Cristina Saralegui is the previous host of successful Spanish-language talk show, Cristina. Although born in Havana, Cuba, Saralegui and her family settled in Miami, Florida after fleeing the Cuban Revolution in 1960. After graduating from the University of Miami, she interned at the Spanish magazine, Vanidades. She followed this assignment by serving as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine’s Spanish version.
As the 90’s approached, she used her following and acclaim to launch the Spanish-language talk show, The Cristina Show (El Show de Cristina). Her guests included notable Spanish celebrities like Selena, Celia Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, and Jennifer Lopez. Her talk show quickly became a fan favorite and aired on Univison for an unprecedented twenty-one years. Saralegui is frequently referred to as the Spanish-Cuban Oprah Winfrey. At the close of the final airing of her talk show, she assured her audiences that she would still be on the journalistic scene, saying, “Cristina does not retire, I would never leave this… there is (still) Cristina and for a (good) while!”
The popularity and success of The Cristina Show was largely due to the platform it provided for the Latin community to publicly and candidly talk about issues specific to their needs. Some of these issues had not previously been discussed on television, causing her show to have a groundbreaking appeal. It quickly became the voice for Hispanics who might otherwise have never been heard. The show earned its host twelve Emmy awards and made her a household name.
Saralegui went on to create a successful and influential media and licensing business after the completed run of her talk show. Her company created a line of home furnishings and clothing. She also owns and runs Blue Dolphin Studios, a television production facility. She has written and published her autobiography and hosts a daytime radio show. With all these accomplishments, it comes as no surprise that she was named one of the “25 Most Influential Hispanics in America” by Time magazine in 2005. She is also on the Board of Directors of The Museum of Television & Radio.
Cristina Saralegui used her name and brand to help provide relief for the Haiti disaster and to make her first ever political endorsement urging fans to vote for Barack Obama in his second successful run for US President. She lent her full support to this presidency because, as she said, “I came to this country when I was 12 years old because my parents wanted to give me new opportunities to succeed. President Obama wants everyone to have the chances I had.”
Her other political activities include the Arriba la Vida/Up with Life Foundation. This foundation advocates for HIV and AIDS research, education and awareness in the Latino community. She also serves on the National Council of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She is the first Spanish-language media mogul to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is a testament to girls and women everywhere that breaking new ground is not only possible, but can alter the course of your own life and provide a setting for you to champion the causes of others.