Entertainment

Here’s How Cuban Talk Show Host Cristina Saralegui Changed The Game For Latinos On TV

cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

If you’re Cuban, or from Miami, you know who Cristina Saralegui is. Your mother would be in the kitchen and make you parrot everything she said on El show de Cristina from the living room. She’s the hetero Ellen Degeneres of Spanish language television, and we haven’t seen her on the TV in almost ten years.

Her show covered controversial topics for its time, including domestic violence, sex abuse and actually covering the AIDS epidemic when no research was being conducted. Let us tell you how she got her start and what she’s up to now.

Cristina Maria Saralegui is an Aquarius.

CREDIT: @DiarioLaPrensa1 / Twitter

Those airy signs can talk with anyone about anything, which is why she could joke around with the likes of Selena, Shakira, Celia Cruz, and so many other superstars. Saralegui was born on January 29, 1948, which means in her early seventies these days.

Saralegui was born in Miramar, Havana, Cuba.

CREDIT: @el_sintweets / Twitter

She’s of Spanish descent from all four grandparents. Cristina has classic oldest sibling vibes, and she’s earned it. She has two younger sisters and two younger brothers.

Her family fled Cuba during the Cuban Revolution in 1960.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She was only 12 years old when her parents, Francisco Rene Saralegui, Jr. and Cristina Santamarina, settled down in Key Biscayne.

She graduated fromthe University of Miami.

CREDIT: @CeliaCruzLegacy1 / Twitter

Go ‘Canes! Cristina grew up very Catholic and attended Catholic school all the way until college. After graduating from the Academy of the Assumption in Class of 1966, she was off to Miami proper.

Within 6 years of starting an internship at Vanidades, she was editor of Cosmo.

CREDIT: @peopleenespanol / Twitter

That’s right. She’s said that the internship helped improve her written Spanish. Makes sense that if you suddenly start learning English grammar at age 12, that you’d miss some Spanish lessons. She spent a decade as editor of the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan.

It was in 1989 that she launched her own television show.

CREDIT: @katbeee / Twitter

El show de Cristina was her first shot at television journalism and Univisión was all on board. The show has received 11 Emmy Awards.

The first time Cristina met Celia Cruz, she had an emotional breakdown.

CREDIT: @elnuevoherald / Twitter

According to Cristina’s account on El Nuevo Herald, she said, “I remember that I went to interview her at the Diplomat hotel. I started the interview, but in those days I was very sad because I had lost a pregnancy and something unusual happened to me. Suddenly I started to cry, Celia asked me what was wrong, I told her and she gave me a hug and she consoled me. So much was its human warmth that my defenses collapsed and I crossed a line that I never crossed again with anyone I have interviewed.”

Her signature thumbs up al fin del show is iconic.

CREDIT: @MiamiHerald / Twitter

In classic Cuban Oprah fashion, she’d end every show with this:

“Pa’lante, pa’lante, pa’tras ni pa’ coger impulso”

Which roughly means dale, let’s go, don’t slow down.

Cristina tried to do an English language show, but it was cancelled after half a season.

CREDIT: @sophiaacarvajal / Twitter

It went by Cristina, and she launched it three years after El show de Cristina. I guess in 1992, English speakers had Oprah and Spanish speakers had Cristina y ya.

Cristina used her fame to publish her own magazine, Cristina: La Revista.

CREDIT: @smithsonian / Twitter

She’s also two books in multiple languages, one of which is called “My Life as a Blonde.” Haven’t read it yet, but I’m curious to hear the hardships la rubia life has that could even compete with the hairy morena life.

Cristina’s magazine and career has been lauded by GLAAD for its LGBTQ inclusivity.

CREDIT: @PH_Film / Twitter

In 1997, GLAAD awarded her the Media Vanguard Award, which was followed up 16 years later with the Media Award for Outstanding Magazine. Cristina and her husband have also founded the Arriba La Vida Foundation to promote AIDS awareness and education in the Latinx community.

She was part of the 1999 Class of the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She got her star on November 4, 1999, and its well-deserved. From running Cosmo to launching her own television show, magazine, furniture and beauty product lines, Cristina has dominated every industry she’s touched.

Her first ever political endorsement was for Barack Obama’s second run.

CREDIT: @OBAMA4ME / Twitter

She spoke at a rally in Miami, FL, and the crowd went nuts for her. Obviously, her presence worked because we got Obama for another term.

Her brother, Iñaki died in 2017.

CREDIT: @El_Universal_Mx1 / Twitter

He spent 5 months in the hospital after a liver transplant and died from complications.

