Elizabeth Fernandez fire
Elizabeth Fernandez fire | Foto: Elizabeth Fernandez fire

The Making Of Elizabeth Fernandez

Por: Karen Limón

24, November, 2021 en Latina Attitude

Like breathing in a whiff of perfume with your eyes closed: evocative, intriguing, magnetic. Elizabeth Fernandez is engaging and ironic with a warm infectious laugh that reveals a sharp, intelligent mind and a compassionate heart. “How would I define myself? First of all as a woman, even though I can be anything I want: entrepreneur, mother, friend, artist…” Interesting and curious, her words have a natural soundtrack to them. Speak to her and you immediately become a fan.

From working in a law office, homeschooling and raising her two beautiful daughters, from singing in church, pursuing a Masters Degree in Nursing, to running a successful real estate business and care-giving full-time for her elderly mother and aunt, Elizabeth has devoted a large part of her life to caring for the well-being of others. Amazingly, she manages to do it all with a terrific sense of humor, an unwavering faith in God and a resilient, positive mindset. If there is one thing that epitomizes her life, it is that Law of Attraction and Reinvention after 60 is more than possible.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, a new fledgling Phoenix rises renewed and reborn, after some truly trying years in the wake of loss and divorce after a 28-year marriage, Fernandez has emerged into the light again, with a series of powerfully inspiring business ventures and a fresh creative approach to life.

Challenging limitations and beauty ideals, she has mastered the art of ageless, timeless femininity. Straight-talking, funny and an astute businesswoman, Elizabeth Fernandez, who rarely gives interviews, opens up with Latina Magazine. This renaissance woman and survivor reveals her real-life reinvention secrets and how the challenges of her past have shaped her new-found sense of purpose, strength, and happiness.

Elizabeth Fernandez photoshoot
Elizabeth Fernandez photoshoot

You are very close to your family. How did they influence who you are today?

I am the oldest with four younger brothers, and we are all very close. In the Filipino culture, our identity is typically and strongly defined by close-knit family ties. Respect for elders, fulfilling duties and expectations, and deference to parental authority are valued, and we have a strong sense of community. From both my mother’s and father’s side of the family were a long line of public officials who held positions like Vice Governor, Governor, Congressman, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, etc. Both parents led by example and were involved in civic organizations. They instilled in us the spirit of service and volunteerism, of community. My parents held big parties at the house with live bands and great food and it means a lot to me for the younger generation to experience and continue this tradition of coming together to eat and have fun.

What makes you most proud of yourself?

When people tell me that I can’t do it, then I am more challenged to do it. My dad always said there are only three careers for us, kids: be a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. He wanted each of us to be an achiever and be in a position of authority and not one to be ordered around. Personally, I was always very independent, a free thinker, and followed my heart whether they agreed with my choices or not. So when my father said the only way I could get a job was because of his name, I defiantly announced: “I got hired to do music and sing. And they wouldn’t hire anyone if they were out of tune, regardless of their father’s name!” When I came to the United States, I worked at a top law firm in San Francisco as a document specialist, making more money than the new attorneys who graduated from Ivy League schools who had to pay off their student loans. I am proud of myself for following my heart and, at the same time, gaining my father’s respect.

That tells me a lot about you. You are very gutsy. So what did you end up studying?

I went to an exclusive all-girl Catholic school growing up. Then I attended a liberal state University, where professors questioned everything that I thought I knew about the world. They taught me how to question, to analyze, to argue and debate. I learned critical thinking skills. I also took graduate studies in International Business and Finance at New York University. However, after the big quest for learning and questioning my beliefs, I still went back to what I was taught originally. I don’t remember everything the nuns taught us as kids, but whatever it was, my classmates and I came out as really strong, independent women with good values and the ability to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others and feel confident.

What is one thing that you know now that you wished you had known 15 or 20 years ago?

Resilience. I have a best friend who exemplifies this. She is so productive, such an over-achiever. I have learned a lot from just watching her. When she makes mistakes, she just stands up, brushes herself off, and then either tries it again or moves on. I really admire her ability to overcome things. She came to the U.S. with her life savings of $300, and now she owns a lot of houses. She is, definitely, a calculated risk-taker. She also taught me to take action on my decisions, not just decide and do nothing about it.

Are you a perfectionist?

Very much so! I have learned in some things, good enough is good enough, but there are areas where you need to be a perfectionist. In Healthcare for example, I am very specific about how I want things to go. In contrast, let’s say I’m making an airline reservation, and I put in the wrong date, or invert the destination and departure cities. You can’t beat yourself up about things like this. You didn’t do it on purpose.

Elizabeth Fernandez
Elizabeth Fernandez

Who or what is your inspiration?

My mom and my kids. They influence me to live my best life. My mother graduated from college, summa cum laude, and obtained her Master’s Degree in Education with highest honors. She was a professor and taught Logic, Ethics, Philosophy and Psychology. Her younger sister is a retired medical doctor with a specialty in Internal Medicine and practiced in the U.S., Australia and the Philippines. I really admire their achievements, especially as female professionals in their generation. My mom is 93 and her younger sister is 89 and they both live with me. They’re always around. My mom is so game, she goes dancing with us. She is just easy and fun. My aunt, her sister, is very sociable and enjoys church activities and events.

What makes you smile the most?

