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Cristina Saralegui: 1948—: Journalist, Talk Show Host, Publisher, Author

Built A Media Empire

Since starting El Show de Cristina in 1989, Saralegui has built a media empire and demands respect for her accomplishments as a Hispanic woman. "I'm not afraid to say that I'm a very intelligent woman," she told the Los Angeles Times in a 1998 interview. "[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,' because we couldn't get married … I've been called an egomaniac so many times that it's not funny." In 1991 she started the monthly Cristina La Revista (Cristina the Magazine), which has a circulation of more than 160,000 in the United States and Latin America. She also has a daily radio show, Cristina Opina (Cristina's Opinion), in ninety countries including the United States, and hosts a weekly prime-time show Cristina: Edicion Especial (Cristina: Special Edition), which has been a huge ratings success. In 1992 Sarelegui attempted an English-language version of her show on CBS. Despite positive reviews, she opted out after 13 weeks because she was offered less money to produce her show in English than she was getting from Univision to do the show in Spanish. Still, she hopes to go bilingual again one day.

In addition to her television and publishing ventures, Saralegui has appeared on many national and local television programs, including the Univision soap opera Amandote. She has also served as national spokes-person for AT&T for nearly a decade and has appeared in television, radio, and print ads urging women to take charge of their health. In 1997 Saralegui created a non-media role for herself when she licensed her name for the first time. Although she had been approached in the past to license her name to products ranging from clothing to perfume, she went with eyewear. The Cristina Collection, distributed by the Miami-based Cadore Moda USA, is targeted specifically to Hispanic women.

When she wasn't working on building her empire, Saralegui spent a great deal of time pursuing philanthropic ventures and accepting awards. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for AIDS research and treatment facilities in Mexico and the United States, and in 1996 she started an AIDS organization, "The Arriba la Vida/Up With Life Foundation," which is dedicated to providing information, medicine, and support to Hispanic people afflicted with AIDS. Additionally, she has served on the council for AmFar (the American Foundation for AIDS Research) since 1993 and worked to boost literacy among Latinos. Among a multitude of awards presented to her, Saralegui received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999, was named one of the "Legendary Women of Miami," received the "Corporate Leader Award" from the National Network of Hispanic Women, and received the 2001 Gracie Allen Tribute Award, which honors women in the entertainment industry.

In May of 2001 Saralegui opened Blue Dolphin Studios, a $3.1 million, 500,000-square-foot production facility in Miami to house all the branches of her media empire. Just seven months later, she left El Show de Cristina. It was difficult for Saralegui to leave her daytime talk show, but she wanted time to develop new projects, including more books, new television ventures, and a movie on the life of Cuban singer Celia Cruz. She's also given acting a shot, with recurring roles in the NBC daytime soap Passions and on the Nickelodeon kid's series Taina. "To realize the American dream, the most important thing to understand is that it belongs to everybody," she told the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. "It's a human dream. If you understand this and work very hard, it is possible." For Saralegui, perseverance has certainly paid off.



Boston Globe, February 10, 1998.

Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 28, 2001.

Hispanic Magazine, April 1998.

The Miami Herald, November 28, 2001.

New York Daily News, December 14, 2001.

People Magazine, April 13, 1998.


National Public Radio, Morning Edition, August 27, 2001.

—Kelly M. Martinez

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) BiographyCristina Saralegui: 1948—: Journalist, Talk Show Host, Publisher, Author Biography - Started A Career In Magazines, Made Career Move To Television, Sought To Educate Hispanic Community