In two days time, a whirlwind of editorial scripts, car parts and tools are thrown together in a mix of what becomes the weekly episode of Velocity Channel’s “All Girls Garage.” Hosted by three charismatic females, the trio pushes through long production hours, plan changes, and unforeseen mechanical issues. But for all three women, the daily grind of motorsports is a passion that drives their careers – especially for AGG host Cristy Lee.
Growing up in eastern Florida, Cristy spent the weekends at her father’s auto garage in Daytona Beach and she says, although cars were present, at the time she wasn’t into mechanics – at least not until a few motorcycles showed up. “I actually started wrenching to have a track bike.” She says. “I got my first bike when I was 18 and since then, I’ve probably bought and sold a couple dozen. But I originally began riding on the track to pursue motorcycle racing, and even got my got a racing license — which was a huge deal.”
Though pushing the limits on the track can be a dangerous experience. To learn, one has to ride on their limit, and any rider doing this for several years and coming out unscathed – is lucky. “At the time, I was an amateur club level racer and I started crashing the bike a lot due to my learning curve . . . at that degree realized I needed to dial it back.”
A decision well made, because during this time she was racing towards a career in motorsport journalism, and although not actually receiving her college degree for either journalism or mechanics – her passion for pursing this path didn’t stop her. “I started out in radio as a DJ, then did a lot of MC work.” She said. But in 2010, she finally made her way into motorsports realm covering various AMA racing stories, and form there, migrated to automotive narrating for Chrysler, Jeep.
While working for Jeep . . . “One day, I was just randomly approached by a producer for a show and I thought, yeah right — everybody’s a producer. But it ended up being legit and they were casting for a new motoring show. Next thing I knew, it was like boom! And was casted for “All Girls Garage.” She said.
Since joining AGG, Cristy hasn’t pulled her foot off the throttle. Not only is she co-hosting the “All Girls Garage,” but she hosts an array of Barret Jackson auto auctions and juggles a matrix of other projects including working with RedBull X Games, AMA race events and dozens of regional car events across the nation. “I’m a one woman show.” She says. “A lot of people have PR agents, managers and other promoters, and I just kind of go for it on my own. Keeping the deal together.”
Jumping back and forth from host to journalist is quite a contrast — and for some would be a challenge, although when asked what is her comfort zone, she replied; “That’s a tough question, because I’ve managed to build my entire career about just being me — so I’m usually being me — just with a camera rolling! “But the journalism is fun. It’s like telling a story and building the excitement, waiting out in the pits, waiting for the event to unfold.”
The same can be said about her career, as it unfolds she’s continuing to carve her craft and be as diversified as possible. “I’ve definitely grown over the last six seasons of AGG. With my experience and knowledge about motorcycles and adapting to that to cars it’s been a good transition. So far, the hardest thing for me to learn was about suspension and chassis because it’s so much different.
Every day is a learning experience, and with only two days to cut a show for AGG, she and the team have definitely gotten their hands dirty by taking on major projects, such as filming the Edelbrock Supercharger installation on a 2016 Camaro; of which nobody had done before. “To myself and other girls on the show, the biggest question always is: Do we do the work? Yes, we really do the work! With a two-day period for a twenty-minute show, we have a trouble not putting the tools down. It’s a quick process!”
Garage time turnaround is what it takes to survive and make the cut, on screen and off, which is why hard work and friendship keep the AGG team on track. She says, “As soon as the cameras are off we’re still joking, hanging out, and even go out after the show quite a bit.” For Cristy and the team, she feels the best part is the friendships and relationships this career has opened up for her. Which is a great reason for any motorsport enthusiast to become part of the action!