María Celeste Arrarás

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María Celeste Arrarás
Thumbnail 3FD947D0-5B31-4BB8-B34A-508F444225A6.jpg
Born Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Residence Miami, FL
Other names María Celeste
Occupation Journalist, author, and television personality
Known for Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste and Noticiero Telemundo

María Celeste Arrarás (born 27 September 1960 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico), better known as María Celeste, is a Puerto Rican broadcast journalist, best-selling author, and television personality. She is best known for being a force within the Spanish language television, with over 30 years of experience. Considered a trailblazer for Hispanic women in television, Arrarás was selected for the cover of "Newsweek" magazine, who named her as one of the “20 Most Powerful Women” of the next generation of leaders, with several other news sources echoing such praise. Her renowned professionalism and experience has not only made Arrarás a household name, but also gained her the reputation of being one of the most trusted journalists in the field. Throughout her remarkable career, Arrarás has won several accolades and awards, including an Emmy Award in recognition for her extraordinary career as a journalist. Currently, Arrarás serves as the host and managing editor of Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo) the most talked about newsmagazine in Hispanic television, which airs nationwide in the U.S. and in 15 Latin American countries, and has a daily audience of 35 million viewers. Arrarás is also the co-anchor of Telemundo’s internationally acclaimed newscast, Noticiero Telemundo. Her far-reaching popularity has made Arrarás a social media dynamo, with millions of followers across the world.

Early Life and Education[edit]

María Celeste Arrarás was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, the firstborn child of José Enrique Arrarás, a respected politician, lawyer, and educator, and Astrid Mangual, a homemaker and chemist.[1][2][3] The family later grew, with Arrarás being joined by eight other siblings, Astrid, José Enrique, Jr., Patricia, Gabriel Enrique, Enrique Antonio and Isabel Celeste Arrarás. After her mother’s remarriage, Arrarás was joined by two more siblings, Percy and Francisco Naranjo.

During her formative years, sports played a fundamental role in shaping the discipline and drive that has made Arrarás so successful today. It was through sports, that Arrarás became determined to be the best at anything she set her mind to. She particularly excelled at swimming, and with the support of her father and coaches, Arrarás became a champion swimmer, earning her the nickname "María the Meteorite” due to her quick-speed in races.

In 1971, she won three medals (one gold, one silver, and one bronze) at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships. She qualified to compete at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, but had to give up on that goal two weeks before the competition after she contracted infectious mononucleosis ("kissing disease") after having shared a glass of water with someone.[4]

In 1978, Arrarás left her native Puerto Rico to attend Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she majored in Communications, and four years later graduated with honors. In 2016, Arrarás returned to her alma mater where she was inducted into the School of Mass Communication's Den of Distinction and was honored by the university for her outstanding career in television.[5]

Television career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Arrarás began her broadcasting career in 1986 when she was employed by a local Puerto Rican television station, Channel 24, as a news anchor and reporter.[6] There, Arrarás was able to travel all over the world covering major news events, such as the fall of the Soviet Union in Moscow and Leningrad, and in a very short time she received several journalistic awards for her reports.[7] Her talents quickly drew the attention of the executives at the Univision affiliate in New York City who decided to hire her in 1987 as the co-anchor of its local news show.

Univision (1987-2002)[edit]

Shortly after being hired by Univision, the network promoted Arrarás to the position of Los Angeles Bureau Chief. In January 1990, when the network moved to Miami, she was officially named the national news anchor for Noticiero Univision weekend edition.