Caption: “Hermano siempre estarás en mi corazon y en el de toda nuestra familia. Te amo. 👍”

Since retiring from television, she’s always posting about her beloved animals.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Like every abuelita in Miami, she loves her cockateels. And her bull dogs. And her Koi.

Caption: “Miren quien se escapó de su jaula. Fígaro se admira en el espejo del comedor. 😃👍”

No really, she even competes in Koi competition shows.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Only in Florida can you find the Central Florida Koi show. Cristina and her husband, Marco Avila, former member of the Miami Sound Machine, are very passionate about Koi.

And she has won.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Caption: “Felicidades mi amor por ganarte otro campeonato con tus Koi.Central Florida Koi Show. 👍👍👍”

From the looks of the caption, the Saralegui family regularly wins the competition.

Saralegui is an avid orchid gardener.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She grows a variety of species in her garden and you know how I know that? She’s constantly posting photos of potted and planted orchids. It’s kind of a Miami thing.

Saralegui has a son, Jon Marcos, with Avila.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

The two have been married since 1982, and Cristina also has a daughter with her first husband, Tony Menendez. Today, Cristina has grandkids to spoil rotten, gladly.

Saralegui is an outspoken feminist.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

It all started when her father would only pay for her brother’s education growing up. She’s said that was the moment she decided she couldn’t rely on any man for income.

In 1998, before Beyoncé pulled ‘feminist’ from a list of dirty words, Cristina told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not afraid to say that I’m a very intelligent woman. [Latinas] cannot say that they’re intelligent. They can be beautiful, but they cannot be intelligent. And they cannot brag about it and say, ‘Yes, damn, I am smart and I am a woman.'”

After her show ended in 2011, annual rumors of her death crop up. She alive.

CREDIT: @briannnaesther / Twitter

In 2015, she told the Miami Herald, “I don’t on plan dying for a while yet. But I’ll let you know. You all will be invited to the funeral.”

Yup. She’s alive and well and you can catch her on her 24/7 Sirius XM talk show.


READ: Rare Celia Cruz Photos Are Adding Sazón To The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

13 Reasons Why Latinos Will Miss Seeing Their Stories In ‘Jane The Virgin’

Entertainment

13 Reasons Why Latinos Will Miss Seeing Their Stories In ‘Jane The Virgin’

janethevirginoncw / Instagram

WARNING, SOME VERY CHIQUITO SPOILERS AHEAD! 

The end of one of our favorite shows, Jane the Virgin, is near. For almost five years (it was first aired in 2014) we have followed the adventures of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, our heroine who was wrongly inseminated. Jane’s journey was also related to her career as a writer, a vocation that she tries to follow even though life sometimes gets in the way. The narrative accomplishes something almost impossible to pull off: it makes outrageous telenovela situations feel close to us. The 100th and last ever episode will be aired on July 31st, and fans are getting their tissue box ready for what promises to be a tearful finale. Because we don’t like goodbyes we will start our farewell now. These are some of the reasons why we consider Jane the Virgin to be a watershed moment in the history of Latino representation in mainstream television, and why we will miss Jane, her lovers, her family, and her amazingly quirky son. A llorar se ha dicho

1. Jane the Virgin was finally a show that represented the many complexities of Latino communities in the U.S.: it made us laugh and cry in equal measures.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

There have been some shows about Latinos in the United States, and titles such as Netflix’s Mr. Iglesias seem to be gaining more traction. However, Jane the Virgin could break into the mainstream, escaping the niche denominator of “Latino”. It was wonderful to see the very specific Florida Latinidad represented on the screen. 

2. The show discussed the uncomfortable issue of migration and the perilous path to citizenship. Te queremos, Alba!

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

The show touched in one of the main issues that define the Latino experience in the United States: migration. Alba’s citizenship journey was equally stressful and hard to watch, and we are sure it resonated with millions of Latino families in how vulnerable migrants can be before attaining citizenship. A call to action that was also told in a tender, extremely human way. 

3. Jane proudly wore her Latina identity, in her life and literary work.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Instead of trying to “fit in” with Anglo culture to blend, Jane Gloriana Villanueva embraces and celebrates her Latina identity. From her clothes to her cultural references (Chilean novelist Isabel Allende makes a cameo!) and her literary work, she tries to uncover what Latina identity means today in matters of love, family, sex and professional life. 

4. It showed us that true friendship with your exes and your exes’ exes is possible (you know this is a telenovela, right?)

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Well, maybe this is not that in tune with reality, pero se vale soñar. We love how Petra, Jane, and Rafael find a way to co-parent three cheeky monkeys. 

5. It gave us a strong, independent, queer woman.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Petra is perhaps the character that developed the most. She went from being a terrible telenovela villana to being a member of the Villanueva clan. Her backstory is fascinating and through the seasons she found a way to discover herself: she is a survivor, and the ultimate way to survive is accepting who she is a powerful queer businesswoman, and a loving mother who allows herself to be vulnerable and ask for help. 

