Cristin Sandu is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and entertainer. He serves as the CEO of The Cristin Sandu Company, Inc., the CEO of Cristin Sandu Events & Experiences, founder of Sway Poles L.L.C., and the Founder of The High Carnival.io NFT project.
Cristin is considered one of the leading global minds on what's next in the live entertainment industry and experiential marketing. He is described as one of the most forward thinkers in entertainment and marketing - he has an ability of recognizing trends and patterns early to help his clients understand how these shifts impact their markets and create the perfect experiential marketing strategy. Whether is emerging artists, live events, sporting events, or virtual events, Cristin understands how to bring brand relevance through experiential marketing to the forefront. He has worked with companies such as Amazon, Apple, NBA, NBC, MTV, and College Sporting Events.
Today, he helps new and existing brands lead the way in consumer attention through experiential marketing. Cristin is a highly sought out entertainer, content producer, keynote speaker, as well as a public-school speaker. He has appeared on America's Got Talent, The Huckabee Show, The Big Stage, My Fair Wedding, and the MTV Music Awards. While on America’s Got Talent, he stunned the judges and nation with his extreme balance show that took him to the quarterfinals. He also performed for many large-scale events including the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and NCAA. During his already impressive career, he got to work with some pretty big names in the entertainment industry, such as Howard Stern, Carmen Electra, Jim Carey, Howie Mandel, Jay Leno, Nick Cannon, Lil Jon, Chris Tucker, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber, and others.
In addition to running multiple businesses, Cristin enjoys collecting new skills and experiences under his belt, such as flying planes, rock climbing, kayaking, and everything else in-between.
The cliché’ “I came from humble beginnings” is often thrown around haphazardly to give someone a grandeur of overcoming hardship and strife. But for me, unfortunately that phrase is as accurate as it gets. Born in Moldova, the poorest country in all of Europe, my father, older brother and I moved to the United States after my mother’s tragic death in a car accident. A car that I was in.
We moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where my father got a job as a traveling circus performer. That kind of tragedy changes people, and it forced me into survival mode. With my father working all the time and my older brother turning his back on me, I was left to my own devices. School didn’t inspire me the way economic opportunity did, and I saw the loneliness as a chance to flex my own independence and make some money for myself.
My uncle owned a small circus school in Vegas, and I learned that the performers training there were making up to $300 per show, doing two shows a night. The best part was that they only performed for about 6 minutes per show – quite a bang for their buck. I signed up because in the circus world, there was no age limit, nor regulations, it was like the wild west. While other kids my age studied math, science, and literature – I studied balancing, juggling, and gymnastics.
Traditional education never resonated with me. My grades fell a lot more than I did off the balance beam that first year I was training in the circus. During my time at the circus school, I developed an act called the “Rolla Bolla” where I would balance myself atop of 7 intersecting cylinders 15 feet high. I fell all the time, but each training session it got a little easier. Being able to see tangible progress in my training session motivated me. I enjoyed being able to track it with my own two eyes rather than grades and standardized tests. I could clearly see a direct correlation between effort, repetition, and progress.
I have never followed a traditional path. If there was a worn, well-cut path through a jungle, I would rather unsheathe my machete to carve out my own way. I believe that I will not grow by following the steps of others. I must wield that blade and cut, overcoming challenges along the way – and in that process I can discover new trends and innovations. I live by this principle.
After graduating from the circus school, I found myself competing with thousands of performers for a Cirque Du Soleil show with a 25-person cast. Cirque realizing the level of competition, lowered the wages dramatically knowing they’d still get a high skilled performer. At that moment, I decided to forge my own path. My act caught the eye of a corporate event producer, Niekko Chin, from whom I learned that a lucrative career could be made from corporate performance. Often, when a company sends its employees to Vegas for a conference or seminar, employees also see a show there. Instead of these companies coming to Vegas, I thought why not bring the show to them?
After doing some corporate events, I decided to audition for America’s Got Talent, to enhance my publicity as a performer. I was still in high school when I got to the show. I made it all the way to the quarter finals of AGT season 7. I performed my act and fell twice. The cylinders flew in every direction as if they were spring loaded. When I stood up, my face was washed with anguish and torment. I thought my career was over. I had fallen on live TV in front of millions of Americans. Despite my failure, the judges praised me for my courage and determination. Sharon Osbourne said, “you have some big cahunas for doing what you do.” After AGT, my career slingshot into orbit. I internalized my lessons learned from that show; the fear of failure is always worse than failure itself; it is only a failure if you stay on the ground; if you keep getting up, its progress.
My AGT performance caught the eye of the Game Presentation for the Chicago Bulls, and he booked me for a halftime show. Suddenly, the NBA became a huge part of my career. Freshly out of high school, I was performing all over the country for every NBA team. I leveraged my success and created my own entertainment production company. Booking shows for the NBA while still working with corporate events. I found my own foothold in the entertainment industry. I co-created a performance concept called “living décor,” a performance routine that not only allowed guests to mingle and socialize with one another, but also to be part of the show. To explain, acrobats hung from chandeliers pouring champagne while upside down, blending the lines between performer and staff, observer and participant. My productions demonstrated my intuition within the entertainment industry and my ability to adapt to a marketplace that demands the new.
Later in life, I ignited my love of education. While traditional school as a child never stuck with me, I enjoyed acquiring new skills. Learning a new skill is as much a lifelong pursuit as is performing and business development. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in history, I fly planes, I mountain climb, I snowboard, and I do so much more. It’s not a bad life for a 28-year-old.
My performances have always been about balance, and that theme is central to everything in my life. I’m not all about business, and I am not all about performing. I don’t believe that tunnel vision is a healthy approach to pursuing a dream. When I am balancing, I focus solely on that moment, keeping my core strong and blocking distractions. I bring the same focus to enjoying dinner with my family.