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Christine Chow

Episode 121

Choose One: Magic or Real Estate?

Christine Chow, a proud native of the San Gabriel Valley (SGV), has always had a passion for personal growth and cultural exploration.

After graduating from Gabrielino High School’s inaugural class and earning a degree in psychology from UCLA, she embarked on a transformative journey teaching English in Fukushima, Japan for three years through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. 

Immersed in the vibrant Japanese culture, she developed a profound appreciation for cross-cultural connections and continues to foster them as a board member of the JET Alumni Association of Southern California (JETAASC).

As a dedicated real estate professional, Christine serves on the Agent Leadership Council and Culture Committee at KW Executive in Alhambra. Recognizing the importance of education and legislation, she actively contributes to multiple committees at the West San Gabriel Valley Realtor Association (WSGVR). 

Her involvement in the Education, Legislative, and Special Events/Membership Committees reflects her commitment to improving the real estate industry and positively impacting her community. Additionally, Christine advocates for Asian representation and empowerment in real estate as a board member of the AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America) Greater LA Chapter.

Fueled by her love for magic and illusion, Christine joined the prestigious Magic Castle (Academy of Magical Arts) and Women Magicians Association. As an active member, she continually refines her craft, delighting audiences of all ages with mesmerizing close-up performances. In this pursuit, she not only brings joy and wonder but also breaks barriers in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Christine finds joy in exploring new culinary delights and embarking on exciting adventures around the world. Her diverse experiences and unwavering passions continue to shape her as an inspiring individual, dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the world.

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Christine Chow Quotes

  • “​​My aunt got me a set of magic tricks when I was, maybe, six years old. I thought, great – now I have the magic, and it turns out, not so, because the magic is never about the props nor the secrets of the performance. So I set that magic set aside. I was like, forget about this. This is too hard. I’ll never make this look real.”
  • “​​And he’s like, wow, Christine. You’re that Christine from ESL in 5th grade. I said, yeah. He was like, wow, you can speak English so well now. I was like, well, thank you.”
  • “And I thought, well, what is my next step? I got my real estate license for fun, like many people. I was like, okay. I’ll just get my license for fun. Then, a friend was moving back from Erie, Pennsylvania. She’s like, Christine, I’m moving back. Can you help me find a house? I wanna buy one, didn’t you just get your license?”
  • “I’m a people person. It’’s funny you mentioned that because, in college, I was called the energizer bunny.”
  • “So I would watch the magician or the salesperson who’s trying to sell the magic tricks before magic. And I was entertained. I was fascinated. I wanna know the secrets.”
  • “My favorite is the cards. For some reason, when I hold a deck of cards. I just love the texture and the tactile part. So I love a deck of cards. I love to shuffle cards.”
  • Christine was born in Hong Kong but raised in the San Gabriel Valley so considers herself an SGV native
  • Christine Chow works as a realtor but has a strong passion for magic
  • Christine Chow serves on the Agent Leadership Council and Culture Committee in Alhambra
  • Christine earned a degree in Psychology from UCLA

What is Christine Chow’s connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Christine grew up in the SGV. She was technically born in Hong Kong, moved to Taiwan when she was six years old, and then to the San Gabriel Valley at age 9. She grew up, and still lives, in Alhambra and is currently a real estate agent there.

Christine Chow magic trick

What was it like for Christine growing up in Hong Kong?

Christine went to a trilingual school in Hong Kong. She had to learn English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, even though Cantonese was the main language. It was a British colony at the time,. so Christine mentions that a lot of folks spoke English at the time. Her parents wanted her to learn Mandarin because they knew they were going to move to Taiwan soon.

When she moved to Taiwan, it was a very different phonics system of Mandarin, and discovered she didn’t understand it properly. 

What does Christine Chow consider her native language?

It’s difficult, but she admits that she speaks English the best. Then, in order, it would be Mandarin and then Cantonese. She does, however, speak a little bit of Japanese, too. She lived in Japan for three years.

What was junior high school like for Christine chow?

By that time, Christine was excellent at speaking English, so she enjoyed school and had a great social life. She actually enjoyed going to school and learning a lot. In fact, she still has close friends from this time period of her life.

What did Christine chow do after high school?

Christine went to UCLA and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She thought, at the time, that she wanted to be a Psychologist. However, near the end of her undergraduate schooling, she took a class on abnormal psychology and she soon realized it was not the profession for her.

What did Christine end up doing?

After graduating, she found a job at ACI Institute. She was an after-school program teacher and taught their pre-SAT classes.

Did Christine make friends in japan?

Yes, she made a lot of friends while working in Japan and still keeps in touch with many of them. She still exchanges Christmas cards, for instance. 

What is one of Christine’s fondest memories of japan?

Cherry blossom season was magical. She recommends sitting underneath a cherry blossom as the wind blows and the petals fall down; it is almost romantic.

How did Christine end up becoming a realtor?

It was kind of a random experience for Christine Chow. She essentially got her realtor license for fun, like many people do. And that was that, until she had a friend moving back from Erie, Pennsylvania, and asked Christine if she could help her find a house. She has truly enjoyed her career as a realtor and prefers working with residential clients.

How did Christine Chow get into magic?

That goes back to Christine’s childhood. She remembered watching a David Copperfield special on TV. She watched him walk through the Great Wall of China and levitate. At that moment, she knew she wanted to be like that guy.

Her aunt bought her a magic trick set when she was about six years old, but she thought it was too complicated. However, later on when she was at ACI, another friend loved magic there, which reintroduced Christine’s passion.

What does it mean to be a member of the magic castle?

Christine treats magic as a hobby first and foremost. It never was a clear goal in life for Christine; she just loves seeing people smile and laugh.

She volunteered for a few shows. One show she remembers distinctly was this cafeteria full of students. She was incredibly nervous, but the event went well.

What is the difference between close-up magic and sleight of hand?

Sleight of hand is something that is typically performed on stage. Technically it is a broader term, as close-up magic also uses quite a bit of sleight of hand magic. Christine Chow’s favorite version of it includes cards. For whatever reason, when she holds a deck of cards, it just feels right.

What is it about performing magic in front of an audience that Christine Chow likes?

Christine is not super interested in the attention, but she loves the astonishment of the crowd. That look on their faces that screams, “How did that happen!?” She loves that. Also, she gets so much enjoyment out of inspiring people. Along with that, she loves making people laugh. In fact, Christine wouldn’t mind being a stand-up comedian. 

What is Christine’s next goal in terms of magic?

Christine Chow would really like to be a performer at the Magic Castle. That is something she told her son earlier this year. 

Picture of Christine Chow

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