Interview With Celebrated L.A. Philanthropist Christine Chiu

Philanthropist Christine Chiu at her Chinatown 90210 event in Beverly Hills
Photo credit: Marc Patrick/BFA

There's no limit to what she can accomplish!

Interview With Celebrated Philanthropist Christine Chiu

Last week, Christine Chiu and her husband, Dr. Gabriel Chiu, took over Rodeo Drive for a festive soiree celebrating the Chinese New Year.

We were lucky enough to be in attendance of the esteemed event, rubbing elbows with L.A.'s finest. Co-hosted by Piaget and Bottega Veneta, the entertaining party served a greater purpose than being a place to wine and dine with lychee cocktails and Wolfgang Puck's cuisine. For each guest, the Chiu family made a donation to support a child in China for one year.

If you know the Chiu family, you're aware the latter part of that above sentence isn't at all surprising. They're known for being quite the philanthropists, always offering their services whenever they can.

We sat down for an intimate interview with Christine about what being a philanthropist means to her, the biggest misconception about herself she'd like to debunk, and more. Scroll below to read what she had to share!

Photo credit: Marc Patrick/BFA

Women.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your philanthropic endeavors? Why do you feel it's important to give back?

Christine Chiu: I’ve always ascribed to the old adage that to whom much is given, much is expected. To further, I’ve discovered from a very young age that the accumulation/consumption of tangible objects only give me momentary happiness. Rather, I gain a lasting joy when making an impact or difference in someone else’s life. From a very local perspective, a large part of our community today is inherited by the good works of the generations before us. It is not only our duty and responsibility, but it’s also in our interest to ensure the continuation of resources for our community development and better yet, to enhance the community for our next generation—whether that is in the form of increased educational resources, advancements in medical research and technologies, or investing in underprivileged communities. From a national or global perspective, so much work still needs to be done ranging from care for the less fortunate and to creating a sustainable planet.

WDC: As a philanthropist, is there a project you're most proud of? What's the most rewarding part of what you do?

CC: Leading a purposeful life is the greatest reward. I consider myself a young (not by age, but by impact) philanthropist, but well on my way. Amongst the various organizations to which we’ve contributed, my personal favorite is the Chiu Integrated Health and Wellness Program at Dumfries House in Scotland. More specifically, it is the East and West Treatment Lodges named after our baby Gabriel Christian Chiu III. I cannot wait for him to be old enough to understand the importance of giving and to feel the joy that results from helping others.

WDC: What was it like working with Prince Charles on The Prince's Foundation Chiu Integrated Health Programme?

CC: HRH Prince Charles is incredibly involved and passionate about this initiative. His enthusiasm and genuineness in uplifting and transforming lives by way of providing health services, education, employment, and more at Dumfries House is beyond inspiring to us. Not only does HRH Prince Charles have the best team of executives and professional working collaboratively for the benefit of the people, but he is engaged in every detail along the way.

Photo credit: Marc Patrick/BFA

WDC: What's your advice for women looking to go into business with their husbands? How do you make it work?

CC: Dr. Chiu and I work incredibly well together, I must admit. Our personalities are a natural fit in that his strengths complement my weaknesses and vice versa. We are synergistic in thought and action, but more importantly, mutual respect provides for our most solid foundation. We have a great deal of respect for each other, both professionally and personally. We also each understand our place of authority: Dr. Chiu with the medical, surgical, and patient care aspects of the practice and myself managing over logistics and operations. Additionally, we both understand our respective limits and have no egos in enlisting specialized help from others if needed. We trust each other’s judgement and are great conflict resolvers together. Lastly, we know how to separate work from personal life and maintain a balance between working and vacationing.

WDC: What's a common misconception surrounding you or what you'd do that you'd like to debunk?

CC: I’ve heard people comment that I am “so lucky” to have married a celebrity/renowned plastic surgeon. I am fortunate that I married a man I love and respect, but I was making more money than Dr. Chiu when we met! And, he has never worked on me before. I have yet to take advantage of the stereotypical “perks” associated with marrying a plastic surgeon.

WDC: What else can we expect from you in the future? Any projects you're excited to share?

CC: I feel that philanthropy is not a sprint, but rather a marathon—it’s not a mood, but a lifestyle. At the end of my life, I would be happy to see continuity in giving back—whatever form that may be in: time, money, inspiring others to give. I hope to work on another project with HRH Prince Charles very soon, which will align my passion for the artistry and craftsmanship of dress-making with providing education and employment for the underprivileged.

Photo credit: Marc Patrick/BFA

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