The Friend: Chrissy Borgatta Liuzzi

January 29, 2012

This story is about my beautiful friend Chrissy.

We met at work where we shared a cubicle for two years. We were blessed to work with a gorgeous, hilarious, brilliant group of women who I hold in my heart everywhere I go. I treasured everyday I went to work and got to sit next to Chrissy who was a constant source of laughter, love, support and entertainment. Not one day went by that I didn’t hear about Chrissy’s fiery engagement to the man of her dreams. I looked forward to regular stories about Bronwyn, Chrissy’s bombshell best friend from 5th grade, and most of all, it warmed my heart hearing endless stories about Chrissy’s grandmother, Lalie, who was the light of her life…

 

It’s eleven years later. Chrissy and the man of her dreams are divorced. Both Bronwyn, and her Grandmother, have passed away. I can’t comprehend the magnitude of loss, heartbreak and challenge that Chrissy has faced the last few years. What I have seen is a one-of-a-kind, funny, smart, strong, creative, ambitious, talented, beautiful, committed, successful, loving mother emerge with radiance and strength.

And the best part of this story, is Frank, Chrissy’s son. Mark my words, this boy is going to be a rockstar … just like his mom.

where are you from?
I was born in Arcadia, California and my parents moved us to Newport Beach when my twin brother and I were infants. I have lived in Southern California all my life.

what did you want to be when you were a little girl?
I wanted to be a fashion designer, an artist or a photographer. I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts somehow.

what do you do now?
I am a Freelance Art Producer, Producer and Photographer (for fun)

what do you love about your job?
I love the evolution of a photo shoot. The moment a concept is approved and I get to see it, my mind immediately starts thinking which photographer do I get to work with, how can we make this great. I love it when a Creative Director says “I want to work with a high profile photographer but we can’t afford to work with him/her” that’s when I say… “why not?”  I love being able to negotiate a job and letting my team know that they get to work with the artist they want to work with. Then when you are on set and you look around at all the people, the crew setting up lights, stylists going through racks of clothes and props, the talent, who’s being difficult, who’s surprising laid back and cool, I enjoy it, I always take a moment and think I helped put all of this together.

what is your favorite childhood memory?
The moment I was old enough to just get on my bike a ride. I guess I was 12 years old.  In the summer time I used to ride my bike to the beach everyday. After spending the morning at the beach I would ride to my Grandma’s house on Lido Isle for lunch, she was always happy to see me. She would make a sandwich for me and we would talk and laugh then I would be off again. I loved my independence. I can remember being very young, like 5 years old wanting to go the park on my own.

what is the most difficult thing about being a mom?
Getting my son Frank to go to bed. He is 9 years old and it’s still the most challenging task I face. There is a book that I believe was written for me by Adam Mansbach. It’s called “Go the Fuck to Sleep”. It’s brilliant and it makes me laugh. There are illustrated pictures of toddlers in the book but I want to tape pictures of my son’s face throughout the pages.

what are the most difficult life challenges you have faced?
In April of 2009 my world came tumbling down. It was the beginning of me finding my true self again. I was let go of my job, I was newly divorced and was moving out on my own with a young son and no job prospects in sight, I was terrified and depressed. It was the first time in my career that I had been without work and I literally didn’t know what to do with myself. I would take my son to school and I would come home. I would  just sit in front of my computer and send out resumes, I would get up and start to clean or organize something and leave that thing I was doing then go back to my computer and look for more work. It was like being caged. Slowly I started working again and I thought things were finally looking up. It was early 2010  and all of these wonderful people in my life started dying. I know six people who died but it was my best friend Bronwyn and my Grandma who passed away within a month of each other that really put everything to a stop. When you are experiencing such great loss you go into auto-pilot  and you manage to get things done, I planned two funerals, helped with my brothers wedding and continued to raise my son, care for my dogs and maintain a home. I look back and I don’t know how I did it. I finally broke down in February of this year. I cried harder then I have ever cried before, I felt it and it hurt so bad but I got through it. I have somehow emerged and I can honestly say I am happy it all happened the way that it did. I am grateful to have some money in the bank, my friends and most of all a 9 year old who won’t go to sleep.

who has been a great influence in your life?
My Grandma Lalie. She passed away last August. When I was very young my parents divorced. My Mom was always struggling to pay the bills and with that came a sense of insecurity and not so happy times. We moved a lot throughout my childhood and my Grandma was our rock, our stability and our sense of home. She drove around in a silvery blue 1967 Corvette with her black poodle Josephine. She was glamourous, had a great sense of humor, she was a great listener and was always there for us. She was a provider in so many ways. As a child I couldn’t wait to be with her. When we were with her it was an escape from anything negative. We would lay around in bed reading and coloring, ride our bikes to the beach and play.  As I grew older I realized what a gift that was and I always wanted to give back. We spent a lot of time together and we had a true bond. I am so grateful to have had her in my life for 43 years.

what do you do when you’re not working?
If I have some free time to myself I ride my bike, I walk, I take pictures, I travel and see movies.

what do you want to be doing five years from now?
In five years I will be 49 years old and I hope my life will be settled enough that I don’t have to be working as hard as I do now. I love what I do and I really think I am good at what I do. I have always been open to allowing my career to takes it’s own path, it’s worked really well for me so far. Not that I just sit back and wait for opportunities to find me, but I don’t have a plan, I feel I am intuitive enough that when the right opportunity comes I’ll know it and I will go with it.

what are five things that you are really good at?
I throw great birthday parties for my son, I take good pictures but I think I am a really good editor which make the one or two images seem great, I am really good at seeing the positive side of things, I am a good traveler and I like to think I am good gift giver.

who inspires you?
For some reason women in rock bands. I am still in awe of Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie and the Banshee’s. I first saw her in 1982, on her last tour she just turned 51 years old,  she looked amazing, she sounded great and was still so cool yet she didn’t try to act like she was younger. I recently saw a band called Nico Vega, this girl has such a melodic voice then from out of nowhere she can scream this perfect gut wrenching tune, dance around, perform, bang a drum three times her size and just let it all fucking out. I wish I could do that. It brings out my creative side when I witness talented women.

what do you collect?
photography & fashion books, pictures and when I travel I am always obsessed with finding those machines that press pennies and embosses the landmark you’ve just been to on it. I have pennies from every tourist attraction i’ve been to all over the world, I even have one from The World Trade Center. I rather have a squashed penny then a t-shirt any day!