Cristela Alonzo is used to breaking barriers. She was the first Latina to create, write, and star in her own U.S. primetime comedy. She was also the first Latina to star in a Disney Pixar movie. And now she’s breaking barriers by becoming the host of Legends of the Hidden Temple when it makes its triumphant return after its final episodes aired on Nickelodeon back in 1995.
Remezcla spoke to Cristela about taking on the duties of being the host of such an iconic show, what this opportunity means to her, and what would happen if she teamed up with Mario Lopez to take on the temple. (We’re particularly invested in the last one there, especially because Cristela also wrote a Christmas movie for Lifetime titled “Holiday in Santa Fe” that stars Lopez himself.) But first, Legends of the Hidden Temple.
This time around it isn’t going to be kids competing. It’s adults living their dreams to swim the moat, become part of the six distinct teams, and have bragging rights that they accomplished something many haven’t. “Everybody wanted to compete to say that they were a Blue Barracuda or like a Purple Parrot or a Silver Snake.” And sure, there is a prize of $25,000, but most contestants were like, “Can you believe that we’re here? That’s Olmec!”
Just talking to Olmec had Cristela freaking out and living her best life. “I’m not kidding…he said my name and I lost it. Especially because Cristela isn’t a common name,” she tells us. “You know, when you grow up with an uncommon name, you grow up knowing a couple things: You’re never gonna find personalized pencils with your name on it and it’s that thing where you come to accept.” Cristela continued by saying, “That moment when Olmec said my name and said ‘Cristela’ I was like, ‘Oh, damn. He knows my name.’”
At that moment, Cristela was a kid all over again. And that made her realize that she’s going to be giving young Latine kids something she never had: a host that is just like them on a show they might also grow up watching. “Everything that I’ve been able to do in my career, I’ve had that moment.” And as her career progressed, now including her work on Legends of the Hidden Temple, she realized, “It made me so happy that I hoped people could see me and know that they could do it too.”
Talking about competing, when asked about who Cristela would do the temple run with, her initial answer was her older sister. But when we asked about Mario Lopez, who stars in her new Lifetime movie “Holiday in Santa Fe,” which she wrote, she quickly responded, “I think we would dominate because he’s competitive as hell.” She then explains how they would get across the moat aka the first trial in Legends of the Hidden Temple, “I would go to Mario and be like, ‘Mira, we’re gonna play Titanic. You’re the raft and I’m the girl.’”
Legends of the Hidden Temple, hosted by Cristela Alonzo, premieres this Sunday on The CW.