Christina Galioto: Kinda Classy, Kinda HoodLEFAIR
The house is grand but warm and full of sunlight. It is the perfect day to shoot. Leftover floral arrangements in brilliant hues of purple, gold, pink, and red from a past event are placed throughout Christina Galiotos house in the Brentwood hills in Los Angeles. The kitchen is modern, expansive and bright, a Vegan foodies dream. Everything is baby-proof, Christina, says, holding her one-year-old child. The new mom radiates love for her first born and checks on her throughout the long day of shooting, always putting her first. Electric guitars line the walls of the upstairs hallway and the homes Wifi password is a Wu-Tang Clan reference, both a nod to the band and her husbands last name, Wu. The couple met at a Mastros Steakhouse at 4PM in Beverly Hills between meetings watching basketball at the bar. They put their meetings on hold and spent the next seven hours together. Since then, they have since built a love partnership and entrepreneurial empire together. To put it crudely, the level of sheer bad assery this woman exudes is staggering. The self-made, ambitious, and daring bon vivant drives an Aston Martin, her walk in closet is every fashionistas dream, and best of all, she is committed to making the world a better place through Conscious Capital, an investment company she and her husband created that supports ideas that serve the planet and raise awareness.
Growing up in Buffalo, Christina is blessed with a New Yorkers work ethic and spirit while also possessing California chic street style and a positive outlook on life. Her friends often tag her in a meme that reads: Kinda classy, kinda hood. Christina enrolled in College in Miami but dropped out to model and follow her intuition (and what she knew to be true: that the power of being a self-starter with ideas and charisma could take her anywhere she wanted to go). Christina will not divulge exactly how she and her husband amassed their wealth but the couple owns real estate, including hotels. Between the two of them, We have lots of passion projects, she says. Some work out and some do not. My husband is as ambitious and daring as I am and that is what attracted me to him. He has the same drive for humanitarian issues but before we met, he was mainly focused on helping children where I was focused on helping animals. He has a heart of gold.
With wealth comes power, and they say, with power comes great responsibility. Christina is highly involved in social and environmental causes and when she discusses them, her eyes are fixed and her tone is lowered, revealing her sense of accountability and urge to fulfill her self-imposed duties. I want to defend the innocent and educate the masses, she says. This is the legacy she wants to leave on planet earth. Although some of the issues she fights for are controversial, such as a stricter death penalty for sexual deviants, she is predominantly involved in the elimination of using animals as products and entertainment. I want to play a part in stopping animal abuse. Christina works with Social Compassion in Legislation, a non-profit dedicated to animal welfare, rights, and protection. People complain about laws but few have the knowledge and ability to change them. A lot of it comes down to showing up to lobby, and getting attention to make a difference. You need money, celebrities, and a voice.
Christina is also involved with sex trafficking prevention. It is something I feel very strongly about. I am going to do something about it. The man I am working with literally finds people and saves them. Sex trafficking is a big business in LA. There is a lot of darkness in this cosmopolitan city of ours. With so much time devoted to researching and fighting this darkness, Christina has to set boundaries for herself so that she does not become consumed by the corruption and darken her light. I limit my exposure, she says. I do not talk about it in the morning or when I go to bed. We have so much joy in our home. There are so many things to be happy about. Of course there are things that upset me deeply, but the other side is just as bright. You can be happy or angry all day long but ultimately, you get to choose what to think about and there’s so much good in the world.
Christina says she is fueled by fire and love. I know too much fire can be bad, but it is my anger that sometimes drives me to do the things I believe in. When it comes to the issues that the world faces, generally they have to piss you off before you take action and make a difference. And if you are not angry, you do not know what is going on, she explains. Her passions were significantly stoked after becoming a mom last year and her compulsion to protect and make the world a better place was heightened.
Becoming a mother is a unique time. I have never had so much joy in my life but I have also never been so neurotic and exhausted. There is so much that is not clear. I used to have some things figured outbut when you become a mom, you have no idea what is going on when. When I first held her I thought: What am I going to do now? I went through labor completely sober and natural. That was incredibly challenging. Most people do not do natural birth anymore. You experience not just the birth of your baby but your own rebirth as well; your identity as a woman, rather than a girl. It is also the first time we experience a true, innocent, and unconditional love, the kind of love that gets into your dreams every night. It is your first thought in the morning and last thought at night. I think about her health and happiness before every decision I make. Motherhood has taught me selflessness that I never thought possible, Christina says, her natural poetic abilities shining.
In fact, Christina was a songwriter for a couple of years when she was in a band in New York. I am a writer. I have spent my whole life writing poems, she says. After selling several songs, she got out of the music industry. However, she and her husband now own a large music venue in Long Beach. I have had food and travel articles published. I even wrote a screenplay once but I never did anything with it. I am currently writing a cookbook. If it involves words on paper, I am in.
