Haubegger, Christy: 1968—: Publisher
Christy Haubegger: 1968—: Publisher
Founder of Latina, the first bilingual magazine for Hispanic women, Christy Haubegger had noted the visible lack of Hispanic role models in the media even as a child. As an adult she was determined to change this. Rather than pursue a career in law, Haubegger decided to pursue her dream of creating a women's magazine that dealt with health, beauty, political, and lifestyle issues from a Hispanic woman's perspective.
Christy Haubegger was born on August 15, 1968 in Houston, Texas to a Mexican-American woman, and then adopted by an Anglo couple, David and Ann Haubegger. Haubegger was raised in Bellaire, a middle-class suburb of Houston. Although her parents did not speak Spanish, they strongly encouraged her to learn the language and to explore Mexican culture, and Haubegger was enrolled in a bilingual preschool, continuing to learn Spanish in primary and secondary schools.
She graduated from St. John's High School in 1986 and then went to college at the University of Texas at Austin. After she received her bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1989, Haubegger attended Stanford Law School where she was class president and also served as the senior editor of the Stanford Law Review. Haubegger graduated with a juris doctor degree in 1992.
Searched for Role Model
As a young child, Haubegger noticed that magazines in the grocery stores did not show women who looked like her. In fact, she soon realized that all of the role models around her, in the movies, media, or even her own family, were tall, Caucasian, and blond. As a chubby girl of Mexican-American heritage, with dark hair and brown eyes, Haubegger could not relate to these images. Magazines were particularly problematic for Haubegger because they defined what teenagers considered to be beautiful. As Haubegger wrote in Essence, "I remember being in high school and noticing that none of the magazines showed models in bathing suits with bodies like mine." Haubegger believed that the fact that she had Anglo parents strengthened her desire to connect with her Hispanic heritage. As Haubegger explained to the Texas Monthly, "Other Hispanic kids were frustrated by a lack of popular images in the media, but at least when they went home, they found people who looked like they did."
Rather than be discouraged, Haubegger instead decided to find an outlet that would celebrate the beauty of Hispanic women. While still in law school, she came up with the idea of a magazine dedicated to Hispanic women as part of an assignment for a marketing class. Upon graduation she and a friend decided to try to turn that idea into reality. Her friend quit the project after only three months, but Haubegger continued to pursue it on her own, working as a freelance legal researcher to support herself financially.
At a Glance . . .
Born Christy Haubegger on August 15, 1968, in Houston, TX. Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1989; Stanford University, J.D., 1992.
Career: Freelance legal researcher, 1992-1995; Latina magazine, president and publisher, 1996-2001; Latina magazine, founder and board member, 2001-.
Awards: Most Inspiring Woman, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, 1996; 100 Most Influential Businesswomen, Crain's New York Business, 1999; Advertising Hall of Achievement, American Advertising Federation, 1999; Woman of the New Century, Newsweek; Top 10 Role Models of the Year, Ms. Foundation, 2001.
Turned Dream into Reality
Haubegger formed her own company, Alegre Enterprises Incorporated, and turned her marketing class project into a 200-page business plan that outlined the need for a magazine that catered to Hispanic women. Next she began to look for investors who would back the project, searching in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, California, the home of several venture-capital firms. When this plan did not succeed, Haubegger expanded her search nationwide. As she told Folio magazine, "I knocked on 105 doors and got 5 yeses." Haubegger not only found a venture capitalist willing to fund her project, but she also sparked the interest of Edward Lewis, founder and owner of Essence, the leading magazine for Black women.
With some of the initial investment money, Haubegger developed a prototype of the magazine and mailed out 75,000 test copies. In addition, she conducted 21 focus groups in cities with large Hispanic populations. This initial research helped her refine the look and content of the magazine. In June of 1996 the first issue of Latina hit the newsstands. The premiere issue featured Jennifer Lopez on the cover and sold over 200,000 copies.
Targeted Bicultural Hispanic Women
According to Latina Online, the result of Haubegger's efforts "was a bilingual lifestyle magazine that addressed the needs and concerns of an untapped Hispanic population," Hispanic Americans who were bilingual and bicultural. Haubegger explained her target audience in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "They are also Latina like me—with one foot in each culture." She went on to describe this target audience as upwardly-mobile, educated, between the ages of 20 and 40, and employed with an average annual income above $30,000.
Latina was launched at a time when other publishers were also trying to tap into the Hispanic market. The death of Mexican singer Selena in 1995 resulted in a surge of purchases of magazines about the young star, demonstrating the purchasing power of the Hispanic population. In response, both People and Newsweek began to publish Spanish versions of their magazines. In addition, other Latino publications grew in popularity, such as Moderna, which targeted a fairly young audience, and Si, which was written only in English. However, as an article in the Seattle Times explained, "… selling to a Hispanic audience means more than simply translating words from English to Spanish or replacing thin models with curvaceous ones. The industry can be insensitive to minority groups, often exoticizing or dehumanizing them."
In contrast Haubegger envisioned Latina as a magazine for a population of Hispanic women who were bilingual and bicultural. Her readers were often second-generation citizens who flowed easily between the two cultures. In an article in USA Today Haubegger described the average reader of Latina. "She wants to make enchiladas, but she doesn't want to use lard. Her mother didn't work out, but she wants to. Their mothers don't speak English, their kids don't speak Spanish." To reach such an audience Latina features a wide range of articles, including a focus on health problems that disproportionately affect Hispanic women, highlighting promising careers for bilinguals, or health-conscious tips for making traditional Spanish meals.