6. It serves us some old-world Latino charm.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

When Jane imagines her romantic epics, and also when Alba tells her life story, we get to see some of the old world Latino charms that have made the romantic narrative a staple of the region. This is also a way to deal with 

7. It provided us with one of the most truthful representations of the joys, frustrations, and awesomeness of parenthood.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Right from her pregnancy, Jane embodied the shock and delights of motherhood. The show does not give us a vanilla version of how pregnancy sorta wrecks the female body and how hard it is to raise a child. Mateo is Jane’s world, and it is amazing to witness Jane embrace her power, but also her cluelessness as to how to be a mother. Nadie nace sabiendo

8. Four words: Rogelio De La Vega.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Mexican actor Jaime Camil, a former telenovela heartthrob, found his ideal character in Rogelio De La Vega. He is funny and charming, vulnerable and the best father ever. We would totally watch a spin-off featuring only him! 

9. The genuine chemistry and friendship shared by the cast.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Gina Rodriguez and Jaime Camil really do look like father and daughter in this photo. Judging by interviews and their social media accounts (including photos of Gina’s recent wedding), cast members have formed a true family offscreen, which translates into the amazing chemistry we see in the show. 

10. The show is a true picture of the multicultural United States.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Yes, the cast is primarily Latino or plays Latino characters (even the blonde Michael has a Latino last name: Cordero), but the show has Eastern European, Anglo, Black and even Indian characters. Rather than being insular and only focus on Latinos, it is a mosaic of the cultural diversity of Florida, where the narrative takes place. 

11. Primero la familia: a message that resonated with Latino audiences worldwide.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Through the show, we are witness to the perpetuation of family rituals. The Villanuevas have dinner together, come rain or come shine, and they spend time together even if they are upset at each other. Later in the show, Petra and Jane find a way to create new traditions for Mateo and the twins, unlikely half-siblings who are growing up together. 

12. Simply put, Jane the Virgin is funny as hell.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Jane the Virgin is a cleverly written comedy that blends huge amounts of drama, very tender and human moments, and gags that are anything but cheap. Every joke or unusual situation in the show reveals something about the characters rather than looking for cheap laughs. For example, when Jane’s life spins out of control she usually becomes very clumsy: the physical comedy reveals characters’ inner state. We can also think of Rogelio’s hilarious gift baskets! (we wouldn’t mind getting one by the way). Or how Petra’s twins often make reference to the creepy duo from the horror film The Shining.

13. But above all, the show gives full agency to female characters, something rare in any TV show.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

In today’s media industry, it is extremely rare for a female-led television show or film to be approved, even more so if the character is a Latina played by a relatively unknown actress. Jane the Virgin was a rarity and a novelty: a sitcom that got pretty dark at times, which offered dialogue in Spanish and was unashamedly influenced by telenovelas. The Villanueva queens and Petra drove the narrative, un matriarcado televisivo like no other. Jane did not make her decisions solely based on what her romantic counterparts demanded: she was in control of her feelings, her sexuality and her experience as a mother. We will miss you, Jane hermosa.

READ: ‘Jane The Virgin’ Actress Opens Up About How Anxiety Kept Her From Showing Up To Set

He’s Been Open With His Struggles And Comes Through For His Community When They Need Him

Entertainment

He’s Been Open With His Struggles And Comes Through For His Community When They Need Him

officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Danny Trejo is one of the most recognizable Latino faces in the world. He is a common feature in Hollywood films, where he often portrays antiheroes. Among his films, we can think of the classic Heat, Con Air, and Machete, the last with frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez, the Texan director he considers a sort of creative brother. Trejo was born in Echo Park (doesn’t get more L.A. than that!) on May 16, 1944. He is a true example of the American Dream: he survived a rough upbringing and life in prison to become a successful and reformed individual who dedicates big chunks of his time to helping others. He creates jobs through his multiple business ventures and often speaks to youth about the importance of staying out of trouble, particularly if you belong to an ethnic minority.

He is the face of tender “bad hombres” (we just can’t get over this terrible moniker POTUS placed on Mexican men!)

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

As Daily Breeze recalls, he got a second chance in life after being to prison and suffering from addiction early in life: “Influenced by a young uncle, Trejo was off to a life of crime from an early age and did time in juvenile camps before eventually landing in Soledad and San Quentin state prisons for drugs and other crimes”. Rehabilitation is possible! You can’t judge a book by its cover (hear that, gringos racistas?) and the tough-looking Trejo is proof of that. 

