Cristina Pajara: Epitome Of The American Dream

by | Sep 8, 2023

The American Dream may appear more like a script from ‘Death of a Salesman’ than an actual possibility. Hence a curious thought comes to mind, does the ideology of the American Dream still exist? Meet Cristina Pajara. A Filipino born nurse practitioner, community activist and entrepreneur based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her journey from migration to social advocacy is an inspiring tale that can easily become a manuscript for, The Epitome of the American Dream. Fortunately for us, Mr. Warburton Magazine’s Editor-at-Large, Ashley Foster, sits down with Cristina about her path to medicine, activism and ultimately achieving her American Dream.

In 2002, Cristina hit a crossroads. Struggling to find work-life balance and supporting an ailing parent, were just a few of the challenges she faced. As her father lay fatally sick, Cristina felt a sense of helplessness. Her sister, already a medical technologist, shared the responsibility of caring for their father. Yet, guilt-ridden Cristina questioned if she could have provided more support had she pursued his dream for her to become a doctor years prior. Upon her father’s passing, Cristina migrated to the US. All the while, the thought of becoming a doctor never ceased to escape her.

In 2004, Cristina began planting roots in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fueled with the determination to live out her father’s dream, Cristina began her journey as a caregiver. From caregiver to certified nursing assistant to achieving several degrees up to the mastery level, Cristina’s astounding resoluteness has brought her to unimaginable heights. Her American Dream was manifesting one degree at a time. Currently, Cristina holds a Bachelor of Science in both Computer Science and Nursing. Including, a Master of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science-UCLA. As if the list of educational accolades wasn’t impressive enough, two years ago, Cristina achieved her Master’s in Psychiatry and Mental Health. “This is the closest thing I can get to where my dad wants me to be,” says Cristina. “If I am not a doctor, I can at least treat, prescribe, and dial based on the scope of practice of a nurse practitioner.”

“Cristina flew halfway across the world to wear my clothes, how can I ask for more special client”- Michael Cinco

Her philosophy, “A healthy mind, is a healthy body.” Utilizing an innovative approach to advance nursing practice, Cristina combines her medical expertise and social advocacy to feeding programs, the homeless and clinics in underserved communities throughout the Las Vegas and Los Angeles areas. “You have to consider the social aspect, where are they going to go after discharge? Do they have family support? Are they going to be able to provide medication sustenance?” says Cristina. “That’s why I really advocate for people not only while within my care in the hospital, but also when they go to our clinic that is also serving the underserved community.”

Inviting a fresh perspective and holistic approach to overall health far beyond her traditional internal medical training. Cristina harbors another passion, a passion for fashion. “One year, I was asked to participate in Philippine Independence. I wore a Philippine costume from our native Province at the time,” says Cristina. “After receiving compliments, I started my first photo shoot which led to another and another. I find it very calming. A stress reliever for me, personally outside of medicine.” Indisputably, Cristina is one of the most glamorous nurse practitioners in Las Vegas. Often swapping her white-coat for a fashion-forward outfit, Cristina’s patients revel in her trendsetting fashion choices. “The colors I wear are very happy,” says Cristina. “It’s a conversation piece already with patients. They smile, they like seeing you, they become comfortable with you. That alone, establishes a relationship with your patient. They get to trust you. It is very important whether they have cognitive impairment, dementia, or depression. Their serotonin levels rise from the excitement.”

sed luxury Filipino designer Michael Cinco. She even pulled out her die-hard, beauty essentials from her jaw-dropping, baby blue Hermes Birkin 30. We were gagging! The fun continued as Cristina showcased her new Chanel cream boots that she can’t wait to break in. From Dior to Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent, this nurse practitioner takes beauty and brains to the next level. “Invest in yourself, whether it’s for beauty, for health, or for a career,” says Cristina. “Make sure your heart is happy.”

Happiness and living authentically is at the root of Cristina’s success. Her resiliency to overcome challenges, insatiable appetite for knowledge and relentless pursuit of happiness can put a spark in all of us. And maybe, after all, The American Dream is not yet lost.

Watch full interview:

 

Credits:

Article: Ashley Foster
Photography: Mark Mendez
Hair and makeup: Joel Sebastian
3rd photo gown: Michael Cinco
Style assistant: Keiki Tomoyose