“¡HOLA! LA” Profile: Kikey Castillo

Kikey Solo 

Kikey Castillo

¡HOLA! LA: A Latina POV Talk Show Fest!

KCAL9, Saturday, 3/30 at 7PM

KCBS, Sunday, 4/7 at 4PM

By Elia Esparza

Kikey Bel
Kikey Castillo, Bel Hernandez

It didn’t take long for Kikey Castillo — youngest Latina on the amazing dream team of ¡HOLA! LAto realize what an incredible opportunity she had been handed when Bel Hernandez invited her to be a part of a TV show she created.

Kikey was now a member of a select group of incredibly skilled women breaking barriers by being the first Latinas on TV co-hosting a talk show in English on an English-language network in the U.S.A.—and there was no room to be a hosting rookie.

The TV whirlwind good fortune left Kikey no time to be intimidated so she submerged herself in learning from her co-hosts as quickly as she could. She not only rose to the occasion, she shone. She has been touted as one of L.A.’s rising talents by the Hollywood Weekly magazine, so look more from her in the near future.

First things first… your name is Kikey. Is it a nickname and what is the correct pronunciation?

Kikey: Pronounced KEY-KAY with a long “a” sound. I really love having a unique name but it does come with a lot of mispronunciations and a lot of people saying, “I’ve never met another Kikey.” The mispronunciations don’t bother me, it’s a tough name to say correctly on the first try! And, I like being the only “Kikey” anyone has ever met. My mom named me after a childhood girlfriend who was of Asian descent but I never could nail down what ethnicity it was and believe me I’ve tried! But, interestingly enough if you do a search in Facebook for “Kikey” you get Latinos and Asians with my exact name. I love the fact that my name crosses many cultures and some even say my name sounds Hawaiian… Bring it!

HOLA March

What are your expectations for ¡HOLA! LA?

Kikey: My expectation and dream for ¡HOLA! LA is that it goes national. There are so many people we want to reach in the U.S. and many of them have been waiting for a show like ours to show up on their TV sets. I want ¡HOLA LA!to be that show!  It’s a simple supply and demand equation… and we want to supply that demand!

48% of Latinos in the U.S. are women

Personally, what does being a part of the HOLA LA host ensemble mean to you?

Kikey: It means the world to me.  I feel profound gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this journey from day one when we were just a little show with big dreams. And I feel really close to Bel [Hernandez], Dyana [Ortelli] and Naibe [Reynoso], we are friends first and foremost and support each other in and out of ¡HOLA L.A.!  We root for each other’s success and always make sure everything we do is a team effort.  Rarely do you see a group of women who genuinely care about one another like we do…  I think that’s the secret to our show’s amazing chemistry.

What do you say to people when they compare you to other English-language talk shows on the air now?

Kikey: I absolutely love it, and I say “Yes.” It’s like those shows but with four Latinas speaking in English and that’s never been done before.  The mere fact that we are compared to national shows tells me that is the direction we’re heading towards. I am so thankful to CBS/KCAL9 for recognizing the show’s value and what it means to our community. With CBS/KCAL9 on our side, we can teach U.S. Latinos that “yes” you can grow up and become what you dream of becoming, especially with our show interviews of successful Latinos working in every profession imaginable: Doctors, Athletes, Politicians, Entertainers, Writers, Entrepreneurs… everything!  We are ready to empower the Latino population while changing the face of television.

53% of Latinos speak only English

Who would be your dream guest to have on  ¡HOLA! LA?

Kikey: President Obama and the First Lady. I’ll even take a “shout out” to our show from a pre-recorded video, ay dios mio, can you imagine!

Are you aware that you are an inspiration for many young Latinas out there! What would you say to someone who is trying to break into the industry?

Jack, KikeyKikey: Really?!  Me, an inspiration?  Hold on, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one [she laughs].  Gosh, I’m feeling humbled at the moment and a bit of weight of responsibility (but I’ll take it). I would tell anyone male or female who wants to get into the industry that you have to “love it” because it’s a rough journey and you’ll have to want it as much as you love it because there will be a bazillion obstacles and without “love” and “want,” an easier path begins to open up called, “giving up.”

Your favorite inspirational quote or recipe for success?

Kikey: This has been mine since high school: ‘Determination Is The Key To Success’.   It helped me get through college, which was really hard for me but a lot of fun and it has helped me achieve the success I have amassed here in Hollywood.

Something You May Not Know About Kikey:

When she moved to Los Angeles to fulfill her dream of acting, she jam packed all of her worldly belongings into her tiny red Mazda Miata and arrived in Hollywood with no job, no friends, no place to live (she “couch surfed it” at a family friend’s place for months) and just plugged away with acting classes, auditions, etc. Kikey’s dreams of ‘a better life’ began as a child in Hermiston, Oregon, working in the fields as a migrant worker alongside her mother. She is proud of her journey as a day laborer which led her to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.

¡HOLA! LA, the show with a twist of flavor, sabor with a strong shot of relevance—first show of the new season airs Saturday, March 30th, 7PM on KCAL9 and also on Sunday, April 7th, 4PM on KCBS. Co-hosted by four dynamic Latina professionals (and, yes, they all speak English!) who have a fresh new twist on universal topics. ¡HOLA LA! is a show with one soul, one heart with four distinct voices: Bel Hernandez Castillo, Show Creator/Executive Producer, CEO & President/Publisher of Latin Heat Entertainment; actress/comedienne Dyana Ortelli (Curb Your Enthusiasm); actress/green gal Kikey Castillo, and Emmy winning journalist Naibe Reynoso-Hodsden. The ladies will report on current trends, the latest happenings in Los Angeles, and a little bit about everything Hollywood.

More On Kikey Castillo:

 Evangeline Queen of Make Believe (the first run).  LtoR: Kikey, Eileen Galindo, Eddie Ruiz
Evangeline Queen of Make Believe (the first run). LtoR: Kikey, Eileen Galindo, Eddie Ruiz

The Imagen Award-Winning actress and giving philanthropist can be seen on CBS2 and KCAL9 co-hosting the ground breaking English language Latina talk show, HOLA! LA.   She is also in the multi-award winning short, Maddoggin’, which is making major waves in the film festival circuit; recently winning the ‘Audience Award’ at the 2012 NBC/Universal Short Cuts Film Festival. Next year she will appear as Danny Trejo’s ruthless girlfriend in the gritty indie feature, Five Thirteen. Kikey, is also a veteran of national commercials such as Denny’s, Chevy, McDonald’s and has guest starred on Jimmy Kimmel Live in a comedy skit.  Never forgetting her roots, she is a dedicated volunteer at soup kitchens, children’s charities, senior citizens centers and pet adoption rescues.  She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Arizona.



Special thanks to Mary Chuy who also contributed to this interview.


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Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).