Adaptability and passion have guided Kat Lazo’s career. From the very beginning as a young Youtuber to her success as host of The Kat Call series at Mitú, she has shined both in front and behind the camera. Her most recent project, The Get Up, is no exception. It is now through the mic that we get to witness Kat’s undeniable charisma.
The Get Up is somewhere between a radio show and a podcast. It’s a unique and intimate experience as each listener gets a personalized playlist after conversation segments. As one of three hosts, Kat brightens our mornings with the latest news, pop culture, and entertainment.
Kat is a talented director, producer, and host. Above all, she’s someone who lives up to our expectations of a Gemini. Not only does she easily adjust to changes and new experiences, but she also excels at anything that life throws at her. During an interview with Belatina News, Kat told us about the journey that led her to The Get Up.
How do your identities, as a Peruvian-Colombian New Yorker, influence your work?
Generally speaking, I think I bring all of my identities into all spaces, whether that’s producing, hosting –– I can’t really separate that. As you may or may not know, that was a big factor that played a role when I was a producer over at Mitú. There I had the series The Kat Call, where I debunked typical taboos within our community –– the Latino community.
Now, how that rolls over with The Get Up –– I mean, there is no other Latino, Latina, Latinx representation on the mic. So, you know, I’m definitely bringing that. The guys aren’t as privy to Latin culture as, obviously, I am, so there’s a lot of information sharing. There’s lots of learning. They’re teaching me too.
I’m definitely bringing those aspects, both from an educational standpoint, but, also, things that I take for granted –– that I don’t even realize are specific to the Latino community –– and that, because they’re not Latino, they bring to my attention like “Wow! this is really unique.”
What were your aspirations as a little girl, and what advice would you give to that younger self?
Wow, way to bring me to therapy [laughs].
So, when I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. If I’m honest, I wanted to be like Julia Roberts or Natalie Portman. I wanted to be a white woman acting [laughs].
I got slapped with reality real quick. I went to a performing arts high school here in New York City, and those four years were amazing because there was a lot of colorblind casting – meaning we didn’t necessarily cast based on race or gender. Everything was super fluid.
When I graduated and I started auditioning, that’s when reality slapped me in the face. Because no one really cared about my classical training. No one cared about how much Shakespeare I knew. All they cared about was how well I was going to fit this Latina stereotype, right? So my dreams of being an actress were kind of crushed.
Then the trajectory of my career and all the many things that I’ve done, in front and behind the camera, have honestly not been planned. Even being on The Get Up was not planned. I no longer have an agent. I haven’t had one since I was maybe 17. I didn’t go out searching to be a host, you know, folks came to me. And so, I’ve kind of also just created my own path.
After high school, when I was frustrated with that, what I ended up doing was that I created a YouTube channel. Mainly because I was just like a kid who was having an identity crisis, and I just needed somewhere to vent. I think the older generation maybe took to their journals, but I took to YouTube.
For me, that was a place where I could not only express myself and my thoughts but also where I was able to still dabble in the theatrical like performing. I would do skits, I’d write my own scripts, and that allowed me to also finally kind of lay out this whole new career path, understanding how to work a camera, how to produce, how to script. As a result, little by little, opportunities have come my way without me searching for them.
Can you tell me more about your journey to podcast hosting? What led you to The Get Up?
Inside scoop, someone who is also Latina recommended me to the producers. I guess they had been searching for just the right chemistry –– the right host. They had auditioned a whole bunch of people. Then someone who has followed me on Instagram, who happens to be Latina, recommended me to them as well.
I auditioned. I was in Puerto Rico at the time. I’m not Puerto Rican, but I was in Puerto Rico at the time. We did a remote test where I had a script I tested with only one person, and I only tried one time, which is also kind of unique. The person I ended up doing my test with is actually one of the final co-host – Xavier, also known as X.
We had great chemistry, like, in all honesty, as I said, opportunities come my way. And so I don’t know if it was the fact that I said, “Okay, let’s just do this. Let’s try it.” I never actually intended to be a morning show host or do anything podcast-related, nothing like that. So perhaps it was my comfortability of “I have nothing to lose.”
I also think, during that audition, in particular with X, with Xavier Jernigan, our conversation really dealt with me challenging him on some of his beliefs. Perhaps that is what sparked the interest of the producers and folks in charge. And, you know, now it’s history.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I feel like it would be really silly for me even to try to have a set plan because the trajectory of my career has been one that I haven’t planned, it’s come my way, or rather I have had plans, and then other things kind of have changed the route that I’ve taken.
As the firstborn child to immigrant parents, I grew up with almost a very paternal, very mature energy, which kind of calls for a lot of structure. So, throughout my life, I have been super resistant to change. And I think, if anything, what I see in my future is me just getting more comfortable with adapting to new changes, adapting to new opportunities, and welcoming them like this one with The Get Up.
Are there any upcoming projects that you’d like to talk about?
The upcoming project is just me, Speedy, and X, basically waking up at four in the morning for the foreseeable future. And, you know, just rocking out on the mic. I get to hang out with what I now consider two of my really good friends every morning.
We have great conversations that are open to everyone to listen. We hope that folks listen, and it’s kind of like you are a fly on the wall, listening to friends talk about anything and everything, from things like marriage to Cardi B.