CRISTINA SARALEGUI, a 30-year veteran journalist, is recognized as the most influential role model for today's Hispanic woman. She's strong willed, successful, savvy and is committed to making a difference. According to a recent poll, * Hispanic Americans say CRISTINA is the most trusted TV personality, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Univision's Jorge Ramos, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw. CRISTINA sees her #1 role in media and in life as "motivator."
Born January 29, 1948 in Havana, Cuba, CRISTINA was brought up in the strict image of her grandfather, magazine publisher Don Francisco Saralegui, known throughout Latin America as "The Paper Czar." He introduced young CRISTINA to journalism.
In 1960, at the age of 11, CRISTINA left Cuba to start anew in Miami's
Cuban exile community. She attended the University of Miami, majoring
in mass communications and creative writing, while beginning an internship
with Vanidades, the #1 women's magazine in
Cristina La Revista, a monthly magazine co-published by CRISTINA, is
distributed in the United States and throughout Latin America by Editorial
Televisa, the leading publisher of Spanish-language magazines in the world.
"I have always viewed myself as a journalist and a motivator,"
says CRISTINA. "My magazine gives me an opportunity to explore in-depth,
many subjects I can only touch on in television and radio. I want to try
to improve the lives of Hispanic Americans, to help them become more productive
members of their communities. For example, Cristina La Revista features
well-known and respected Hispanics who, by revealing their formula for
success, hope to inspire other Hispanics to
Cristina Opina, a daily radio program, hosted by CRISTINA, airs on Radio
Unica, the first and only national 24-hour Spanish-language talk radio
network in the United States. The program, which shares her views on various
inspirational and motivational themes with her listeners, also airs throughout
Latin America and is distributed by ABC Radio International, a
The "Arriba la Vida/Up With Life Foundation" was established in 1996 by CRISTINA and Marcos Avila (her husband). It is a private Foundation dedicated to AIDS awareness and education among Hispanics, as well as other AIDS related causes that touch the lives of Hispanics everywhere. The Foundation also remains flexible to respond to unique challenges, ideas and projects that fulfill the ideals of service and vision of its founders. Funding for the Foundation's mission is provided by the personal contributions of its founders, and through a broad range of media-related fund raising activities. "We created the Foundation," said CRISTINA, "to provide information, medicine and support to people afflicted with AIDS. AmFAR deals primarily with finding a cure for AIDS.
www.cristinaonline.com is CRISTINA'S bilingual web site. Launched in October 1998, it has fast become one of the hottest sites on the Internet, with over 90 million hits within the United States, throughout Latin America and as far away as Saudi Arabia, Poland and South Korea. The web site provides access to all of the subsidiaries under the Cristina Saralegui Enterprises, Inc. (CSE) umbrella. Visitors can access pages for "The Cristina Show," Cristina la Revista, "Cristina Opina," " Arriba La Vida/Up With Life," information on CRISTINA'S highly acclaimed 1998 autobiography "My Life as a Blonde," released in English and Spanish simultaneously by Warner Books, and so much more.
In the summer of 1997, CRISTINA launched her own collection of Italian fashion eyewear under a licensing agreement with Cadore Moda U.S.A. The Collection can be purchased at local eye care centers nationwide and internationally.
Throughout the years, CRISTINA has been honored by numerous organizations. Here are some examples of the recognition of her community service. In 1995, CRISTINA hosted the 8th annual nationally syndicated "Hispanic Heritage Awards," from Washington, DC. She also served as mistress of ceremonies at the 2nd Annual Hispanic Federation Gala in New York, where she played host to Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, among other VIPs.
CRISTINA is a member of the National Council of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). In December 1995, on World AIDS Day, AmFAR honored CRISTINA with an award of "Distinction for Leadership in Communications and Broadcasting" for her dedication and commitment to AIDS education in the Spanish-speaking world. She previously received the distinguished "Bio Award" as the "No-Nonsense American Woman." The Council on Women's issues unanimously voted to recognize CRISTINA for being one of the premiere role models in America. The organization paid tribute by creating an advertisement that ran in People Magazine in addition to presenting her with $5,000 that she donated to AmFAR.
Also in 1995, New York's legendary Sardi's restaurant honored CRISTINA when they presented her with a caricature that now hangs in that famous show business landmark.
On World AIDS Day (1995), CRISTINA joined Elizabeth Taylor at the United Nations to address the General Assembly.
In 1996, the National Organization of Women in Communications honored CRISTINA with the "Outstanding Communicator of the Year" award in addition to creating a scholarship in her name. She was featured on the cover of Time Inc.'s 1996 premiere issue of People en Español as one of today's "Ten Hottest Latin Stars." CRISTINA was an Honorary Co-Chair for the Eighth Annual Scholarship Banquet for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). Previously, she was presented with the Nosotros Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Achievement.