Traveling all over the world, Christina describes her and her husbands travels as one half business and one half pleasure. Typically, when they travel for work, they add a three to seven day leisure trip. If they need to be in Asia or Europe, they make the most of their time there. Some of her favorite destinations include Cinque Terre, Italy, Charleston, South Carolina, Maui, Hawaii, Maldives, Miami, Florida, Monte-Carlo, Italy, Morocco, Singapore, and St. Tropez, France. After traveling to so many extraordinary and exquisite places, Christina has learned that, no matter where you go, every exciting destination and new adventure includes good, fun people and delicious food, and learning about different cultures and lifestyles, and trying different foods. She also notes that every time she comes home to America, she thinks: I am so lucky to have been born in this country.
From someone who knows hotels, her favorite lodging list is not to be ignored: The Peninsula in Shanghai, Four Seasons in Maldives, Hotel Costes in Paris, The Rosewood London, Nayara Resort in Costa Rica, and her home away from home, Bellagio in Vegas. It is the service and scenery that set these properties apart, Christina says.
In the age of social media, it is easy to get carried away making content for your personal brand, especially while traveling. Bloggers and jetsetters are known to take hundreds of selfies next to landmarks or spend an entire day fully producing the perfect iPhone photo shoot that gives them their next flawlessly angled bikini profile picture. Christina is well aware of this phenomenon and laments the serious absence of living in and enjoying the moment.
It is a disease of the world that I think the world is going to get over sooner or later, but some people are wasting their days in paradise, for what? Sometimes I look at travel bloggers and I know they didn’t enjoy their trip, she says. I know what goes into getting those shots. It takes work and preparation, and definitely more than one snap! I do think it’s important to document special moments in special places but I certainly do not live for it and if I have to try too hard, I am done. Social media should never be at the forefront of your mind, especially when you are enjoying a new place. You should try to live in the moment.
Speaking of mindfulness, Christina makes a concerted effort to practice meditation and is an accomplished yogi. Meditation is hard, she says. I have not mastered it but I would like to say I have merged my yoga and meditation practices. I come out of my practice clear- headed, but that is because of the deep breathing and the release of tension. It is certainly not because my mind is perfectly focused. I am scatterbrained. Meditation is a struggle for me. I use visualization more than anything. I usually just focus on the visual of what I want to see happen in my life. Her advice for anyone seeking a meditation practice: I think anyone can do it. It just takes a lot of practice and patience. People who really reap the benefits of meditation cannot go more than one day without it. I think an easy way to get into it is to sit and think about what you’re grateful for.
Right now, Christina is grateful for her latest project, Nics on Beverly, a plant-based restaurant and cocktail bar in West Hollywood focused on California cuisine. As a vegan and a foodie, this venture is particularly fulfilling for Christina. It began when a longtime friend from the music industry, Nic Adler, offered her the opportunity to invest and she could not pass it up. He calls it a love letter to LA disguised as a plant-based restaurant and bar. The menu is inspired by some of the biggest names in food and beverage such as Katsuya and Wolfgang Puck.
They have really done amazing things with the menu, Christina says. During the day, Nics on Beverly is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Beverly Blvd, serving up local LA MILL coffee, juice and lunch items such as wood fired Detroit style pizza or a farro and quinoa bowl. In the evening, the restaurant is a perfect hideaway to converse over drinks at the bar, which features a must-try cocktail list by Jason Eisner and an exciting wine list curated by Rajat Paar. So far, so good, Christina says. As a cook, critiquing cuisine comes easily to her and part of her job as co-owner includes providing detailed feedback to the restaurant, which has been open for around four months now. This is my first restaurant investment through Conscious Capital, our investment firm that invests in ideas that are making the world a better place.
Christinas favorite dish to cook is tacos, particularly ancho-lentil, chipotle mushroom & walnut, and Baja style with fried avocado or tempeh. Her journey to veganism began with a move to Miami Beach from Brooklyn. I was renting a room from an older, extremely open-minded and inspiring woman. She was vegetarian. She lived to educate, both herself and everyone else. The two spent time together with their noses in books of ancient healers. They shared ideas and facts and discussed health and politics sometimes until daylight. Christina never ate meat again after they became friends. She really educated me on health and the way we process meat. Once you learn how animals are treated, it is hard to go back. The two roommates became lifelong friends. Like most people who make the decision to go vegan, Christina did not do it for just one reason. She did it for all of them, knowing only good could come of it: for the animals, for health, and for the environment.
The past two years have been very action-packed for Christina. She and her husband just landed the biggest deal of our lives in Singapore. We just got back recently. Through that, we gained a decent amount of capital and now we are looking for projects that will help us do our part. I want to do my part. That is the only way I will ever feel fulfilled. Particularly, Christina is interested in investing in documentaries that deeply educate and tell compelling stories through Conscious Capital.
What she has learned from her entrepreneurial pursuits and motherhood has shaped how she perceives her own strength as well as human strength. You can handle it, she says. Whatever you think you cannot handle, you actually can. You have more strength, more resilience, and more inner wisdom than you give yourself credit for. You will get through it and survive, and maybe even be better for it.
When asked what is next for her, Christina responded: I am very ambitious and I have not come close to what I am here to do. I just turned 33 but I am going to keep on doing what I have always done, hustle and keep my head up. There are things I need to accomplish for my own sanity.
Aside from her projects and travels, Christina is about to start working on baby number two!
If LEFAIR readers have a project that fits with the Conscious Capital mission statement, Christina Galioto and her team would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org