MEDIA PROFILE: Latina brings ethnic flavor to mission of empoweringmujeres

Latina magazine may be celebrity-driven and style-focused, but it ultimately looks for ways to empower, showing ordinary, everyday Latina women who accomplish extraordinary things.

Latina magazine may be celebrity-driven and style-focused, but it ultimately looks for ways to empower, showing ordinary, everyday Latina women who accomplish extraordinary things.

Flip through the pages of Latina magazine and you're likely to find familiar subject matter, regardless of your ethnic background. Like most women's magazines, Latina covers the standard topics that American females seem to crave: celebrities, fashion, health, and beauty. But apart from the spattering of Spanish that peppers articles and headlines ("Look fabulosa in 5, 10, 15 minutes"), Latina's main difference is that it's a magazine on a mission.

"Our goal is to empower women, particularly Latina women, by showing them other Latinas who are successful in business or entertainment or whatever it may be, explains editor-in-chief Sylvia Martinez.

That agenda is the force behind the details that sets Latina apart. While the cover of the magazine is always celebrity-driven (with the occasional model, says Martinez), it often uses "real women for fashion and beauty features - women carefully chosen to reflect the diaspora that is Hispanic America.

"The biggest single difference is that we do have that variety on our pages that a lot of general-market magazines lack, confirms Martinez.

"We try to show women throughout the book who come in all shades of brown and black, then we'll have very fair-skinned, blue-eyed Latinas. This is still the one place Latinas can come and see the diversity among Latinas."

When pitching Latina, it's helpful to think of it as an ethnic Marie Claire - a women's magazine that isn't afraid to tackle a tough issue, but doesn't neglect the staples either. "We do your basic women's lifestyle stuff, but we also try to do some more serious subjects, says Martinez.

"Typically, they have to do with ethnicity and culture."

A recent issue helps illustrate Martinez's description. The cover features Latina superstar Paulina Rubio, who is looking to break into the American pop market. Other sections feature articles on how to get ahead in the workplace ("Be the star of la oficina"), a column offering financial advice ("Get rich - ahora!"), and "Four ways to tame tension en el trabajo. More serious articles focus on how to handle men in the workplace and first-person tales of the Latina experience.

In fact, Latina has an entire section devoted to first-person stories - an excellent place to pitch a Latino client, male or female, who has something to say about culture. Dubbed "The n chronicles (a letter unique to the Spanish alphabet), this area of the magazine seeks to explore what Martinez calls "the defining moment, or "stories of how (a Latina) discovered their ethnicity and came to terms with it. If your client doesn't have the celebrity status to warrant a cover, or no star power at all, this is a good place to try.

Latina is also on the lookout for everyday women doing extraordinary things. If your client has "built a company from the ground up, or one day they're on the street and the next day they're an entrepreneur," Latina wants to hear the story, says Martinez.

And don't neglect Latina when pitching the latest beauty products and gadgets. The magazine has a rate base of 225,000, according to the ABC, and that number is certain to grow. Latina recently made a deal with Avon for its 80,000 door-to-door sales reps to begin selling subscriptions.

The magazine also recently entered into a partnership with nationally syndicated TV show Latin Access for a regular segment on the Latino lifestyle that will draw from the pages of the magazine. That means a savvy placement could wind up in front of thousands of TV viewers as well. Recent examples of crossover coverage include a piece on Latin-influenced spa treatments and an interview with The Mummy star Patricia Velasquez.

But be sure to get your pitch in early - the magazine often runs many months ahead. In August, Martinez was working to close the October issue.

Along with early, remember to think timely. Latina avoids hot news topics because the lead time makes it difficult to remain current. For instance, the magazine chose not to directly cover the attacks of September 11.

Instead, Latina ran a photo essay months later on Latino heroes. Those kinds of evergreen ideas, says Martinez, are much more likely to catch her attention.

"We need to be sold on what we can do differently that will still be timely three months from now, she says.

One criterion the magazine doesn't require is a Latin heritage from writers and PR people interested in pitching. "We're not closed to other (ethnicities) if they can do a good job of capturing the cultural nuances, says Martinez.

CONTACT LIST

Latina

Address: 1500 Broadway, Ste. 700

New York, NY 10036

Tel: (212) 642-0200

E-mail: editor@latina.com Web: www.latina.com

Editor-in-chief: Sylvia Martinez

Senior Editors, Features: Della de Lafuente, Anamary Pelayo

Fashion director: Victoria Sanchez-Lincoln

Beauty editor: Yesenia Almonte.

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