Christina Shaw


I often wonder if it’s the scariest challenges that offer the most satisfying accomplishments.

If actually looking for an answer, I suppose in general terms it’s true. After all, we could apply the idea to virtually any situation… to virtually any dream. Overcoming fears of some type is normally a significant part of the process when you reach for success.

The thought occurred to me as I considered this interview with a terrific lady… Miss Christina Shaw.

It’s been just over four years since she and I first met. At the time, we spoke in Connecticut. She was performing with Legends in Concert, and we were both in attendance at the media night for the show… her as a featured performer in the cast, and me a representative of, well, the media. As she took the stage later that evening she had been working with Legends for about three months, and it had been roughly ten years since she first delivered what could be viewed as a professional effort as an impersonator.

I’ve had the pleasure of remaining in contact with her since those shows in Connecticut. I had taken pictures during a few of the performances, and she was kind enough to use some of them, as well as to allow me to set up a photo gallery here at In My Backpack. And the funny thing is… the reason for that thought about whether scary opportunities bring about amazing results… by staying in touch with her, I think I’ve been able to see some pretty conclusive evidence that quite often, following your dreams does indeed mean facing your fears.

Christina has parents that know the entertainment industry. Her father, a musician and disc jockey, could offer plenty of insight about performing for the public. Her mother, a performer and the owner of an entertainment company, can provide experience from both the stage and the business sides of the equation.

(And let’s pause for a moment to say hello to her parents. They’ve raised an ambitious, talented, polite woman with significant accomplishments already in place and a tremendous future ahead of her. Christina repeatedly refers to their influence, support and assistance as a significant in her development and career.)

But even with such a solid foundation to rely upon for advice and support, it was a decision to move permanently from Pennsylvania and the east coast out to Las Vegas that provides us with that glimpse of facing challenges and rising to the occasion.

She was doing fine. But performing wasn’t paying the bills. At least not all of them. It was what she wanted to do… personally and professionally. Working as a singer though, especially in the difficult market of tribute performances, isn’t easy as an occupation. Even in a great city like Philadelphia, with a terrific surrounding region, the offerings found Christina needing to work another job to support herself. And that’s when she made a decision… to take a chance, move to Las Vegas, and give herself the very best opportunity to pursue the entertainment business full-time.

Since then… well, the smile on her face, the joy in her voice, and the general appearance she presents tells you everything you need to know about the results. Christina is happy and doing quite well.

It is a great pleasure for me to present you with this interview we recently completed… first though, allow me to introduce you to Christina Shaw.

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Our story begins in Pennsylvania, and features Britney Spears.

Christina’s mother ran an entertainment business that often provided performers for special events. Occasionally, her young daughter came along to some of them and got to sing a song or two.

On one particular day, they received a call from Jill. She was a mother trying to plan a birthday party for her daughter with a Britney Spears theme, and wanted someone to sing and maybe even play some games with the kids.

Impersonating Britney provided the start of tribute performances for her. Keeping in mind a collection of several key factors… some of the main thoughts being the music she enjoyed, her voice and vocal range, and her ability to present a similar look… she began to build on her first effort by arranging pieces around Britney, Christina Aguilera, and Shakira. She knew the songs… heck, she loved the songs. What she spent her time doing was studying the visual aspects of performing, learning their routines, and assembling the best sets she could.

In 2010, she was working with Legends in Concert. She spent several of the summer months of that year with Legends in Las Vegas, and in August she arrived in Connecticut with the show. As she put it at the time: “I love it here. Funny story, I got to drive up from Philly and have my own car with me. One of the problems I’ve faced when traveling for performances before is not being old enough to rent a car, so being somewhat close to home and having it here is a bonus.”

For Christina, working with Legends was bittersweet. Not if you ask her, mind you. Legends is recognized as the top of the tribute performance industry. Being a part of their cast has been incredibly special for her, and she is quite justifiably proud of being a part of the group. She would not use the word bittersweet, nor should she.

However, at the end of the run in Connecticut, she returned home to her regular job. And she faced a fairly daunting realization… if she wanted to give her career as a performer a real chance of full-time success, she probably needed to move.

And in 2011, she did… to Las Vegas… with a one-way ticket and a couple of suitcases.

Since she moved, her professional endeavors have become… to say the least… in demand. She frequently plays multiple gigs on a single evening, and is delivering many shows and professional efforts outside of those based on impersonations. She is performing on stages and attending events throughout the area, including emceeing, hosting karaoke, modeling, and working with live bands. She often can be found at red carpet events, and Christina’s engagements usually take place at the most recognizable locations along the Strip.

