Having hosted Univision's acclaimed talk show, El Gordo y la Flaca, Raúl De Molina has interviewed countless celebrities from all walks of life, from Bad Bunny and Shakira to prominent figures like Hillary Clinton.
Celebrating a staggering 25-year run, the show is a testament to the staying power of authentic Spanish content in the ever-changing television landscape. A nostalgic De Molina, at 64, still beams with excitement about his journey.
What truly moves him after all these years? The genuine joy his guests express. Even those who weren't initially familiar with the show are often surprised by its colossal reach in Spanish-speaking regions globally.
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He fondly remembers the appearance of Hollywood sensation Eva Mendes.
"She was already a celebrated figure in Hollywood. But she confessed she decided to be on our show because her grandmother believed one isn't truly famous in the Spanish domain unless they've been on El Gordo Y La Flaca," shares Molina.
He chuckles, recounting another unforgettable moment, "When Hillary Clinton joined us in 2016 during her presidential campaign, the hour was filled with unexpected laughter and even dancing." Co-hosted by Lili Estefan, niece of the legendary music duo, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, the show recently marked its silver jubilee with special episodes shot in Disneyland.
A new feather in their cap awaits in 2024: stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But before his television fame, Molina was entrenched in photojournalism. "My passion was capturing moments," he reflects on his early days in a tumultuous 1980s Miami, characterized by drug lords and riots.
His work featured in notable publications like Newsweek and US News. Soon, his knack for capturing celebrity moments, starting with Miami Vice's Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, transformed him into a sought-after paparazzo.
This eventually pivoted him to television appearances and subsequently, his big break on Telemundo. In 1998, El Gordo Y La Flaca graced the screens, and Molina has no intention of stepping away. "It's amazing how the times have evolved.
Initially, Hispanic stars leaned towards English, but now there's pride in embracing Spanish," he observes, highlighting the massive 50 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. He concludes, "With icons like Shakira and Bad Bunny mainstreaming Spanish culture, the linguistic landscape has witnessed a monumental shift." Catch El Gordo Y La Flaca weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Univision.