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Parents Latina Magazine: Celebrating Latino Culture, Heritage & Traditions For The Next Generation Latina – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Grace Bastidas, Editor, Parents Latina…

March 5, 2021

“We know that a lot of our readers are on their phones personally, but during this time when we’ve been exposed to so much screen time, they’re looking for ways to disconnect. And that’s what Parents Latina does for her. Let her have a moment to herself to refocus and get inspired, especially if she’s having a low moment. It helps her keep on going. I think the magazine is sort of like a pause, a breath for our reader during their day.” Grace Bastidas…

Published by Meredith, Parents Latina is an English-language magazine targeting U.S. Hispanic millennial moms, one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the marketplace. Grace Bastidas is editor of Parents Latina and makes it her goal to help these moms balance their American and Latin cultures as they’re  raising multicultural children.  

I spoke with Grace recently and we talked about the magazine, its very diverse audience and how she wants to showcase that vastness and that diversity throughout the pages of the magazine. Being Colombian-American, Grace is very familiar with the needs of her audience. In fact, Grace told me that she is Parents Latina’s audience. She has two children and often needs that support the magazine offers its readers. Support and inspiration – two things that are very important to the brand when it comes to what they strive to provide to their readers.

So, I hope that you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with the delightful Grace Bastidas, editor, Parents Latina magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On why Parent Latina is mostly in English and People en Español is 100 percent Spanish: In terms of Parents Latina and People en Español; we do serve very different segments of the demographic. People en Español is in Spanish and more entertainment-focused and Parents Latina is in English and geared toward second generation moms and dads. The majority of the magazine is in English because that is the way our reader prefers to consume media. That doesn’t mean she’s not close to her culture, her culture is front and center for her. She is trying to raise multicultural children who are very proud of their roots. And that’s what we offer her.

On if Parents Latina has any DNA from the Parents brand: Parents Latina is part of the Parents family. We’re very proud to have that name in our title. And while Parents has this very long legacy, Parents Latina is still quite in its infancy. We launched in 2015, so I like to say that we’re the funky little sister. (Laughs) And we do cover all the topics moms and dads care about and we do it from a Latino perspective. And we look to culturally competent experts for advice. We make sure that we have all of these Latino voices in there.

On how Parents Latina has handled the pandemic and the social unrest in the country: We also look for the silver lining of the pandemic. And we try and uplift wherever we can. Latinos are inherently optimistic people, so we try and look for the good. In terms of diversity and inclusion and equity, that has always been part of our DNA. We’ve always made sure that our readers felt seen and represented. This is a very big audience, and one that is very diverse, ethnically and racially, so we celebrate that by featuring parents from all walks of life. 

On her role as editor of a magazine as ethnically diverse as Parents Latina: I am the Parents Latina reader. I always like to say that because I have two kids myself, two girls, ages six and eight. So I feel like a lot of what I experience is what my reader is experiencing and I spend a lot of time really talking to people and listening to people. A lot of what we cover is based and inspired by conversations with real people and moms and dads across the country.

On who the magazine would be if it were suddenly transformed into a human being: The magazine is not necessarily an expert, but it’s there to support, to listen, to connect; it’s someone who is deeply invested in your well-being. It’s someone who values culture and has seen how culture transforms throughout different generations. And knows how important it is to raise the next generation of Latinos.  And is led by their heritage, by their roots and sees how culture can change and evolve and transform and how you interpret it within these different generations.  

On the role she thinks print plays in this digital age: We know that a lot of our readers are on their phones personally, but during this time when we’ve been exposed to so much screen time, they’re looking for ways to disconnect. And that’s what Parents Latina does for her. Let her have a moment to herself to refocus and get inspired, especially if she’s having a low moment. It helps her keep on going. I think the magazine is sort of like a pause, a breath for our reader during their day.

On anything she’d like to add: I just want everybody to know that Parents Latina is available everywhere and that everybody really should pick up a copy or read it online. We’re available at the Magazine Store, Apple News+, at doctor’s offices, our content is on Parents.com. As I told you, we’re going through a digital expansion, so more to come on that. And we don’t really have competition out there. We are THE brand reaching Latino parents.

On what makes her tick and click: We’ve really been covering a lot of topics that were once considered taboo in Latino communities; we talk a lot about mental health. In the February/March issue we have a story about colorism and discrimination. We’ve talked about machismo. So, we really are opening up the conversation on really important subjects and hopefully changing the narrative. I find it super-gratifying when I hear from readers telling me that Parents Latina has empowered then to positive change in their lives.

On how she unwinds in the evenings: I prioritize rest. I do watch a little TV with my husband at night, but I try to get to bed on time, especially if my daughters are already sleeping. I even bought a weighted blanket featured in the Real Simple Sleep Awards and I have never slept better.

