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Cristela Alonzo on How You Can’t Buy Self Care
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Episode 10
Cristela Alonzo on How You Can’t Buy Self Care
Cristela Alonzo talks about getting a show, losing a show, getting help and moving forward.

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YNINOK-10 ~ Cristela Alonzo

Tue, 5/11 12:08PM • 1:17:30


diane, cristela, people, laughing, mmhmm, thought, story, grew, stand, life, friends, kid, feel, speak, funny, therapist, latinos, remember, person, talk


Diane Guerrero, Cristela Alonzo

Diane Guerrero 00:00

Just a head's up that we are not clinical experts and, if you need professional help, there will be some links and resources listed in the podcast description, as well as in our newsletter which you can sign up to receive at Hello, beautiful people. Power to the People. This month is a very special month because it is Mental Health Awareness Month. And I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and your little corazoncitos and checking in with your health needs. This past week I had the honor of speaking with Cristela Alonzo. Someone that I now, gratefully, get to call my friend. Cristela is an actor, a writer, a comedian but, most of all, she is a kid at heart and overall, just one of the dopest and funniest people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I am always so happy to speak with her because she is always speaking from her heart and is just always telling the truth. She's a truth teller. Cristela and I, like a lot of children, remember seeing our parents struggle to stay afloat, and we talk about that. As children of immigrants, we are often put in these situations where we have to grow up really, really fast. We have to schedule visits to the doctors for our parents, we become our family's translators, and we even have to advocate for our own education. And, as storytellers, Cristela and I see just how difficult it is for people to support stories that haven't been told yet. Can we imagine what it would look like if we allow audiences to discover, learn, empathize or simply find, find, find something else? But much of the time, the stories perpetuating patriarchal white supremacy are the ones that are celebrated over and over again. And, when it comes to telling Latinx stories, we are often reduced to just this made up, monolithic identity, speaking Spanglish where it f***ing doesn't belong, getting married at the Catholic church or hanging out with our grandmas, as if we don't have anything else to f***ing do. How violent it is to expect one person or one story to represent millions of people and thousands of different cultures. Doing this erases the beauty of our differences, and it most definitely erases indigeneity and blackness within our communities. It erases the truth of who we are. When our stories are manipulated and whitewashed, that is happening to serve the purpose of patriarchal white supremacy. And we do this or we allow this to happen by letting people who don't understand us control our narratives, and ultimately influencing how we see ourselves in the world around us. So, I think in order to achieve and maintain authenticity in our stories, we need more people of color green-lighting inclusive work, from the boardroom to the writers room, to marketing and the media. We know that people want honest stories. So, give the people what they want, and stop telling us who we are because we already know. Thank you so much for being on my show. I wanted to... First of all, I love talking to you. Like... Like, since I met you... Do you remember when we met?

Cristela Alonzo 04:06

Yes, absolutely. Oh, my god, yes. It was a panel. Oh, it was... it was just like a fireside chat or some s**t. Whatever they call it [Cristela: Yes.] was between me and you. We were talking about immigration issues. [Cristela: Yes.] And you were leading the conversation and I was like... I was so f***ing scared to meet you. First of all, like, senior stand up. Like, I f***ing thought you were hilarious, admired you so much, felt so seen in your work even though we, like, come from like different experiences. So, you're Chicana and Mexicana and I'm... I'm from Colombian heritage, and I grew up in the East Coast. Like, seeing your work, it's just, like, something so familiar to me and it just made me feel so proud to be a Latina and it made me feel proud of my identity, but it also made me proud of like... to like know Mexican culture and at least be familiar with it. Like all, like, the references that, that, that, that you would touch up on and the way that you would speak. It's just... it just felt, like, really familiar to me, and I just want to say thank you because you just have opened so many doors for all of us, and you've always been so outspoken and such a f***ing bad**s. And anyway... So, so all this to say that I thought, and also you were, I mean, just on such grown up s**t. You know what I mean? Like, you had created your own show. Right? [Cristela: Yeah.] You had written, starred in and produced and, and all this stuff. You had your own f***ing show. You went on stand up, and you go on stage all by yourself, and you tell these jokes, and you tell everyone, "shut the f**k up." {Cristela chuckles} And so, I'm like, she's so grown up. And then I met you and I'm like, she's a kid. She's a f***ing kid! {Cristela laughing} Like, she is not grown up. Like, we can be friends, and this is all great. But, But not only that, like, I was just... Yeah, I was just intimidated because you were just on your, on your game and I just I wanted to be like you and I... and I admired you so much. And then when we went on that stage together, I had one of the best conversations that I've ever had on those panels and those chats with anybody. And [Cristela: Oh, thank you!] being... considering myself your friend. [Cristela: Yes, you are a friend.] {Cristela laughing} Okay. Okay, good. Is, is a highlight in my life. I just wanted to tell you that. Thank you! You know, I... and I have to say I, I felt the same way about you. And actually, you know, it's, it's funny, because, look, we both do a lot of panels. We both, like, live in this world where we can talk about issues, things that we're thinking about. And we're very lucky to get that... invited into that space where we can talk like that. But, you were someone that, in a weird way, felt very authentic speaking about stories, and I think that, you know, it's kind of like how they say 'game recognize game', where it's that thing where sometimes you... you see... you see and hear people talk and you think, "Well, that seems like it's not personally affecting you", which is fine. Look, doctors, researchers, scientists, they're not... they're not married to the data that they find but, let's face it, there's always a connection. There's always a personal connection that helps people connect and actually see that the person is a person. Right? And that's the thing - you don't find that very often. And with me, I remember when I met you, I totally... first thing I thought was, "now, I don't like many people, but I like her."

Diane Guerrero 07:46

Oh, my god!! {Cristela laughing} I felt that, I felt that, I felt that. Yo, I was like... at the end of it, I was like, "Do you think this is like a... like a respect mija situation?" {Cristela laughing} Like, am I... I was like, is this a respect moment 'cause I felt... I felt it too. I was like, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I was like, I know she doesn't like many people and, like, I... I mean, certainly, I, I pretend that I like a lot of people. I'm like, you're so great. {Cristela laughing} And I'm, like, not at all courageous enough to f***ing tell people, or to really call people on their bulls**t, especially in their face or on a panel or anything like that.

Cristela Alonzo 08:20

Oh, I always say I will not say anything behind your back that I won't say to your face.

Diane Guerrero 08:24

Oh, I felt... {Cristela laughing} believe me I knew that. I felt that coming in. I was like, "I really hope she likes me." But I, I totally felt like you... like you were, like, okay, approved. {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 08:33

Yeah. Well, you know... and, to me, it's so funny. It's just, uhm... I think that when I meet a lot of people I always say, "I don't have a lot of friends. I have many acquaintances." [Diane: Mmhmm] Right? And, to me, when I meet people, you just kind of pick up what they're putting out. And sometimes it just completely clicks and sometimes it doesn't. And that doesn't even necessarily mean that I don't like someone. It means that, like, that energy and mine doesn't make sense. And we don't all have to pretend that we're in this like sisterhood/brotherhood kind of situation. If we're not, I respect you as a person. But let's just say... I mean, sometimes you just don't click, but that's what makes it so special when you find the people that you do click with. You know, you get so excited 'cause you're like, "Oh, this one I don't get to see very often." You know? [Diane: Yeah. Yeah.] It's kind of like when you, when you go to a department store. Like, when you go to, like, a Ross or Marshall's or something and you find something that's on clearance for like $9, and it's like super designer, and it fits you, and you're like, "Oh girl, I won today!!" {laughing} Like that's, that's how it feels. {laughter}

Diane Guerrero 09:41

I want to talk about your firsts. You're the first Latina to create, and write, and star in your own show. You're the first Latina to star in a Pixar movie. [Cristela: Yeah.] Talk to me about some of the challenges that you've experienced. Like, I know that we've all sort of experienced... {Cristela knowingly laughs} I know right? I know [Cristela: Yeah.] we've all sort of experienced, like, different... different things and I don't know, have been sort of pigeonholed in our own way, and have been disrespected, or have been elevated or, you know, [Cristela: Sure.] whatever, in our own way, but I'm interested, I'm so interested in... in what have you... in what you've been through.

