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Rubio, Paulina: 1971—: Singer, Actress

Paulina Rubio: 1971: Singer, actress


Already one of the brightest stars in the pantheon of Latin American popular music, Paulina Rubio seems poised to become the next big Latin crossover success, following in the footsteps of Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Ricky Martin. The daughter of one of Mexico's most successful film stars, Susana Dosamantes, Rubio got into music at an early age, recording her first record at the tender age of three. She made her professional musical debut in 1981 as an original member of the pre-teen singing group Timbiriche, which enjoyed great popularity throughout Latin America. Although she never really left music behind, Rubio in the late 1980s and early 1990s made a detour into acting, appearing in two of Mexico's most popular telenovelasPasión y poder and Pobre niña rica. A member of Timbiriche until 1991, Rubio struck out on her own as a singer with a debut solo album entitled La chica dorada The Golden Girl a nickname by which she is still known in her native Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Only a year after topping the Latin music charts with her hit CD Paulina, Rubio crashed the English-language pop market with Border Girl, which debuted at number 11 on the U.S. pop music charts in June of 2002.

Joined Teen Singing Group


Paulina Rubio Dosamantes was born on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City, Mexico. Her parents, attorney Enrique Rubio and film actress Susana Dosamantes, divorced three years later. Paulina and her younger brother lived with their mother, with whom they traveled frequently, spending a good deal of their early years not only in Mexico but in Europe and the United States as well. Of her nomadic childhood, Rubio commented on her official website, "My mom was shooting a lot of films in Europe when I was young, so we were traveling with her around the world, with a lot of artists around: writers, architects, singers, filmmakers. It made me very independent, and that is when I started making some of my own decisions, at around seven or eight." A budding singer from the time she was a toddler, Rubio also spent time investigating other artistic pursuits such as painting, ballet, and acting. However, by the time she was eight, Rubio had decided she wanted to focus more on singing and dancing, prompting her mother to enroll her in a performing arts school. The training paid off for Rubio, who two years later was selected to be a founding member of the singing group Timbiriche.

At a Glance . . .


Born Paulina Rubio Dosamantes on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City, Mexico; daughter of Enrique Rubio (attorney) and Susana Dosamantes (film actress).


Career: Singer, 1981; member of Timbiriche singing group, 1981-91; actress, 1988-95.


Awards: Billboard Latin Album of the Year Award for Paulina, 2001; El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awards, Album of the Year for Paulina, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for "Y yo sigo aqui," 2001.


Addresses: Record company Universal Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404. Official website www.paulinarubio.com.

Timbiriche proved an excellent launching pad for Rubio, who became widely known throughout Latin America as a member of the wildly popular teen singing group for nearly a decade. Despite the immense popularity of Timbiriche, Rubio continued to work quietly to hone the skills she knew she'd need to guarantee a lasting career in the music business. She found time to continue her studies, taking private jazz, singing, and phonetics lessons in Los Angeles. Of her years with Timbiriche, Rubio, in a 2002 told an interviewer for the Orca Sound website, said, "I joined the group at a young age and stayed with them for about ten years. We were like Menudo, except we were girls. They gave me my first opportunity and because of that I am here today."


While still a member of Timbiriche, Rubio decided to try her hand at acting and at the age of 17 joined the cast of the popular Mexican telenovela Pasión y poder. Cast as a villainous seductress, Rubio was an instant hit with fans of the show but later worked hard to shed the somewhat unsavory image she'd picked up as a character on the show. Her success on Pasión y poder later led to further television roles on Baile conmigo and Pobre niña rica, as well as her film debut in 1994 in Bésame en la boca. Although well received as an actress, Rubio made clear in an interview on her official website that music remained her firstand most passionatelove. "Acting was like a hobby for me, but music is my priority. I love to perform and to spread my music and my messages." A starring role in Vaselina, the Spanish-language version of the popular musical comedy Grease, afforded Rubio an opportunity to draw upon both her musical and dramatic talents.

