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RSVP / Into the Night

Magazine Marks 2nd Year of Giving Voice to Latinas

June 19, 1998|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Latina is not the new kid at the newsstand any longer, and the magazine and its New York staff came to Los Angeles Wednesday night to thank California readers at the publication's second anniversary.

With chocolate cake and Ocumare rum, nearly 400 well-wishers sang happy birthday in English and Spanish and then toasted the magazine's success and its founder and publisher, Christy Haubegger.

Haubegger has been nurturing her idea for the magazine since she was a 10-year-old growing up in Houston.

"There just wasn't a magazine I could relate to," she told the crowd who gathered at 360, a high-rise restaurant and lounge at Sunset and Vine.

"We--Latinas--weren't in the magazines I used to pick up at the grocery store as a kid. So I have set out, hopefully, to change that with Latina. I wanted to create this magazine, a magazine for Hispanic women in this country where they can find beautiful, capable women like themselves," Haubegger said.

But Haubegger was quick to note that "none of these things happen" without the support of advertisers, talent and investors whom she calls her "angels."

One angel is Ed Lewis, chairman and co-founder of Essence Communications Inc., publisher of 28-year-old Essence magazine and Latina's major backer.

"Most new magazines don't make it after three issues. This one is successful because, I think, editorially, it is touching a market that is receptive to having its own voice. I'm in it for the long haul," Lewis said. Possible plans for the magazine include expanding to television, book publishing and operating a modeling agency.

Guests at the event included Mexican soap opera star Jorge Rivero and actors Esai Morales, Kamar de los Reyes, Jacqueline Obradors, Idalis de Leon, Bill Maher and John Singleton.

Sandra Guzman, Latina's editor, said 30% of the magazine's readers are in California, which is why the Manhattan-based magazine recently opened an L.A. business office.

"We live in two worlds, and we celebrate those two worlds," she said. "Every day I feel like we're chronicling the lives of Latinas everywhere."

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