Cristela Alonzo 10:22

Uhm, you know, it's funny. It's weird because even when I, when I got the show, I didn't... it didn't... it never felt like I thought it would feel to get a show. Because, again, I never thought it was going to get my own show. So, who gets their own show? Especially, what Latina gets their own show that, you know, that they write? [Diane: Right.] So, it was really weird. But I remember... You know, one of the biggest things that I struggle with now that I learned back then was that I remember being on stage, it was a multi-cam, it was a sitcom, and there were days where the fighting just was so exhausting. Because the show was about my life, it was about me. And people wouldn't believe that things happened to me, or that it was my experience, or... and it was so exhausting. And I remember having days where I walked around the set and thought being the first one is hard because you really have to take the bullet for everybody else. So, I always said during my show, "My show's not going to be it, but I hope to open the doors to where we can get our own Cosby Show or our own, you know, Roseanne or something." Because a lot of times when you're the first, you're an experiment, [Diane: Mmhmm] and you've... you find out, uhm, you're the guinea pig. And people kinda let you know, without directly letting you know, what they think of the community, what they think of your stand up, what they think of you as a person, and they start generalizing. You know, it's funny... and that doesn't only just come from, like, studio networks and, you know, producers and everything. That comes from the Latino community too. [Diane: Mmhmm] You know? So, I was actually tweeting the other day about how, uhm... I'm working on this project, right, and I'm... and I'm that person, I don't tell anybody what I'm working on. I don't even tell people that I sell it or anything unless it comes on TV. [Diane: Right.] Like, unless I know that it's gonna [Diane: Right.] be seen by people, I don't talk about it. 'Cause then you make that rookie mistake sometimes where, like, you're coming up and you say that, and then friends and family will ask you about that project years later. {laughter} You're like, Oh, yeah. Like, I didn't get it. {laughter} [Diane: Oh, yeah. That thing? Yeah, that didn't work out.] {laughter} So... So, it's this thing where... I was talking to my friend about this project that I'm working on right now, and I told her, the first thing I think is... I don't even have the idea fully fleshed out, and the first thing I think is, "Man, there's gonna be so many people in the Latino community that think it's inauthentic already, [Diane: Mmm] and the world doesn't even exist." [Diane: Right.] But it's because I went through that with my sitcom. [Diane: Right.] You know. We were talking about... she was telling me the story about how... you know, I was telling her people... there were a lot of... when you don't have representation, you have to be perfect. You have to be, uh, you have to appeal to everybody. [Diane: Right.] You have to appeal... Like, first of all, I say it time and time again, right. Latinos are made up of different countries. [Diane: Yes.] Right? So, it's this thing where... I don't know... your family's Colombian. I have no... I'm not familiar with, like, being Colombian, [Diane: Right.] I would never write a story about someone's Colombian story because I don't know it. Right? [Diane: Yeah.]

Diane Guerrero 13:52

It's, it's like... it's impossible to think that one person or one person from the Latino community can represent an entire community. But that is the only thing that white people allow us and [Cristela: Yes!] then... and then, subsequently, what Latinos allow us because... because there's not enough storytelling, there's not enough representation. [Cristela: Yeah.] So, when you're out there, they're like, "Okay, let's see. Do it. Do it for all of us." {Cristela laughs} And it's like, "No, b***h. I can't do it for all of you." {both laughing} [Cristela: It's so true.] Well, yeah!

Cristela Alonzo 14:27

Because we all... Because we see that we only get such limited opportunities that you want every opportunity to be perfect. You know what I mean? It's... it's just... it's that thing where you're like... it, it was that thinking where if I... I remember thinking about this when I had my show. When I had my show, you know, I kept telling people if this show doesn't work out, it's gonna be years before they really try to invest into another show like this. [Diane: Right.] You know? Because it just... Because they always say, well, we tried it. [Diane: We tried it. Yeah. It didn't work.] We tried it. {Cristela laughing} [Diane: It didn't, It didn't even appeal to the Latino.] {more laughter} Yes, I... and I remember. And it's funny 'cause, again, with my show, uhm, you know, we... I used to talk about this a lot where the assumption... my show was in English, it was on primetime, it was on ABC Friday nights and, the moment that they learned that I spoke Spanish, get out of here, it was done. All the interviews, all the [Diane: Gosh!] promo, everything I had to do in Spanish. You know, and I was trying to explain to them that's not going to work. [Diane: Right.] You have to appeal to people that will watch my show. You're not gonna... ya know... I was trying to explain to them, like, who do you want? Do you want the Univision, like, Telemundo crowd? Because, let me tell you, on a Friday night, if I'm watching a novella, I'm gonna watch the novella. That's like... we're leaving into the weekend. Like, you know what I mean? [Diane: Right] Like, it's gonna end good. Like, you know... so, it was this thing where I, I even talk about how, uh... ya know, I... I've talked about it before where it was, like, my show came out on the same year that Jane The Virgin came out. [Diane: Mmhmm] And Gina, uh... I know, Gina can't speak Spanish. [Diane: Yeah.] So, she was allowed to do promo in English, because that's her language. Allowed!!

Diane Guerrero 16:11


Cristela Alonzo 16:12

You know what I mean? [Diane: Right] Like, with me, Spanish is my first language. So the moment that they find out that it's Spanish, I have to do all the Spanish stuff. You know, and it's just like, well, but... but why? You know what I mean? It's, it's not my fault that I speak Spanish. And, you know, it's not a gift that she can't speak Spanish. {laughing} You know what I mean? So, it's so weird and... and that just shows you it's nothing to do with her or with me; it's the powers that be above [Diane: Right] that kind of sum you up. [Diane: Right.]

Diane Guerrero 16:43

Right. They're the ones who decide, like, who you're going to appeal to. And if you speak Spanish, and you have that connection, then they say, oh, great. That's, that's what... that's the thing that we haven't figured out because we don't speak Spanish, and we don't know this market. [Cristela: Yeah {laughs}] But surely, if we just dump all this s**t on her, she's gonna figure it out. And that's just gonna work out. Yeah, and that's not how it works. {Cristela chuckling}

Cristela Alonzo 17:06

It's weird because when you're... like, for me, I... you know, I'm not... you know, I have brown skin [Diane: Mmhmm] and, for some reason, in this job, in this world, people think that if you have brown skin you have a secret tunnel to connect with people around the country that look like you where they don't have to promote. [Diane: Right] 'Cause it's like, "You just tell... like, tell your network." And you're just like...

Diane Guerrero 17:32

Right. Univision's got it. B**ch, have you met the people at Univision? {Cristela laughing} They don't got it! {both laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 17:41

You know what? You think I speak Spanish? Univision doesn't think I speak Spanish? {laughing hysterically}

Diane Guerrero 17:46

No, Univision will laugh at you. Okay? {Cristela laughing} Give me a f***ing break. So tell me. Like, so your show was cancelled after one season? [Cristela: Yes.] Why?

Cristela Alonzo 17:56

They couldn't understand... You know, I... Well, there's a couple things: because my show, my show never got a billboard, my show never got promoted really a lot. [Diane: Yeah. Yeah] Never got one billboard, dude. Like, not...

Diane Guerrero 18:07

Not one? Not one f***ing billboard?

Cristela Alonzo 18:08

Not one f***ing billboard, dude. Like, not one. And I remember... Like, here's the thing, right. When you... [Diane: Wow.] When you're getting your own show, and you're part of the creative process, you see, you find out things that you didn't know existed. So there's a meeting, a marketing meeting where the marketing department shows you all the things that they're gonna do to market your show. [Diane: Mmhmm] And one of the pitches was literally having talking bus benches that they would put in, like, East LA, [Diane: Ugh!] where it was just like, people, certain people, that ride the bus would sit on the bus bench. And I would talk to them when they sit, like, "Hey, what's going on? This is Cristela." Like, "Watch my show..." Like, you know what I mean? [Diane: Yeah.] Immediately, in the meeting, I was like, "That's completely... that's, that's awful. That's, [Diane: Yeah!] like, racist that you [Diane: Yeah] assume that. Like, you're... Like, what are you talking about? [Diane: Right] Like, I can't get a billboard?

