Cristina Saralegui

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Cristina Saralegui
Cristina Saralegui.jpg
Saralegui in March 1992
Born Cristina Maria Saralegui
(1948-01-29) January 29, 1948 (age 68)
Miramar, Havana, Cuba
Ethnicity Basque
Alma mater University of Miami
Occupation Journalist, actress, talk show host
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Marcos Avila (1982–present)

Cristina Maria Saralegui (born January 29, 1948) is a Cuban-born American journalist, actress and talk show host of the Spanish-language eponymous show, Cristina.

Early life and family[edit]

Saralegui were born in Miramar, Havana, Cuba, to Francisco Rene Saralegui, Jr. and Cristina Santamarina. In 1960, following the Cuban Revolution, Saralegui and her family fled to Miami and settled on Key Biscayne. She is of Spanish descent from all four grandparents. Her paternal grandparents Francisco Saralegui was Basque from the town of Lizarza and Amalia Alvarez was from Gijon, Asturias, Spain. Saralegui came to the United States as a child with her family in 1960.[1]

Journalism career[edit]

After graduating from the Academy of the Assumption in 1966, Saralegui enrolled at the University of Miami. In 1973, she began an internship at the magazine Vanidades. This allowed her to improve her written Spanish to the level of her spoken language. By 1979, Saralegui was editor of the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan magazine. She continued in this role through most of the 1980s.

El Show de Cristina[edit]

In 1989, Saralegui transferred her journalistic success to television, by launching the Miami-based Spanish-language talk show, El Show de Cristina (The Cristina Show) on Univisión. She concluded each episode with a double thumbs-up salute and the Cuban expression "Pa'lante, pa'lante, pa'tras ni pa' coger impulso", ("Forward, forward; don't step back, not even to gain momentum"…could also be understood as "to get a running start".)[2]

Prominent guests included Shakira, Don Francisco, the former members of Menudo, Fernando Colunga, Selena, Lucero, Celia Cruz, Thalía, Julio Iglesias, Alejandro Fernández, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Sussan Taunton, Jorge Ramos, Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan, Jr., Gloria Trevi, Chayanne, Sebastian Rulli, Xuxa, Ricky Martin, RBD, Niurka, Noelia, Anaís, George Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, Adela Noriega, Grecia Colmenares, Alexandra Cheron, Amelia Vega, Angélica Vale, Angélica María, Gloria Trevi, and Susana Gonzalez.

During the program recorded on Monday, October 25, 2010, Cristina reviewed her career and the program's more memorable episodes and guests.

Saragelui's talk show last aired on November 1, 2010 after 21 years. Hosted by Mexican actor, Fernando Colunga, Cristina was celebrated by her colleagues Daniela Romo, Cesar Evora, Thalia, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan, Angelica Maria, Carmen Salinas, Don Francisco, Jorge Ramos, and others. Some of her Univision colleagues were in the audience from where they interacted with Cristina herself, sharing anecdotes and messages of hope and admiration.

Saralegui went on to publish her own magazine, Cristina: La Revista (Cristina: The Magazine) and several books. She is referred to as "the Spanish Oprah".[3][4]

In 1992, Saralegui had an English-language syndicated talk show, Cristina, which was cancelled after half a season.

The song Somos El Mundo premiered during Saralegui's show, with an appeal to help the Haiti relief effort. It was translated by Gloria Estefan, produced by her husband Emilio Estefan and approved by Quincy Jones.[5]

During her last show on Univision, Saralegui said,

"Cristina no se retira, jamas dejaría esto... aquí hay Cristina y ¡para rato!" ("Cristina does not retire, I would never leave this... there is (still) Cristina and for a (good) while!").[citation needed]

Saralegui remained under contract with Univision until December 31, 2010. It was discussed that she might continue as a collaborator, for special programs and interviews, and that a new Cristina show would debut in March, 2011, but this did not happen.[6]

Career after Univision (WAPA-TV and WLII-DT)[edit]

The Spanish Network Azteca America presented a one-hour special, "Cristina Breaks the Silence" where, for the first time since her retirement from Univision, Saralegui was interviewed on television. The interview, hosted by Frank Cairo, a former producer and creator of the Cristina show, touched on many issues, from guests who were considered "difficult", to the unexpected announcement from the executives of Univision that her show was being canceled, as well as reactions, emotions, and responses to the news.[citation needed]

It was announced on May 17, 2011 that Telemundo had hired Cristina for a weekly variety show, Pa'lante con Cristina (Forward with Cristina), beginning in the fall of 2011.[7]

She debuted on Telemundo on May 31, 2011, hosting a one-hour special retrospective, featuring the stars of the just-completed telenovela La Reina del Sur.

On May 31, 2012, it was announced that Pa'lante con Cristina would end its run and will not be renewed for another season.[8]

In June 2012, Saralegui endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term. It was her first political endorsement ever.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
2003 George Lopez Lydia 2 episodes: George Has Two Mommies and Would You Like a Drumstick or a Kidney?

Web presence[edit]

Currently, Saralegui has joined with AARP to help raise awareness, within the Latino community, about the benefits AARP has to offer. They have created ¡Amigos Live!,[10] an online interactive video.

Personal life[edit]

She has two brothers, Patxi and Inaki, as well as two sisters, Vicky and Maria Eugenia. Since 1982, Saralegui has been married to Marcos Avila, a former member of the Miami Sound Machine. She has three children.


  1. ^ Cristina!: My Life as a Blonde By Cristina Saralegui.
  2. ^ Desde El Avion. Cristina Online. Retrieved on 2012-04-20.
  3. ^ "Look Out Oprah: Here Comes Cristina". 20/20 (ABC News). 2001-07-05. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  4. ^ Streisand, Betsy (2003-03-09). "Latino Power". U.S. News & World Report (U.S.News & World Report, L.P.). p. 3. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  5. ^ Somos El Mundo Video Premieres, Stars Pitbull, Shakira, Juanes, David Archuleta, Daddy Yankee retrieved 2010-03-02
  6. ^ Munzenrieder, Kyle. (2010-11-01) Is Cristina Saralegui Taking Her Show to Telemundo? – Miami News – Riptide 2.0. Retrieved on 2012-04-20.
  7. ^ James, Meg (May 18, 2011). "Fall TV Season: Telemundo lands talk-show host Cristina Saralegui". Show Tracker (LA Times). Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  8. ^ 31 de Mayo, 2012 - 9:33 PM EDT. "Se terminó: Pa'lante con Cristina dejará de emitirse" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  9. ^ Bolstad, Erika (2012-06-17). "WASHINGTON: Cristina Saralegui says she’ll endorse President Barack Obama - Political Currents". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  10. ^ ¡Amigos Live!

External links[edit]