In 1992, Arrarás was named co-anchor of another television news program, Primer Impacto alongside Myrka Dellanos. The show became an instant success and registered record ratings over the years. The show's popularity resulted in a large franchise for Univision including "Primer Impacto Extra", "Primer Impacto Edicion Nocturna", and the weekly show "Ver Para Creer" all of which were hosted by Arrarás and Dellanos. Arrarás would continue to hold her positions until 2002, when she left the show and joined their rival network Telemundo.[8]

Telemundo (2002-Present)[edit]

The defection of María Celeste Arrarás from Univision, North America's largest Spanish-language network, to the rival Telemundo broadcasting group in 2002 sent shockwaves in the industry and was heralded as the start of a new era for Hispanic media. Arrarás was given a plum spot at Telemundo, and her arrival coincided with news that the National Broadcasting Company (NBC)'s $2.7 billion acquisition of the Spanish-language news and entertainment provider had just won U.S. government approval. Arrarás, an attractive and admired media celebrity in the Latino world, was to host her own Telemundo show, but would also file English-language reports for Dateline, NBC's top-rated prime-time newsmagazine and work as a guest co-host in NBC's Today show. Arrarás's hire—and the Telemundo/NBC venture—was seen as a sign of an increased Hispanic presence in mainstream media news organizations, and New York Times journalist Mirta Ojito called the new, lucrative contract for this popular journalist "NBC's first coup in the Latino media."[9] In 2002, the same day that NBC Universal acquired Telemundo as part of their larger network, Arrarás took her current position at Telemundo, becoming the host and Managing Editor of the new show Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste, which in English translates to "Red Hot Live with María Celeste". The show is a news and entertainment magazine that takes you around the world in an hour. Its unique format has been described as “paella style” because it combines live interviews with news of the day, special investigations, celebrity news, amazing videos, health, consumer issues and the latest in technology. Today the show is immensely popular, drawing about 35 millions of viewers across the world.

Over the years Arrarás has been praised for her wit, straight forwardness and amazing interviewing skills. She is considered a fair, yet incisive journalist who has landed exclusive after exclusive, including interviews with Yolanda Saldívar (the woman convicted of murdering Tejano music singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez),[10] as well as countless celebrities, politicians, and news makers.

In 2004, Arrarás co-hosted the Brown-Black Democratic Presidential Debate in Iowa for MSNBC, a program that was number one in the cable ratings universe when it aired live.[11]

Throughout her career Arrarás has also managed to successfully cross-over to the English market. Since 2002 Arrarás has been invited as a guest co-host of NBC’s Today show, and according to The New York Times, “Ms. Arrarás’s high-profile sally into national network television, in the spot previously occupied by Ms. Couric no less, was groundbreaking for a Spanish-accented broadcaster.”[12] She has also contributed to different NBC programs including Dateline and Nightly News.[13]

On the night of María Celeste’s debut as a contributor for Dateline NBC, the show experienced a dramatic audience increase in both Hispanic an Anglo demographics. NBC president Andrew Lack told the Los Angeles Times, “[María Celeste] was one of the highest segments at ‘Dateline’ that quarter.” He then described her as “a serious, smart journalist.”[14]

María Celeste is “Breaking the Sound Barrier” says The New York Times

In 2013, Arrarás became co-anchor of the award-winning Noticiero Telemundo alongside Jose Diaz-Balart, who remarked “It will be a real pleasure to work alongside María Celeste…in addition to the fact that she is one of the most prominent figures in the industry and a leading protagonist in the history of Spanish-language journalism, María Celeste and I have a long friendship.”[15] Shortly thereafter, in September 2014 Telemundo won an Emmy for its coverage of the election of Pope Francis. One news source stated, the addition of María Celeste is the latest development in a strategy that has consolidated “Noticiero Telemundo” as the national newscast with the fastest growing audience on both Spanish and English-language television.[16]

In February 2016, Arrarás served as a panelist for the Republican Party presidential debate held in Houston. Arrarás was widely praised for her performance, especially for the powerful questions she asked the candidates, and those she refused to shy away from. During parts of the heated debate, candidate Donald Trump tried to interrupt her, but Arrarás stood her ground and in a very professional manner she managed to keep him on track. The Washington Post praised her unconventional way of framing issues and said categorically that "she played an important fact-checking role" in that debate.[17]