Launched Solo Singing Career


After about a decade with Timbiriche, during which she recorded ten albums with the group, Rubio decided the time had come to try her wings as a solo performer. In 1992 she released her first solo CD, La chica dorada, which was a success, going platinum. The album, recorded in Spain, spawned a number of number one singles on the Latin music charts, including "Amor de Mujer" and "Mio." Of Rubio's debut recording, a collection of dance, pop, and rock tunes, Hispanic critic Mark Holston wrote, "Much like her role model, Madonna, Rubio is more about style than musical substance. But the album does yield some gems, like the moody 'Sabor a Miel.'" Holston was not the only critic to see a strong connection between Madonna and Rubio, whose music videos oozed the same brand of sensuality long associated with her American counterpart. He was also not the only critic to comment on a lack of substance in Rubio's music.


Rubio's successful solo debut as "The Golden Girl" was quickly followed by her second CD, 24 kilates in 1993. Not long after its release, Rubio's follow-up album was certified gold. Like its predecessor, the second album spawned a handful of hit singles, including "Nieva, Nieva" and "Asunto de doas." Although the public seemed to have fallen head over heels for Rubio, critics continued to be lukewarm in their appraisal of her talents, suggesting that the singer's popularity had much more to do with her looks than with her singing ability. After being labeled a "sexpot pinup" in a Los Angeles Times profile by Agustin Garza, Rubio defended her onstage performances and sexy image. "Well, maybe I'm cheap sometimes. I don't care. Whoever doesn't like it, well, too bad. I'm not going to change because of anyone. On stage, I feel free to do whatever I want to do. I was raised in an environment in which women were always the ones who pulled the family through. The stereotype of the Mexican woman as fragile, full of children, and powerless has completely disappeared. I believe I am a woman with a strong character who knows the value of discipline and decisiveness."


Next up for Rubio, after the success of her first two albums, was Tiempo es oro, a CD released in 1995. A year later, she followed up with Planeta Paulina. Sales for both her third and fourth CDs were disappointing, prompting Rubio to sever her professional relationship with the Capitol-EMI label not long after the release of Planeta Paulina. Of her handling by her former record label, Rubio later told Billboard, "I think [EMI] saw me in a way that I didn't fit into. They tried one thing and another and finally I couldn't take it anymore." What followed was a four-year hiatus from recording, during which time Rubio spent a great deal of time pondering the future direction of her musical career. In 2000, recording now for Universal Records, Rubio released her fifth solo CD, titled simply Paulina. It proved to be a very successful comeback for Rubio. The new CD sold more than four million copies in the United States alone and was ranked the top-selling album of 2001 on Billboard 's Latin album charts. Her successful return to recording was made all the sweeter by the three awards she won at the 2001 El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awardsincluding Album of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for "Y yo sigo aqui."


Sought English-Language Project


Although Rubio had long wanted to break into the English-language music market, she had a tough time convincing manager Dario de Leon that the time was right for a crossover attempt. When de Leon continued to resist Rubio's push for the English-language project, arguing that such a move might drive away some of her existing Latino fans, she ended their relationship and hired in his place Angelo Medina and Ricardo Cordero. Medina and Cordero, who had helped guide Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin to mainstream success, promised to do the same for Rubio.


A little over a month before the June 2002 release of her debut English-language CD, Rubio was once again honored, but this time it was for her beauty and not her music. In May of 2002, People en Espanol announced that the Mexican singer had topped its 2002 list of the "25 Most Beautiful Latin Entertainers," besting such other contenders as The Sopranos co-star Jamie Lynn Sigler, singer Enrique Iglesias, NYPD Blue cast member Esai Morales, and Rush Hour 2 co-star Rosalyn Sanchez. In announcing the magazine's top pick for 2002, the managing editor of People en Espanol, Angelo Figueroa, told the Associated Press, "Paulina is not only beautiful and sexy, but she has that star quality that will certainly put her on the map. She is destined to be the next breakout performer."


