Comedian Kiki Melendez got her first taste of fame when she was maybe 3 years old and living in a small town in the Dominican Republic.
She said her nanny would take her to local talent competitions – without her parent’s knowledge – and on one occasion, she won first prize for dancing. The happiness she felt making people happy and entertaining them has stuck with her.
“I remember the whole neighborhood getting Ragu because it looks like they were the sponsor, and I just felt so great about everyone eating spaghetti because of my win. I think that is when it kind of started,” the comic told Fox News Latino.
Melendez, who stars in the hit comedy show “Hot Tamales Live,” is now taking her story to the big screen in her first foray onto the big screen, “Journey of a Female Comic,” airing for a limited time at the AMC Empire 25 on 42nd St. in New York City near Times Square. The movie chronicles her ups and downs while trying to make it big in Tinsel Town.
“Everything is 100 percent reality. It’s exactly what happened in my life and it’s my journey from being a little kid growing up in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic … to how I ended up in Hollywood,” she said. “I really love it. It’s funny. It’s thought-provoking, but most important, it’s inspiring.”
The "docu-comedy," as Melendez calls it – “I didn’t want people leaving the theater depressed,” she said – features interviews with Latino Hollywood stars like Edward James Olmos, María Conchita Alonzo, Nadine Velazquez, Lupe Ontiveros and others.
The comedian said she wanted to share her story because friends and people who know her would always tell her that her life was so interesting and needed to be shown to the world.
“In Hollywood nowadays unless you’re scandalous – I couldn’t think of a scandal to do – you really have to make it happen yourself,” said Melendez about producing the film. “In the world we live in, you really have to make you own opportunity. You have to do your own projects to be noticed, and I wanted to share my story.”
She continued, “I realized that this is an opportunity to tell my story – tell it my way.”
Melendez said that her mother’s words to her when she was young have proved to be a true motivation.
“My mother just this amazing woman who was so loved," Melendez told FNL. "She said to me, ‘I want you to get an education. I want you to be more than what I am.’”
Melendez's mom worked two jobs including as a maid for a time to be able to put her through private school. “Maid is a beautiful, honorable profession. She just meant, ‘I want you to be at least a secretary.”
Well Melendez has become more than a secretary and now has a new film to show for it.
“You will see what it’s like to be a comedian in Hollywood,” she said.