It's bold, pleasing and definitely hot. Latina makes its debut this month, hoping to do for Latina women what Essence did for African-American women when it came on the scene 26 years ago -- showing readers that beauty comes in all kinds of packages while providing culturally relevant articles.
"I started this because I wanted to do something about the negative media images of Latinas in this country," said Christy Haubegger, the 27-year-old who created the slick lifestyle publication. "We should change the image of how we see ourselves and what other people see of us.
"This is for the women living life between two cultures," she said. Haubegger added, with laughter: "It is for that Latina who wants low-fat enchiladas."
Although Latina's articles, which are in English and Spanish, are aimed at Latina women, most of them would interest any woman. For example, one discusses the whereabouts of all the good Latino men. Many women have pondered the mystery of where to find a good man. Alas, the article is long on lament but short on clues.
Latina has the right mix of short light features, fashion and beauty tips, and serious looks at such topics as teaching children how to cope with discrimination.
Several articles spotlight successful Latinas, such as comedian Marga Gomez; 25-year-old actress Jennifer Lopez of "Mi Familia" and "Money Train"; and Dolores Huerta, the original vice president of the United Farm Workers, the first organization to support Mexican-American farm workers.
Latina, which joins a growing market of ethnically targeted magazines, is bold enough to take on subjects that may be off-limits for discussion within the Latino family or community, such as nitty-gritty sex talk and birth control. Not only is there a comprehensive chart on birth-control methods, but there is also a spicy reader sex survey.
Latina also jumps into the issue of green-card marriages, putting a human face on the matter and all its complications.
The magazine goes where others might not dare, and it is an enjoyable ride.
The last page, for example, features a photo spread of female celebrities all cozy with Latino men -- Janet Jackson with her Rene Elizondo, Faye Dunaway with Hook Hererra, Jacqueline Bisset with Emin Buztepe, Sandra Bullock with Donnie Padilla and, last but never least, Madonna with the father of her baby, personal-trainer Carlos Leon.
"Latinos are fast becoming a hot, must-have accessory for powerful non-Latinas," the headline says. The accompanying copy block asks the question: Jungle fever (fiebre de la jungla)? or real love? Bueno!
Mulling over Blue Jean
Speaking of images, there is plenty to mull over this month in Blue Jean magazine, a publication for teen-age girls. It looks at how media images torpedo self-esteem in young girls who try to live up to the unrealistic body shapes portrayed in most magazines and movies.
One young woman writes about how the struggle for perfection led her into a battle with bulimia starting at age 14.
People magazine and the "Today" show made a big deal of the body-image subject earlier this month. But as much as we love to hate the beautiful people, their images sell magazines.
Others worth a look
Also worth checking out this month: Emerge magazine and Black Enterprise, which have tributes to Ron Brown; and Jazz Times, for its wonderful cover story on the gifted alto sax man Kenny Garrett, who after being accepted at the prestigious Berklee College of Music chose instead to go on the road, eventually playing with the late great Miles Davis.
Pub Date: 6/16/96