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October 30, 2014

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The Innovator :

The Innovator: Kristen Makhathini

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Kristen Makhathini, director of operations for Chippendales at the Rio, sits in Flirt Lounge with Chippendales cast members Jaymes Vaughan and Nate Estimada on Monday, April 25, 2011.

You’d think a bunch of ripped, shirtless guys would be enough to bring in the girls en masse. But, Chippendales Director of Operations Kristen Makhathini wanted something extra, something to push the Chippendales brand over the top: celebrity.

From May 12-June 5, Jeff Timmons, formerly the co-lead vocalist of 98 Degrees (which also featured an ultra-muscular Nick Lachey) will be performing with the Chippendales at the Rio as a singer and emcee. Timmons, whose fans were teens when 98 Degrees was hot, seemed like the perfect fit, Makhathini says.

“The demographic 98 Degrees was popular with then, is popular for us now,” she says, adding that bachelorette-party experiences are Chippendales’ forte. “Jeff obviously has a great body and an amazing voice.”

During the show, Timmons will perform songs from 98 Degrees, as well as songs from an upcoming album.

“Chippendales is an internationally known brand. But, at first, I was a little apprehensive,” Timmons says. “Now, I can’t wait to get started. And, my wife is cool with it.”

Makhathini is no stranger to performing. She was a professional dancer, performing on cruise ships and as a member of the dance team for the Seattle SuperSonics.

“No matter where I was performing, I always ended up as the default manager for the group,” she says. “Working in entertainment, and with Chippendales, is a great fit.”

Celebrities have performed with Chippendales in the past, Makhathini says, but limited engagements are something new. Timmons’ fans are clamoring. They’re coming in droves,” Makhathini says.

Combining the power of celebrity, creative marketing, half-naked dudes and a boy band superstar is quite an innovative cocktail, no?

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