Interviewed by USA Today in May of 2002, shortly before the release of her first English-language CD, Rubio spoke fondly of her relationship with Latin singer Marc Anthony and some of the other Latino singing stars who had already made the crossover to mainstream music. "Marc and Ricky and Shakira and Enrique and J. Lo are my friends. We all grew together, wanting in our minds to release worldwide albums. And we all know that Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan and Carlos Santana worked hard to open that door for us. Now we're family, in a new moment in music's history." She went on to describe the new CD, Border Girl, as "a fusion of rhythms and cultures from all over the world. I think my music is a representation of globalization and of the present time. I love techno musicto me, DJs are musicians now. But I also use acoustic rhythms, and I have my roots. When you hear guitars crying in my music, that's Mexico. When you don't live in Mexico, the country lives inside you."

Critics Were Again Unimpressed

Rubio's Border Girl debuted on June 18, 2002, and hit number 11 on the U.S. pop album charts. In her native Mexico, Rubio's first English-language CD made its debut in the number-one position. Although the public was as clearly taken with Rubio in English as they had been with her in native Spanish, the critics predictably were less kind. Of the "Golden Girl's" attempt to establish herself as a singer in the United States, Associated Press music writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody observed, "Unfortunately, Rubio hasn't found her identity yet, as she tries to appeal to as many genres as possible over 16 tracks. She's Britney Spears on one song, J. Lo on another, and Faith Hill on the next. That approach might have worked if the songs weren't so mediocreand Rubio's slight voice so generic." Equally unkind was the reviewer for E! Online, who wrote: "This girl knows how to make an impression. The Latin sensation not only made her first appearance on the cover of Spanish Rolling Stone buck naked, but she also reveals a good deal of flesh on her debut disc's cover. Too bad this Border Girl 's crossover attempt lands somewhere between Ricky Martin-lame and absolutely annoying."

Never one to be unduly discouraged by bad reviews, Rubio toured during the fall of 2002 in support of Border Girl. She also put out another album in 2003 called Canta Como. Away from the concert stage and recording studio, the singer maintains homes in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Miami. She also owns a Miami Beach restaurant called L'Entrecote de Paris. Unmarried, Rubio has had a long-running romance with Spanish-born architect Ricardo Bofill Maggiora. As to what the future holds, Rubio leaves little doubt. She said on her official website, "I grew up doing concerts and I'm going to die doing concerts all over the world. That's what I'm here for and what I believe in."


Selected works


Albums


La Chica Dorada, Capitol, 1992.

24 Kilates, Capitol/EMI, 1993.

Tiempo Es Oro, EMI, 1995.

Planeta Paulina, EMI, 1996.

Paulina, Universal, 2000.

Border Girl, Universal, 2002.

Canta Como, Miami, 2003.


Films


Bésame en la boca, 1994.


Television


Pasión y poder, 1988.

Baila conmigo, 1992.

Pobre niña rica, 1995.

Sources

Books


Contemporary Musicians, Volume 39, Gale Group, 2003.


Periodicals


AP Wire, May 5, 2002.

AP Worldstream, June 21, 2002.

Hispanic, March 1993.
Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2002.

People, July 22, 2002.

USA Today, June 10, 2002.


On-line


"Border Girl Visits Montreal: Meet Paulina Rubio,"

Orca Sound Website, www.orcasound.com/re views/paulina_rubio_interview2002.html (July 23, 2003).

Official Paulina Rubio Website, www.paulinaru bio.com/relaunch.html (June 20, 2003).

"Paulina Rubio," AskMen, www.askmen.com/women /singer_100/131_paulina_rubio.html (June 20, 2003).

"Paulina Rubio," Biography Resource Center Online, www.galenet/servlet/BioRC (June 20, 2003).

"Paulina Rubio," Sing365, www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/singerUnid/9AA0C520C4B5B98F48256 BE200186D50 (June 20, 2003).

"Paulina Rubio: Biography," 100% Paulina Rubio, www.100percent-online.com/paulina_rubio/biogra phy.asp (June 20, 2003).