He is an entrepreneur at heart, the symbol of Latino hardworking individuals.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Trejo has opened a taco shop, a doughnut shop, and many other business ventures. The Daily Breeze says about Trejo’s many talents: “He’s a successful restaurateur with a growing taco and doughnut empire that shows no signs of cooling down. And even though he doesn’t drink, he’s got a beer out, too, a Mexican lager of course”. 

He even has a new beer brand even though he is not a drinker.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

This is what Daily Breeze said about Trejo’s cerveza: “Because even though he doesn’t drink alcohol, there really is nothing Trejo can’t do. But surprisingly, while Trejo is pretty much the toughest looking man in all of Los Angeles, his 4.7% ABV straw-colored beer is really smooth with an almost sweet taste, which means you can drink a few and still be able to take Machete in a fight. No, who are we kidding — Machete would destroy any of us”. A rave review in our books! Can you imagine sipping this brew with good old cevichito as you look at the Californian sunset?

He talks about men’s health in an open, frank way.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

As The Sun reported, Trejo is on a mission to get dudes talking about their health, including erectile dysfunction. He is quoted as saying: “Every man on earth has experienced this, and if you say no, you’re lying and I’m calling you a liar. So there you go, Danny Trejo, called you a liar and now you don’t have to hide it.” He is even a bit funny talking about the trials and tribulations of not being able to rise to the occasion: “You can be 25-years-old and if you’re tired, you’ve been working all night, it’s late – sometimes it’s not going to happen. But especially in the Latino community where I’m from, men don’t talk about these things – because we’re supposed to be the hunter-gatherer or some sh*t. Well, I hate hunting”. Preach, Danny! 

He is funny as hell on social media.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Really, he is like any Latino dad, uploading every single meme or viral trend he finds in a very dad joke kinda way. 

He has been able to get meatier roles as the years have gone by: a true underdog story.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Trejo’s acting career has gone from being an extra to having better roles that sometimes play with his badass persona. He told The Guardian: “They Would Always Say, ‘Get That Mexican Guy With The Big Tattoo. I’d Show Up And Have One Line, Like, ‘Kill ’em All!’ Or Somethin’.”

He has one of those faces that just sparks creativity.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Just look at this wonderful piece of street art in Brazil. Trejo’s wrinkled face tells a thousand stories, it is a roadmap of a life that has encapsulated so many experiences that it could fill a hundred lives. Trejo us a symbol of second chances and of the many forms that Latino masculinity can take. 

At 75 years of age, he shows that elderly doesn’t mean you can’t work out.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Any 20-year-old flojo would envy Trejo’s sculpted body. He told NY Daily News back in 2007: “I look at the script. If I see a part that says shirt-off, then I go to the gym”. Well, he hasn’t stopped working out by the looks of it (by “it” we mean his badass muscles). 

He is a living example of how you can kick ass fighting addiction.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Trejo is now clean, but there was a time when he didn’t know if he would live a long life. He certainly didn’t expect to reach 70. The Guardian conversed with Trejo in 2018: “I didn’t even think I’d make it out of the 1960s. I picked the wrong role model. I picked my uncle, who was a drug addict and an armed robber. But he was the greatest guy in the world as far as I was concerned”. He experienced heroin for the first time when he was just 12-years-old, so the road to redemption was steep.

He is a caring Latino dad.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

He has two children: Danielle and Gilbert. He often shares messages for them on social media. He has also helped his son on his own path towards rehabilitation from addiction.

Getting clean is something he did with his son.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

He has travelled the path of staying clean with his son and has even collaborated with him in a film project where the young Trejo directs him. 

He is super approachable for fans.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Don’t think twice: if you ever see him on the street or a fan convention, ask for a selfie. 

He participates in most Latino projects, including the new movie version of Dora la exploradora!

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Can you think of a better actor to give voice to Dora’s monkey, Boots? Neither can we. 

He supports young female boxers and aspiring musicians. Did you know that? 

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Trejo Music is his new passion project! As he told Daily Breeze: “Everything good that has happened to me has happened from helping people, and I started this record label to help people. Let’s hear you and if you can fit, you’re on”.  The label’s first album: Danny Trejo Presents Chicano Soul Shop Vol. 1. Can we please get it, like tomorrow. He is also a boxing manager and promoter and supports champion Seniesa Estrada. 

And, of course, he gave us Machete, an icon of resistance against inhumane border policies.

Credit: officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Before the Trump era kicked in, Trejo was already kicking ass at the border by embodying Mexican ire against racist politicians and gringo vigilantes. 

READ: People Are Freaking Out About The High-Pitched Character Danny Trejo, AKA Machete, Voices In The New “Dora The Explorer” Movie

Paid Promoted Stories