Head over to her web site -- The Many Faces of Christina Shaw -- and you can get all sorts of information about this wonderful lady. You can see the many terrific impersonations she has performed, including photographs and song selections over the years.

Las Vegas is now her home. Actually, quite literally… in 2014 she became a homeowner. (Congratulations!) And overall, things are pretty outstanding.

Sometimes, the first step to realizing your dreams is the hardest. I’m guessing Christina would tell you to take that step.

And now, the In My Backpack interview with Christina Shaw…

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Let’s start with the beginning -- What are some of your first memories of singing, and then, of performing? And what brought about the decision to pursue entertaining and singing professionally?

My first memories of singing are from a very young age. My mother was in Sweet Charity when I was 4. I would go to the rehearsals and would pick up most of the lyrics and even mimic the dance routines. (Here is a funny video if you want a good laugh.)

My mother also owned an entertainment company, and would herself perform at kids parties. Sometimes she would bring me, and I would perform a song at the parties.

Singing and dancing is in my blood. My dad was a drummer and a DJ, and my mom was a dancer and model too. Since they were both in the entertainment industry I knew that is what I wanted to do!

Is there a style of music, or group of entertainers, that you consider particularly influential to you?

Growing up as a child I always loved to sing Mariah Carey. Then when the Spice Girls came out, I loved dancing and singing to their music. And of course later in high school I loved *NSYNC, Britney and Christina, and spent endless hours learning all of the dance moves from their live performances. I would wear out the video tapes because I would rewind them so many times trying to learn every dance move!

What obstacles did you need to overcome… what were some of the biggest challenges you faced… in getting a professional career started?

The biggest obstacle I needed to overcome was being so young in the impersonator business. Some agents wouldn’t even give me a chance because of my age, which I find funny since I was only a few years younger then the real Britney herself. When I went to my first impersonator convention in Vegas I was 20, and I couldn’t even check into the hotel because I was underage. I would do big gigs with a lot of veteran impersonators, and it was very nerve racking to impress them and the clients.

Many of your professional efforts are tribute performances… and you have taken on some of the most iconic and legendary ladies around. What brought about your start as a tribute artist?

14 years ago, a woman by the name of Jill was having a Britney Spears themed party for her daughter and wanted someone to sing and maybe play some games with her daughter and her friends. She called my mother’s entertainment company looking for someone to sing some Britney tunes. As my mother’s wheels got turning, we put a whole show together for these 7-year-old kids that turned out to be bigger than we ever imagined. Little did we know what a huge industry impersonating actually was. Later that year I added Christina Aguilera and Shakira. The next year I added Faith Hill.

If that lady had never called my mom, I wonder what I would be doing now…

What are some of your favorite songs to perform? And, what are some of the biggest challenges you face in creating a show where so much is involved in capturing the voice, look and mannerisms of very well-known performers?

Performing as Britney, my favorite song to do is “I’m A Slave 4 You”. The dance routine is my favorite to perform. I also really enjoy “Me Against The Music”. It’s not one of her most popular songs, but the dance routine in that is also super fun to perform!

Performing as Christina, I love singing “Ain’t No Other Man”. I love the old school feeling of the song, and performing as her comes most naturally to me. Also, I enjoy “Fighter”. That song gets angry and has a loud and clear message!

Performing as Faith, I love singing “When The Lights Go Down”. It’s not one of her most popular single releases but the vocal energy in that song is amazing to perform live. And “Let’s Make Love” is a great duet when I get to sing with a Tim McGraw impersonator!

Performing as Lady Gaga I really love playing “Poker Face” on the piano and belting it out! Playing the piano was a new thing for me, I self-taught myself through You Tube. I think of it as dancing with my fingers.

When I impersonate someone I take it very seriously. I am not just here to make a buck. I want to make you believe you are really seeing the real thing, but then suddenly realize I am fooling you. I watch everything from the way they walk, the way they hold the mic, the exact dance moves AND how each one performs their moves, their lip movements, the way they stand in pictures, the way they tilt their head in pictures, and the list goes on and on. They all have a unique way of letting you know that this is who I am trying to be. Also, with so many characters, I always brush up on the artist before the gig, and always like to watch a live performance right before I got on stage!

I’ve spoken with people that perform tributes, and for this question I’ll use examples like Elvis and Michael Jackson. Consistently, they note having some sort of daily connection with them. Many of those working with Elvis’s material talk about listening to his music every day, and often have favorite songs that only a true fan might recognize. It’s usually not his hits. And someone working with Michael Jackson’s catalog is constantly watching performance footage and choreography. You are known for working with an amazingly diverse set of material, and not just the material of one person. What music is part of your daily life? And is there one particular thing… say the voice, the wardrobe, the movements… that you find is more of a focus of your preparations?

