Christy Haubegger: Teaching the Media Multicultural 101

June 23 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Throwing the Book at Historical Media Norms

It’s my personal belief and the belief of a lot of women we feature in On The Dot that you can’t be what you can’t see. When all you see is June Cleaver with a tray of milk and cookies in Leave it to Beaver, it’s hard to believe you could do more than that if you wanted to.

But thanks to the emergence of women in TV, film, magazines and online newsletters, our imaginations can grow, and so can we. What woman made you realize you could follow your calling?


The United States has 41 million native Spanish speakers, which surpasses the number in Spanish-speaking nations like Spain. So why are our search engines and Internet stuck in English mode? Some 62 percent of Latina women in the U.S. say they wish there were more lifestyle content about Latinas online, and about the same amount say they want that information in Spanish.

As today’s Woman to Watch proves, the U.S. audience for Latina content is enormous and isn’t going to stop growing anytime soon.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Christy Haubegger, Founder of Latina Magazine and Executive at Creative Arts Agency

When Christy Haubegger launched Latina Magazine in 1996 with only a few employees, she wanted to change the complexion on the newsstands.

Though her adopted parents instilled a sense that she could be whoever she wanted to be, Haubegger didn’t see people like her represented in television, films or magazines. Later, while enrolled in a business class at Stanford Law School, that same thought from her childhood inspired her to develop a super smart business plan for a periodical aimed at Latina women, based on Essence magazine.

Haubegger knew she wanted to launch the magazine for real, with law as a backup plan if she failed. Well, guess what, she didn’t fail!

Jennifer Lopez graced Latina’s first cover, and Haubegger quickly had a loyal readership. However, advertisers were against the concept, holding on to stereotypes. For example, a makeup company selling lipstick for less than $10 asked Haubegger if her readers could afford it. How rude!

But Haubegger’s captivating personality and business savvy rebuffed the ignorance, propelling Latina to reach 4.5 million readers. Needless to say, advertisers have started paying attention.

In 2001, Newsweek named Haubegger one of the Women of the New Century for her resounding success. She serves on the governing board for Leadership for Tomorrow, which works to increase the number of minority MBA candidates at business schools.

As if that’s not enough, Haubegger was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in 2009. Oh yeah, and she was the youngest woman to be inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement.

In 2005, Haubegger took on a new essential role as a diversity expert for talent and sports agency Creative Arts Agency. Her clients include such stars as Rosario Dawson, Sofia Vergara and Salma Hayek. In this position, she often has to give a Multicultural 101 course to TV networks, showing them the differences in what they think a demographic will want versus what those actual viewers really watch.

Though progress is often sluggish, this media maven says she is happy to have played a part in changing the magazine industry and the face of American beauty.


I’ll leave you with this quote from the first Latina Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor. She said:

“I think it’s important to move people beyond just dreaming into doing. They have to be able to see that you are just like them, and you made it.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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