She was a National Hispanic Scholar and a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma before joining Pentatonix. She majored in Musical Theater, and developed her performing and vocal skills earlier on. For eight years, she was a touring member at Theater Arlington, where she learned to sing eight-part harmonies. She began classical training in high school, and was part of the Texas All State Choir for three years. She was part of a show choir for four years and was a dance captain, and maintained several roles in local stage productions. She has performed at shows around the Metroplex, including Casa Manana and Bass Hall.
Kirstie, Mitch, and Scott were all childhood friends who grew up together in Arlington, Texas, and attended Martin High School. Kirstie's father is Mexican-American, and her mother is Spanish and Italian. When asked about her and her group winning, she said:
"It feels amazing, its still very surreal but it was the most incredible feeling. I was so nervous on stage and was holding back tears and losing it – obviously from the camera shots they got of me! When I really think about it, I’m amazed and I feel blessed and grateful. It’s crazy!"
Kirstie went through some troublesome times while performing on the show. One week, she got very ill and began to lose her voice. She also had a solo that week, and was praying she wouldn't bring the group down when singing.Although Kirstie's background revolves around Spanish heritage and culture, she does not speak Spanish, but she wishes she did.
"My grandparents from both sides do, but they never taught my parents, so they never taught me and I’ve always been sad about that."
~ Kirstie Maldonado
Her favorite Latina singers include Shakira and Jennifer Lopez
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