Born in San Juan, Texas in 1979, Cristela Alonzo was exposed to extreme financial hardship before building an incredibly successful career as a comedian, writer, producer, actress, and media personality.
She first started performing standup while working in an office role at a Dallas comedy club. She soon moved to Los Angeles in hopes of making it big — and her plans worked out perfectly. What did Cristela get up to before her appointment as the host of Legends of the Hidden Temple?
Cristela Alonzo is a trailblazing comedian and the host of 'Legends of the Hidden Temple.'
A self-described theater nerd, Cristela appeared in various school productions before launching a career in showbiz. Cristela took up an active interest in comedy after her mother's death in 2002.
As Cristela writes on her website, she initially used the art form as a means to grieve. An expert at dissecting harmful stereotypes, she has since cemented herself as a comedian able to turn conflict-charged experiences into a source of humor.
"I need to normalize my story because my story isn't special," Cristela said.
In 2014, Cristela became the first Latina to create, write, star, and produce a primetime sitcom in the U.S. The eponymous show, Cristela, garnered a cult following even though it was (unjustly) canceled after just one season.
"There was a moment at the end of the standup shows that I would always mention the TV show, and people could not stop cheering for minutes," Cristela told NBC News. "I was already doing social commentary in my standup, but there was a moment around that time that I thought, 'I need to be talking more about this. I need to normalize my story because my story isn't special.'"
"I grew up with people like me, and people need to know that there’s a lot of me’s out there," she added. "When we talk about creating content for Latinos, it’s not about creating content for Latinos; it’s about creating good content that happens to have Latinos in it."
Some of Cristela's current projects include Legends of the Hidden Temple, where she serves as the host. She also wrote Holiday in Santa Fe, a Lifetime movie about the conflict between a greedy greeting card executive and a small family-run business.
As the host of 'Legends of the Hidden Temple,' Cristela works in close collaboration with a group of youthful adults.
Unlike the cult-classic original, the latest iteration of Legends of the Hidden Temple features adult duos with an insatiable desire to win big. As the host, Cristela narrates the adrenaline-drenched challenges.
"When I was growing up, Nickelodeon was the hub for kids for me and my friends. When I first saw Olmec, I got giddy. It's the icon of the show," Cristela told TV Insider. "This is a perfect show to go back to your childhood. We need to be having fun and playing right now, especially the time we are living in."
Catch new episodes of Legends of the Hidden Temple Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.