[Chapter 16] Wearing Many Hats with Chrissie Torres

This week’s installment of Walkin’ with Joaquin virtually takes me to my home country — Philippines!

How are we common to the legends of different industries? We all have 24 hours in a day. It’s what you do with these days that set us apart. For my guest for this week, the grind starts at the moment the alarm starts and pushes on until the allure of a good night’s sleep beckons her – only to do it again the next day. For the next time, she comes out much stronger.

I am beyond excited to introduce to you my guest for this week, Chrissie Torres! She wears many hats – an owner of a healthy snack business, a cycling instructor, an advocate for the environment, and a fitness ambassador are just some of them. I touched base on these projects and how she keeps herself organized, her advocacies, how she wants to be remembered in this world, and that one key trait that keeps her going despite heavy competition. 

All smiles! [Photo taken from Chrissie’s Instagram account: @chrissietorres]

I met Chrissie when I switched degrees in sophomore year. We belonged to the same group, or “block”, in Ateneo’s Management Economics program. Despite our common ground, I never had the chance to ask her on her motivations to choose this degree until now. “My dad wanted me to work in the Finance industry,” Torres shared. “I chose MEco (Management Economics) as a step towards Finance or even as a pre-law. Chrissie also shared that she was open to work for anything and credits her parents for their unwavering support.

Fast forward to now, Chrissie took a different path and focused on Health and Wellness. If she was given a chance to go back in time to study again, she would have a different answer. “With what I know now, I could have opted for culinary school,” Torres responded. She does not discredit her degree as it all ties up with the business side of things. Chrissie remains a student in the industry by taking certification courses and finding mentors.

Chrissie is adamant in environment issues, especially with single-plastic use. “If the environment dies, there is no population to take care of,” Torres replied when asked about the origins of this personal advocacy. In fact, the environment is not the only cause that she cares about, nor is it her first one. “Poverty is my first advocacy,” Torres said. “I see advocacies as links to one another”. Chrissie practices this in various ways such as adhering to sustainable environment practices in her food business, creating awareness in social media, and, most especially, getting her friends involved.

Torres acknowledges that these advocacies take a collective effort. She even recalls the conversations she had with friends on how to spread awareness in these advocacies. “I want to extend my life to make a bigger impact.”

Fun, Fitness, and Friends. [Photo taken from Chrissie’s Instagram account: @chrissietorres]

Chrissie can also be found donning her athletic gear, pedaling to the catchiest tunes, and leading people as an instructor at Ride Revolution, an indoor cycling studio. Chrissie has been with the team for the past year and a half. “It is a sustainable part of my lifestyle,” Torres said. She shared details on her experience such as how she became part of the team, the atmosphere in the classes, and how she engages with her students to make sure everyone gets an amazing workout.

“It’s not just about teaching the techniques or leading the tempo. You have to give the students a strong reason to come back again”. Torres mentioned. She brings this unique blend of personality and preparation with her playlists and routines. Chrissie also describes this “infectious energy” during classes – everyone cheers for each other and bringing their enthusiasm. As the instructor, Chrissie carries a big responsibility in her classes. “I make sure that I give everyone their due attention.” 

I steered the conversation to the auditions and job interviews she had in the past. “The ones that you mentioned are just a fraction of the many auditions I went to!” Torres shared. She took these opportunities to satisfy her curiosities and finding her passion. “The more auditions and interviews that I went to, the more doors of opportunity opened,” Torres said. “It’s all about getting rid of anxiety and throwing yourself out there.” Not everyone might have Chrissie’s resiliency but she keeps her advice plain and simple. Just show up and be prepared.

     Netflix favorites. Stranger Things, Sense 8, Narcos, and Black Mirror.
     Book recommendation. Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion. “I pick up these books as a reward for myself after a long day of work”.
     Favorite app. Peak Performance. “I like apps that keep my brain active and alive.”
     Sharing the “women empowerment” space. Chrissie looks up to Kayleen Ortiz of Pole Cats Manila. “Kayleen challenges the idea that women have to look a certain way”. 

Chrissie continues with her work grind even at home, specifically at her kitchen. You will also see her making healthy superfood snacks for her food business. “I named my food business as ‘Mana Bites’ as a product of a conversation I had with friends,” Chrissie mentioned. “Mana can mean two things: energy and food from heaven”.

At a country where there is no shortage of snack choices, how does she promote Mana Bites? There is also the convenience of taking a detour to a grocery store to pick up snacks from popular brands. How does Chrissie keep up with the competition and make consumers take that extra turn towards that Mana Bites order? “I explain the benefits of Mana Bites,” Torres responded. “I stay away from comparisons, too. For example, I talk about how raw food as having more nutritional density.” Chrissie also takes a pro-active approach by marketing to people in the fitness industries, using word-of-mouth, and even event-sponsoring.

Chrissie is aware of the risks and pitfalls that may arise in the unpredictable waters of entrepreneurship. How does she keep up with it? She keeps herself organized. “I use calendar and lists to plan my day and keep things in perspective,” Chrissie said, “I also hired an accountant to avoid possible deceptions in certain transactions and negotiations.” She also has to consider things that are out of her control. She gives out examples such as registering for permits, the processing times are not fast enough, and even how traffic affects her operations.

“I want to be remembered as a really good friend,” Chrissie simply replied when I asked her on how she wants to be remembered in this world. Throughout this interview, she talked about having big hopes and dreams, but she never forgets to bring people with her on her journey. “I want to look back on good memories and live the world without regrets”.

All of us wear many hats on a daily basis – in our families, workplaces, our religion, citizenship, and in our activities, among others. Our hats get damaged once in a while, and that is okay. As long as it can continue its purpose to protect you (and it can still fit your head), we should continue on with the blessing of 24-hour days.

On y va!

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