For a time, fans of the reality-television series called “Fast N’Loud” were worried that one of its stars, Christie Brimberry, wouldn’t appear again in their favorite automotive restoration TV show. Due to health issues, she couldn’t perform her duties as the office manager of Richard Rawling’s Gas Monkey Garage, which was the focal point of the reality-TV series. She took a break from managing the business in 2016 to focus on getting healthy, with the blessing of everyone in the shop. Loyal fans were relieved when she was seen again in the 15th season of one of the most-watched car shows on Discovery Channel.
Christie’s Early Life and Family
Not much information about her family and early life was revealed to the public. All that was known about her was that she was born on 25 March 1972, in Dallas, Texas, because Christie was very careful about what she shared in her social media accounts and during interviews.
On her social media pages, she was proud to post that she had a good relationship with her parents, most especially her mother who passed away in 2015. She also shared some rare photos with her sister, and said that she was her ‘ride or die until the tires fall off’.
Christie has been married for many years to Darren Brimberry, a professional hairstylist with a hair salon in Dallas. She has six children, and some featured in her Instagram account, although some fans wondered why she has children of Afro-American descent. A fan complimented her for adopting them, but another said that she didn’t adopt any of them, but without offering any other information; much speculation formed but she never addressed the isue. Some of her children have graduated from college, and some are already married. When she posted a tribute to her mother during Mother’s Day in 2020, she mentioned that her old lady was about to be a great-grandmother soon.
From Gas Monkey Garage to “Fast N’Loud” reality-TV
The Gas Monkey Garage is a Dallas-based custom auto shop founded by Richard Rawlings. After seeing automotive shows on TV, he realized that there was a chunk of the untapped market that those TV shows hadn’t taken advantage of – he noticed that his wife and kids wouldn’t stay and watch an auto show with him. The businessman in him knew that he needed to have a garage first to get to that point of creating a TV show. It was like hitting two birds with one stone, since his passion was automotive restoration and customization, so he sold his printing and advertising business to open up a garage in Dallas. Christie was hired through her husband, Darren, who was Richard’s hairstylist.
For many years, he had been pitching the TV show concept to Discovery Channel, until the cable executives eventually accepted the idea and “Fast N’Loud,” was born.
Unlike other automotive shows on TV with overwhelming machismo, Richard toned it down and made it appealing to women and kids without turning off the male viewers. The premise of the TV series was that he would look for worn-down classic or vintage cars all over the country, and purchase them for his team to restore them at the garage. After the fabrication and restoration process, Richard would sell the vehicle at a higher price, creating a significant profit for the business.
All through this, Christie was responsible for assisting Richard in dealing with all the chaos and drama involving the various people in the team – even shouting at her boss – to make sure everyone stayed on course so that they could meet the deadline. The first episode aired in June 2012 and the final episode in June 2020, all in all 155 episodes over the course of 16 seasons, produced by Pilgrim Studios for Discovery Channel.
Meet Christie’s Co-Workers at Gas Monkey Garage
It might be Richard Rawlings who owned the garage, but it was his team of experienced professionals who were responsible for the actual restoration and customization of each car. He had the final say on the overall plan, such as choosing the car to be restored, the schedule, and approval of the budget for the proposed project, while Richard’s sister, Daphne Kaminski, worked as the Head of Operations.
The main mechanic and chief fabricator, Aaron Kaufman, was there almost from the start until he left the garage to open up his own fabrication shop in 2018, and subsequently starred in his own TV show also aired on Discovery Channel. He was with Richard for 14 years, but they maintained a friendship afterwards, as Richard respected him not only as a fabricator but also as a person. Christie even promoted and congratulated Aaron when he finally launched his own online shop.
The rest of the team was comprised of Tony Cano, Mike Coy, and Kennan Hons (Paint and Body Tech Team), Chad Isbell (Automotive Parts Expert), Russell Holmes (Mechanic), J. Cheatham and J. Freeman (Fabricators), Jon Rodriguez (Wiring Expert), and Jason Aker (Firebird expert),
The Real Reason Why Christie Left Gas Monkey Garage in 2016
Ignoring potential health problems was one of the reasons why Christie had to leave Gas Monkey Garage abruptly and indefinitely. It was revealed that back in October 2016, she went through life-threatening surgery to remove a cancerous lymph node from her thyroid. Initially, she didn’t want to share her experience with the public, as she was a very private person. However, she eventually thought it best to educate people about the importance of getting a medical examination when one’s body didn’t feel right.
Apparently, before August 2016 ended, she felt something like a small knot in her throat, but ignored it, thinking that it just had something to do with her Hashimoto condition, a disease that attacks the thyroid and creates nodules in the throat. When it became annoying and felt like having a finger shoved down her throat, Christie had it examined; she had an ultrasound, and when the doctor saw the size of the nodule, a biopsy followed. Somehow she knew deep inside that it could be something worse and dangerous, and 12 days later, her suspicions were confirmed. She had thyroid cancer and the only good thing about it was the doctor saying that it had only affected one lymph node, but it had to be treated right away because it was aggressive.
Christie was assured by her doctor that it would be an easy surgery, that the removal of the thyroid and the cancerous lymph node was done in one day, however, when they operated on her, it was discovered that cancer had spread and a cluster of lymph nodes was removed.
The doctor also had to remove a part of her trachea because it was affected as well. Unfortunately, during the process of removing all of it, the nerve in her voice box was cut, which resulted in her having no voice at all, and she was informed that the condition could last for about six months or so. Christie also had chemotherapy to help fully remove the cancerous cells from her body.