Diane Guerrero 19:05

Right, and so, I can imagine, like, you constantly being in those meetings and being... and having to f***ing say, "No, that's racist." Or, "That's not a great idea." [Cirstela: Yes!] Why can't I just have regular promotion like f***ing Two and a Half Men? Right? [Cristela: Yes, exactly.] Or like all these other shows that they promote normally {emphasis} and have [Cristela: Yeah!] a billboard. That, that's always so nuts to me. I'm like, how do you expect the show to succeed? You put so much money into the promotion of these shows. How do you expect our shows to succeed if you don't give them the same promotion?

Cristela Alonzo 19:37

And also, like... Diane, look, we both... like, we both see, like, the breakdowns in pilot season and everything. Every year! How many times have you not read a story where the syno... like, the summary is just like, you know, single white woman tries to navigate dating life. [Diane: Mmhmm] {Cristela laughing} You know what I mean? Like, with Latinas...

Diane Guerrero 19:55

Seventeen billboards! [Cristela: {laughing} Yes, yes!] Seventeen billboards of this, like, white lady f***ing her students. Like, the teacher, she's gonna come and get you. {Cristela laughing} She is... She's confused, she's bored. [Cristela: Right! {laughing} Right!]

Cristela Alonzo 20:10

She's got D's to give out. Like, you know what I mean? It's just like, so weird. But it's that... and, and for... you know, uh... My friend, Steve, and I, we... we joke about how, for some reason, we get... we get into, uh, seeing one narrative out there that, you know, it's hard... Like, uh, nobody would assume that I like music, or that I'm into sci-fi or something because, for some reason, we're not at that point where Latinos are allowed to, like sci-fi or have anything, or have a story where we're not, like, in every episode, like, we did not come to this country to not eat this banana split. Like, you know what I mean? {laughing} It's just like... it's always the same thing.

Diane Guerrero 20:51

Right. What... Why do you think that is? What... why don't... Why can't they see us, like, just living?

Cristela Alonzo 20:58

I think it's because... Honestly, I think it's part of, uh... it's part of the industry's fault in the stories that they have helped create with the characters they have helped to create. You know, when, uh... when I was casting the sitcom, I was in every audition. And I remember see... I, like... I sat there and I read everybody's resume as they came in and I... like, everything! To me, it was so important for me to be in that room. Because, again, Latinos are different. So, my family was Mexican American, so I wanted somebody that could have the Mexican American tendencies that I grew up with. You know what I mean? [Dian: Right] So, it... it's... you know? So... and I remember seeing these, like, uh, the credits. Most people, I'll say 90% of the people that came in, didn't have sitcom experience. [Diane: Hmm] Everybody... like, a lot of the men had, uhm... had experience with drama, where they were cops, criminals or, like, detectives, lawyers, kind of like... you know what I mean? [Diane: Right] it's always very serious. You know?

Diane Guerrero 22:06

Right? We're not allowed to fantasize or play.

Cristela Alonzo 22:08

Right! You know, same thing with women. You know, it's always the same kind of similar roles for like, you know, back then I... You know, I don't know what it's like...

Diane Guerrero 22:16

Things are changing. {Cristela laughing} Things are changing. We're making progress. {laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 22:23

It's, it's funny because {Diane laughs} it's that thing where {both guffaw} ... I kind of want a shirt that says that 'Things are changing. We're making progress'. [Diane: Yo!] But, like, in a sarcastic font. {laughing} [Diane: Totally!]

Diane Guerrero 22:35

Because that's... every time they, like, ask us the representation question, we always like have to say like, well, this is how it's been. And then we have to end, end the interview, like, but things are getting better. {Cristela laughing} You know, like, otherwise, I wouldn't be doing this show right here, like, they cast me, sooooooo {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 22:58

I always say... Like, I always... I'm so honest. I'm like, "Look, this is how it was in my time. Like, I don't know what people are doing now. Like, it could be the same s**t. It could be not. I don't know. Like, you ask them." You know? [Diane: For sure] So, it's funny. Part of the problem is that we are not given the opportunity to write funny things, scary things we're not allowed to write. It's almost like, for the most part, if this makes sense, I kind of I call it, like, uh... I call it, like agenda porn. [Diane: Mmhmm] Where it's always the story about something really dark and deep and everything, you know. And, uhm, because somebody did that and it succeeded, then it becomes a trend. [Diane: Right] So, how many... how many... How many of us have seen... Like, how many of us have auditioned for Latino comedies or comedies that have a Latino character that's actually like a... like a character? [Diane: And it's like...] a real person.

Diane Guerrero 24:00

Yeah, and it's, like, written well and it's actually funny. Yeah, no.

Cristela Alonzo 24:02

Yeah. You know, so it's really hard. I think that's one of the problems is that, you know, [Diane: Like, not enough hoy.] Yeah. Yes! But you know, my, what is it? I used... I say this all the time... When you look at Hollywood sometimes, you kinda see with Latinos, we were around from Mayan and Aztec times. Then we died. We all hibernated for hundreds of years. We were never around during Shakespeare. We were never we don't know who Jane Austen is. We don't know s**t. We were just hibernating! [Diane: Yeah] You know? And then... We weren't even around at Woodstock! [Diane: Bro!] You know?Cristela laughing} and then... [Diane: What the... Yeah, the 50's, nothing.] Like, we got La Bamba! Right?! {laughing}

Diane Guerrero 24:52

And then because Richie Valens died we died with him! {Cristela laughing} Sorry! [Cristela Yes, yes!]

Cristela Alonzo 24:59

In the 70s, we came back to be like, uh, drug dealers and the guys on the streets and everything. Like, you know... and it was really weird, obviously, look, I'm saying this. It's an exaggeration, people that are listening. I'm not saying everybody 'cause then I know how people are. People will go online and say, "You forgot so and so." I'm not talking about everybody, I'm just talking the majority of people. But it's true. It's just... where... where were we? Like... I went to college and took a Shakespeare class and, like, it was this thing where I'm like, I don't know why I'm doing this. You know? Even the teacher was kind of like, "Well ... {laughing}

Diane Guerrero 25:39

What part... What part can we possibly give you? {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 25:44

That's why... To me, that's why... like, when Hamilton came out and I saw it at the Public Theater before it went to Broadway, I was like, "Yo, they're brown and no one gives a s**t!!" {laughing} [Diane: Right, right] Like, you know what I mean? [Diane: Yeah!] The Schuyler Sisters don't have to look identical and we don't care. [Diane: Right] Like, you know what I mean? Ah, that was such a big deal for me. [Diane: It was a big deal.] Such a big deal.

Diane Guerrero 26:04

It was a big deal. It's like seeing us like, like... you fu... like, you f***ing don't look like history looks. You f***s! [Cristela: Yes!]{Cristela laughing} Why are you over here pretending, like, no, everybody was do... With the first one! Jesus! Playing us with Jesus. {Cristela laughing} Talking 'bout Jesus was white. Jesus was not white. Que pena! {translation: what a shame!} Pero, {translation: But} Jesus was not white. {laughing} [Cristela: Dude! {laughing}] Black people didn't even exist in biblical times. So, fine! They've been playing us, but now... now, things are changing. {Laughing} Things are changing for the better. {more laughter} Alright, more. Just more Cristela after the break. So Cristela, you went through all this bulls**t, and even making your own show, and then it was f***ing canceled! How did you deal with all that?

