‘Cosmo For Latinas’: Do’s and Dont’s from a magazine junkie
It’s getting hot in here: the premiere issue of Cosmo For Latinas.
By ANGIE ROMERO
I love the concept of healthy competition. I think it keeps us good at what we do. Today, as Hearst officially rolls out Cosmopolitan For Latinas, its new lifestyle publication aimed at English-speaking Latinas, I wanted to offer up some free advice. ‘Cause if they’re serious about being in this game and competing, then there are a few things to keep in mind.
Am I a little biased? Admittedly. I worked at Latina magazine, Cosmo For Latinas’ direct competitor, for four years under three different editor-in-chiefs. Could we have done some things better? Sure. But I’m also super proud of the product we put out there during an incredibly difficult time for print magazines. There’s a reason Latina has been around for 15 years. And as Cosmo For Latinas enters the market, I look forward to a good exhibition match.
Cosmo For Latinas, which will bow as a biannual, national publication with a circulation of 545,000, is certainly bullish about their place in the market. “We are taking a pioneering role in delivering compelling media to an audience who isn’t having their needs currently met by what’s out there in the marketplace,” said Donna Kalajian Lagani, SVP/publishing director and chief revenue officer for Cosmopolitan in a press release for the new issue. She will oversee the brand’s advertising and marketing efforts while Michelle Herrera Mulligan (formerly the managing editor of LasFabulosas.com) will head editorial.
There is obviously a market for these types of publications. In my humble opinion: the more, the merrier. If mainstream can get thousands of choices at the newsstand, why can’t we?
So, without further ado, here are my do’s and don’ts for the new Cosmo For Latinas (which was initially conceived as Cosmo Latina, but I’m guessing there was a legal issue that led to the name change).
Whatever the case is, I say: bring it!
Do feature inspiring Afro-Latinas like Zoe Saldana on the cover. She looks gorgeous!
Don’t feature her tied to nothing at all and run a cover story that discusses her as if she just arrived on the scene. Center Stage came out over a decade ago and the woman is currently shooting the Star Trek sequel and about to shoot Avatar 2. Also, in 2012, “I’m very proud to have Latin blood” is just a weak quote. Surely your writers can push your interview subjects to do better.
Do improve your cover lines. And by that I mean, you don’t need the words heat, curves, mami, proud, and sizzling all on the same cover. This isn’t an ad for Sofia Vergara’s Kmart line.
Do feature celebrities in gorgeous fashions, as you did with Naya Rivera in the swimsuit spread, “The Charmed Life.”
Don’t mess up someone’s ethnicity, as you did with Naya. She isn’t Mexican American; she’s Puerto Rican. Just because someone is from California doesn’t make them Mexican. These are the types of mistakes that mainstream mags make all of the time and why mags like you are supposed to exist.
Do brag about what you know. For Cosmo, that means sex & relationships, so a section like “Manthropology” seems like a place where you could shine. I see a lot of potential in the “Real Talk” section, too, with stories like “Is Your Family Holding You Back” and “Secret Hot Hookups.”
Don’t take your signature tongue-in-cheekiness to ridiculous levels. The concept, however playful, of picking up men at church (because we’re all Catholic, right?) just doesn’t work, in stories like “Extra Glam At Church.” And it’s made worse by lines like these: “A touch of sangria pink on your cheek will have him stealing glances at you all mass long.”
Don’t force the Spanish where it doesn’t make sense. Latina has been guilty of this over the years and I fought against it during my time there. Take for instance the following sentence: “Amor and advice from the hombres in our lives.” Do you know anyone who talks like that? I don’t.
Do take advantage of the fact that you have the budget to go to places like Brazil to shoot a fashion spread.
Don’t make that fashion spread something so cha-cha it’s almost laughable. I’ve been to Rio, and the women there have a great sense of style, far removed from the look of half-naked Carnival dancers. Also, Carnival (or Carnaval in Portuguese) is in February, so the theme for this shoot seems like an odd fit for summer. Surely there were other themes you could come up with when it came to Brazil. And if not, well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Don’t make spelling mistakes, especially in noticeable places like a dek, as on page 118 (“you’re been taught” instead of “you’ve been taught”). I know Hearst has the budget for copy editors. Use them.
(Photo: Cosmopolitan For Latinas)