On what keeps her up at night: I’m not really up in the middle of the night, especially now that I have this weighted blanket. (Laughs) But it’s been a rough year for Latinos, especially moms, they’ve been disproportionately impacted, many have lost or left their jobs to for their kids and inequities don’t stop there, so my biggest concern is what else can we be doing to help moms?

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Grace Bastidas, editor, Parents Latina magazine.

Samir Husni: A few months ago I interviewed Armando Correa and Monique Manso from People en Español and we talked about this big segment of the population and how it’s being served. Yet I noticed there’s a big difference between People en Español and Parents Latina, not only content-wise, but People en Español is 100 percent in Spanish, while Parents Latina has the majority of its content in English and some in Spanish. Can you explain this dichotomy?

Grace Bastidas: First of all, I want to say that it’s so great to have People en Español in the building and have another Latino-focused brand, especially one with such history. It’s so great that Meredith understands the importance of this multicultural audience. They just launched the “Good Impressions” initiative, which offers internal resources from Meredith to really help all these diverse small businesses. It’s wonderful.

In terms of Parents Latina and People en Español; we do serve very different segments of the demographic. People en Español is in Spanish and more entertainment-focused and Parents Latina is in English and geared toward second generation moms and dads. 

We do have a section that’s in Spanish, Ser Padrès, and the thinking behind that is we know that family is very important to Latinos. A few years ago we did a survey on the role of grandparents and we found that one in three Latinas have grandparents as their babysitters. So this person is very involved in raising the children. And we have a section in the back that really speaks to them and also to our bilingual readers. 

But the majority of the magazine is in English because that is the way our reader prefers to consume media. That doesn’t mean she’s not close to her culture, her culture is front and center for her. She is trying to raise multicultural children who are very proud of their roots. And that’s what we offer her. 

Samir Husni: When I look at Parents Latina and then look at Parents and I compare it to the mother ship, are there any points of intersection? How do you compare Parents Latina with Parents? Do you have any DNA from the mother ship?

Grace Bastidas: Parents Latina is part of the Parents family. We’re very proud to have that name in our title. And while Parents has this very long legacy, Parents Latina is still quite in its infancy. We launched in 2015, so I like to say that we’re the funky little sister. (Laughs) And we do cover all the topics moms and dads care about and we do it from a Latino perspective. And we look to culturally competent experts for advice. We make sure that we have all of these Latino voices in there. 

And at the heart of what we do are stories about passing down family values, traditions, language, family recipes and we help parents navigate two or three or more cultures and take the best out of those. 

Samir Husni: As we all know, 2020 was a trying year, from the pandemic to the social unrest across our country. How has Parents Latina handled these tragic situations? 

Grace Bastidas: Most of our readers are young moms who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. They’re the breadwinners in their households; they’re essential workers; they have to balance caring for their kids, trying to educate them through what has been a really hard schoolyear, while continuing to work and stay safe for their families. Many are also living in multigenerational households. So they’re caring for older relatives.

We make sure and talk to this dynamic in the family and really anticipate what’s coming next; what can this parent do to help their children catch up in school? Of course, we don’t like to put too much pressure on the parents because they’re already experiencing burnout from what has been a very difficult year.

So, we also look for the silver lining of the pandemic. And we try and uplift wherever we can. Latinos are inherently optimistic people, so we try and look for the good. 

In terms of diversity and inclusion and equity, that has always been part of our DNA. We’ve always made sure that our readers felt seen and represented. This is a very big audience, and one that is very diverse, ethnically and racially, so we celebrate that by featuring parents from all walks of life. Real people, as well as notable people in our community. And while we do cover celebrity parents, we also like to look at other people doing really great stuff. 

For example, our February/March cover mom is an artist named Cristina Martinez. She is Afro-Latina and creates these large-scale paintings that honor women of color. And we felt like we wanted to put her on our cover and really celebrate her work. And see how her heritage as an Afro-Latina impacts what she does. 

We’re also very intentional and have always been about asking the people we interview how they self-identify. We give them a chance to say who they are. Latinos wear their heritage on their sleeve. If you ask me where I’m from I’ll tell you that I’m Colombian-American, because my family was from Colombia, but I was born here. So I really want to showcase that vastness, that diversity of this audience. And we always have that front and center and show as many different types of Latinos as possible.

Samir Husni: What do you think your role as an editor of an ethnically diverse magazine is, especially in curating all the information that’s out there and helping your audience to understand it?

Grace Bastidas: I am the Parents Latina reader. I always like to say that because I have two kids myself, two girls, ages six and eight. So I feel like a lot of what I experience is what my reader is experiencing and I spend a lot of time really talking to people and listening to people. A lot of what we cover is based and inspired by conversations with real people and moms and dads across the country. 

We really try and use that information and try and find out what’s the most important thing to cover while balancing it out, because obviously we want to give her all of the information that she needs, but we also want to inspire her. 

