Kristina Lachaga has been singing she was practically in diapers, and the former Bel Air resident is hoping to make a name for herself as a singing, acting and performing "triple threat."
Lachaga, 20, will premiere her new single, "R.S.V.P.," a companion song to Simon & Schuster's new tween book "You're Invited," at Girls' Life magazine's Back-To-School Fashion Bash and One Direction Pre-Party at Power Plant Live! in downtown Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 8.
The third annual Fashion Bash is a "highlight event" for the Baltimore-based national magazine and has drawn about 1,000 girls and their parents to Power Plant Live each year, associate marketing director and senior editor Kelsey Haywood said.
The magazine is partnering with Z104.3, the contemporary hits station.
Lachaga dubbed herself "The Girl With the Big Pink Heart" after pop star Justin Bieber dedicated his closing song to her at a 2010 concert in New Jersey, having picked her out of the audience for a large cut-out heart she was waving.
"I think it really describes me and my personality," Lachaga said about the heart. "It was serendipitous, but I think it really came full circle."
Lachaga lived in Bel Air and sang in Kindermusik until she was about 3 years old, when her family moved to central New Jersey. Her parents were both in a jazz ensemble at Harford Community College, she said.
She said she still visits in Harford and was back recently.
Her songs, "No Doubt" and "Won't Wait Forever," got several thousand views on YouTube. Lachaga said she toured with the Broadway musical "Gypsy," as the character Baby Louise, in 2007 and 2008, and performed in a number of shows around the region.
She has gotten awards from several singing and talent organizations, including being first runner-up in the 2004 Philadelphia International Modeling and Talent Association competition.
Last year, Lachaga capped off a national tour promoting anti-bullying, a message she said is close to her heart since she was bullied growing up.
"I was bullied from kindergarten to middle school just for being different and being nice and wanting to pursue my passion in performing," she said, explaining her New Jersey school "was a very sporty school."
Bullying, she thinks, "is something that happens to a lot of kids, but it creates this connection and brings them closer" when they are willing to talk about it.
Lachaga hopes to keep promoting her message, under the tag #FollowYourHeartsDream, at the Girls' Life event.
The party will be followed by a concert by the band One Direction at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.