In November 2016, the tube that was inserted in her throat and the stitches were removed, however, the doctor identified that the left side of her voice box was still paralyzed, which made talking and swallowing difficult. Instead of the initial prognosis of six months, the doctor said it would take around eight months to a year before she regained her voice.
Christie went back for a follow-up after a month, and there was an improvement. She got her voice tone back, but she lost a lot of volume.
She was advised to stop taking her thyroid medication so that she could receive Radioactive Iodine treatment; this created an imbalance in her thyroid hormones, that left her emotionally drained, such that she would cry often, and had little control over her emotions. Being on a low iodine diet, which meant no bread, no dairy and no commercially processed food, made it even more unbearable.
However, after a year of non-stop treatment and a disciplined lifestyle, Christie was declared cancer-free by her doctor in December 2017. She posted on her official Facebook page, ‘I went through the last of my treatment last week, and had my one-year bone scan on Friday! The results came back today and I am CANCER FREE!!!’
Back on Gas Monkey Garage and “Fast N’Loud”
While Christie was never fired from Gas Monkey Garage, as Richard was very supportive of her, she wasn’t physically able to join the rest of the cast of “Fast N’Loud.”
— Gas Monkey Garage (@GasMonkeyGarage) September 28, 2016
She totally regretted that she wasn’t part of the filming of the Mannequin Challenge that Richard and the rest of the team did in December 2016, however, she made sure to be active on her social media platforms Instagram and Facebook to help promote the TV show. There was even a time when she went live while an episode was being aired, just to stay connected with the fans.
When the doctors cleared her to return to work, she was welcomed back in the garage. On 13 June 2018, Richard posted on his official Facebook page, a photo of him sitting behind his desk in his office at Gas Monkey Garage with Christie looking on while pointing out something on a ledger. It was business as usual, and he captioned it with ‘Working hard and havin’ fun’, while Christie posted the same photo with the caption, ‘I love my job.’ Fans were able to see her once again in the last two seasons of their reality-TV series.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Loyal fans were shocked that Richard announced during a guest appearance in the podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” in December 2020, that the 16th season that was aired earlier that year was the last from his team. He didn’t renew his contract with Discovery Channel, saying that it had run its course. However, he assured the fans that he had many plans for Gas Monkey Garage on other media platforms.
True enough, Gas Monkey Garage has been continuously uploading videos on their official YouTube channel, which has over 800,000 subscribers. They also created a podcast called “Monkey Trap with Richard Rawlings”, with their Facebook page having close to five million followers. Recently, the Gas Monkey Garage online merchandise shop launched Richard Rawling’s Car Sweepstakes, in which anyone who purchased $1 worth of merchandise automatically received a raffle ticket for the vehicle giveaway. For instance, a $35-trucker hat would mean 35 raffle entries into the giveaway contest.
A federal-regulated sweepstakes agency was tasked to draw the winner each time the giveaway countdown ends.
Christie Brimberry net worth and financial difficulties
According to authoritative sources, Christie has an estimated net worth of $2 million, some earned from her participation in the reality-TV series and her involvement with the Gas Monkey Garage business. This assess thatment must be true before her battle with cancer, because in some of her social media posts, she shared that she had a hard time paying for the medical bills she incurred for her cancer treatment, saying the insurance coverage that she had wasn’t large enough to cover all the expenses. To alleviate some of the expenses, she marketed events and brands through paid sponsorship on her social media accounts, and was even accused of being a sellout through the comments she received. One time, she was fed up with them that she told everyone that it was her way of surviving, and if they didn’t approve, they could unfollow.
When “Fast N’Loud” ended its run, fans were worried that Christie lost another source of income. After a while, she announced that she’d opened up an account in OnlyFans.com. While some of her fans were apprehensive about this, the move no longer surprised them and they suspected it was to be used for a secondary source of revenue. Most of the celebrities and regular folks joined this web content subscription service, so that they could earn money from subscribers. It was one of those social media platforms that allowed content creators to receive funding from their fans for exclusive pay-per-view photos or videos. It actually created an uproar over the Internet, as most of the content offered consisted of sexually explicit videos and photos.
When Christie posted a teaser showing a photo of her wearing an unbuttoned shirt revealing her cleavage down to her tummy, the fans expected racy content from her.
However, she clarified many rumors that went around after her OnlyFans announcement, debunking what most of the fans thought was her reason for joining, saying that it wasn’t for financial reasons because she wasn’t broke. She also said that she wasn’t getting a divorce, that the OnlyFans idea came from her husband. Christie said she was just happy and that the timing was perfect as she was in a place where she’s most comfortable with her skin. Not everyone believed her because of her previous posts about her problems with finances due to her surgery and all that came with it. For $24, a subscriber could access the 165 digital media she posted about herself for three months on her OnlyFans account, however, the controversial crowd-sourcing site announced that it would prohibit account users from uploading explicit images and videos, as of October 2021.
Her profile on her official OnlyFans account showed ‘I used to be that girl from that show but now I’m the girl from that website! No porn, I’m not a porn star.’ However, her sexy photos in which her nipples were in full view were leaked to the public, even if there was a warning on her page that said, ‘Any images/videos re-uploaded elsewhere online will be sent a DMCA from my lawyer, and legal ramifications will be enforced.’ Some of her subscribers said it was like Christie posted for racy magazines such as Playboy or Penthouse.
“Fast N’Loud” fans were wondering if she’s still connected with Gas Monkey Garage, because based on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, she hasn’t posted anything about them in 2021. The pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has surely created problems for all types of businesses all over the world, and it would not be impossible at all if the auto shop undertook some reorganization of its staff and crew.