Pop Culture Aficionado Alex Munguia Becomes The Story

By Dave Stolz

A reflection of Alex reflecting (Photo provided by Alex Munguia).

Alex Munguia, a Houston based pop culture commentator has an offbeat influence for a millennial — legendary television personality Dick Clark.

In our interview, Munguia said about Clark, “He set the template for how to approach pop culture and become an ambassador for it. He really had his hand in radio and TV which I think is so important even though we have many ways of getting information especially being on social media and the internet these days.”

Similar to Clark, Alex sees himself as a swiss-army knife when it comes to discussing and presenting culture. For starters, Munguia writes and curates his own blog where he discusses life, pop-culture news, Schitt’s Creek and his experiences of being in “career-limbo.” Since the pandemic has provided Alex with unexpected and unprecedented free time, he’s been using it as an opportunity to write more on his blog. “I am still trying to find a good pace for when to publish and how much I write — I go too ambitious at times and then I am like oh fuck, what am I doing?”

Alex also has plans to conquer a world in which Clark didn’t have the opportunity: podcasting. Munguia is currently in the beginning phases of developing his own show which highlights his unique voice and takes on the goings on in the entertainment world.

When asked about his upcoming podcast, Munguia revealed his plan saying, “I know for sure it won’t be longer than an hour and it’ll be a summary of the week’s pop culture news and maybe some quick advice. It’s inspired by Andy Warhol’s quote, In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

The self-aware Alex has faced a common dilemma in which most creatives encounter at one point or another as he pointed out, “There’s so much content being produced that it makes me hesitate if there’s really any sort of audience for me. There’s this inherent fear that your output is going to be the same as everything that’s already out there.”

However, Munguia is convinced he’ll be able to produce something that is truly unique. “It’s cliché to say but I make the product unique — my point of view is unique and, I really want people to get the sense that I am their friend as much as I am to the people in my life.”

Munguia has another shared interest with his hero Clark: broadcast journalism. Alex even wrote in his high school yearbook, “When I grow up, I want to be a co-host on Entertainment Tonight.”

Following that dream, Alex went on to study Broadcast Journalism at the University of Houston and graduated in 2010.

When Alex, a first-generation Mexican/Nicaraguan American, was in college, he volunteered at the Latin Grammy Awards for extra credit. His responsibility was to help escort talent to the red carpet, so they could be interviewed by all the glitzy media outlets.

“It was a cool experience to help the artists and just be in the presence of all the organized chaos but unfortunately, we were just helping with the pre-show so that meant we weren’t necessarily going to the big show. I was happy with being there and doing all of that work so I wasn’t bummed about that part.”

However, before they called it a day, the person in charge of Alex’s group mentioned they had leftover tickets and a challenge. “They said, Pick a number between 1–30 and whoever is closest to my number will get a ticket. I guessed 16 and that was a good enough guess to grab a ticket and enjoy the show.” A classmate of Alex’s had already won her ticket so they went together and saw the show. Munguia added, “It was amazing to be in there and then we decided to hit up some afterparties including the official one. It was a ton of fun and one of those memories I’ll never forget.”

Since graduating Munguia has found himself on an interesting career trajectory. “It kind of feels like I stumbled upon it but I felt like I also had somewhat of a plan.”

Post-graduation, Alex worked at the Houston Chronicle in the digital department but then switched over to print due to staffing changes and reductions.

While writing a pop culture column for the Washington Times Communities, Alex was often the author of the “Most Read” article on their site. Munguia first reached this distinction when he wrote an article about Skyler Grey after she performed “I Need a Doctor” at the 2011 Grammys. “I had just started and discovered she had shared my article on her account.” He continued, “I was shocked and grateful because that was just a glimpse of how things travel in a social media world.”

Following his time at the Houston Chronicle, Alex went on to have a minor stint at a print agency, which lasted less than a year, before shifting into digital specifically SEO for the last five years.

Alex never thought this is where he would be at this point of his life in 2020 but he has learned, “not everyone has it all together and we’re all attempting to piece it together as we go by.”

While Munguia used to get bogged down by the notion he was not where everyone else was he’s come to embrace that he’s right where he is meant to be. Whatever is meant to be will always be. He added, “If you’re happy with yourself, then everything else gravitates towards the light that you have to offer. Everything falls into place.”

When asked where he’ll be in five years, Munguia took a moment and responded, “It’s hard to where I see myself in the next five years because the last five years have taught me that nothing really goes according to plan.”

Although he has trouble seeing exactly where he will be — he does have certain goals. “I would hope that in the next five years that I have my own place in Austin, TX where I work at a digital agency while still working on my blog and content creation on the side. Hopefully, I am on the road to getting married or having kids, but I’ve also told myself that I would adopt as a single dad. Ultimately, I just want to be happy, enjoying life with family and friends.”

This makes sense because a constant theme while talking with Alex was his love for his friends and family. Munguia sagely said, “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it’s about the quality of people that you surround yourself with. I was really obsessed with the idea that being popular would give me some sort of semblance of being happy but, it’s the details that come with friendships and family.”

Over the last five years, Alex has learned “who to depend on and who (he) can talk to without any sort of judgment.”

One of those people who Alex depends on is his good friend Matthew Jimenez who shared, “Making the ordinary extraordinary is Alex’s best trait.”

Alex Munguia, like Dick Clark, doesn’t make culture — but he sure does make it feel extraordinary.

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