2011 Univision Upfront©GettyImages
incredible career

Ilia Calderón journey: From pioneer Afro-Latina anchor to presidential debate host

Exploring the remarkable path of a trailblazing Afro-Latina journalist

Ilia Calderón was born into a culturally diverse and interracial family in the beautiful Colombian region of Chocó. She went on to have an incredible career in journalism, breaking barriers and becoming a pioneering figure in American and Latin American media. With her unwavering talent and dedication to journalism, Calderón made history and earned the respect of audiences and peers alike.

Univision's 2015 Upfront©GettyImages

1994: The Beginnings

Ilia Calderón’s journey in journalism began in 1994 when she took on the role of a host for a local newscast in Medellín, Colombia’s second most populous city. Calderón first honed her skills in this vibrant city and laid the foundation for her future success.

A Rising Star

Over the years, Calderón accumulated invaluable experience and earned a reputation as one of Colombia’s most respected television journalists. Her dedication to her craft and natural talent for storytelling soon caught the attention of media outlets beyond Colombia’s borders.

A Move to Miami

In 2001, Ilia Calderón made a significant move to Miami, Florida, where she began working as a host for Telemundo. Her remarkable journey continued as she became the co-host of the weekend edition of the national newscast, solidifying her position as the first Afro-Latina to host any evening news program on a major TV network in the United States. Her talent and charisma soon led her to co-host Telemundo’s morning program, “Cada Día con María Antonieta Collins.”

2017: A Historic Moment

In 2017, a significant moment in Calderón’s career arrived when she was appointed as the new co-host of Univision’s iconic evening news program, “Noticiero Univision.” This appointment marked a historic milestone as Calderón became the first Afro-Latina to host a national weekly evening news program for one of the United States‘ major television networks.

2023 TelevisaUnivision Upfront©GettyImages

She took the previously occupied seat by María Elena Salinas and joined Jorge Ramos as the program’s co-host, which aired from Monday to Friday.

Calderón had made history in her native Colombia by becoming the first black woman to present a national newscast, “Noticiero CMI,” showcasing her groundbreaking achievements in her home country and abroad.

Emmy Award Winner

In 2017, Calderón’s journalistic excellence was officially recognized when she received an Emmy Award for her interview with Christopher Barker, an American white supremacist and leader of a recognized hate group. This award shows her fearless pursuit of truth and commitment to addressing critical issues.

March 15, 2020: A Presidential Debate Host

Further showcasing her prominence in American media, Calderón co-hosted the eleventh Democratic presidential debate on CNN alongside Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Her role in moderating such a significant event underscored her influence and impact on the American political landscape.

Democratic presidential hopeful former US vice president Joe Biden talks with moderators (L-R) Univision’s journalist Ilia Calderon, CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper and CNN political correspondent Dana Bash at the end of the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020.

2023: A New Chapter

In 2023, Ilia Calderón’s remarkable journey continues as she is set to join Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney and Fox News anchor Dana Perino as a moderator for the second Republican presidential debate. This historic event will occur at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. It will be broadcast in a Spanish-language version on Univision, further highlighting Calderón’s importance in bridging cultural and linguistic divides.

Ilia Calderón’s journey from a diverse family in Chocó, Colombia, to becoming a trailblazing journalist in the United States is the ultimate proof of her talent, dedication, and power to break down barriers in the media world. As she continues making history and inspiring others, Calderón’s legacy as a pioneering Afro-Latina journalist is firmly cemented in journalism.

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