Cristy Lee Is Living Proof that Your Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do
The Workshop Hero designation of “ACE” is one reserved for those who are experts in their craft; those who demonstrate mastery, pursue greatness and are fueled by the love of what they do. With Cristy Lee, this Workshop Hero Nation newsletter’s newly named ACE, truer words were never spoken.
Cristy Lee is a living testament to the quote “love what you do, do what you love” as she has masterfully found a way to combine all of the things she is most passionate about–cars, motorcycles, reporting, hosting–and turned them into a successful and thriving career. Not an easy feat for anyone, let alone for a female working in a male-dominated field/industry.
“I’ve built a career around being myself and doing the things I love, so it feels less like “work” and I truly do love what I do!”
Not familiar with what it is exactly that Cristy Lee does? The better question might be what doesn’t she do? Highlights of her resume include
- Current co-host of All Girls Garage on Velocity- 7th season
- Current host of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions aired on Velocity and Discovery Channel
- Motorsports reporter with experience in covering events including XGames, WorldSuperBike, MotoGP, MotoAmerica, Motocross Racing, FMX, Off-Road Truck Racing
- Brand Ambassador for Kawasaki Motors USA & Pirelli Tires US
If that isn’t enough, on a personal level Cristy Lee is a 15-year motorcycle enthusiast and avid track, street, dirt rider; a builder/wrencher whose current projects include a 1971 Triumph Trophy; a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix; and a 50cc mini-moto race bike.
In her own words, Cristy Lee confesses “I have an adrenaline addiction and a two-wheel obsession!”
At first glance, Cristy Lee’s notoriety in the world of motorsports is hard to make sense of. How did this young, blonde, trained dancer, born and raised in central Florida, fresh from graduation from Daytona State College make a name for herself in the male-dominated field of cars and motorcycles? It all began with one game-changing decision–Cristy Lee packed up and moved cross country to Michigan’s Detroit Motor City.
“I relocated to Detroit for business opportunities investing in real estate because at the time, the market was booming for investors in the Detroit area.” But the Motor City proved to offer much more to her. Practicing dance since a very young age, Cristy Lee put her many years of dance training to good use when she auditioned (and made) the NBA’s Detroit Pistons Dance Team in 2006, and later went on to perform for the MISL Dance Team.
Only three years after arriving in Detroit, Cristy Lee’s roots in the Motor City grew stronger when she won a contest that landed her a position as a DJ reporting the traffic, sports and weather for 101.1 WRIF FM Radio, a large rock format station. “The WRIF was a turning point for me, it really opened up my interest and excitement within the broadcasting world, and also gave me some great experience – it felt like the stepping stone to my career now!”
It wasn’t long before she transitioned from the studio behind a microphone to announcing on camera in front of a live audience. In 2009, Cristy Lee began her stint as the In-Arena Hostess for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and host for Red Wing’s TV.
“I was hooked–there was no turning back, my time with the Red Wings until 2012 not only provided me with on-camera exposure, valuable interview skills, and that live “TV” experience, but it acted as a domino effect on my career!”
Her next steps in this career path would include emcee work as a game show host at a local casino, in addition to management of a small talent agency, and eventually to the auto show circuit where she worked as a narrator for Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep.
At the same time, Cristy Lee’s love of motorcycles continued to grow. It was an interest that started when she was young and spent time in the garage with her father who was a shop owner and mechanic. “I would help my dad here and there, but I didn’t really get into wrenching until later down the road, when I had a motorcycle of my own. My dad used to take me out riding on his dirt bike when I was really young, I think it all started then.”
Cristy Lee began to spend more and more of her spare time working in her garage on bikes–building track bikes, making additions, repairing broken parts after she had crashed (oops) — and one day, she had a lightbulb moment.
“I started to ‘dream’ or entertain thoughts of using my experience as a reporter and on-camera host in combination with my love of motorcycles,” Cristy Lee explained. “The idea was so exciting, I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be.”
Cristy Lee put the wheels in motion to make her idea a reality by joining on with Daytona-based AMA Pro Racing. While with AMA Pro Racing, she developed online video content that included stories, race coverage, and interviews with top riders as part of the American Motorcycle Road Racing series.
“It was invaluable, I gained experience in everything from working as a commentator, producer, reporter, PA announcer and host—it literally was the kick start to my career in motorsports.”
On the heels of the AMA Pro Racing work, Cristy Lee was also asked to audition for a new show that was in development. In 2012, she was formally cast as one of three hosts on an all-female automotive “how-to” show named All Girls Garage on Velocity.
“Landing my role on All Girls Garage was unbelievable,” Christy Lee said. “It helped to solidify that women do have a place in the ‘garage,’ and better yet, it led to other opportunities including my role as a co-host on the live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions also on Velocity and Discovery Channel.”
At the same time, Cristy Lee was able to fuel her “dream” as she continued to cover the world of motorsports for major networks as a pit-reporter including Fox Sports, NBC Sports Network, ABC and ESPN. “It has been an awesome ‘ride,’ it is a lot of work but work that I consider it a privilege to be a part of.”
We asked this new Workshop Hero ACE to look back on the experiences and lessons she has learned during her evolution and advancement to her current resting place as a recognized figure in the motorcycle and automotive industry. “I love my work, but it is not who I am, it is what I do.” To further explain her mindset, Cristy Lee recites one of her favorite quotes:
“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”
“I love this quote because the moral or my biggest take away from it is, ‘make everyday count!’”