AmFAR hosted a star-studded Gala honoring CRISTINA for her commitment as an AIDS activist in June 1997, raising more than half a million dollars for AIDS research
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored CRISTINA in 1999 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first Spanish-language television personality to receive one. In October 1999, CRISTINA was named Grand Marshall of the 35th Annual Hispanic Day Parade.
On December 11, 1999, CRISTINA was invited by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the farewell event of La Virgen Peregrina. Organizers said it was the largest religious event (over 100,000 people) since the Pope's visit to Los Angeles in 1987.
CRISTINA was named one of the "Legendary Women of Miami," receiving the "Corporate Leader Award" from the National Network of Hispanic Women. She has addressed many prestigious organizations ranging from "Women in Communications" to the "Union of American Women of Puerto Rico," and has been presented with proclamations and keys to cities around the world. CRISTINA is also listed in numerous biographical references including "Who's Who in Professional and Executive Women" and 'The Top 100 Hispanic Influential People in the U.S."
On April 15, 2000, the National Council of La Raza/Kraft Foods ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) Community Service Award for 2000 was presented to CRISTINA for her exceptional work in heightening the awareness of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community.
Civitas Initiative founded in 1993 by Jeffrey Jacobs, President of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Entertainment Group, contacted CRISTINA to enlist her support in an important new program. Civitas is a non-profit communications organization that creates tools that help educate and support the community of adults who take care of young children. It works in partnership with leading child development organizations to transform their research into products and services that reach parents, caregivers and front-line professionals working with young children. On May 1, 2000, Civitas Initiative released a special video for parents of virtually every new baby born in the U.S. "Begin with Love" is narrated in English by Oprah Winfrey and in Spanish by CRISTINA. The video provides guidance and information to help parents make the most of the first three months of their baby's life. "Begin with Love" ("Empieza con Amor" in Spanish) is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and features top experts, a wonderful group of new parents, and internationally acclaimed singer and every child's favorite, RAFFI, performing an original song, "Blessed Be." More than 3.6 million videotapes will be distributed free over the next year through The Parenting Group's First Moments, Inc. new parents kit, an in-hospital distribution system. Ronald McDonald House Charities provided a $2 million gift and Drugstore.com provided an additional $1 million corporate sponsorship.
On June 3, 2000, CRISTINA received the "VIP Honoree of the Year" award at the American Cancer Society's "Most Dynamic Women Show and Luncheon" in Miami "for the leadership she has consistently demonstrated within the Hispanic community, the significant accomplishments in her profession, and her tireless volunteer and philanthropic work."
The Cristina Show won the prestigious Gabriel Award, awarded annually by The National Association of Catholic Communicators of the United States, for the special on the Virgen de Guadalupe. This important award honors those programs "that proclaim the value of society and humanity and help create a conscience by teaching the difference between good and bad."
In January 2001, CRISTINA participated in "The Women in TV" conference, along with Whoopi Goldberg, Leeza Gibbons, Judge Judy and Gloria Alred at the NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) National Convention.
Blue Dolphin Studios, CRISTINA'S and Marcos Avila latest and most ambitious project was inaugurated May 6, 2001. The 50,000 sq. ft. state of the art television facility will have three sound stages and editing rooms and will be available to outside productions. The Miami based site will serve as the home of "The Cristina Show" and as headquarters for all Cristina Saralegui Enterprise's subsidiaries. With the opening of Blue Dolphin Studios, Cristina will be only the 4th woman in the history of the U.S. entertainment history to own her own studio. She will be joining the ranks of Mary Pickford, Lucille Ball and Oprah Winfrey.
On May 31, 2001, The Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) presented CRISTINA with the 2001 Gracie Allen Tribute Award in New York City. This prestigious award is bestowed on an individual with proven commitment to the advancement of women in electronic media.
Beginning in July 2001, CRISTINA will be featured in nine episodes on NBC's hit daytime drama "Passions. "We are delighted that "Passions" will be the first soap opera to welcome one of Spanish-language television's brightest star," said Sheraton Kalouria, senior VP, Daytime Programs. Her guest spot on the NBC soap is a reflection of the growing importance of Hispanics in the United States.
Over the past nine years, CRISTINA has served as the national spokesperson for AT&T. Recently, she joined forces with the Ford Division to fight breast cancer. CRISTINA appears in television, radio and print ads urging women to take charge of their health.
CRISTINA is managed by her husband, Marcos Avila, a former musician and
one of the founding members of the highly successful musical group "Gloria
Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine". The couple resides in Miami
Beach with their three children.