Ms. Generation Mex:
Yvette Doss of FRONTERA Magazine
Yvette Doss, a self-described 'Mexican-American half-breed and
twentysomething,' is on the phone with
magazine in her
crowded San Francisco apartment, trying to persuade them to do a
story on her magazine. 'There is a Latino publishing revolution
going on,' she says. 'That would be your national angle.'
Click. The conversation ends like so many others she has had
with members of the publishing world's inner circle: in defeat.
Ever since this 26-year-old daughter of a Mexican immigrant and a
white military man from Virginia began publishing frontera
magazine in December last year, she has found the invisibility of
young Latinos like herself both frustrating and galvanizing. Her
splashy quarterly journal for English-speaking
Latinos--particularly Mexican-Americans--captures the vibrancy of
millions of young people who haven't been able to find a reflection
of their lives in any of the mainstream media.
Caught between two worlds, this 'refried nation' (as the
magazine refers to its readers) is as fond of punk and apple pie as
it is of Mexican quebradita music and south-of-the-border sweets
like pan dulce. Doss' magazine, which already has a circulation of
almost 20,000, is in an excellent position to ride the wave of
opportunity expected to hit in the next decade as Hispanics surpass
blacks as the nation's largest minority.
'I feel like we're chronicling a generation from the trenches,'
she says. 'Twenty years from now, I'm going to look back and say,
`Wow, I was part of that change.' But for now, we don't register on
the mainstream radar. We're not even a blip.' The name frontera,
which Doss thought up in the shower, reflects the pending change:
It's Spanish for frontier, but it can also be read as two English
words: front era.
Doss, a philosophy and creative writing graduate of the
University of California at Berkeley, never intended to enter the
fiercely competitive magazine world. 'I wanted to write books about
the big questions in life,' she says, tugging at her short
pigtails, 'but I also wanted to write the great American novel.'
When she soon learned that neither would pay the bills, she
enrolled in the graduate journalism school at Berkeley. There, she
took a class in magazine publishing from New York founder Clay
Felker and was inspired to launch frontera.