The New York native explains how she made her way from radio to television (with a few stops in between).

Por Alma Sacasa
Junio 22, 2020
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Growing up third-generation in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, Krystal Vega didn't speak Spanish, but that didn't stop her from wanting to represent for women of color in media. "I started to lean toward radio because I was scared of the camera," Vega, who is Black and Puerto Rican, tells People CHICA. "While practicing for being in radio and kind of having my mind set on that, I eventually decided maybe television and digital is not so bad. ... I did an audition many, many years ago and that was my first time in front of the camera. It was so bad, but I was like, 'Oh, I can do this.'"

Now Vega is the co-host of Telemundo's For the Cultura, available on the streaming platform Quibi, and her camera-shy days are far behind her. On the show, she and Alfredo Lomelí share entertainment and music news, offering their takes on Latinx-focused pop culture in Quibi's signature short format. For the Cultura debuted in April, and Vega says it's one of the best gigs she's ever had. "Even down to behind the scenes and how much care they have for us and making sure that we're comfortable — like making sure I'm comfortable with my hair, making sure that I don't feel like I'm straightening my hair all the time, making sure that I am coming to work as me — has been the greatest reward," she says. "Nobody's asking me to sound a certain way. They're like, 'Come on, Krystal. We want you to be on camera being you.'"

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Vega got her start as an intern at SiriusXM, where she worked early mornings learning how to produce a radio show while balancing her restaurant job at night. With her new production knowledge, she launched a self-produced interview series called Kickin’ It With Krystal Vega, where she built up her reel while also getting comfortable talking to artists. From there she moved to BET, first as an intern and then eventually for her first on-air job, as a co-host for BET Breaks. She's also worked with brands like Complex, Revolt TV, Dash Radio, Adidas, and more.

While building up her impressive resume, Vega has dedicated time to creating Fortune & Forks, a dinner series dedicated to uniting female entrepreneurs, with her friend Naomi Wright. "We really wanted to give other women their roses while they can smell them for all the hard work that they do behind the scenes," she says. "We were like, 'Wow, we should really acknowledge other women who are just like us, who are out here busting their butts, making sure that they're doing what they had to do to get where they're trying to go.' We know it's not just us because we've seen it."

Since February, the New Yorker has been living in Miami, where Telemundo is based, to work on For the Cultura. She takes pride in being able to represent Latinas on TV, having grown up without seeing anyone on television who looked like her, and as a biracial Latina, she hopes that her experience is an inspiration to other women trying to make it.

"I hope that my journey inspires women who feel like they can relate to me to keep chasing their dreams," she says. "That would be the biggest success for me, for somebody to tell me one day like, 'Yo, I heard your story and you really inspire me to keep going and because of that, I am where I want to be in life.' Promoting true representation for Afro-Latinas, for Black women and for biracial women. That would be another success for me, to just be the true representation of what women in the world look like."