Written by Kathryn LekasEditor-in-Chief
Photography by Paul Buceta

Hair & Makeup by Monica Kalra

“My story is the same as so many women,” says 48 year old Christine Bui. “I’m a wife and busy mom of two daughters, who works full time and still wants to pursue personal passions…”

It’s easy to relate to her full hands and schedule, but Christine, a registered nurse and owner of Enduring Beauty—a medical aesthetic clinic—has managed to rewrite the next page of this very common script, and it would do us all some good to take note. 

Christine is not only the proud owner of Enduring Beauty, and an in-demand injector there with an overflowing client list, she’s opened a second location as a result of the success with her popular space. And the expansion comes as she continues her 28-year career working night shifts as a Nurse in the OR, as well as serving in private care three nights per week for her client with Cerebral Palsy. “I’ve been watching her since she was six months old, and she’s now 21 years old, so she’s become like a third daughter to me,” explains Christine. “I always say, that’s the real nursing job, that’s real-life nursing… Then I go to my day job at the clinic, which I love, too, in a different way, just making people feel good, feel more confident, with the services we provide.”

How does she do it? That’s what everyone around her is wondering. 

She’s finally focused on fitness, and that’s fuelled every aspect of her life.

Christine began working as a nurse at the age of 21, and ever since, she only continued to add to her care giving duties outside of her profession. Just a few years later, she became a mom, having her first daughter Mya at the age of 24. A few years later came her sister Jada, and shortly after, Christine took her parents in because they were unwell. “My life was always helping others, and it really takes a toll, taking care of more and more people,” she explains. “I just worked and worked and worked. I worked three jobs to make ends meet, to make sure my kids had a better life than my husband and I ever had.” Her efforts were not in vain. Both daughters were exposed to extracurriculars that led to a lifetime of learning and opportunity. 

Mya earned a full tennis scholarship to the University of San Francisco, which included her Masters in Entrepreneurship. She now works as a tennis coach at a private tennis club in Florida. Jada also earned a full tennis scholarship, to the University of California, Berkeley, and after two years left to pursue her dream of playing pro on the tennis tour (with the option to return to finish school at any time). Her plans were sidelined after suffering some injuries, but after a few years navigating hardships she’s returned to playing and is training in Florida (coincidentally where her sister works). Back on track, Jada is hopeful she’ll be back on tour this year. 

Christine’s kids certainly flourished as a result of her devoted care, but she now knows, along the way she was deteriorating in many ways. “I look back at pictures and I know I was the best mom for my kids, not the best human being for myself,” she says. “What goes on on the inside comes out on the outside.”

You know the drill Christine runs through remembering—taking kids to lessons, packing bags, making sure everyone else was okay… Then mindlessly grabbing a coffee and a bagel (if you’re lucky) for yourself as you head off to work to take care of more people, without taking care of yourself.

During 2020 though, like many, Christine had a sort of epiphany. “My dad had passed away at the beginning of the pandemic and a realization hit that he was gone and I wasn’t healthy. I had been taking care of him for many years,” she explains. “After Dad passed, and Covid-19 brought this new way of life, staying home where you could eat and drink and be merry—I just thought, but what else is happening to you? And what am I going to do, now that Dad is gone? What do I need to do, now that I have more down time? I can take more care of me. My pants couldn’t fit.”

“When you think about it, for many women, you just have to be willing to do for you what you do for everyone else.”

That pivotal moment is when she saw STRONG President Coach JVB and her program, and Christine knew she was physically and mentally ready to turn a page. “I had tried the diets, all the things we try to make us feel better, but the only thing I really needed was to be in the right headspace, to be ready to change. In all my years I have learned, there are no miracle drugs, you really have to put the time and effort in—it’s more mental strength than anything else. And when you think about it, for many women, you just have to be willing to do for you what you do for everyone else.”

The moment Christine accepted to really care for herself is the moment she gifted herself with time and energy to live a life that fulfills her, and people around her started to notice. “You really have to fake it til you make it,” Christine says. “Working night shifts as a nurse, going on 28 years, I lived off coffee, with the crash and burn that came with it. But now people ask me, how do you have so much energy? I know it’s the workouts and eating properly. It provides so much more than the false support of that crash and burn. Before, between all the demands, I always managed to put on a good show to get through everything, but now I authentically feel I can do my job so much better because I just feel healthier.”

Christine says nutrition and training have become so important to her she never wants to compromise her approach to her health now. “I eat more than I’ve ever eaten and I feel good, making sure I get that food in, and the workouts, that’s what I look forward to, that’s when I feel the best! I leave my nightshift and go straight to the gym before I go home, shower, and switch jobs,” she says. Eight weeks prior to her first photoshoot Christine pulled both hamstrings and had to take a break from training. “Those weeks without workouts, I felt so blah. You don’t realize what an impact this whole commitment to getting strong brings you with healthy eating, and workouts—the endorphins that gives you. Some days I’m literally working 24/7, so that’s my getaway, my hour to myself that’s going to make me feel better.” 

"I never took care of myself, put me first. I always put work and everyone else in front of me. I never took a health stance for myself, yet there I was caring for everyone else. I physically and mentally needed to do it for myself.”

Christine says there’s a different confidence in you when you make the shift. She didn’t realize how everything would go once she got rolling. How she would have an endless drive to live her own dreams. And how it would inspire other people to do something for themselves, too. “My kids see me and see how hard I work, and they want to achieve better than what we’ve done, knowing however you’ve got to get there you push yourself. I’ve expanded my successful business to two locations, and I’m still pushing to do more. I feel like now there is never an end in sight in our lives. My shift is pushing everyone to do better. My kids respect my shift, they even ask me questions about training. So as much as others tell me I should slow down, I’m excited to continue building my business and to see how my life evolves over the next few years,” says Christine. “My goal is to be the fittest mom and grandma ever. I want to be able to travel with Jada and Mya and do all the things. This is real life, you don’t want to waste your time.” 

STRONG Fitness
STRONG Fitness Magazine is a trusted source of cutting-edge fitness and health information for the modern woman who lives to be fit. STRONG’s sophisticated editorial voice combined with raw, powerful imagery and a modern, athletic design reflect the direction fitness has taken in the last decade.