Krista DeBono is a former contestant on The Amazing Race, ending with a 4th place finish. She originates from New York and is a former New York Jets Flight Crew Member. After four years with the crew, she continued her passion for dance and performed on numerous tours and shows, including Madison Square Garden, and the Super Bowl. Krista has also shot commercials with NFL and New Era Caps. When she’s not filming, she enjoys creating dance concept videos with a group she co-created called The Shoeicide Dolls. Get the scoop on Krista!
Where are you from?
I was born in Brooklyn but raised in Staten Island, New York. I am pretty much the text book definition of a “New Yorker” and could not see myself being able to live anywhere else. I love the fast paced lifestyle here.
How would you describe your experience on The Amazing Race?
It would be too cliché to say “Amazing” right? So I will go with incredible. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to visit some of the places that I did. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I will forever be grateful for it. To be able to visit other countries and experience other cultures really opened my eyes to how beautiful the world really is. Not only did I get to visit places, but I learned a lot about myself in the process. The race really tests you mentally and physically. I didn’t know how strong I could be until I participated in the race.
How did you end up on the show?
Since I was younger, it was a dream of mine to be on The Amazing Race. I grew up watching the show and even had my own mock Amazing Race challenges with my family as a child. I made a promise to myself that I would send in my application as soon as I was done cheering for the NFL. As I was researching the casting process and getting my application ready, I found an inbox in my Facebook from a casting director. It was fate! I sent him my application and video and the next thing I knew I was heading on a plane to L.A for the final audition process. It all happened so fast and was so surreal.
What was it like working with your partner Tiffany?
When I found out about the show I knew that I only wanted Tiffany as my race partner. Tiffany is not just a friend to me, she is basically my sister. We do just about everything together. Tiffany and I have very opposite personalities and that’s what makes us work so well together. When I’m stressed she can calm me down, when she is stressed I can talk her out of it. We never argue or bicker. Nowadays it can be hard to find people that just want the absolute best for you and want to see you pursue your dreams. I’m lucky that I have that type of person as my best friend. She lifts me up and always sees the best in me. I could not have done it without her or with a different partner. That is a fact.
Most people would probably expect me to say that my favorite challenge was the dance challenge and least favorite was when I was eliminated but that’s actually not the case at all. The race for me was about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing things that I never thought I could do. My favorite challenge was when I completed the road block in Africa. I was able to fly in a microlight over Victoria Falls. There are few moments on the race that you can just take in and that was one of them. It was definitely scary but it was one of the most beautiful moments for me on the show.
I truly do not have a “least” favorite challenge. Even the hard challenges pushed me and made me stronger as a person. People always talk about my elimination challenge to me and say well you probably never want to do that again! That’s far from the truth. I would do that challenge again in a heartbeat. I am proud of myself for being able to complete that water task in Macau and was not going to stop until I did.
Where would you go back to that you were able to visit on The Amazing Race?
There were so many places that I would want to go back to visit if I had the chance. I would say the top place I would want to visit again is Africa. I never thought that I would have the chance to visit Africa in my lifetime. The scenery seemed as if it was straight out of a movie. There were elephants crossing the road. We definitely do not get to see that in New York!
The Amazing Race is mentally stressful. How were you able to overcome this?
I didn’t know how I would be able to handle the mental part of the race. I didn’t mention it on the show but I deal with anxiety every day of my life. I was really nervous that I was going to have a panic attack and not be able to complete a challenge. I didn’t want my mind to get the best of me. I just kept saying over and over again in my head that this was for my family. I did it for myself and I did it for them. I may not have shown it on the show because I can cover my anxiety well but I overcame a lot. I was lucky enough to have Tiff as my partner and she gave me that push I needed in certain situations.
What is it like to go through the race with minimal communication to the world?
When I first found out that my cellphone was going to be gone I literally freaked out. I’m the type of person that has their cellphone in their hand 24/7. I didn’t know how I would feel about having zero contact with anyone. The first few days were strange because it’s basically a habit to check your phone every now and then. I would reach in my pocket and forget it wasn’t there. After the days went on I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t have my phone. I really missed talking to my family but at the same time it felt great to just unplug from the everyday stress of life. When we received our phones back I actually was dreading turning it on. I knew I would have a hundred emails that I would need to answer and didn’t want to face reality yet. Having a phone and internet again definitely took some getting used to when I returned home.
Do you have any advice for future Amazing Race contestants?
My advice for a future contestant would be to enjoy every moment. Sometimes you get so caught up in the actual race that you forget about what you are experiencing and where you are. I made it a point to have my moments where I just looked around and took everything in. You will only get this experience once (maybe twice if you’re lucky) but it goes by so fast that you don’t want to miss it!
Dance seems to be something you’re very passionate about. How did it come about, and how did you end up as a NFL cheerleader?
Dance has been a part of my life since the day I could walk. Everywhere I went I had to put on a show or do a routine. I didn’t care if anyone was watching or not either haha. I danced at a studio in Staten Island for 10 years. After college, I knew I wanted to take my dance career to the next level so I decided to try out for the NFL. The tryout process was tough but I wound up making the team and living out my dream. I made lifelong friendships with my teammates.
What are you currently doing now since being on the race?
Currently I am working as a Speech Language Pathologist for children with Autism. I work in a special education school. I absolutely love what I do and I could not see myself doing anything else. My students are like my own children and I look forward to seeing them every single day. I also teach dance classes with Tiffany in Manhattan. Dance is something that I am not ready to give up so whenever I have the time I try to teach a class or attend one. Charity is something that will always be a big part of my life. The show has given me a little bit of a following and a platform so I want to use that to help others. I am lucky that I am surrounded by such supportive people in my life that are always willing to help with my charities and foundations. Right now I am currently raising money for Hearts of Reality – Give Kids the World Foundation that will take place in August with a whole bunch of other reality stars.
What are some hobbies you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to my hobbies. I love doing puzzles and I do them just about every night. I love going to craft stores and bringing fun projects home to do. I probably watched about every single documentary on Netflix. My family is a huge part of my life. We are always together and I spend most of my free time with them. And I have to mention my dog “Elvis” because he is the love of my life. I recently have gotten into hot yoga and inferno Pilates. It really has stepped my workout game up and I know if I ever went back on the race I would be ready to go in the heat!
Do you have a favorite food?
I love ALL food so it’s hard for me to pick but if I had to I would say chicken parmigiana and rigatoni. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Now I’ll have to go get that tonight.
What’s your favorite quote?
This is my favorite quote and I’m sure you will understand why :
“I urge you to travel. As far and as much as possible. Work ridiculous shifts to save your money. Go without the latest iPhone. Throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Find out how other people live and realize that the world is a much bigger place than the town you live in. And when you come home, home may still be the same. And yes, you may go back to the same old job, but something in you will have changed. And trust me, that changes everything.”― Anonymous
Keep up with Krista on social media!