My two wonderful daughters are pretty influential in my life. They want me to go for all the things I have always told them to do. I’ll encourage them, telling them to just try it and see if it’s something they would like to do. So, when the concept of modeling at 60 came up, my kids said, ‘Mom try it. If you don’t, we will call you the H-word.’ The H-word is “hypocrite.” It seems I’ve been following their lead lately. They have done photo-shoots and modeling, and now I am doing it. They are musicians and filmmakers and recently did a short film and music video. I was able to be an extra in those, and that was a lot of fun. It also makes me smile, when others post on social media how happy, successful, beautiful, and privileged they feel. I choose to be inspired and happy for them.

Being a loving mother and teacher has been a huge role in your life. Tell me about your daughters.

They are my pride and joy. I thoroughly enjoy them both. They were born here in California, and we moved to the Philippines where they continued their education and they still live there part of the year. I fly back and forth between California and Cebu as often as I can to visit them. Both of them sing and dance and were involved in the performing arts growing up, then went on to film school. The younger one currently writes music and performs with her band, Intertwined. My older daughter went to nursing school; but, is also involved in performing arts and has her own business. They are so productive, and they make me productive. They were both born with a creative spirit. My role was to recognize and nurture it, and not get in their way. They have also been supportive of me and my journey to reinventing and embracing myself as a unique woman.

What are some things you are passionate about in life?

My family and friends. It makes me happy when friends and family get together. Even more so when we play music and sing. It’s nice to know the younger generation is continuing the family tradition of making music and performing in public. Also, I used to go to church everyday and bring both kids. When I make it to church in the morning, it doesn’t matter what happens the rest of the day, my day is set. I am happy knowing I have already done the most important thing for that day. My mom and aunt like to go to church with me. Afterwards we go out to eat, and I’ll bring them shopping and do the things that they like to do. They like that I have a music ministry and sing in the church because their lives have always revolved around church activities.

Is there a book with, which you were impressed, that I should read?

I love to read, but because I don’t have that much time, I listen to audiobooks. I can just put something on and work while listening. I love anything by Abraham-Hicks, like Ask and It Is Given and The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent. I have learned so much from them. Esther Hicks also does seminars. One talk, in particular, that changed my life is called, “I Don’t Care.” I love it the most, because it helps me overcome caring too much about what others feel and think – things that I have no control over. There are plenty of things that I care about. I care about my happiness. I care about being responsible. I care about the planet, but there is nothing I can do about how another person feels or thinks. Also, the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It turned my world upside down. Everything happens in the Now. Nothing happens in the past or the future. You have one life to live, and you make your decisions in the Now. You do it Now. Life is about “Living in the Moment.”

Elizabeth Fernandeez wearing a black and blue dress
Elizabeth Fernandeez wearing a black and blue dress

How do you center yourself and make the most of a tough situation?

From Abraham-Hicks I learned that we usually discover what we want from experiencing the contrast or polarity of what we don’t want. I am motivated by my desire to feel good. People say, ‘If you are depressed go talk to Liz, she doesn’t see problems as problems. She’ll always find the good in it.’ It’s like the song, Hey Jude, ‘take a sad song and make it better.’ There are always fires to put out everywhere but those situations are what turn us into firewalkers. When there are storms but we are given the grace to walk on water. Whatever tough situations God throws us in, the grace given to face it is always greater. So I just say, “let my life be a prayer.”

What do you consider the turning point in your journey?

The main turning point for me was losing weight. I love good food and struggled with my weight, but a friend introduced me to a coffee producing company called Valentus (rapidresults.valentus.com). It changed my life, and I went from a size 12 to a size 6 within one year without dieting, without exercising. This incredible product not only helped me lose weight, but it’s detoxifying properties made my skin glow and made my mind more focused. When I started drinking the coffee, my cheeks stopped looking so chubby, my sinuses cleared up and, generally, I felt better.

My sense of taste became sharper and more defined and I no longer need massive amounts of food to be satisfied. I started to perceive food differently both in taste and the amount I craved. For example, I didn’t know what “too sweet” was. Given a choice between an ice cream sundae and a slice of watermelon, I’d go for the ice cream sundae. But now I can perceive and appreciate the sweetness of watermelon and be satisfied with that. Or still have the ice cream sundae but am satisfied with a portion of it and not have to eat the entire thing. Instead of eating an entire bag of sweets, I’ll stop at four or five and feel satisfied. As my perception changed, my preferences changed. Healthier foods started tasting better and my choices changed. I didn’t really adjust my diet. I just consumed less. I am a creature of habit and my new habits created a new lifestyle. When I started eating healthier, I started to look and feel healthier. The changes in my inner world, started to reflect in my outer world.

You are sixty, sexy and beautiful. What is your secret?

It’s partly good genes, my mom is 93 and still looks amazing. But I am absolutely for procedures and cosmetic surgery that repairs and restores your appearance. My best friend in the Philippines is a plastic surgeon. She specializes in a certain type of cosmetic surgery that will help you attain beautiful “six pack” abs. Every time she has something new, she calls me. I’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of different things, mostly temporary stuff, but regardless it’s all fun. It’s something that I do for myself. Fashion really has no bearing in my life right now, since my priority is to take care of my mother and aunt.

What beauty advice can you give to women?

It’s like the Janis Ian song, At Seventeen – ‘I learned the truth at seventeen. That love was meant for beauty queens…’ There is so much out there to improve the way you look and make the most of what you’ve got. It’s like they say, look good, feel good. Today you are not really stuck with your genetics. There are so many options available to improve the way you look, whether it be cosmetic surgery or Botox. Even like the first time I put highlights in my hair. I never knew highlighting your hair in certain areas would brighten and highlight your features. Simple things can make such a big difference.