We had the good fortune of connecting with Noel Pastrana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noel, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Looking back I’ve always been a creative “artsy-fartsy” kind of person. I grew up playing with toys ranging from Legos to simulation computer games, like The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon, where I can be in a playground to create any environment my imagination could take me. This led me to pursue a career in Interior Design, but after graduating, life had other plans for me. Along the way, I gained a passion for fashion by working in the retail industry as a visual merchandiser for several brands, while ending up in a career in nursing. Lastly, my love for Disney started as soon I was able to watch these classic Disney stories like Cinderella, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty & The Beast. I fell in love with the lessons that hard work, integrity, living in the moment, chasing your dreams, and seeing the beauty from within are the life lessons we all aspire to achieve within ourselves.
Now as an adult, I’ve always wanted to own a small business. Looking back I enjoyed creating t-shirts every time there was an event or concert that I was attending and I noticed that family and friends would enjoy them as well. Thus, Waltimere & Mick was born, a small shop that creates unique every-day styles while combining my other fandoms in POP Culture, with a touch of Disney Magic. It brings me so much joy to use this as a creative outlet but also to see that many connect with my designs and to see the joy it gives them is incredibly life fulfilling. To see something that I envisioned in my head come to fruition and have “my lovies” respond in such a positive light sparks so much joy in my life that I hope I can continue to do this for as long as I can. I am so grateful for the love and support from them and it is this reason that makes me continue to pursue this adventure of owning this small shop.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a registered nurse by day and a small shop owner by night. I am so fortunate and extremely grateful to be able to do both jobs. They “fill my cup” in different ways that I hope allows me to “pour into others.” It is this very reason that makes me most proud and excited about the work that I do.
However, getting to this point wasn’t the easiest journey. I was raised to think that education is the foundation of everything. My mother who was a nurse instilled and stressed the importance of education. Knowledge is power and without it, life would be very difficult. A career in nursing was encouraged for most of my life, so in order to satisfy my mother’s wishes, I pursued and finished my prerequisites into the nursing program. After almost a year of trying to get into the program, I told my mother that I didn’t want to wait any longer and that maybe being a nurse wasn’t meant for me. I told my parents I wanted to pursue my creative side and become an Interior Designer. They were apprehensive but allowed me to finish.
After graduating in 2007 with my degree, I moved to Southern California with an opportunity to work as an assistant to an Interior Designer. Unfortunately after 2 weeks, I was let go and I found myself in a new environment living with my brothers without a job. After returning to retail for a couple of years, I reluctantly applied to a new accelerated nursing program that my mother found and suggested I try and pursue. To my surprise, I was accepted! It was a challenge, to say the least, more so as my prerequisites were seven years prior, and to come from an Interior Design background compared to a majority of Biology majors was so intimidating. However, after two years of non-stop 8-hour lecture days, 12-hour clinical days, sleepless nights studying and reading things over and over, and study groups, I was able to persevere through it all with support from classmates, family, close friends, and trips to Disneyland.
I’ve been a nurse now for almost 10 years working in various fields including ICU, Telemetry, and now Home Health. Looking back at my professional career, it has been quite the journey but through all that struggle, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a firm believer that there is a time for everything and everything happens for a reason. In retrospect, each hardship was a stepping stone to get me to where I am today.
Not only was my professional career a struggle, but my personal story as well. I had been struggling with my sexuality since I was in 4th grade. I buried and suppressed that part of who I was due to fear since I was taught and bullied growing up that the things I was into weren’t allowed or accepted. But after a trip to the Philippines for the first time in 2016 with my parents, seeing the people live their simple lives with so much happiness, I asked myself on that 13-hour flight back home, “Why was I fighting myself so much on who I am?” After trying to “pray the gay away” and keep the charade of a lie, I surrendered to myself and admitted my exhaustion wasn’t worth it. I came out shortly after and was fortunately and immediately greeted with relief and open arms from my family and close friends.
I share this personal story as well because I want the world to know that coming out was something I never thought I was going to do. But I realized that life is short-lived and there’s no point in living it unhappy. I’ve learned that happiness is not a destination but a journey. Also, life has its ways of making things happen the way they are meant to happen. Do and pursue what makes you happy now, while you can with the ones you love the most. And if life isn’t happening the way you want it to, it doesn’t mean that you can’t persevere through it, because eventually through faith, trust, and (just maybe a little) pixie dust, your dreams can come true too. My new motto since coming out is to live your best life 🏳️🌈, live in laughter 😂, and live with love 💗. It is with this intent that I’m pursuing my dream of owning this small shop and that I hope my products gift you, the joy and magic from within me. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wanted to personally shoutout the one that nominated me for this amazing opportunity, Melissa Dupont. She is also apart of my Waltimere & Mick Family and helps me by serving these amazing looks and styles my clothing with so much magic! Alongside Melissa, my entire Waltimere & Mick Family, past and present. You are all magical content creators in your own unique and inspiring ways. I am so lucky to have you all apart of this journey and without you all, I would not be where I am today without your hard work, love, and support!
Secondly, I want to shoutout all my “lovies” who supported this small shop either by sharing my content on your social media, all the way up to purchasing my products. I owe it all to you! Your welcomed feedback means everything to me, the good and bad, as it means so much to me to hear how my products make you feel, and it’s the reason I do what I love to do.
And of course, I have to shoutout Mike Bhand from VoyageLA for reaching out to me with this opportunity that I am so honored and humbled by. This in of itself is such a gift that I want to thank you so much for letting me once again share my story.
Lastly and most importantly, I want to shoutout my family and friends who supported me from the very beginning, even when I barely had anything to offer. It was their faith, trust, and pixie dust they showered me with that got this little germ of an idea to what it is today.