Born on Jan. 29, 1948, in Havana, Cuba, Cristina Saralegui immigrated to the U.S. in 1960. She studied publishing in college and in 1979 became the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan en Espanol. She transitioned to TV in 1989 as the host of The Cristina Show. Her namesake talk show went off the air in 2009. Saralegui now hosts a weekly radio program.
Career in Media
The granddaughter of Don Francisco Saralegui, a Cuban magazine publisher, Cristina Saralegui came to the United States with her family in 1960. She later attended the University of Miami and learned about the publishing business while interning at Vanidades magazine. She joined the staff of Cosmopolitan en Espaol in 1973 and became its editor in chief in 1979.
Saralegui, known for being a great conversationalist, asked to host a television talk show for the Univision Network. The Cristina Show debuted in 1989 with Saralegui as host and executive producer. A trailblazer in the media field, she has used her program to tackle controversial topics as well as to provide information on personal and health subjects often avoided in Latino communities, such as domestic violence and AIDS. Saralegui and the show have received 11 Emmy Awards. Not only critically acclaimed, the program earned strong ratings and was seen by estimated 100 million people in Latin America, Europe, and the United States at its peak. The show ended its run in 2009.
With her husband and manager, Marcos Avila, Saralegui has created a substantial media and licensing business. Through Cristina Saralegui Enterprises, Inc., she has made agreements for her own lines of furniture and clothing and operates her own television production facility, Blue Dolphin Studios. She has also written an autobiography and hosts a radio program. With such a broad spectrum of products and programs, it's no wonder that she was named one of the "25 Most Influential Hispanics in America" by Time magazine in 2005.
Saralegui emerged as a strong supporter of President Barack Obama during his 2012 presidential campaign. In June 2012, she publicly declared her that she will "do everything I can from now until November to ensure that President Obama is reelected," according to a report in the Miami Herald. Saralegui also appeared in a campaign video that was released that August. In that video, she said that Obama has worked hard for the Latino community and praised his work on healthcare and education.
In September, Saralegui continued to champion Obama as one of the speakers at the National Democratic Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As dedicated she is to her work, Saralegui is equally committed to her charitable efforts. She and her husband created the Arriba la Vida/Up with Life Foundation to promote AIDS education in the Latino community and to help other AIDS-related causes. She also serves on the National Council of the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
Saralegui and Avila, a founding member of the musical group, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, live in Miami with their three children.
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