The fact that the magazine was bilingual was important to Haubegger. Each issue is approximately 60 percent English and 40 percent Spanish. Editor-in-chief Patricia Duarte explained the reasons for having a bilingual magazine to Folio. "One is that there are several levels of language proficiency in Hispanic households, and another is that there is a community tradition of using periodicals as learning tools." Not only was Latina bilingual, but it also used some Spanglish, a slang hybrid of English and Spanish that is commonly spoken among Latinos. As Haubegger explained to the New York Times, "If we were an English magazine, we would just be general market. If we were a Spanish-language magazine, we would be Latin American. We are the intersection of the two, and we reflect a life between two languages and two cultures that our readers live in."
Established Powerful Business
Latina 's biggest challenge has been attracting advertising dollars. Haubegger has worked hard at convincing major companies to create ads targeting the female Hispanic population and she succeeded in persuading several high-end advertisers to do their first Hispanic advertising in Latina, including Chanel, Ann Taylor, Polo Jeans, Timex, Gap, and Liz Claiborne. Haubegger used basic demographics to sell her magazine to advertisers, arguing that Hispanic households were larger than the U.S. median and Latinos had more than $5 billion of purchasing power. In addition, since Hispanic women were younger than the U.S. average, they accounted for a larger percentage of cosmetics sales. Her argument has been persuasive since advertising grew from 17 pages in the first issue to 114 pages by the end of 2001. As Haubegger explained to Mediaweek, "Anybody who ignores the Hispanic market in this country at this point is downright foolish."
Haubegger's instincts about the focus of her magazine have proven to be correct. Published quarterly when it was launched in 1996, the magazine increased its frequency to monthly issues only a year later, in July of 1997. By 2000 the circulation figures were about 225,000 issues, 80 percent of which were subscriptions. In 1997 Haubegger served as the president and publisher of the New York based company. She over-saw a staff of 20 and focused on the business management of the magazine. Since then the staff has grown to over 50, many of whom are Hispanic women. In 2000 Latina was named Best Magazine by Advertising Age. And both in 2000 and 2001 it was featured on the Adweek Hot List. In 2002 the magazine was awarded the Society of Publication Designer's Merit Award in design for a feature story on coffee that ran in the July 2001 issue.
In 1998 Latina expanded to the web with Latina Online. Two years later Latina received a $20 million equity investment by Solera capital to create Latina Media Ventures, a parent company to the magazine that aimed to expand the publication to the internet, broadcast, and other print media. In October of 2000 Haubegger published the book Latina Beauty (Hyperion), the country's first comprehensive beauty and wellness guide for Hispanic women. In the same year Time Inc. bought a 49 percent stake in Essence, but it did not include Latina as part of the deal. In July of 2001 Haubegger was replaced as the publisher of the magazine and no longer oversaw the daily operations. A Latina spokesperson told the New York Post that Haubegger "has assumed the role of founder, where she remains on the company's board and continues to focus on strategic initiatives, advertising and brand development." She has also served on the board of Latina Media Adventures.
In addition to her work at Latina, Haubegger has done numerous speaking engagements promoting both the magazine and her vision of how Hispanics should be portrayed in the media in particular and in American culture in general. As Haubegger told Newsweek, "At the dawn of the new millenium, America knows Latinos as entertainers and athletes. But, someday very soon, all American children can dream of growing up to be writers like Sandra Cisneros, astronauts like Ellen Ochoa, or judges like Jose Cabranes of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals." Haubegger has received numerous awards and recognition for her achievements. In particular, she was named one of the Most Inspiring Women of 1996 by NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw; Crain's New York Business selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential Businesswomen of 1999; Newsweek named her one of the Women of the New Century; and the Ms. Foundation chose her as one of the Top 10 Role Models of the Year in 2001. In addition, Haubegger was one of the youngest women to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement.
Advertising Age, February 7, 2000.
Business and Management Practices, 1998, pp. 199-201.
Essence, December 1994, p. 48.
Fleet Owner, May 1999.
Folio, February 1, 1995, p. 20; September 1, 1996, pp. 23-24; October 1, 1996, p. 29; April 15, 1999, p. 54.
Fresno Bee, October 16, 2000, p. E1; November 30, 2000, p. C1.
Houston Chronicle, July 19, 2001.
Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1996; August 7, 1997, p. E1; June 19, 1998, p. E2; July 6, 1998; July 23, 1998; May 3, 2000, p. C6; November 15, 2000, p. C8.
Media International, February 1999, p. 27.
Mediaweek, June 10, 1996, p. 34; April 13, 1998; February 28, 2000, p. 79.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 10, 1996, p. Q1.
Ms., September/October 1997.
Newsday, April 5, 1998; November 4, 2000.
Newsweek, July 12, 1999.
New York Post, July 18, 2001.
New York Times, December 25, 1996, p. C3; March 25, 1997, p. A1; March 1, 1998; September 15, 1999, p. C6.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 25, 1999, p. S2.
Plain Dealer, March 19, 1998, p. 2C; September 28, 1999, p. 5F.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 1996, p. E4.
Seattle Times, July 7, 1996, p. A8; November 30, 1997.
St. Petersburg Times, August 6, 1999, p. 1D.
Tampa Tribune, July 5, 1999; July 25, 1999.
Texas Monthly, 1997.
USA Today, March 18, 1998, p. 9D.
Business 2.0, www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,72,FF.html
Girls Can Do, www.girlscando.com
Las Mujeres, www.lasmujeres.com/christyhaubegger/freshface.shtml
Latina Magazine Online, www.latina.com
Additional information for this profile was obtained from Carolina Miranda, publicist for Latina magazine.
—Janet P. Stamatel
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