We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Sanchez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want my legacy to be leaving the world a better place than I found it. I do this by trying my best to improve the lives of the friends I cherish, as well as doing positive things for the community such as art contests for kids & adults where I give my own money. I try my best to keep it positive and give wherever I can. It is also most important to me to keep the memory of my father alive and pass on that love for him and all my ancestors to my 3 year old daughter.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Catrina Christina was born out of love and passion, and also was a happy accident. My dad died in 2004 from cancer. I was in a deep depression and I happened to learn about the Dia de los Muertos tradition. I learned that there are 3 deaths. The first death is when you stop breathing, the second death is when you are buried under the ground and the final death is when the last person that remembers you forgets about you. I thought how incredibly beautiful it was that I had the power to go and celebrate my dad and keep his memory alive and he would never ever be gone, he would always be with me. I immediately started going to Hollywood Forever Cemetery every year and dressing up for him. Back then the festival was free and fairly small in comparison to the massive celebration it has become. It is the largest Dia de los Muertos celebration in North America and I consider it to be my Day of the Dead “home” after spending over 15 years there. I never intended to become popular or “famous”. I simply just had a clearer vision every year of how I wanted to look and I connected with more creative people that could help my dreams come true. Each year my outfit and makeup became more refined and detailed and people started to take notice. More and more people wanted to talk to me and take photos with me and of me. When I was pregnant in 2017 with my little angel, I really wanted her to be a part of this celebration for my father. Ruben Lopez painted her skeleton on my belly and I dressed all in gold and roses. I felt like it was a gamble. I thought the haters out there would try and said I had a dead baby or something stupid, but the exact opposite happened. The people that were there and that saw me that day were there for the right reasons. They connected immediately with what I was trying to convey and they felt it very deeply. It was a really special and beautiful encounter for most everyone I met. It was the first year I participated in their contest and I was standing on the stage and I received the most applause from the crowd. It was so deeply moving to be the people’s choice. My intention is to be a Catrina for the people. To always take pictures with people and listen to their stories and hear about their loved ones that have passed. To be accessible and not above anyone else in any way. That is the opposite of what I believe what this sacred holiday represents. Some people do this for followers or money, I try to do this for my dad and for the people. I have only recently started selling prints because people asked me to. I do have to charge at events for my time because it takes me almost 4 hours to get ready and it is time away from my baby girl and that is truly priceless. Other than that, I have never sought out to be a brand. I feel if I become too commercialized it will pervert my intention for doing this each and every year. It truly is my passion and who I am. I also would like to add that I became Catrina Christina for personal reasons. Now that people know who I am, some people get upset that I’m not Mexican. I really want them to understand that it is appreciation not appropriation. I deeply believe that people of every culture, background and ethnicity deserve to honor and celebrate their loved ones without any negativity attached to that in any way..

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spot for Dia de los Muertos is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I feel like the people there are genuine and there for the right reasons. I also attend other festivals as well in Whittier and Oceanside. My favorite Mexican restraurants are El Compadre in LA and Marieta’s in Oceanside. The food and drinks are so delicious and the people there are wonderful. There is a wolf sanctuary in Lucerne called the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary that I consider to be a spiritual experience. There are seals on the coast of La Jolla that are wonderful to see. There is so much culture and soul all over Southern California. We spend a lot of time in Big Bear in little, rustic cabins and that feeds the soul. My favorite place is Yosemite. It is where I got married. I feel like it is heaven on Earth.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that deserve recognition in my story. I have countless friends with immense talent and creativity. I have been really lucky to find people to help me realize my vision each year for the Catrina I want to embody to celebrate the memory of my father. I do not exist without my makeup team Livier Vera- Lopez and Ruben Lopez of the H&MUA Academy. My headpieces have been created by the incredible Miss G Designs and Loretta Vampz. The most breathtaking gowns and outfits I envisioned have been brought to life by Romantic Threads, Loretta Vampz, Ricardo Soltero & Diego Medel. I have had gorgeous lashes provided by Kaly Lashes. Then it all comes to life with the most amazing photographer friends of mine: Mars Sandoval, Arturo Vasquez, Robert Swapp, Butch Locsin, Gus Meijia, Carnival Pictures and Piero F. Giunti.

Instagram: CatrinaChristina

Facebook: Catrina Christina

Image Credits
Robert Swapp- green smoke photo Arturo Vasquez- arms crossed photo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.