For example, two years ago I was at a conference and I met a single mom that started her own business and she told me about the challenges she had faced. And about how her daughter kept her motivated to keep going, to keep fighting. And when the pandemic hit, I thought, if I’m having this much of a hard time as a parent, I can’t even imagine how this woman is doing it. And those readers who are single parents, so that really drove me to create content around that topic. I commissioned a survey of almost 500 single moms to see how they were faring and help them get the support they needed. The findings of that will be out in this month. 

So a lot of what we do is listen to our audience and then really serve up what they need at that moment. And if we need to pivot our content based on those needs, we do. Because obviously it’s an evolving situation, especially through the pandemic. 

Samir Husni: If I gave you a magic wand and you were to strike Parents Latina with it and a human suddenly appeared, who would that human be? 

Grace Bastidas: The magazine is not necessarily an expert, but it’s there to support, to listen, to connect; it’s someone who is deeply invested in your well-being. It’s someone who values culture and has seen how culture transforms throughout different generations. And knows how important it is to raise the next generation of Latinos.  And is led by their heritage, by their roots and sees how culture can change and evolve and transform and how you interpret it within these different generations. 

I would say the magazine is a guide, a support, someone with deep understanding of what it means to be a Latino parent in 2021. And a deep understanding for what it meant to previous generations and how we hold onto what matters, to the values, the traditions, to the language, while continuing to evolve and while harnessing our power as a demographic. 

Samir Husni: What do you feel is the role of print in this digital age?

Grace Bastidas: We know that a lot of our readers are on their phones personally, but during this time when we’ve been exposed to so much screen time, they’re looking for ways to disconnect. And that’s what Parents Latina does for her. Let her have a moment to herself to refocus and get inspired, especially if she’s having a low moment. It helps her keep on going. I think the magazine is sort of like a pause, a breath for our reader during their day. 

Parents Latina is actually going through a digital expansion, which is really exciting. It’s something new and I can’t really talk about it, but it’s going to be very exciting for our audience. And I’m also co-hosting a new podcast from Parents called “That New Mom Life,” and it’s really about talking to new moms during this time of extreme isolation and guiding them on how to navigate parenthood on this very intimate platform. So we’re getting her on all angles. But I do think the print magazine is what helps her disconnect and just take a moment for herself. 

Samir Husni: Since you were the launch editor of Parents Latina, did you ever expect that after seven years, the magazine would be where it is now? Has anything surprised you in this seven year journey?

Grace Bastidas: We started out as a quarterly magazine and at the time I was a freelancer and I didn’t come on full-time until a year later. And now we’re six issues and we’re talking about this digital expansion. I’m co-hosting this podcast, and I’m never at a loss for story ideas, content that relates to this audience, and content that is very nuanced and specific to this English-dominant, Latino audience. And I’m thinking I just wish I had more pages because there’s so much to tell, so many stories to tell and so many topics to explore. 

It’s a little surprising, but this is such an important time for our audience and we just keep evolving and we have to keep evolving with this audience.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Grace Bastidas: I just want everybody to know that Parents Latina is available everywhere and that everybody really should pick up a copy or read it online. We’re available at the Magazine Store, Apple News+, at doctor’s offices, our content is on Parents.com. As I told you, we’re going through a digital expansion, so more to come on that. And we don’t really have competition out there. We are THE brand reaching Latino parents.

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Grace Bastidas: We’ve really been covering a lot of topics that were once considered taboo in Latino communities; we talk a lot about mental health. In the February/March issue we have a story about colorism and discrimination. We’ve talked about machismo. So, we really are opening up the conversation on really important subjects and hopefully changing the narrative. I find it super-gratifying when I hear from readers telling me that Parents Latina has empowered then to positive change in their lives. 

I’m also really proud of my small team. I always say that we’re tiny but mighty. And everybody deeply believes in the mission of Parents Latina and takes a lot of pride in what we do, including Meredith, which has been such a supportive company. They came up with the concept of this magazine and brought me onboard to launch it. And everybody truly believes in the power of this demographic. 

Samir Husni: How do you unwind in the evenings?

Grace Bastidas: I prioritize rest. I do watch a little TV with my husband at night, but I try to get to bed on time, especially if my daughters are already sleeping. I even bought a weighted blanket featured in the Real Simple Sleep Awards and I have never slept better. 

Having a full-time job, having children who are quite young and really do need me a lot, proper rest is so important. And I’m always on. I may be watching TV or getting ready for bed, but I’m always thinking about our audience and what else we can be doing to serve them, especially because my friends are Latinas and as a Latina mom, I’m living with the brand all the time. 

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Grace Bastidas: I’m not really up in the middle of the night, especially now that I have this weighted blanket. (Laughs) But it’s been a rough year for Latinos, especially moms, they’ve been disproportionately impacted, many have lost or left their jobs to care for for their kids and inequities don’t stop there, so my biggest concern is what else can we be doing to help moms? 

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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