Award-winning comedienne, actress, writer, and producer Kiki Melendez grew up in New York City of Dominican descent. She spent her childhood watching classic televisions shows such as The Brady Bunch and Bewitched during the day and Spanish telenovelas at night. As a teenager Melendez’s family moved to Miami. She went back to New York to get training in the performing arts. She studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater, The New York Film Institute and The Herbert Berghof Studio.
She started her career in show business as a morning radio host for stations such as La Nueva FM, 105.9 in New York and KRLA, Groove 103.1 in Los Angeles.
In 1998, Melendez successfully transitioned from radio to television. Her first pilot, Salsa desde Hollywood was acquired by Galavision Network. Following its success, Melendez went on to create America’s first bilingual variety show Kiki desde Hollywood, which became the highest rated entertainment show on the Galavision Network. Melendez has also been an entertainment reporter the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and other international media outlets.
Melendez’ career breakthrough came in 2009 when she created the smash TV hit Hot Tamales Live! on Showtime Networks – A talent showcase celebrating ethnic diversity through performances by comics, sketch artists and dancers. This one of a kind TV special had one of the highest rated premieres on Showtime Network’s history. It ran in the summer of 2009 and returned in January 2010. Hot Tamales Live! was the closing show at the HBO Comedy Festival at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Among her many awards: American Latino Pioneer in Entertainment, The Lupe Ontiveros Visionary Award (Georgia Latin Film Festival), American Latino Award (nomination) and the prestigious MAVERICK AWARD (Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival.) On May 7, 2015 she will be honored by the Dominican Film Festival in New York City in a star studded gala.
Television credits include Hot Tamales Live!, (Showtime Networks), #Locos Y Contentos, (Estrella TV), Tracy Ullman Takes On (HBO), Strong Medicine (Lifetime), City Guys (NBC), Steve Harvey Show (WB), and more. As a writer her credits include: Chase Hope and Faith, Gina and Blair and Exonerating Evidence.
Theater credits include Latina’s Don’t PMS in Los Angeles which she directed and produced and Madres y Heroinas, a surprising breakthrough performance in a dramatic role.
Currently, Melendez is starring and Executive Producing a national show called #Locos y Contentos on Estrella TV. In the tradition of SNL, Mad TV and In Living Color this show is the culmination of her years of trying to create a national platform for Latino Comics.
Melendez is married to Scottish bloke John Berry. Together they are raising twins Alessandra and Isabella, a role she is most proud of.
Kiki Melendez is a certified Hypnotherapist and has a BA in Psychology. Espada PR®