Christine Andreu is a mindful and dynamic woman on a mission to help create people’s stories into powerful tools for mass impact. As the Editor in Chief of L.A. STYLE Magazine, she has the perfect platform to do just that. The multi-passionate “mediapreneur” has the gravitas of a seasoned leader though her entry into the luxury lifestyle space is anything but ordinary.
The juxtaposition of her education, experiences and mindset is what makes her story and purpose so eclectic and centered. Andreu’s colorful background: Former public school English teacher, world traveler (32 countries and counting), 22-year veteran in the US Army Reserves (serving 4 combat tours and one as an intelligence contractor) and a certified ontological coach. Issues such as equality and inclusion ring loud and clear as she has a strong sense of social responsibility and desire to amplify and elevate the level of discourse occurring in media and between mankind.
SUPER POWER VIBES
Stories can be a complicated thing and may perhaps be Christine Andreu’s super power. Not only did her military experience impact her story, one might say that her family also produced a different filter in the way that she was raised to see the world. Andreu’s father was a Cuban immigrant who came to this country in a riches to rags story that would create a depth to seeing various sides of the conversation. Her mother was the glue to keep the family together as they traveled every three years due to her father’s various overseas assignments. Luz Maria was a stay-at-home mother who gave the Andreu siblings an abundance of love and an affinity for reading, the arts and family. “From very, very early on, I had this cultural perspective that began to make me feel and think differently. And there were a lot of growing pains, many moments of loneliness and searching, ” she states.
It was not rare to hear jazz music in the background while her father practiced. He was a trumpet player in the Army band, often sharing the benefits of communism sprinkled with bipartisan rants on one hand. On another hand are her fondest memories, his conversations around women’s rights. He was the first feminist that she would encounter. “He taught me to box so that I could punch a boy at school that was sexually harassing me in kindergarten.” She explains that from a young age she was aware that she did not feel like a “normal” kid. Her family and cultural experiences would shape her life and the feeling would follow her throughout her life. Upon return from her first combat tour, the sentiments would become exacerbated and came to a head.
COMING OF AGE
Christine Andreu: I joined the Army at 17 to be a print journalist. When I turned 21 in Iraq, that was my coming of age. I was there for 13 months and it impacted me immensely. What I learned about myself, my experience in the media and what I understood as global responsibility are what I carry with me to this day.
There would be an explosion and small protests on one side of the road and then Iraqis and Americans joining to help one another, and the former was what was aired and dramatized. It made me think a lot about the media’s role in the world. I got to really see that most of us are brainwashed to believe that something that is real because of an agenda that a news outlet has. I also learned about the interconnectedness of human beings and of cultures early on through a war. That was my enlightenment and awakening.
CREATING SUPER POWER FROM YOUR STORY
Christine Andreu: When I came back from Iraq in 2004, I remember looking around and thinking, ‘I am not where my peers are. They were busy partying on the weekends.’ I was more concerned with what was happening across the world. I ended up graduating with my bachelors and masters on the fast track. My peers couldn’t have known that people were literally dying to get educated and to vote. Things that I felt Americans took for granted.
When you experience so many different types of experiences, your life is forever changed. You can decide to make these a part of your super power or you can allow the stories to engross you. I believe we all can use what happened to us for good. I use my stories to influence my purpose on this planet.
We were shot at everyday. You could hear the RPGs even leave the tube across the river before they hit us. My hands would shake uncontrollably with nervous energy. And then I would meet people that just wanted a chance at a better life. Who was to say that a little girl deserved the right to learn to read and write? What was our responsibility to help others? It was complicated, but these kinds of thoughts were in my face every day.
THE POWER OF MEDIA
Christine Andreu: I carry that around with me all the time when we see stuff in the news; you don’t really know the real story. When we’re reporting for L.A. STYLE Magazine and the way I process information now is to wonder what is the story behind the story. Everybody is the way they are for a reason—you’re shaped by your environment, you’re shaped by family, you are shaped by country. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that I think is really valuable to consider when you’re sharing. This is the power of the media, to tell the story with a wider perspective and to ask questions with open neutrality. Polarization happens when we don’t consider that.
I was a Civil Affairs officer in Afghanistan and Africa and I was in charge of humanitarian projects. I take those people with me in my heart. The children are so innocent, they know nothing about politics. Regardless of anyone’s country or their culture, they have the human right, as we all do, to live happy lives. People act privileged as though they did something to have been born somewhere or if they are of a certain color. When you go to war, you have a lot of time alone to think about the meaning of life and how you want to be in the world. I am grateful for all of these experiences. It is also the reason that I became a coach. I went through deep periods of self reflection and found an enlightening path through personal transformation.