Cristela Alonzo 27:19

You know, I... So, after my show was canceled, I decided to do a stand-up tour. I was going to tape a Netflix special at the time. And, uhm, stand-up's my thing. I love stand up. I love stand-up. Stand-up has never been, like, the stepping stone to doing anything else. Stand-up is stand-up. And honestly, I think that that's why I was so, uh... for lack of better words, like, ruthless, insistent on calling out bulls**t during my show 'cause I thought, "What's the worst that can happen? I go back to stand-up." [Diane: Right] You know what I mean? Like, this is what I do. But, I remember... You know, it was interesting. We were averaging about 6 million watt of viewers a week, which is really good. [Diane: That's a lot.] We were getting like a... Yeah. We were getting like a one, I think like a 1.1, or something like that, average, which was good back then for Friday night. And I did the stand-up tour, and I sold out every show. And I would do my stand-up, and it was the energy when I would come out. I realized that the people that were there to see me. They just felt like they had been seen on my show, and it was something... That's the research that we never get to talk about and that's the connection that, you know, so many people don't get to do. You know, like, actors, actresses, directors, writers, everybody, all of them. How many of you go out and see and actually talk to the people, you know, and connect with them to see what they want to talk about? What it... like, how they'd react to it? So, I would do this stand-up, and then, at the very -- and I never mentioned the show -- and then at the very end, I would just say, "Some of you might know me from my show, Cristela", and the audience would erupt and they wouldn't stop, like, from... just for, like, the longest while they just could not stop cheering. And it was in that tour that I realized that the people that got the show they...they weren't... like, people didn't know they existed. And it was... I didn't know they existed. Because again, in that world, ratings don't show you how much people love your show. They show you how much people watch the show, how many people watch the show, but they don't show you the amount of love that they have for something. You know? That's something you can't see. And I did this tour and I called it, like, a thank you tour 'cause I was thanking everybody that had watched my show. And I did a meet-and-greet after every show, and I still do a meet-and-greet after every show. You know this. [Diane: I know you do. I know you do!] {Cristela laughing}

Diane Guerrero 30:26

I feel bad cutting the line, like, {Cristela laughing} "Sorry. Sorry. So, I'm just gonna say hi to Cristela." and they're like, "Who the f**k is this b**ch cutting the line? You know. {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 30:36

And I do a meet and greet. And I... During that tour, I thanked everybody for watching the show because I knew that they were the ones that allowed me to stay on the air the entire season. 'Cause I mean, hey, TV shows get cancelled after two episodes, [Diane: Sure] like with an episode. You know what I mean? [Diane: Sure] So, and I remember... I felt like s**t, Diane, and though, you know, I felt like s**t. And there was a part of me at that moment, seeing the audience which, by the way... Like, people on social media will, like, post... Like, I know people that I've met at the meet-and-greets, like, that I talked to like, like we're friends. You know what I mean? [Diane: Yeah] You know, so it's that thing where I felt like s**t because it felt good to see that they responded to my show, but it was heartbreaking that I didn't have anything else to offer. And I wasn't ready. People... People kept saying like, "When's your next show? When's your next show? What are you going to do next? When's your next show?" And I'm like, I don't have it. You know, ABC was like, "Let's go. Let's do another show." Like, you have the show I, I wanted to do. And that's the thing; I'm not doing it for money. I'm doing it because I really love to f***ing do this. Like, you have this show that I wanted to do with all my heart! You know? So, I remember, that was 2015. [Diane: Yeah] I recorded... I shot my special in 2016. I shot it in August in San Antonio. I did some Trump jokes and I remember the Netflix executive covering the special came, came to me and said, "You know, I don't know if you want to get rid of the Trump jokes or something 'cause, you know, it looks like Hillary's gonna win." You know? {laughing} [Diane: Right. Right.] Like, it might be dated. You know what I mean? And I was like, "No. Like, let's just keep them. No, no, no. Like, this is... this is my set." And then, when he won in November, I was just... You know, so many of us were so devastated. I didn't know how to process that. And, like, no joke, Diane, I sent an email to my agents... I sent an email to my reps and I said, I don't want to work on anything. I don't want to create on anything, I don't want to develop anything. I was lucky that I am so good with my money, that I didn't have to take jobs that I didn't want to 'cause I, I keep a very, like, very casual low cost life. You know? And, uhm, you know, somebody recognized me at the dollar store once {Diane laughs}, and they were like, "Why are you at the dollar store? I thought you had money." And I'm like, "B***h, that's how you keep your money. You go to the dollar store!" {laughing}

Diane Guerrero 33:24

I f***ing love it. I love it. People are always like, "Why are you here?" {Cristela laughing} Like, B**ch, can I live? [Cristela: Exactly!] I'm trying to save my coins too. You don't know... You don't know how this works?"

Cristela Alonzo 33:39

I don't need Chanel disinfectant spray. But, it was this thing where, uhm, I just... I didn't feel like I was in the mood to make people laugh 'cause I didn't think that we were ready to laugh. We... so many people that I knew were scared to death. They were scared sh**less [Diane: Yeah! Yeah!] of the unknown. And honestly, that's when I realized I fell into such a bad depression. [Diane: Yeah] Like, the worst... one of the worst depressions I've ever had. And I... now realizing, I look back and I'm like, I have always had... I've always struggled with depression. I didn't know it. [Diane: Mmhmm] You know? Because if you don't have access to therapy or anything, you know, like, you're just like, "Oh, I'm having a bad... I'm in a bad mood." You know what I mean? [Diane: Mmhmm] But, I was bad. It was really bad. I didn't want to talk to people. I cut off ties with everybody. You know, I didn't want to do anything. I remember in that email to my agents, like, to my reps, I was just like, "I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I want to do." Like, "Don't approach me with anything. Like, I need to figure this s**t out." [Diane: Right] And I started working. Really, I started working so much more with... with, like, community and like trying to be an advocate, and talk, and just anything that I could do. You know? I'd like... to me I was so confused. I'm like, I will go to jail, I will be arrested, I will do anything if it means that somebody pays attention to what is going on. And I remember just thinking, you know, what really bothered me. And this is something... I think this is actually one of the moments that made me realize, like, I have to go to therapy. I have a psychiatrist. I have therapy now. Like, I tell people, like, you think having money is about having designer bags. Like, I got therapy. That's real money! You know what I mean? It's that thing where, uhm... Remember the time when it was, like, Anthony Bourdain and then, you know, Kate Spade had taken their own lives, and everybody on social media was posting the, 'if you're thinking about suicide call, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah'. You know? And I realized so many of the people I was seeing post that were my friends that never checked on me. [Diane: Oh, s**t.] And it was that thing where I'm like, "Oh, this is for likes!" [Diane: Yeah.] You... like, I'm not saying everybody. [Diane: Right] You know what I mean? But there are people that, like, I used to talk to a lot, but then I just fell off the face of the earth and, you know, they never noticed that I was gone. [Diane: Mmhmm] You know? And to me, it was like, d**n, I never wanted to, like... I have always said that, uh, being Catholic, really... you know, I'm like, I'm so... I would never do anything to harm myself at all. It's the guilt. You know, but it's that thing where I was like, man, I need help. I don't know what I'm doing. And I have to deal with a lot of s**t. This show... The way that I was raised, you know, 'cause, you know... So, I squatted the first seven years of my life. My family, we were homeless. We lived in an abandoned diner. Then we moved into this little house, you know. So, like, survival was all important. And then the show. The way that I was treated on the show was the breaking point. And not just by the networks and stuff. It was by some of the writers, and you realize that sometimes the most painful thing is when you trust somebody with all of you. And they disrespect it so much that I felt like, was I even worthy of being respected. [Diane: Wow] And I'm not kidding. During the Trump presidency, the administration, that was like... I turned off everything. I just didn't... I started working on myself. [Diane: Yeah] I started getting on meds. I was very scared of getting on meds. [Diane: Uh huh] You know, it's that stigma.

Diane Guerrero 38:00

What was that like? What was that like?

Cristela Alonzo 38:03

You know, I... So, I went to a psychiatrist to have him evaluate me so that he could make sure... so that he could decide... like, so that he could figure out what I had. He wasn't sure if I was bipolar or if I was, like, severely depressed. You know, it's like... so he figured out that I struggled from severe social anxiety, which is why I don't go out in public a lot. It's so weird that I have this job. I love doing what I do. When I'm on the stage, I love it. But, everything offstage terrifies me. I... I don't go to parties. I don't go to do... like, I go do the work, and then I come home, and then I watch Murder She Wrote. Like, that's it. Right. [Diane: Yeah.] So, you know, it's that thing where, uhm, he told me that he wanted to put me on some meds, and I was so worried. And I remember he... he described it. He described... He compared my... he compared brains to circuit breakers. And he always... you know, and he was like, explaining, you know how a circuit breaker sometimes you... like, if the power goes out in your house, your apartment, and then you have to buy like a little, like, switch or something to kinda replace it, and the lights come back on because the circuit breaker is made of different things and they all have to click together to work. I think that's what meds are for like, you know, mental health. [Diane: Right] You know, he's like, "If I told you that you had high blood pressure to where it was serious and you could possibly die, you would take medication for it because it's your physical body. [Diane: Right] But, why is it that when it's mental, we start thinking, "Oh, well, that just means..." You know. So, when he described tha,t I was like," F**k, you're right." Because I found out I was diabetic and I was on meds for, like, my diabe... like, my diabetes. Still am, obviously. And it's that thing where I'm like... When I found out I was diabetic, I didn't... I didn't pause for a minute [Diane: You didn't hesistate.] and be like... Yeah! And I'm like, "Oh, man I don't know if I should take..." Like, "Oh man, I don't know. I don't know about this medication for my diabetes." {chuckles} But like, when he gave... when he was suggesting meds. I was like, "I don't know, man." And then I thought, "You know what? F**k it. He's right." I mean, if you're physically sick, if you're physically ill, if you're struggling with your health, you take the medication to feel better. Why not for your mind? [Diane: Right] And I took it. Diane, I gotta tell you. I think I started seeing him two years ago, and I am, like, a completely different person. [Diane: Wow.] Now, I still judge people. {chuckles} [Diane: Okay.] But, but... [Diane: There's no medicine for that!] {they laugh} But, I... I judge 'em in a happier way. {Cristela laughing hard}

Diane Guerrero 40:52

I love it. In a way that doesn't affect you now.