"Paulina Rubio Border Girl," E! Online, www.e online.com/Reviews/Facts/Music/RevID/0,1107,2718,00.html (June 20, 2003).

Don Amerman

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Rubio, Paulina

Paulina Rubio

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Mexican singer and actress Paulina Rubio began her career as a child star with the group Timbiriche and has not left the public eye since. Her work has included roles on the soap opera Pasión y poder (Passion and Power), a stint with the musical Vaselina (the Spanish-language version of Grease), and a series of pop albums beginning with 1992s La chica dorada (The Golden Girl). After the release of Planeta Paulina (Planet Paulina) in 1996, Rubio took a four-year break from recording. Her return to the recording studio resulted in Paulina, an album that astounded the Latin music industry by selling more than four million copies. Now back in the front ranks of Spanish-language recording stars, Rubio recorded her first album aimed at an English-speaking audience with Border Girl, released in June of 2002. The album got off to a quick start and debuted at number eleven on the Billboard album chart, making Rubio the latest Latino crossover success in the wake of stars such as Ricky Martin and Shakira.

Paulina Rubio Dosamantes was born on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City. Her mother, Susana Dosamantes, was a film actress who raised Rubio alone after divorcing her father. Rubio planned on an artistic career from the start. As she told Carmen Teresa Roiz of the Hispanic Online website in 2002, My mom was shooting many films in Europe when I was young, so I was traveling with her around the world, surrounded by artists: writers, painters, singers, film makers. Rubio recorded her first song when she was three, and later entered a performing arts school for her primary education. In 1982 Rubio joined the all-female singing group Timbiriche, which starred in its own television show. Aimed at a preteen audience, Timbiriche earned little critical respect, but the group made Rubio and the other members into household names in Mexico and Latin America. The experience led to more acting offers once Rubio left the group.

In 1988 the 17-year-old joined the cast of the Mexican telenovela (soap opera) Pasión y poder as a villainess. She later came to be identified with her role as a scheming blonde seductress, especially after she became involved in a long-term relationship with architect Ricardo Bofil, Jr., who was married to the daughter of Julio Iglesias. In 1999 Rubio and Bofil were rumored to have married in Africa, but the couple refused to confirm that a ceremony had taken place.

Rubio also denied rumors of alleged rivalries with other singers on the Latin music scene, such as former Timbiriche castmate Thalía and Colombian native Shakira. In reality, Rubio and Shakira were close friends. We go to the beach and have fun, and when were sharing the stage in some awards ceremony or something, we talk about cell phones, batteries, diets, love, movies, Rubio explained to Jon Wiederhorn of MTV in April of 2002. We just chill down. I think our whole generation is very supportive with one another. We dont have any ego trip. We are like a pyramid. We

For the Record

Born Paulina Rubio Dosamantes on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City, Mexico; daughter of Susana Dosamantes.

Performed with the group Timbiriche in Mexico, 1980s; appeared on television series Pasión y poder and Baila conmigo; recorded first album, La chica dorado, 1992; sold four million copies of 2000 release, Paulina; released first English-language album, Border Girl, 2002.

Awards: El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awards, Album of the Year for Paulina, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for Y Yo Sigo Aquí, 2001.

Addresses: Record company Universal Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404, website: http://www.universalrecords.com. Website Paulina Rubio Official Website: http://www.paulinarubio.com.

support each other and were a very simple generation just trying to be friends.

Rubio worked steadily in Mexican television, theater, and film through the late 1980s and early 1990s. She starred in the series Baila conmigo (Dance with Me) and Pobre nina rica (Poor Little Rich Girl) and made her feature film debut in 1994 with Bésame en la boca (Kiss Me on the Mouth). She also starred in Vaselina, the Spanish-language version of the long-running Broadway musical (and later film) Grease. In 1992 she returned to her musical roots with her debut album as a solo artist, La chica dorada (The Golden Girl). A collection of rock, pop, and dance tunes, La chica dorada was more successful with the public than with critics. Much like her role model, Madonna, Rubio is more about style than musical substance, wrote Mark Holston of Hispanic magazine in 1993. But the album does yield some gems, like the moody ballad Sabor a Miel.

