1-3 sentence bio). I am the founder/CEO of Country Stars Central and Showbiz Deluxe. I love photography, travel, music, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
3. When did you first start Country Stars Central? I founded CSC in 2007. My first interview was with Pam Tillis and Gospel legend, the late Dottie Rambo - she has had her songs recorded by Whitney Houston and many other popular artists.
4. What inspired you to want to do this photo series? It all began with the September Craniofacial Acceptance Month poster. The very first person to pose was Joan Rivers in July of 2014, unfortunately she passed away shortly after. I wanted to find a way to raise awareness for CCA. Through the various meetings I’ve had with countless celebrities, they have been kind enough to pose with the CCA poster. I hope it will help benefit CCA in a positive and impactful way!
5. When did this hobby turn into a passion? I’ve always loved music and being creative. It really has always been a passion of mine since I was in my early teens. I have always been very inquisitive!
6. What’s your process like? What do you say to convince the artist to pose with the poster? I am a firm believer of divine intervention. I always pray about everything I do beforehand. I make every effort to kindly ask the artists I’ve either interviewed, or met to take a pic with the CCA poster. I give them a little background info on CCA and so far, no one has refused! I plan to have many more awesome pics with the CCA poster in 2017…
7. Who are some of your favorite artists? Loretta Lynn, Céline Dion, Coldplay, Lee Ann Womack, George Jones, Stevie Nicks, and of course Cher.
8. Do you feel like you have a special connection with any of them? Yes, I would say with Loretta Lynn, I have been privileged to get to know her and her family over the years. I met Loretta for the first time in October 2007, have interviewed her twice and have spent many great moments with her since. She’s very special to me and I am blessed to know her.
9. What’s your favorite photo? Okay, other than the Cher one… ;) Definitely Joan Rivers- but obviously I am so grateful for every star who has been gracious enough to pose with the poster. There’s an entire story behind the Joan Rivers meeting… she was SO genuinely interested in getting involved. Sadly, she passed away that September. Out of all the celebrities I’ve met, Joan Rivers was by far the most willing to get on board with the cause. FYI- Please visit our CCA album to see all the celebs who have taken pics with the poster here: http://tinyurl.com/jrkwv6x
10. What inspires you? Being able to share my talent with others. I love writing, interviewing artists and being creative. The children of CCA have inspired me to want to continue to raise awareness for a wonderful cause!
11. What other hobbies do you have? I have taken a newfound interest in painting, which I started doing in 2014! I painted a flower for Loretta Lynn and most recently presented a painting to Céline Dion in memory of her husband, Rene, this past June. You can see these paintings and all my other artwork here: www.Facebook.com/ChristianScalisePaintings
12. What does a day in your life look like? At the moment, I am currently pursuing a degree in communication which has taken up every waking moment of my life…ha ha! In addition to working, and maintaining both websites and our social media sites.
13. What does kindness mean to you? Being able to make a positive difference in the lives of the other people that I meet. We are all here for a reason and a purpose.
14. What’s your motto? Seize the day! Never take no for answer, keep the faith and never lose hope!
15. Why did you decide to help out CCA? (We’re so grateful!) It all goes back to a Midwest (Wisconsin) connection with my buddies Jill Patterson and her son, Robbie. Initially our websites ran advertisements for CCA in an effort to help raise awareness, and funds during Craniofacial Acceptance Month. I have been blessed to meet some of the younger CCA kids, which only doubled my desire to spread the word about CCA. The rest is history… It really is a small world!
16. Five things on your list of things to do before you die: I don’t want to think about that yet. I trust that the Lord has a lot more for me to do before I leave this world. I hope to continue to spread the message about CCA in the years to come. I would LOVE to have Céline Dion be the next celebrity to take a photo with the CCA poster! God bless you all. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! PLEASE be sure to LIKE us on Facebook too! www.Facebook.com/CountryStarsCentral and www.Facebook.com/ShowbizDeluxe