Cristela Alonzo 40:54

Yeah. Like, in a way that it just brings me joy. {Diane laughing} I was judging people wrong all this time. But now... But, honestly, it works so well for me that now I talk about it all the time. [Diane: Yeah.] 'cause I'm like, we gotta talk about it, we gotta normalize it, we got... Like, that's why I love the name of this podcast because you gotta be able to say that you're not okay. [Diane: Absolutely.] And it's okay to be... it's okay to be not okay! [Diane: Yes!] 'Cause, you... ya know, it's... [Diane: Yes] Like, it's... it's okay to not be okay because then when you're okay you remember what it's not to like... to not be okay. Ya gotta have that difference. [Diane: Absolutely.] You know? Because that's what... Like, you gotta have it. It's that thing. You gotta have the bad times to know when the good times are good.

Diane Guerrero 41:36

So, how did you take that step toward getting help?

Cristela Alonzo 41:40

You know, honestly, it was my friend. Steve. My... Okay, so my friend, Steve... my relationship with him really taught me a lot because he's this like, middle class, white Jewish guy from Texas. You know, we both we both met, doing stand-up. And when I met him, I realized how different my life was from him. And how I had learned to really do without because I really didn't have any way of getting things. He actually taught me about medicine. [Diane: Yeah.] Going to the doctor. Like... and going to the actual doctor. You know? Going. That was hard because people think that if you're an adult, you just go to the doctor. You know what I mean? People think that when you're an adult you just automatically do things. But, if you don't... if you're not raised like that, if that's not your experience coming up, then how the f**k are you supposed to learn? [Diane: Right] You know what I mean? So, uhm, he was with me throughout a lot of stuff, which now, you know, looking back. In 2008, I was really depressed and he made me go to a therapist that was on a sliding scale. And literally, I'm not even kidding, Diane, the last session that I could afford, {chuckles} the therapist was like, "I think you're depressed", and I'm like, Well, that's a f***ing cliffhanger! Byyyeee!" {both laughing} Okay, to be continued never! {laughing} She was like, "Oh, okay, well, that's a..." That's a f***ing season... That's a series finale, really.

Diane Guerrero 43:25

Yeah, exactly! Season Two coming up. {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 43:29

So, uhm, I just stopped going 'cause I couldn't afford it. I didn't have insurance. I didn't do any... You know, like, I had to get a show on TV to get insurance so that I could go to the doctor. You know, I was always broke. So, uhm, this time things were so bad that he... he was like, "I... we need to find you someone. Like, would you go? Would you go if I found you someone?" And I was really hesitant because at the... because then I remembered I couldn't afford it the first time. [Diane: Right] So why the f**k do I wanna start this journey that I can't afford? [Diane: Right] You know, this is stupid. What if I find something out about myself and then I can't... I don't have the opportunity, I don't have the luxury to like, you know, invest in myself? Awful feeling! [Diane: Right] Like, that is why I think, like, the fact that people can't f***ing afford this kind of s**t, and it's not accessible to people, it pisses me off because of that. [Diane: Yeah] But, you know, uhm, he was like, "We need a..." He's like, "Let me find someone." And we ended up... I, you know, I'm... I ended up... I'm this person: I walk everywhere in my neighborhood. Nobody... Like, in my neighborhood, nobody knows what I do for a living. They just know me as the woman that walks the neighborhood. Like, I go to all the local businesses. There's a therapist down the street that I was like, "Oh, he's in walking distance. I'll go to that guy." {laughing} [Diane: Yeah, yeah] I saw him for a bit and he recommended this... the psychiatrist that I see now and then the psychiatrist... then I realized that the therapist and I didn't click. And that's another thing people don't realize -- sometimes you don't click. [Diane: Sometimes you don't click] That doesn't mean, sometimes... That doesn't mean that therapy is not working. That means that that didn't click, that connection didn't click. There's other people. Like, so don't think it didn't work for you. {Diane: Plenty...plenty of fish in the sea.] Yeah, exactly! You know what I mean? It's like, It's like... Especially in LA, it's like... it's like a dating app for therapists. Like, you just gotta swipe until you find the one. You know what I mean?

Diane Guerrero 45:25

Oh, for sure. For sure. That's why in my first session, I don't go hard. You know what I'm saying? My first session, I'm like, "I don't know you yet. I'm not gonna tell you about my drug problem just yet. {Cristela is cracking up}

Cristela Alonzo 45:35

I love that you... It's something... You're like the perfume sample. Like, I'm just gonna open up the little pad, take the sniff, see if you like it, and let you know.

Diane Guerrero 45:43

You gotta see if they're f***ing judgmental. You know what I mean? You got to see [Cristela: Yes!] where they're coming from. And if... Honestly, if, if... if they've ever had experience with someone like you. You know what I mean? [Cristela: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.] I think that matters. [Cristela: Yes.]

Cristela Alonzo 45:56

And, you know, it's funny because I... my psychiatrist, uh... gave... it's like, uhm... he suggested a therapist that works at the same office that he works at, and I tried her. I literally started going to her, like, the week before the lockdown. [Diane: Mmhmm] {chuckles} So, like, [Diane: Oh, perfect timing.] we had, like... we had two (2), in-person sessions and then the lockdown happened, and I'm like, "Wait! Why does this keep happening to me with therapy? Like, why does just keep ending when s**t's getting good?" But, we've been doing Zooms. [Diane: Yeah] We do Zoom sessions over the... Like, I have to tell you when you might... when you meet the right one that clicks with you, Whoa!! [Diane: Yeah] The change is just insane. And that's one of the reasons that I talk so openly about how I'm not okay. [Diane: Yeah] Because, in a weird way, it almost seems like... I know that people... I know that a lot of people don't have access to the access that I have. So, I like to talk about my experience to see if that clicks with anybody else, just so that they know that their struggle isn't only happening to them. [Diane: Absolutely.] You know? Because that's... Sometimes... That's why I say... that's why I love the title of this podcast again. It's, like, the 'I'm not okay'. You gotta be able to tell people that you're not okay because other people are not okay. [Diane: Right] And, if they hear you say that you're not okay, that means that they feel good. [Diane: Yeah] They can feel better. You give them... That's the thing about, like... for me, feel... that's why I say feel sh**ty if you want to feel sh**ty. Like, do everything. Soak in it. You know? That was the thing that I tell... You know, when you came to see the show in, in Largo that I did in 2019... Jesus, right before... Wow! {she laughs} [Diane: Yeah, I know. Right before the shut down.] I tell the... You know, I tell the story about being with the Dolores Huerta when, you know, during the election, uh, the 2016 election, and there's always that piece in the story that I remember where she just... I told her that I had been crying and she tells me, like, "Go ahead and cry. Like, feel bad. Go ahead and, like, just cry, feel bad, feel terrible. Like, and then the next day, whenever you're ready, you get back to work." [Diane: Absolutely.] "You go do this." And when she said that, I was thinking, "we really need to give ourselves permission to just accept the feelings that we're feeling at that moment because you're feeling them for a reason." So, you know, for me, I'm like, I might not feel great at times, but I know it. And hone... you know...