Rubios subsequent Capitol-EMI releases in the 1990s 24 kilates (1993), Tiempo es oro (1995), and Planeta Paulina (1996)covered much of the same dance-pop territory and received lukewarm critical reception. Critics noted that Rubios records traded on her looks instead of talent; a Los Angeles Times profile by Agustin Gurza in June of 2002 referred to her as the sexpot pinup, a description that Rubio laughed off. Well, maybe Im cheap sometimes. I dont care, she shot back. Whoever doesnt like it, well, too bad. Im not going to change because of anyone. On stage, I feel free to do whatever I want to do. Rubio also insisted that her image was a sign of empowerment. I was raised in an environment in which women were always the ones who pulled the family through, she told the newspaper. The stereotype of the Mexican woman as fragile, full of children, and powerless has completely disappeared. I believe I am a woman with a strong character who knows the value of discipline and decisiveness.

Disappointed with the efforts of her label, Rubio left Capitol-EMI after Planeta Paulina. As she told Billboard in June of 2001, I think [EMI] saw me in a way that I didnt fit into. They tried out one thing and another and finally, I couldnt take it anymore. It would be four years, however, before her next album, on Universal Records, appeared. Simply titled Paulina, the album marked a fresh start for the veteran performer. The album eventually sold over four million copies in the United States and was the best-selling album of 2001 on Billboard s Latin album chart. Capping her come-back, Rubio won three El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for Y Yo Sigo Aquí. Rubio and her manger, Dario de Leon, disagreed about the singers next step. While Rubio wanted to pursue an English-language project, de Leon was worried that this new direction would alienate her old fans. Rubio ended her relationship with de Leon and took on Angelo Medina and Ricardo Cordero as new managers. Medina and Cordero had been instrumental in guiding Puerto Rican singer and actor Ricky Martins career into mainstream success in the United States and hoped to do the same for Rubio.

Having spent a considerable part of her childhood in the United States, Rubio was already fluent in English when she began to plan her English-language album. Still, the challenge was a daunting one. English is the universal [language], so I wanted to cross boundaries, she explained to MTV.com in April of 2002. But it was hard because we were very clear that we didnt want to miss the simplest thing. When you translate one thing to another language and you use the exact same words, sometimes youre not gonna get the same feeling. So I worked very hard because we wanted it to be as I am. Im very feministic and Im very strong and I didnt want to miss that.

Released in June of 2002, Border Girl debuted at number eleven on Billboard s album chart despite luke-warm critical reviews. A July of 2000 People review called the album disposable dance-pop, while Billboard s reviewers complained about her voice that is sensually raspy but too wispy, a fact made more obvious by the excessive doubling of her vocals. For her part, Rubio was excited to bring her work to a broader audience. I think my music, its international now, she told Jane Stevenson of the Toronto Sun in June of 2002. I grew up in different countries. Thats why Border Girl is Paulina growing up in different cultures and how all that reflects into my life. My life is musicits the way I express myself to the outside world.

Selected discography

La chica dorada, Capitol-EMI, 1992.

24 Mates, Capitol-EMI, 1993.

Tiempo es oro, EMI, 1995.

Planeta Paulina, EMI, 1996.

Paulina, Universal, 2000.

Border Girl, Universal, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 30, 2001; October 27, 2001; December 29, 2001; April 27, 2002; June 22, 2002.

Dallas Morning News, June 16, 2002.

Hispanic, March 1993.

Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2002.

New York Times, June 30, 2002.

People, July 1, 2002.

Toronto Sun, June 27, 2002.

Online

Is the World Ready for Paulina Rubio?, Hispanic Online, http://www.hispaniconline.com/vista/julrubio.htm (July 11, 2002).

Paulina Rubio Hoping To Cross Over Border Like Shakira, MTV, http://www.mtv.eom/news/articles/1453550/20020422/rubio_paulina.jhtml (July 11, 2002).

Timothy Borden

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