She’s a stand-up comedian and the first Mexican-American woman to create, produce and star on a major network.
I got a chance to meet up with Cristela Alonzo as she preps her own Netflix Comedy Special.
What some may not know is that Alonzo is very proud of growing up in the Rio Grande Valley.
She credits her roots for instilling her work ethic, sense of humor and determination that have made her successful.
“I’m really excited, but I gotta tell you I’m really nervous too.” Says Alonzo.
Cristela is preparing her material for a Netflix special. Material that usually revolves around growing up with a single mother in a conservative Mexican family. Alonzo says her mother set the example of working hard and never complaining something she still carries.
Cristela, “My mom always taught me to not complain about anything. It was always that thing where you don’t make waves, you keep quiet. I tell people all the time ‘if I’m at a restaurant and I get the wrong food, I eat the wrong food.’ It’s in me.”
But fast forward to 2016 and Cristela is anything but silent. She’s standing up, speaking up, and tearing up her own culture’s barriers. One laugh at a time.
“We live in a time where we talk so much about immigration, and we talk about immigrants, but we never give them a voice and we never give them a face and we never give them a heart. When you start talking to people and you make them human, that’s when people start treating us like people.”
Cristela made history in 2014 when she was the first Latina to create, produce and star in a Network TV sitcom named, “Cristela”. Despite the admiration from many viewers who related to her, the show came to an end after 22 episodes.
“My show wasn’t owned by the network, and when it’s not owned by ABC, they basically have to rent it from the company that owns it, and when they rent it, it’s kind of like old-school Blockbuster video. They charge a hefty fee so it was a lot of money for a show they didn’t own.”
While she declined an offer to continue the show with the network. It wasn’t about the fame or the money.
But what made her create the show in the first place was the chance to put Latino story lines in the spotlight.
“It made me realize that there is a demand for stories like that and there is a demand for us to find newer voices with different stories we can create and develop so that everybody feels like their show, like they’re represented. When I was a kid, nobody looked like me on TV.”
There’s no word yet on when her comedy special will premiere on Netflix. You can also watch the full first season of ‘Cristela’ on Netflix.