I LOVE all the music of the artists I portray. I am a HUGE fan of Britney and Christina. I could perform ANY of Britney’s songs off of any of her albums, and can do most of the exact dance routines from any of her album tracks. I also love a wide variety of music including hip hop, rap, country, oldies and mainstream rock music. So I’m not listening daily to one specific person, but they are certainly part of my daily life.

There also isn’t one particular thing for any of them that I really focus on. If you look back at the last question, you’ll see what I mean. I do take it seriously, and when you combine something like my love of the artist and the material with something such as learning about the movements, and that I enjoy impersonating several artists, it really is a constant process where there can’t be just one thing for any of them.

Is there any particular song you enjoy singing the most, or person you enjoy impersonating the most?

Not really. Every show is different, and brings with it different challenges and thrills.

I will say though, when I perform with Legends as Christina there is something special about it from the start that comes from the entire production number. I love getting on stage, belting out that opening high note of “Ain’t No Other Man”, and then having the dancers come out.

I want to bring up what may seem like a weird thought… a picture. You and I met a few years ago when you were performing with Legends in Concert. I had the pleasure of taking some photographs of your performances, and one particular shot of mine (I am quite humbled and proud to say) you have pointed out a few times as being one you like. In it, Roberta and Tammy are there with you in the center. At the risk of reading way too much into the shot, I like it too… because I see so much more than a single moment. I think about how you work with a band, singers and dancers. I think about the choreography and rehearsal that go into each song, from the songs to the production efforts. I don’t know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to mention about that picture specifically… I am wondering if you can say a bit about exactly what it takes to select a song or set of songs, develop a performance around that number, and then bring it in front of an audience.

That picture you took of me on the stage at Foxwoods is BY FAR one of my favorite photos ever taken of me. It is actually my profile picture on Facebook as I write this. That picture shows the last pose after singing the last song from that set. After every show of singing and dancing my heart out for that 12 minutes on stage, that smile says “I did it” and can take a deep breath.

As for the sets, it takes a lot of time and preparation for each show. As I mentioned before, my dad was a DJ for years and I have learned the art of properly mixing music. I mix all of my own music for the shows, and for each gig I make a custom medley. This way, the client is able to hear all of the hits and not just 4 minutes of one song.

For Legends they wanted me to start with the song “Dirrty”. But before they had even mentioned that, I had already thought about the whole set in my mind with the costumes being a big part of the set as well. I didn’t want to sing “Dirrty” and come out in leather chaps for my first song, then sing the soft ballad “Beautiful”. After explaining to them my idea of coming out doing “Ain’t No Other Man”, “Genie in a Bottle”, “Come On Over Baby” (I would have rather done “Fighter”, but we comprised on “Come On Over Baby”), and then changing into the leather outfit and ending with “Dirrty”, they agreed that was a good choice and I was able to do it the way that I had originally thought it out in my mind!

That’s an interesting point about how people might view song selection and performance order differently, considering you often have a limited time to make an impact and aren’t dealing with filling 90 minutes.

I think most people would think of certain songs right away, and selecting songs can be quite an obvious process. Let’s take Christina. If you only have a passing familiarity with her, you’d still quickly come up with “Genie In A Bottle” and “Beautiful” as musts.

That’s part of being an impersonator. People seeing a show from an impersonator are looking for the hits. And if you only have ten to fifteen minutes, you have to go to them and fit in as many as you can. So I do look at what songs were the first hits for a performer, and research which songs were number one the longest or went the highest on the charts.

Still, there is more to it. You want to think about the order of the songs. You want to be aware of the audience, who you might be working with, and all of the other details from the costumes to the stage.

Considering that your tributes can vary in ways they reach an audience… let’s consider the huge voice of Christina Aguilera to the visual aspects of Lady Gaga as examples… do you have a preference for the type of stage you feel most comfortable on?

I have no preference on what type of stage I perform on. I could be in a living room performing for a die-hard Britney fan, or on a huge stage such as when we first met while I was performing with Legends in Connecticut. Anywhere that I can sing, at that moment, is my favorite stage, big or small.

What are some of your favorite moments from your career? And, how do fans and audiences respond when you get to speak with them?

My favorite moment in my career was definitely performing with Legends in Concert! Having that amazing live band and all of those perfect dancers around you really makes you feel like the star that you are portraying!

