Ilia Calderon Paves the Way for Afro-Latino’s in the World of Journalism
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Hardwork and endurance have made Calderon one of the most recognized journalists in the Spanish-speaking community.
By Adriana Cruz
I’m serving my plate of dinner when all of a sudden Univision’s national newscast takes over the sound in my kitchen. It’s time to catch up on the day’s current events. My ears perk up at the voice of Ilia Calderon.
Ilia Calderon is one of the many faces of Univision. Calderon has been the co-anchor for the evening newscast, Noticiero Univision, for many years alongside another notable journalist from the network, Jorge Ramos. Prime-time TV is nothing new to her. Before Univision, she was a reporter for the competing network, Telemundo. It’s safe to say that she’s learned a lot.
Tough skin growing up
Calderon was born in Chocó, Colombia. The town’s racial makeup is almost entirely Afro-Latino and she is no different. From a young age, race played a significant role in her life. She could see how much harder people with darker skin tones worked to have the same things as people of other skin tones. When she started high school in Medellin, Colombia, she had her first experience with racism. Things didn’t change when she continued on to higher education, but that didn’t stop her. Thanks to her dedication, she’s become one of the most recognized faces in the Spanish-speaking community.
Curiosity for the better
“I want to know all the answers,” Calderon said. “It’s hard for me to deal with uncertainty.”
It was this that sparked the motivation to go to great depths to get not just the story, but the truth. Stories with world leaders or stories about societal issues, like femicide in Latin America, all make up her journalist portfolio. Often times, it was stories like these that brought awareness to the problems that were often considered taboo.
No longer afraid
Imagine getting offered a job where no one looks like you. Intimidation is probably the perfect word to describe it. That was initially the case for Calderon. Nobody on TV had looked like her before. She was the trailblazer for a lot of other people that would follow in her footsteps. Now, fear is no longer the issue. This was emphasized during one of her most viral stories where she interviewed Christopher Barke, a Ku Klux Klan leader. Many people can learn a lot from her strength and endurance. She speaks about it all in her new memoir, My Time to Speak.
I grew up watching Calderon. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the importance of having people that look like me on TV. Now that I’m older, I’m so thankful for the representation. Just like Calderon, I’m also in the journalism industry and although I want to go the public relations route, knowing that she could make such an impact motivates me to do the same.
About the Author:
Adriana Cruz will be a first-generation graduate from UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism. Storytelling and message creation are at the forefront of her skill set. She plans to pursue a career in brand management within the fashion or beauty industry.