In the summer of 2016, Arrarás celebrated her 30-year career in television. During the celebrations, Arrarás reunited with her former co-host of Primer Impacto, Myrka Dellanos, for a one time special edition of Al Rojo Vivo commemorating the anniversary.[18] She was recognized by the city of Los Angeles with a resolution commending her for being a great communicator for over three decades. Puerto Rico, her birthplace, also honored Arrarás by granting her a star on their "Paseo de la Fama de Puerto Rico," their walk of fame. The government also held a special ceremony for Arrarás at the House of Representatives Capitol Building to commemorate her achievements. Many news outlets showed highlights of her astonishing career, “At this rate, we can't even imagine all the great things she'll do in the next 30 years of her career!” E! News wrote.[19]

Awards and Honors[edit]

Throughout her career Arrarás has won countless awards and honors including:

Arrarás celebrating with her second Emmy Award

• In June 2005 she became the first Hispanic journalist to receive a National Emmy in recognition for her career achievements.

• In 2013 she received the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her outstanding career in journalism.

• In September 2014 Arrarás won another Emmy after the Telemundo news team picked up an Emmy for its coverage of the election of Pope Francis.

• In 2016 The Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) presented Arrarás with a lifetime achievement award to commemorate her 30 years in television and her contributions for the advancement of the Hispanic community in the U.S.

• In 2003 Arrarás was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hispanic Television presented to her by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News.

• In May 2003 Arrarás was honored with her name and hand-prints on a plaque on display in Mexico City’s Paseo de los Grandes (Walk of the Great Ones).

• In 2012 she was named “Best Journalist doing Social Good in Social Media” by LATISM, the largest Hispanic social media organization.

• In 2013 she was given the most "social" celebrity award in Premios Tu Mundo because of her mass audience and communication with fans.

• In 2001 she was awarded the PETA Humanitarian Award for her dedication to animal rights campaigns around the globe.

• In 1999 Arrarás won the Génesis, award (National Ark Trust Fund) in recognition for her outstanding work in raising awareness of animal protection issues.

• In 2009 she was named the "Hero of the Environment" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium for her efforts in raising awareness about conserving the planet and its ecosystems.

• In 2012 she was awarded the title of "Ocean Defender" by Wildcoast in recognition for her efforts to defend the earth's coasts and oceans.


Arrarás is also an investigative reporter and writer, and has authored several books.

In 1997, Arrarás wrote Selena‘s Secret: The Revealing Story Behind Her Tragic Death (released in Spanish as El Secreto De Selena: La Reveladora Historia Detrás De Su Trágica Muerte), published by Simon & Schuster. The book describes her in-depth investigation surrounding the events that lead to the death of singer Selena Quintanilla. It became an instant best-seller because it unleashed in a very respectful manner the difficult, and controversial, situations that Selena was confronting months before her murder.

In 2007, Arrarás wrote The Magic Cane (released in Spanish as El Bastón Mágico), published by Scholastic. The book is a magical fable for children from the ages of four to eight features brightly colored comic book style illustrations that will appeal to readers providing a modern touch for an old-fashioned type of storytelling.

In 2009, Arrarás published her latest book Make Your Life Prime Time: How to Have It All Without Losing Your Soul, (released in Spanish as Vive Tu Vida Al Rojo Vivo: Secretos Para Triunfar En Todo), published by Atria. In it, the award-winning journalist shares advice through personal reflections and a series of anecdotes that will serve all those who read it as a compass to navigate through life.

Public Image[edit]

Often cited as the “Hispanic TV Queen,” Arrarás has been described by the New York Times as “a household name in Spanish-speaking homes across the country, and a darling of the Spanish-language media, which turned her into a cover girl for magazine articles that ranged from fitness to the supermom syndrome."[20]

María Celeste at her desk

She is one of the most popular celebrities today, with over 50 magazine covers under her belt. In 2006, she appeared on the cover of Newsweek after the magazine selected her as one of the “20 Most Powerful Women” of the next generation of leaders. Later that year, Newsweek also had her on the cover of its special international edition dedicated to “Women and Leadership.” She has been featured on the cover of People en Español magazine more than 15 times, including six times for its “50 Most Beautiful People” edition.[21]

Many have commented that her professionalism can only be compared to the likes of Diane Sawyer, Jane Pauley, and Katie Couric. Although she is the only one that is able to interchange between the two major language markets in the United States.[22]

Arrarás has also been the judge of the Miss Universe Pageant on two occasions. The first was the 52nd Miss Universe pageant, held on June 2003, where Amelia Vega became the first Dominican candidate to be crowned. Then again in 2006, when Puerto Rican beauty Zuleyka Rivera was crowned in Los Angeles.