One time, I had an older lady and her even older mother come up to me at one of the shows in Vegas. She said “My mother doesn’t know who Christina Aguilera is, but she does now and you were her favorite.” It was so great!

Do you get that kind of interaction and feedback from people often?

I’m fortunate that I can say yes, and I really enjoy it. Taking pictures, signing tickets, and just getting to speak with people can be incredibly fun.

Here’s the thing. I started impersonating with a party for kids. With Legends, there is a live band, singers, and dancers on the stage. I still get to perform for kids, I do private events, and all sorts of different gigs. The production may differ, it’s still always nice to see that the audience enjoyed the show.

Getting back to the pictures I took for one moment, there is something that really strikes me about seeing you on stage. It’s your smile. You are always smiling. In fact, in all of the pictures I checked out, the only ones without you smiling were obviously very intense moments of a song. There’s the smile, and what always appears to be eye contact with someone in the audience… you have a very dynamic presence on stage. It’s a bubbly “I’m really enjoying this” kind of personality that I don’t think can be taught. What’s going through your mind at times during a performance? Do you get to enjoy it as much as it appears, or are you more focused on hitting your marks and remembering the words?

This is my favorite question, Bob. I am so blessed with my career and life in general, and that is why I am truly always smiling.

I always try to make eye contact with as many people as possible when I perform, to let them know that I am grateful for them being there and listening to me perform. There are a million things going on in my mind when I am performing… probably not enough room here to even write it all down.

You asked about favorites earlier, and as I think about this question I think I need to add Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. That song is my favorite to really, truly, get into the words when I perform. I really get into that song, so much so it almost makes me cry every time I sing it in front of audience. The message is so strong and I want everyone to hear the words, and really feel what the song is saying to them (and to me for that matter).

I’m handing you a microphone and letting you design the rest, from the band backing you to the cast supporting you to the set list you’ll perform. When houselights go down and the curtain rises, what kind of show would we get from Christina Shaw?

My number one priority in a performance is to make everyone have a good time. It’s that simple.

I will jump up and down like a monkey or make a funny face to get a person to smile or clap their hands. I am truly there for them to be entertained.

My favorite part of performing is going out into the crowd. I love high-fiving people, and even giving them the microphone to sing a line. I’ve even had a dance off with someone in the middle of my show.

If they have a good time, I have a good time, and THAT is what matters the most! I said it before, and it works here as well… anywhere I can sing is my favorite stage, so let’s all have a good time.

What should people look for from you in the future? And, how can someone follow your schedule, see you in person, and enjoy and support your efforts?

I will be entertaining until I can’t physically put on makeup anymore!

I have been working very hard on establishing my own entertainment company, called Many Faces Entertainment. Since 2010, I have been booking impersonators (not just myself). And since coming to Vegas I now even book dancers, models and princesses (following in my mom’s footsteps).

I love every aspect of entertaining, including the business side of it, from the booking of the gigs to even contracting the gigs. And since I am a performer myself I feel as though I am a good agent in getting the performers what they want and need from a gig.

As for my schedule, it is ALWAYS changing. Most of the gigs I do are corporate events and don’t allow for tickets to be sold. But if I am singing at local piano bar or a gig that is open to the public I always will post it on Facebook!

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I want to thank Christina for all of her time and consideration. In addition to meeting in person for an interview a while ago, a great deal of this piece was developed through e-mail exchanges. I simply cannot fully express my gratitude for her participation, time, and assistance. It was an absolute pleasure meeting her, interviewing her and photographing her work, and an even greater privilege to work with her specifically on this project.

Christina is a talented woman and busy lady that currently delivers professional tribute acts for a number of singers, including Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Faith Hill, and Lady Gaga. As noted in this effort, she is also providing efforts hosting shows, modeling, and appearing at events. Here are some places where you can learn more…

The Many Faces of Christina

Christina Shaw on Instagram

Christina Shaw at Facebook

Christina Shaw at You Tube

Christina Shaw page at Legends in Concert

The Christina Shaw photo gallery at In My Backpack

The pictures you see in this article are a combination of images provided by Christina Shaw and taken by Bob Hocking during performances with Legends in Concert. Christina was involved in the approval of all images used in this article, and previously worked with Bob in selecting the images used for the photo gallery on this site, and she granted permission for the use of the pictures where rights are not held by Bob Hocking and In My Backpack.

All rights to these pictures are protected. They cannot be used for any other purpose without the appropriate written permission(s) from Christina Shaw and/or Bob Hocking. As a matter of convenience, Christina and Bob request that you use the e-mail details on this page and for In My Backpack if you have questions or would like additional information about any of the material involved in this effort.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at