Diane Guerrero 48:48

How was... how was growing up? How, how... were you... Like, were you allowed to feel those feelings? I mean, I know I'm... I'm at times...

Cristela Alonzo 48:56

No, no, no, yeah. No, like... Well, look for me... Uh, one thing that I talked about is how, you know, my mom was undocumented for a big chunk of my life before she got her Resident Alien card. [Diane: Ooh!] {Cristela laughing}

Diane Guerrero 49:10

Was it, like, the litte... Was it the little alien emoji face, like, on the card? {Cristela laughing} I can imagine. We never... We never got one, so...

Cristela Alonzo 49:19

I just love that the words, like, Resident Alien was on top. Like, what the fu... Is my mommy T? What the f**k is happening? {both laughing} But my mom... my mom and I were very close. I think she probably was the closest to me in sharing her experience. Like, her childhood, everything. And I was a kid when she was telling me these stories, and I was also very hyperaware as a child how much she was struggling. And my mom had a really hard childhood, very abusive. You know, lived in a ranch, no running water, no electricity, in Mexico. And I found myself, when I was a kid, never being allowed to be in a bad mood because I always had to be very happy to try to cheer her up when she wasn't feeling great. And that became my job. My job was literally to entertain, which is why I ended up getting into this business. Because when you... Like, with my mom, knowing her history, when I could make her laugh or smile, that was the connection that felt so pure to me, that that's what I like to try to give to people now. But, in order to be able to do that now, I realize, as an adult, I have to allow myself to not always be like that. You know, but it is that thing. You know, everybody starts this business for a reason. Everybody does something for a reason. You know, and it... To me, it really has always been about that moment of joy that you can make someone feel even if you're doing something sad. Because people love to see dramas as much as comedy. [Diane: Right] People love to feel things whether it be happy or sad because, in that moment, they suspend disbelief and they're in this world where you are what they are reacting to. And for me, that's why... like, that's why I don't do a lot of this s**t. That's why I don't try to create a lot of stuff that's just like a money grab, and that's why I... I say no to a lot of things. [Diane: Yeah] You know, 'cause it to me it's just like... What's it doing? What... What is this doing? And I... Like, I'm not saying that certain projects are, you know, like, like, beneath me or anything. [Diane: Right] I'm saying that like, what am I feeling right now? What am I in the mood right now? What am I... Like, if I'm not feeling this right now, then I don't do it. You know, because you have to kind of really be honest with yourself. Because I tell you, people... people know when you're full of bulls**t. They might not know that you're full of bulls**t, but they know that something's off about you. They know it. They feel it. The audience knows when you're not genuine. The audience knows when you're not authentic. And I'm not saying just in stand-up. I mean, everything.

Diane Guerrero 52:50

Coming up, how Cristela learned how to drink milkshakes and roller skate at the same damn time. Cristela, who were some of your comedy heroes growing up? Who inspired you to follow this dream of doing stand-up?

Cristela Alonzo 53:16

You know, one of the biggest, uh, one of the first moments I thought that I could... Well, here's the thing... Actually, I take it back. I used to watch stand-up a lot as a kid. I never knew it was a job. Because I grew up in a family where jobs had to hurt. Physical jobs. Thinking jobs. What are those? [Diane: Right] You know what I mean? Like, if you went home... like, if I went to home and like, told them I wanted to do something, they'd be like, "Oh, okay. You're gonna get paid to think. Okay, stupid!" {laughing} Like, you know what I mean? {laughing} So, it's that thing where it's totally foreign to them. But I remember, growing up, Margaret Cho [Diane: Mmm] was one of the people that I saw where she was talking about, like, her immigrant parents. She was talking about that experience. And you know, what's funny is that, to me, I never thought, "Oh, she's Asian." I just thought her mom sounds a lot like my mom. Like, her experience it sounds so much like me. And there was something so cool about it because she also spoke like me. You know, she... she had that... You know, it's that weird thing where... Look, Spanish is my first language. Right? But, in English, you know, I... Look, I grew up here. [Diane: Yeah. Yeah.] You know what I mean? So, it's like that thing where we talk like we talk even though people... some people might think that the way that I look I should be talking with an accent. You know what I mean? So it's, you know, for me, she was one that I realized like, wow, you could just be yourself and talk about what your life is about, and people can laugh at it. You know, and it's funny because now, looking back, I was always attracted to, like, the female comics, obviously. You know, like, to me, Wanda Sykes is, you know... I'm very lucky to call Wanda Sykes a friend. It's that thing where you never think that... You know. You never think... I never thought I was gonna do any of this s**t. [Diane: Right. Yeah.] Like, you know what I mean? {laughing}

Diane Guerrero 55:28

Now, you get to, like, talk to, like, all your favorite people. You're like, [Cristela: Yeah {laughing}, you know.] "Yo, let me call Wanda real quick." {Cristela laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 55:36

It's, it's... It's surreal. You know what I mean? [Diane: Yeah] It's, it's... it's surreal.

Diane Guerrero 55:39

But look, look what everything, like, giving yourself that opportunity. Look what it does.

Cristela Alonzo 55:46

Absolutely! And look, and let me tell you, I understand I come from... you know, I come from people that don't have the luxury to chase after their dreams. Because it's always about survival too. Ya got to survive, you know, but it doesn't mean that you have to stop doing what you love to do. You're not maybe going to do it professionally because, I always say, life gets in the way. Things might not work out the way you want it to because life got in the way. That's life. That's not your fault. [Diane: Right] But if it makes you happy, you gotta keep doing it. You should always keep doing it. [Diane: Don't give up on yourself.] Like, just don't quit. Yeah! [Diane: Yeah, for sure.]

Diane Guerrero 56:30

What are the some of the ways that you practice self-care and like, take care of yourself? Like, physically and mentally? Other than, of course, seeing your psychiatrist and your therapists?

Cristela Alonzo 56:37

You know, self-care is something that I really struggle with because I feel like the term has become such a, a shopping option. You know what I mean? But I think that it's become so commercialized that people don't understand what self-care is. You know? So, for me, uh... I really like being outdoors [Diane: Mmhmm] and I love to be by myself outdoors. You know? I like being around people. No, let me take it back. No, I don't. {they laugh}

Diane Guerrero 57:15

I love the honesty. You have to be honest with, with yourself and us. {Cristela cracking up}

