This article originally appeared in Latina magazine's November 2016 issue.
At the age of 27, Texas-born mexicana Christy Haubegger changed media history when she founded Latina magazine in 1996. Twenty years later, we sat down to chat with our still-badass founding mother.
Can you believe Latina is 20 years old?
It’s remarkable to see how far we’ve come! People come up to me all the time and say, “I grew up with your magazine!” or “I never thought I was beautiful as a size 12 until I saw Latina!” Or “Latina helped me come out!” And I love that young Latinas now take it for granted that they have a magazine and website dedicated to their issues, their dreams, their beauty.
How do you think things have changed for Latinas in the media over the last 20 years?
In a way, it’s the best of times and worst of times. There has never been a better time to be Latina in Hollywood than right now if you want to be an actress. But the complexions still need to change behind the camera. We have to be able to tell our own stories, and that won’t happen if we’re not in the writing rooms working on character development. Or if Latinas aren’t executives buying our stories so they get made. I can look around and see a handful of colleagues who are show runners and directors, but we still have a long away to go.
One the coolest things about Latina is our ability to help launch new stars. We gave J.Lo and Gina Rodriguez their first covers. You work at Hollywood’s legendary Creative Artists Agency (CAA)— how do you spot talent?
Part of my job is to reveal an individual’s potential. It’s so satisfying to be able to see more in someone than they see in themselves. I can look at that person objectively and say, “yup, there’s something here. We should bet on that person.” Ed Lewis, the cofounder of Essence, was one of my earliest champions. As a visionary and our founding partner, Ed saw the potential of Latina and me. I’m forever grateful and I try to pay that forward.
Looking back, what are you most proud of, and what’s your biggest hope for our community?
I’m most proud of how far we’ve come. When we launched Latina, we put actresses like J.Lo on the cover many times because there were so few options. We now have many amazing women to celebrate, women who have moved our community forward. My biggest hope is that everyone registers to vote! This election has me dismayed and stressed. But we can’t complain if we aren’t engaged. And if you think Latinos are powerful now, just wait until we are fully engaged politically and economically. We would be unstoppable.