Amazing Kids! Magazine


By Gianna DiReda, Age 14, Massachusetts


I couldn’t believe it. She was standing right in front of me. Her. In front of me. She was talking to someone sitting behind me. She finished her conversation with a laugh, then turned and smiled at me as she walked away. She, Cindy, smiled at me. I was over the moon.


I first laid eyes on Cindy Holt on June 22, 2013. It was an audition day, for Shrek the musical. And all of us musical theatre hopefuls were gathered in front of the stage. I was with my two best friends, Emily and Izzy. We called ourselves “fristers,” a combination between friends and sisters. The team leading the audition called us onto the stage in groups to dance to music from the show. Izzy was in the first group. She went up onstage, then came back off and started to cry. I had no idea what was wrong, but I wiped away the tears from her blue eyes anyway. I was fixing her ponytail when I saw a woman approaching. As I looked up, I realized something. This woman was absolutely beautiful. Curly red hair pulled back into a ponytail, and eyes sparkling like stars. She smiled, and I knew everything would be okay. Izzy would stop crying, and everything would be okay. That’s what Cindy did. She made everyone feel safe.

My first rehearsal for Shrek was a few weeks after that day. I didn’t see Cindy anywhere. A few weeks later, I saw this beautiful woman again. It turned out, her name was Cindy, and she had been cast as the female lead, Princess Fiona. I recognized her from somewhere, I just couldn’t remember where. Then she smiled at me. It all came crashing down. She was the woman at auditions. The woman who went into the darkened audition room right before me. I heard her through the door, singing over the piano music. I had no idea that a human voice could make such a pure, strong sound. I was floored.

From that point on, I made a point to watch Cindy at rehearsal, and to getto know her.  I watched her like a hawk, and I learned so much. Character acting, singing, theatre, and life in general. The “getting to know her” thing didn’t work so much. With my friends I was weird and quirky, but around people I don’t know or admire, I was unbelievably shy. I had no idea how to talk to her. I needed a reason. Why couldn’t I just go talk? Be myself? What if she didn’t like me? Finally, one evening, a reason came.

I was onstage, sitting. I looked around, and spotted a flower. It was purple and white, and part of one of Cindy’s props. I shoved it in my hair and slowly walked up to her. “Hi, Cindy?” I asked, my voice high pitched.

It wasn’t that she scared me, because she didn’t, I just really wanted her to like me. Cindy looked up from her purse and smiled. “Um….” I started. I blinked. It all came out in a rush. “I found this flower, and I was just wondering if you wanted it back, or if I could keep it.” She smiled at me again. “Ya, sure, you can have it.” I thanked her, and put it right under the curls falling over my ear. The curls I loved so much because they were just like hers.

From that point on, I made an effort to wear that flower to almost every rehearsal. I loved it, and named it Fiona. Opening night, September 13, rolled around. We all had been working so hard, and the show was fantastic.We were all so excited. I was in the dressing room, a glorified meeting room, putting on my costume. Cindy walked in, dressed in her show skirt and a tank top. As my eyes gravitated toward her face, I gasped. With her stage makeup on (and even with it off), she looked every inch a princess. With black pencil lining her dark eyes and blush coloring her chiseled cheekbones, I couldn’t stop staring. I felt so rude, so I pulled my eyes away. As I was singing along with our accompanist, I wondered if she knew I was staring at her. Like, all the time. A song popped into my head. It was the theme song to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” I hummed it as I went about hanging up my street clothes and fixing my shoes. This song described every aspect of Cindy.

“Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it’s you, girl, and you should know it….with each glance and every little movement you show it…” Really, Cindy is very much like Mary Richards. They were both hard workers, kind to the hilt (or the Holt), smart, funny, and they could both turn the world on with their smiles. They sure had me.