- Krystle Nicole Russin
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Krystle Nicole Russin (born June 26, 1987) is an American journalist who has been featured in Elle Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. Her writing has been published in newspapers and online websites such as the State Journal-Register, the Heartland Institute, and PurePolitics.com. Her work has been cited in publications like the New York Post, Salon.com, and the Austin American-Statesman, and television programs like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Russin began in journalism as a teen. While attending high school, she contributed to local publications and magazines and the online website Illinois Leader, covering statewide politics and profiling state and national legislators. During her involvement in Illinois political journalism, the attention often switched from her journalism achievements to Russin's media reputation as a "hot chick."
She gained attention in 2004 for her lengthy interview with presidential candidate John Kerry and helped establish PurePolitics.com's international coverage in 2005 through her interviews with the London mayoral candidates.
As a freelance writer, she has covered politics, business, policy issues, entertainment, and fashion and profiled celebrities and newsmakers. Her 2008 article on meat production as a factor in global warming generated buzz with environmental activists and Internet blogs. Policy experts also took note of her pieces on the British health care system and Florida "tax swap" plan.
In September 2008, a Turkish Islamic group hacked the entire contents of PurePolitics.com and Russin's personal e-mail account due to her interview with British journalist Gareth Jenkins on his book, Political Islam in Turkey: Running West, Heading East. The website was soon revamped with a new design.
From 2003 to 2004, she hosted Illinois Stories on regional PBS, syndicated in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. The Emmy award-winning show focused on Illinois history and politics, past and present, and is now hosted by Mark McDonald.
During 2001 to 2002, Russin contributed "in the street" interviews focusing on a youth perspective and spoke about regional politics on the Mary Griffith Show, which aired on the STARadio Corporation owned station KGRC.
Russin was one of several contestants representing Austin in the 2008 Miss Texas USA pageant held July 1, 2007. She did not place at the pageant but won second place over 120 other contestants in the Turn for the Judges readers choice poll. She later wrote about the experience in a satirical Huffington Post op-ed. Beauty blog Jezebel said of the piece, "The truth is, none of the allegations — including the report that booze and boyfriends were present in contestants' hotel rooms — are really that surprising. What is shocking is that Krystle Russin, a woman with the wits about her...entered the Miss Texas USA pageant to begin with. Why, as a writer and bright young woman, did she participate in a "beauty" "contest" for which the only requirement is that you can afford the entry fee?"'
Russin is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the University of Texas Texas Exes alumni association.
Russin briefly volunteered for political campaigns for both parties as a teenager, including an appearance in a 2002 Rod Blagojevich gubernatorial campaign commercial, a stint as youth coordinator for 2004 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chirinjeev Kathuria, and serving as press secretary/webmaster for the Illinois Teenage Republicans, where she helped organize a statewide youth voter awareness mission inspired by P. Diddy's Vote or Die campaign. Some criticized the effort, saying the group and celebrities used voter awareness as "another form of public relations."
She made statewide news when she created a popstar-like parody fan website for a potential 2006 gubernatorial candidate, causing Chicago gossip blog Gapers Block to nickname her the "Republican cheerleader."
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of friend, fellow beauty pageant contestant, and Illinois political volunteer Miss America 2003 Erika Harold, who represented Illinois as a delegate and was one of the featured speakers at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Russin expressed interest in being a delegate at the 2004 Illinois State Republican Convention but was deemed too young. Though some states allow delegates as young as 17, the rules required that a delegate must be of legal voting age during the same election cycle.
Russin was born in Quincy, Illinois, an only child, and presently resides in Manhattan. She has said she was inspired to go into journalism at a young age by Tim Russert and Aaron Brown.
As a high school student, Russin participated in talent shows and won third place at the regional Optimist International student oratorical contest.
She graduated from Quincy Senior High School at 16 and John Wood Community College at 17 as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, contrary to media speculation doubting that she had really graduated early. She moved to Austin, Texas in 2005 to finish her bachelor's degree, graduating from the University of Texas at Austin at 19 with a degree in Government (Pre-Law) and minors in Journalism and History.
Russin is bilingual. She began studying Spanish in junior high school and concentrated in Spanish literature at the University of Texas at Austin.
Russin was heavily involved with her student newspapers during junior and senior high school, writing about politics. At the University of Texas at Austin, she contributed to KVRX-FM and KVR-TV (now Texas Student Television K09VR) and ran for a seat on the Texas Student Media board.
Russin sings in English and Spanish. Her debut pop-R&B album, Sex Appeal, Love, Confessions Parts 1 & 2, and several non-album singles were released in June of 2010 on iTunes and other online retailers. She released the "second disc" of her originally double disc album in August, My Other Half! Sex Appeal, Love, Confessions Part 3. On September 13, 2010, Russin digitally released The Dmitry Tursunov Experience EP, a 5-song pop electronica mini-album produced over beats from Russian tennis player Dmitry Tursunov.
Russin, with Christian Hartsock, is the co-author of Audacious! Political Columns, Essays and Arthouse Fashion Modeling. The book uses old columns with new material and photos featuring both authors and men's tie designer Chris Cantoya.