When Univision announced in November that Colombian journalist Ilia Calderón would be filling the anchor seat vacated by María Elena Salinas in early December, the Spanish-language television legend was among the first to congratulate her colleague.
Salinas even shared a social media post on Nov. 8 expressing her joy that Calderon will soon be seating next to co-anchor Jorge Ramos, Mondays through Fridays, during the network’s 6:30 p.m. newscast. “Happy that my dear and gorgeous colleague Ilia Calderón is taking charge of Noticiero Univision. She is not only a great journalist and good mother, she is very sensitive to the needs of our Hispanic community,” Salinas posted with a photo of the two collaborating on a story for Univision’s Sunday night investigative show Aquí y Ahora.
Salinas surprised many when, sitting next to Ramos in August, she announced on the air that she would be leaving the network after 36 years. “I have decided it is time to change course and begin a new chapter in my career as an independent journalist and producer and dedicate more time to philanthropy,” she added later on social media. “I am excited about this new phase where I will be working on projects that will allow me to reach new and diverse audiences across multiple platforms.”
In April, Salinas began working on an English-language series, The Real Story with María Elena Salinas for the Investigation Discovery (ID) channel, which was renewed for a second season. The renowned anchor’s last day at Univision will be December 8th —and it will not be a quiet goodbye. The network will salute her with a week-long tribute starting with tonight’s special edition of Aquí y Ahora titled María Elena, Siempre” (Maria Elena, Always).
During her last week there, the network will also air emotional stories about her achievements that will be presented by her colleagues, including Calderón, who will make history as the first Afro-Latina to anchor a weekday national newscast on a major network in the United States. “It’s a great responsibility knowing that I’m opening doors for other generations, not only for journalists, but for other girls and women who want to succeed at what they do,” she told PEOPLE CHICA.
As her days on Univision wind down, Salinas spoke to PEOPLE EN ESPANOL exclusively about Calderon taking her coveted seat. “A person who comes to fill that position is not replacing me, she is creating her own legacy,” she emphasized.
The Mexican American anchor said she had spoken with her colleague about the road ahead. “I don’t have to give her any advice as a professional, but I will do so as a mom,” she added to PEOPLE EN ESPANOL. “We have talked about that, because her daughter is little and Ilia hasn’t traveled much in the last few years. She has had the opportunity to be with her daughter [Anna, 5]. I told her that we worry a lot as mothers about leaving our kids because we feel that [it] could affect them, but it’s something that also affects us because we feel guilty. She has to keep that in mind. I advised her that every once in a while you have to be willing to say ‘no.’ That’s what I regret, that at certain times I didn’t say no.”