Known for being a “Media Dynamo,” she has always been an active member of social media. In 2001 she was named “Queen of the Internet,” after her first cyber chat surpassed the record held by Ricky Martin. Currently, Arrarás holds millions of followers across her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Personal life and Activism[edit]

María Celeste with her three children

Arrarás currently lives in Miami with her three children, Julian Enrique (born in November 1997), Lara Giuliana (born in July 2001), and Adrian Vadim (born in July 1999).[23]

She is a vocal environmental and animal rights activist. She has been noted for speaking out against the exploitation of animals, especially in spectacles such as rodeos, aquariums, cock-fights, and circuses.[24] In December 2001, she even went in front of the Puerto Rican Congress to advocate for a ban in the Island on circuses that forced wild animals to perform as part of their shows. Currently Arrarás is working with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International on a campaign to dramatically improve the welfare of the more than 300,000 stray dogs and one million stray cats in the island.[25]

She is also an advent supporter and advocate of other organizations including, Autism Speaks,[26] an autism advocacy organization in the United States that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.[27]

See also[edit]


  4. ^ "Cuando Yo Era Niño: María Celeste Arrarás revive su niñez como nadadora". 
  5. ^ "Telemundo Anchor Maria Celeste Arrarás Visits Loyola University New Orleans". 
  6. ^ "Telemundo Talentos". 
  7. ^ "María Celeste Arrarás". 
  8. ^ Correa, Adriana. "Telemundo Host Maria Celeste Arrarás Reunites with Myrka Dellanos to Celebrate Career Milestone". 
  9. ^ OJITO, MIRTA. "A Dish of Rice and Beans Heats Up Latino TV". 
  10. ^ Sauceda, Isis. "Las 7 cosas que debes saber antes de leer El secreto de Selena de María Celeste Arrarás". 
  11. ^ "Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Jan 11, 2004". 
  12. ^ NAVARRO, MIREYA. "Breaking the Sound Barrier". 
  13. ^ "María Celeste Arrarás Host, "Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste"; Host, "Noticiero Telemundo"". 
  14. ^ "Maria Celeste". 
  15. ^ "María Celeste Arrarás To Co-Anchor Telemundo Media's 'Noticiero Telemundo'". Deadline. 
  16. ^ "María Celeste Arrarás To Co-Anchor Telemundo Media's 'Noticiero Telemundo'". Deadline. 
  17. ^ Borchers, Callum. "Telemundo showed the value of Spanish-language media in Thursday's GOP debate". 
  18. ^ Marti, Diana. "María Celeste Arrarás Reunites With Myrka Dellanos to Celebrate Her 30-Year Career". E News. 
  19. ^ Marti, Diana. "María Celeste Arrarás Reunites With Myrka Dellanos to Celebrate Her 30-Year Career". E News. 
  20. ^ MIRTA, OJITO. "A Dish of Rice and Beans Heats Up Latino TV". 
  21. ^ "María Celeste Arrarás Host, "Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste"; Host, "Noticiero Telemundo"". 
  22. ^ MIRTA, OJITO. "A Dish of Rice and Beans Heats Up Latino TV". 
  23. ^ Oyola, Michelle. "Julián, Adrián y Lara, Hijos de María Celeste Arrarás: Las Fotos que Tienes que Ver". 
  24. ^ "Hispanic Celebrities Support PETA!". 
  25. ^ "Telemundo Host María Celeste Arrarás Campaigns to Improve Dire Conditions for Animals in Puerto Rico". The Humane Society of the United States. 
  26. ^ "Biografia de Maria Celeste". Telemundo. 
  27. ^ Singh, Jennifer; Hallmayer, Joachim; Illes, Judy. "Interacting and paradoxical forces in neuroscience and society". 

External links[edit]