Real Estate Agent and Writer Karina Pacific Turns a Troubled Childhood into a Message of Hope

Choosing magic.

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  • Written by
    Evy Gallagher
  • Photographed by
    Adelaide Brannan

Karina Pacific was determined to change her life for the better. Once a fatherless girl growing up in Mexico, a victim of child abuse and daughter of a reticent mother, she is now a successful Realtor, author and dedicated philanthropist living in the South Bay with a family of her own. 

Karina attributes much of her success to her strong faith. “[In Mexico] Catholicism is fed to you like beans and rice,” she says. Karina recounts stories about growing up with daily guidance from priests and nuns who offered her silent protection and taught her about discipline and the importance of accepting God into her life. 

She speaks of the people who have nudged her in the right direction. Karina believes that friends, acquaintances and strangers were sent her way to act as angels, some staying in her life for good and others just passing through to share their wisdom. Karina’s mother, with whom she did not have a close relationship, showed her the security of homeownership, eventually leading Karina to pursue a career in real estate. 

After moving to the United States, Karina went through her fair share of toxic relationships before starting to chart her path. She read other people’s stories of transformation and changing the path they were given, and it ultimately led to a period of self-healing. 

When she first moved to the South Bay in 1999, she saw how the community helped charities and took part in local service opportunities. It was an aspect of the South Bay that she took seriously and wanted to be a part of. Karina has supported many philanthropies over the years—fundraising for water wells in her hometown in Mexico, volunteering at Richstone Family Center and currently serving as the community service board member of the Redondo Beach Rotary Club.

Inspired by other people’s journeys and the character development in classic movies and novels, Karina believed she had a story to share. The film adaptation of The Miracle Worker made a strong impact on her, encouraging her to “use pain and struggles for fuel” to overcome anything, she explains.

She started writing about her own character development, hoping to help others overcome similar struggles. She called the story Choosing Magic. The book dives deep into her personal trauma while presenting an optimistic outlook on life. 

Karina says the book-writing process did not come naturally at first. With no experience in writing, the first draft was essentially a therapy session. Words poured out onto paper, and with a little guidance from friend and poet Stellasue Lee and proofreading and designing by artist Jenny Mendoza, Choosing Magic was completed. Karina points out that these women were fundamental in the creation of her book and that she is appreciative that they helped her bring this idea to life. 

After seemingly living a thousand lives—an extremely difficult childhood, struggling through early adulthood, and then turning her life around and helping those in need—Karina has maintained an extremely positive attitude. “It’s more fun,” she explains about her happy perspective. “Don’t you feel better when you’re optimistic?” 

Karina appreciates the beauty of every day and believes that good things come from your outlook on life. This practice has helped her maintain a positive mindset and the power and ability to change.