Rockaway’s Masseuse to the Queen of Christmas
Each holiday season, singer Mariah Carey gets “defrosted,” coming out of hiding to perform her iconic song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” at various events. And when it comes to thawing out, the Queen of Christmas sometimes needs a little help to warm up, and she only demands the best. That’s where Samantha Cintron, professional massage therapist and owner of Rockaway’s Nurture U Wellness comes in. When Mariah was gearing up for this year’s holiday tour, all she wanted for Christmas was for Cintron to join her, serving as her personal massage therapist.
And it wasn’t the first time. Now with more than 20 years of experience giving massages, Cintron’s role as occasional masseuse to the stars began during her days working for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group from 2009 to 2011, followed by the Waldorf Astoria and the Carlyle. As luxury hotels in New York City, they’re a go-to for celebrities and Cintron has massaged plenty, from Lady Gaga, to actor Billy Crystal to Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, and of course, Mariah.
Just as Cintron had left the Mandarin in pursuit of doing her own thing, the Mandarin’s head massage therapist called her, saying she had a job for her that she wasn’t available for in the Hamptons in 2012, and without mentioning the client, asked Cintron if she would be interested. Cintron had the time and accepted the job. And then learned that client was Mariah Carey.
Cintron left a lasting impression with her massage, and began working more gigs with Carey, from the Hamptons to California and even out of the country. “After her massage therapist couldn’t work that week in the Hamptons, she continued to call me and a couple other people from the Mandarin, and we’d switch off and work with her almost on a daily basis from July 2012 until February 2016,” Cintron said.
It was at that time that Cintron decided to really follow her dream of doing her own thing. “I opened up Nurture U in 2016 and Mariah’s team tried calling me between then, but I was growing my baby over here,” she said. But after seven years of running a successful business, with a reliable, hardworking staff, Cintron found herself having a little extra time to spare when out of the blue, Mariah’s team reached out to her around Halloween and asked if she’d be interested in providing services again on the pop singer’s upcoming holiday tour. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to get back into it,” Cintron said.
So, on December 5, Cintron joined Carey’s team in Philadelphia for rehearsals ahead of the tour that would go on to Toronto and then back to New York City for the final shows. And after not seeing each other since 2016, Cintron says it was a sweet reunion. “The first time Mariah saw me after not working with her for six years, she was so happy. She said to me, ‘Sam, where have you been? We’ve been looking for you.’ She mentioned how grateful she was that I was there. She then proceeded to take my arm and show me what type of pressure and where she wanted me to massage her specifically. I said to her ‘you’re pretty good at this.’ She said, ‘Yeah, I know. Thank you.’ It was a somewhat surreal moment,” Cintron said.
And then the hard work began. Cintron says she provided rehabilitative massage, reflexology, medial massage, stretching and manual lymphatic drainage for Mariah throughout the tour, to make sure her body was in tip top shape to perform. “Depending on what’s going on, any given day you can do a combination of those. It’s not your traditional hours and it’s a different way of working,” she said. Cintron provided both pre- and post-show services for the Christmas Queen, for which Mariah was grateful. “She is a kind person, a generous person. Always saying thank you and please,” Cintron said. But during their sessions, as it is with most clients, there was limited talking.
While hard at work, Cintron did get to enjoy a few perks from luxury hotel stays to quality meals and of course, tickets to Mariah’s shows. After arriving in Philly, Cintron got to take a ride on a luxury bus to Toronto, where she then stayed at the Four Seasons. After Mariah did two shows in Toronto, it was back on the bus to NYC, where Cintron stayed at The Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Ave. “I got to stay at some really nice luxury hotels, got to eat well, got to work out in the gym,” she said
But for Cintron, the most rewarding part was the experience she got. Although ever humble despite her talents, Cintron acknowledged what it means being chosen for this special opportunity. “Not everybody gets to say I’m Mariah Carey’s personal massage therapist,” she said. “I’m grateful.”
Equally rewarding is getting to share parts of that experience with her loved ones. As Mariah Carey had two shows at Madison Square Garden, on December 13 and December 16, Cintron was able to snag some pretty sweet floor seats. After holding down the fort at Nurture U while Samantha was on tour, Cintron invited her fellow massage therapist Christina Cruz for the Tuesday show. “She was crying, saying ‘why did you pick me?’” And on Friday, Cintron took her brother, her sister and her sister-in-law to see the Queen of Christmas perform “All I Want for Christmas is You” and other tunes live. “They were just so excited,” Cintron said. “It helped us all start the Christmas season.”
If you’d like to treat yourself after this holiday season and book a massage with the massage therapist to the Queen of Christmas at Nurture U, located at 120-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd., check out: https://nurtureuwellness.com or call 347-727-7014.