Cristela Alonzo 57:22

No, it's that thing where... I love to hike, but hiking is one of those things that you can't do with everybody. You know, you need to find the right group of people that, that match with you. You know, that go like, the same speed; that like to, you know, like, not stop as much, or stop as often, or... You know what I mean? So, it's like, you kinda have to vibe with people. But, to me, I like to go hiking on trails by myself, and it's just beautiful. To me, I get so much thrill out of so many things that don't necessarily, like, try so hard to be just recognized and beautiful. [Diane: Right] You know, it's like you can... it, it... you hit the summit of a trail, and then you see this beautiful view, and the mountains are just like, 'we don't even try; we're just f***ing beautiful every day'. [Diane: Right] Do ya know what I mean? [Diane: Right] And it's... So, like, for me... Diane, one thing that I think that helps me deal with so much, meaning that, you know, life s**t. Everything, like, things on TV, what's happening in society, the culture, like the denial of problems that have existed, and just everything. You know? Like everything. You know, one thing that makes me really survive and thrive at times is knowing where I came from and not taking anything for granted. Like, I'm 42 years old. I live in an apartment. I have friends that are like, "When are you buying a house?" I'm like, "B**ch, I grew up in an abandoned diner. Like, this is already, like, such a big deal. Like my apartment has a dishwasher. Like, I don't un... who do... Who thinks about a house?!" Like, you know what I mean? Like, you know, to me, I'm like... I'm like, it doesn't... it's not a necessity for me at the moment. [Diane: Right] You know what I mean? It's that thing where I'm like, I just love to be where I'm at. [Diane: Yeah] To me, I... I appreciate things on such a high level. Meaning that, on such an extreme level that, uhm, I think a lot of people like to be around me to experience it because I... I can't help but share the... like, show the joy when something is just so exciting to me. You know, my Ex... you know, Steve, my best friend, he... he gave me my first milkshake when I was probably 27. And I remember we were at the drive thru at Steak 'n Shake, [Diane: Yeah] and he's like, "You want a shake?" And I'm like, "What's... No, I hate them." He's like, "You hate shakes?" Then I'm like, "Yeah." And then he's like, "Do you like ice cream?" And then I'm like, "Yeah, I love ice cream." And he's like, "Then you f***ing love shakes! What do you love? What do you mean you don't like shakes?" And then I said, "Oh, my mom told me they were... they were bad. So I've never had one." And I realized that my mom told me shakes weren't good, because she couldn't afford to buy me shakes. [Diane: Wow.] So, she told me that they were... they were bad. So my entire life, because my mom told me, I never craved a shake. [Diane: Wow.] And he, he, he got me a shake, and I tasted the shake, and it was so f***ing amazing {Diane laughs} I couldn't stop smiling. And I was so giddy and just, like, so happy because, at 27, I had learned about something I didn't know existed, which were milkshakes. Like, it wasn't a thing for me, and the joy, the happiness I felt was so overwhelming. But, that's the kind of thing I do for self-care. Any kind of thing... like, I'm learning how to roller skate. Never learned how to roller skate as a kid, and I just wanted to learn how to roller skate. So, I started roller skating this past year. I'm terrible at it, and I'm learning. You know? But it was that thing where I was like, I don't know how many adults my age would think about roller skating and actually try to do it. You know, I think that the pandemic probably helped people become more open to that. But, it's that thing where... the first moment that I could do a round around this, like, little like rink kind of thing [Diane: Yeah.] that I was going to [Diane: Yeah] It blew my mind. Can't... it's... can't describe it. One of the best feelings of my life. So, my self-care is actually trying to do things. I like being outdoors and I like doing things. I don't like saying no to myself. [Diane: Yaaaass] I don't like saying no, so anything that I wanna try, anything that I wanna do, I f***ing do it. I have a Miss Piggy hand puppet behind me. I... Like, I bought the Miss Piggy puppet 'cause I was like, "F**k it. I want this puppet." Like, that's how I live my life. [Diane: {exhales} I love that.] My apartment. Like, you know {laughs}... [Diane: Yes, Yes. Get yourself a Miss Piggy puppet!] Yeah, like, why not? Who's... Like, who the f**k am I living this life for? Like, you know... my, my... you know, I had to grow up really quick. I took care of my... you know, I helped my sister raise her kids. I had to take care of my mom until she passed away. Like, I never had the childhood. I never had the childhood that people had. And I've talked to my therapist about this. And you know, she was like, "It seems like you're living your childhood right now." I'm like, "F**k yes, I am." And I... you know, and she was so happy that I was so aware of it and everything and that I just indulge in it. Because, again, what I indulge in just makes me so f**king happy. Like, you know, I... I tweeted the other day that I wanted a life-size model of the, the chair that Pee-wee Herman had at his Playhouse. I'm like, "Who can make me this f***ing chair?" You know what I mean? [Diane: Hell, yeah.] It's, like, that thing. [Diane: Yeah] I, I, like...

Diane Guerrero 1:03:41

Yeah! Imagine it and it can happen.

Cristela Alonzo 1:03:44

Yes! Like, anything! Like, d**n! Who the f**k says we can't do this? Like even like, Who the f**k says we can't do this? Honestly, people's like people will say like, somebody gave me s**t on Instagram. Like, I remember a while back where they're like, dress your age. And I'm like, What the f**k? how you dress your age? The fuck that? Like, what does that mean? Like, what do you mean? Like, like, you're younger than me and you dress older than me. Like, what are you talking about? Like, you know, it's that thing where you're like... we live so much by the expectations of others that bog you again, it's what I started out with. You're never gonna... you're never gonna make everybody happy. So, f***ing make yourself happy.

Diane Guerrero 1:04:25

Make yourself happy. Make yourself happy. I love that, and I also buy a lot of toys. And that's why I love you, Cristela. And that's why I'm always like, checking out you... peeping out your s**t. I'm like, "Oh, s**t! She got the Kermit... She got the Kermit sneaks. {Cristela cracking up} She got the Kermit Adidas. [Cristela: Yes!!] {both cracking up} Look at me! I'm the same way. This isn't even my house. You don't see all my checheres {translation: things} behind me. I have lots of toys. {Cristela laughing} And I can't wait to come and f***ing roller skate with you, and play with your toys, and then you can play with my toys because I want... I... Those things bring me joy too and I don't... I don't want to f***ing give them up for anything, and I wanna continue trying things for myself and seeing what I'm capable of. You're right when you say that, that that part of self-care. For me, it's the same. When I... When I show myself that I'm capable of something, that's my self-care. [Cristela: Mmhmm] You know? That I'm [Cristela: Yeah!] capable of joy. [Cristela: Yeah.] That I'm capable to see myself f***ing do something new. [Cristela: Yes!]

Cristela Alonzo 1:05:25

And look... and, and I also said self-care... At the beginning, I said that, you know, I also think that it's become like a shopping option. And by that, I mean that it... like, I don't think... I think that certain industry, certain companies try to expose it for, like, you know, to make money. [Diane: Mmhmm] But, I'm not saying that if you want to spend money on something not to do it. So like, I... you know, I have to make a... I have to make a point to say like, if you like getting your nails done and that brings you joy, go get your nails done. You know, it's that thing where I'm like, I just want people to know that self-care... Self-care is a vague term that's very specific. Vague in that it can be anything you f***ing want, but specific because the end result is for you to feel good. [Diane: Mmhmm]

Diane Guerrero 1:06:07

Absolutely. I love that and I love you.

Cristela Alonzo 1:06:13

I love you too.

Diane Guerrero 1:06:14

You make me so happy. I love, I love, I love everything that you say, everything that you work on, and I know I... why I love everything that you work on and that you... everything that you do is because I know that it comes from you and something that you actually really, really want to do. I mean, I f***ing know how many things you turn down. I'm like, can I have her jobs that she's turning down? {Cristela cracking up} They're like, "No, mija {translation: dear}, you're not funny." I'm like, Okay." {jokingly} Give me that Cristela. Give me those Cristela offers, b**ch. She ain't taking 'em. She ain't in the mood." {laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 1:06:46

By the way, you funny. You are funny!

Diane Guerrero 1:06:48

When is... When is America gonna realize that I'm funny? {Cristela laughing} You bastards! Give me money to be funny. So we can fi... So we can buy all the roller skates. S**t.

Cristela Alonzo 1:07:00

Yeah, all the roller skates and we're gonna open up a rink. {giggles} [Diane: I love that idea.] Yeah, we should.

Diane Guerrero 1:07:06

I love... I love that these days I'm very, like, imaginative. 'Cause I'm like, "Let's f***ing make that happen, bro." {Cristela laughing} Like, I'm like... These days I'm very believing in myself these days and it's because... [Cristela: Well, because you can!] Yeah, you can. You can. [Cristela: You can.] You really could. [Cristela: You can.] I mean, look at us!

Cristela Alonzo 1:07:25

Diane! I mean, honestly. Like, seriously, look at us. I'm looking at your f***ing face right now. Look at you. Look at your story. Look at my story. Are you f***ing kidding me? This is a perfect example of going after what the f**k you want and actually getting it to the point where now... there was a part of me where I got... I got to do what I wanted to do, and I'm like, "F**k, I can't believe this happened! Like, you know? It could all... it could all go away and, even at the end of the day, I would say like, "I f***ing did it though. [Diane: Yeah.] I f***ing did it!"

Diane Guerrero 1:08:01

She sure did. She sure did.

Cristela Alonzo 1:08:02

Like, we... Dude, we did it. We did it.

Diane Guerrero 1:08:06

We did it and we're doing it. And now we're like, even f***ing smarter doing it because now we know that we need help doing it. And we need [Cristela: Hell yeah!] all these little things to keep us, you know, to keep us playful and joyful.

