Audiences don't have to be familiar with the Cars franchise to adore the latest installment Cars 3, out June 16. When viewers meet endearing, up-and-coming racing superstar Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), they may just fall in love. When the famed Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) seeks help to surpass the much younger and faster cars, he encounters his new trainer Cruz.
While attempting to get her idol back into shape and restore his legacy, she in turn learns from him and builds one of her own — getting the best tricks of the trade, and learning how to fearlessly pursue her dream as a Latina woman. Cruz and McQueen make this dream team impossible to ignore. But who is the voice behind Cruz Ramirez? Cristela Alonzo has been hard at work for years, both behind and in front of the camera.
Alonzo's resume proves she's been pounding the Hollywood pavement and paying her dues. Viewers may recognize her voice from 2016's The Angry Birds Movie as Shirley the Old Lady Bird. She's appeared in TV shows including Sons of Anarchy, General Hospital, and her very own Cristela (2014-2015) an ABC comedy series she created, wrote, produced, and starred in. When it comes to comedy, Cristela wasn't her first rodeo. In fact, it's perhaps her strong suit.
The 38-year-old broke into the entertainment industry in 2007 as a standup comic. She's appeared in specials including Live at Gotham (2007), Stand-Up 360: Muy Caliente Edition 2 (2009), Last Comic Standing (2010), and Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution (2011). Most recently, audiences may recognize her from her hilarious Netflix special Lower Classy, a satirical look at being a Latina woman.
And now, the Texas native utilizes her platform to retell personal experiences as a Mexican-American woman. The comic directly speaks to Latino stereotypes, no matter how serious (Donald Trump and immigration) or silly (Louis Vuitton tacos) the subject matter may be.
Her hard work behind the scenes — from producing episodes of Ladies Room Diaries and Cristela to writing episodes of Mind of Mencia, Ladies Room Diaries, and six short films — clearly allows her to hit the mark when it comes to on-screen performances. In her standup, she clearly speaks to social and political issues, while simultaneously infusing her authentic comedic spin.
Alonzo is basically crushing the game, doing it her own way, and beating the odds, which isn't too far from her inspirational Cars character.