Cristela Alonzo 1:08:20

Yes! You know, uh... You know, one thing that I learned from the show that I started doing, people would, uhm... people, friends I... well, acquaintances that I have, they would like, uh, send me messages like, 'Hey, I just... I'm making this deal with this network, or I'm doing duh duh da'. Uhm, they would ask me help for contracts. You know, and I'm like, "Okay, this is what's gonna hap... f***ing happen. They're gonna come at you with this credit, and they're gonna be like, 'Oh, you're so lucky to have this credit'. I'm like, "that's a bulls**t credit. You f***ing tell them you don't want that credit because they ain't gonna give you the other credit." You know, I'm like, [Diane: Yeah] "That's what I did and blah, blah, blah..." and, and they will get that credit. [Diane: Yeah!] You know? And it's that thing... and it's that thing where this goes back to like, when you get it, then you gotta share it. [Diane: Oh, yeah.] Ya gotta share it because then, like... I want to find people that are better than me. You know why? Because then they'll f***ing tell people that I... that, that.... I... that I... like, that I helped them, that I... that I knew them. I, like... I can say I knew them when! [Diane: Yeah!] Like, it's more of me, like... You know, it's that thing, like, I want to find people that are, like, f***ing better than me. That's what you're supposed to do! You know what I mean? Like, [Diane: Yeah] man, can you imagine? I don't wanna... Can you imagine if I thought I was the peak of everything? Fuck, that's sad. [Diane: Yeah] {Cristela laughing} You know what I mean?

Diane Guerrero 1:09:35

I say the same thing too. I'm like... I'm like, I love, like, creating and I love... I love doing all this stuff, but I want to, like, f***ing share it too because I wanna see... I wanna see more people doing this work. [Cristela: Yes!] I don't wanna f***ing do all of it. Jesus Christ.

Cristela Alonzo 1:09:48

Yes! I mean, it's like... Dude! Nah, man. Look, I'm 40. I'm a four... I'm in my 40s, I'm Latina. I am like a week away from playing a grandmother. {both cracking up} I never went through that. [Diane: You're not though.] Like, the Latina sex pot s**t I did not do but, the abuela, {translation: grandmother} ooh, girl! Like, a week from now I'm gonna give you some wisdom. Like, mija . . .

Diane Guerrero 1:10:15

I love... I love it. Latinas have wisdom at, like, 15 and s**t. Like, 'let me tell you something. I f***ing seen some shit.' {Cristela cracking up} 'Cause we have. [Cristela: {laughing} It's true, it's true.] We have. You don't even get to grandma status. Like, the only grandma status... Uh, the only person playing grandmas now is, uhm... Ah, f**k. I'm gonna... Come on... West Side Story. [Cristela: Oh, Rita Moreno.] Rita Moreno!! She's the only one. All of us, we're still playing in... We're still playing 15 and 16. God bless us. [Cristela: {laughing} That is so true.] You are not... you are not playing the grandma. Though I... Eh, eh... Rita Moreno is and she is, like, you know [Cristela: She's everything years old. {laughing}] She's everything... She's ev... She's everything years old, so don't worry. She got all the grandma parts. We still get to play the young, the young weirdos.

Cristela Alonzo 1:11:00

Honestly, doesn't Rita just give you, like, hope in that thinking, like... She is like, she looks amazing. She is amazing. She is just everything. Like, I'm like, I want to be her now. Like, I want to have her energy now.

Diane Guerrero 1:11:12

Oh, she's great! She's doing it. And I, I... they... She gives me hope. Dolores Huerta gives me hope. Yo, everybody, everybody out here just, like, doing it. [Cristela: Dolores {emphasis}] Dolores! {giggles}

Cristela Alonzo 1:11:22

Dude, she just turned 91. Like, [Diane: That's wild.] She just turned 9... She turned 91.

Diane Guerrero 1:11:26

And she still got time to tweet. Talking 'bout, 'y'all still ain't done with the work.' {Cristela laughing] Like, that's what she does! She's like, I'm 91. You b***hes better get to work.

Cristela Alonzo 1:11:35

Diane, when I see Dolores, her kids will let me, uh... like, let me, like, close out the night with her. They're like, "Do you have her?" And I'm like, "Yeah", and we will stay up 'til like four in the morning. That woman can drink. We drink, she dances, she everything. Like, that woman... at 91! Ooh! [Diane: I love that.] Oh, man! Oh! [Diane: I love that.]

Diane Guerrero 1:11:59

And you're gonna... you're gonna play her! {Cristela laughs}

Cristela Alonzo 1:12:07

I don't know, man.

Diane Guerrero 1:12:08

You're gonna play her. I'm saying... I'm putting, I'm putting it out there. I mean, you could play anything you want, and I think you should play her.

Cristela Alonzo 1:12:14

You know, uh, I'm gonna name drop [Diane: Okay, go 'head.] because it's important to the story. But years ago, I was doing The View. When I was a guest hosting the view I was. I would love to go to New York to host it for the week. Because again, they weren't promoting my show. So I was going to the view to co host to promote my show. And I became friends with Whoopi. And while I was there in New York, I would go see Broadway shows at night because the show was taped in the morning. And I remember seeing Cabaret with Emma Stone and Alan Cummings. And she knew I was going. She knew that I was a big Broadway person, and the next day she, uhm... she asked me, like, "Hey, how was the show?" I said, "Oh, you know, I forget how much I love that show. Like, I just love that show." And I was telling her something like, "Man, I really wish I could play that character, Sally Bowles. But you know, she's... you know, she's white." And Whoopi is like, "Who the f**k says you can't play Sally Bowles? Who the f**k say..." She's... {Diane laughing} "No, you can play... You can play Sally Bowles! You can play any role you want. You should... you can do anything! You do it! You put yourself in Sally Bowles!" And she started this whole thing where she was just... You know, it's funny 'cause, like, sometimes people will tell you advice or they'll tell you something and you're like, "yeah, yeah, yeah." But, you know... {chuckles} [Diane: Right.] There's like... her... Because she did it her own way, [Diane: Mmhmm] and she was able to pave this career out of her saying and her doing, it meant something when she said that. 'Cause I was like, "You know what, you're right. Like, you're right." This woman she's like, one woman show on Broadway. Like, you know, comedienne, Oscar winner, everything. Like, who the f**k am I to say that Whoopi's wrong?! [Diane: Yeah, I know.] You know what I mean? [Diane: You have no right.] She's a perfect example of that. You know what I mean? So crazy.

Diane Guerrero 1:14:22

I'm... I can't wait, like I said, to see you in person. But until then, I... wherever I see you, wherever I catch you, it always brings me so much joy and let's continue being in each other's lives in whatever way that is.

Cristela Alonzo 1:14:36

A hundred percent! I adore you, Diane. Thank you so much. I mean, you... and, by the way, thank you so much. You, I consider a fellow, uhm, a fellow in public person, meaning that I love what you stand for. I love when you fight for the... fight for things even when it doesn't seem like it is the popular thing to do. But, you do it because it means something to you, and I want you to know that I see that because a lot of people don't. And that's okay because it might not be their thing. But, if it's something that speaks to you, I'm gl... you know, take the opportunity and you do that. [Diane: Thank you, baby.] So, I love that.

Diane Guerrero 1:15:16

Thank you, honey. I appreciate you so much. {kissing sound} Beso grande {translation: big kiss} Say hi to your plants for me {Cristela laughing} and Miss Piggy! {both laughing}

Cristela Alonzo 1:15:27

I'd invite you over, girl, but I have so many plants I'd need a machete to clear off a path. {laughter}

Diane Guerrero 1:15:31

Sorry. Sorry, my plants are all taking all the seating space. Sorry, que pena. {translation: what a shame} {Cristela laughing} I'll see you later. I love you.

Cristela Alonzo 1:15:38

Love you too.

Diane Guerrero 1:15:50

Yeah, No, I'm Not Okay is a production of LAist Studios. Remember to rate and review our show. I just found out that it helps other people find it. If you like it, share it with your friends. The more people we can get to have conversations about mental health the better. If you've got a story you want to share about how you deal with mental health issues, send it my way. Record it on your phone's voice memo app and email it to And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest episodes with a note from me, recommendations from our listeners and our team, and listener stories. Sign up at Jessica Pilot is our talent manager and producer. Our executive producers are Leo G. and me, Diane Guerrero. Web design by Andy Cheatwood at the digital and marketing teams at Southern California Public Radio. Thanks to the team at LAist Studios, including Taylor Coffman, Kristin Hayford, Kristen Muller, Michael Consentino, Robert Jo, Mildred Langford, and Leo G. And a special thanks to Brian Crawford. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. Additional support comes from the Angel Foundation, supporting transformational leaders, and by the California Health Care Foundation dedicated to improving the mental health care system for all Californians.

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