Nora Bulnes has just returned from New York, where she was a guest at the wedding of Marc Anthony's personal assistant.
That took her to the nuyorican (New York Puerto Rican) salsero's Long Island mansion. Then he invited her to his Madison Square Garden concert, where she enjoyed a second-row seat beside his wife.
"It was spectacular," says the South Florida publisher/Hispanic high society maven. "But it was tiring."
As she primps her carefully coiffed blonde hair with a manicured hand, Bulnes doesn't show any signs of fatigue. In fact, she's scurrying to prepare for the next date on her heavily booked social calendar.
It's her own gala event next month -- the 20th anniversary celebration of Selecta, her Spanish-language society/star magazine.
"And people thought it wouldn't last," says Bulnes, who is seated behind her gold-trimmed Louis XIV-style desk strewn with calligraphy-adorned invitations.
But last it has, and then some. In its two decades, the glossy, oversize magazine has become a fixture among South Florida's jet set and Latin elite, as well as a profitable enterprise since the beginning. Bulnes didn't provide further financial data.
Each month, Selecta's 35,000 readers, who boast an average income of $150,000, devour cover stories -- usually exclusive interviews and photo spreads. She's featured everyone from Chicano boxer Oscar de la Hoya to Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera to Chilean TV host Mario Kreutzberger (Don Francisco).
Then there are the reports on and original photos of swanky society parties in venues ranging from Caracas to Los Angeles, the latest haute couture being paraded on Parisian and Milanese walkways, palatial homes, the newest baubles from the world's most opulent retailers, and luxury travel destinations.
The stable of top-flight advertisers such as Piaget and Louis Vuitton, who pay $3,000 to $4,000 a page, would be any publisher's envy.
It's a formula that has been painstakingly perfected by Bulnes since she launched Selecta as a newsprint tabloid in 1982 when the magazine's only color page was its cover.
Besides knowing her target market from the inside out, she says the other key elements in her business model are always maintaining strict cost controls and not getting personally carried away by the society lifestyle the magazine promotes.
"I know people who started magazines and in three months they're buying a Mercedes," she says. "I still live in the house I've lived in since 1972."
In the early days, Bulnes and her son Michael, now president of Selecta, would load boxes of magazines into her car and ferry them around for distribution.
Her aim: to bring the best of Hispanics to the world. "I wanted to create a quality product that speaks about all the good of Hispanics, without vulgarity or sensationalism," says Bulnes.
Gossip is carefully avoided, she notes. At that moment a secretary informs her that a reporter is on the phone, wanting to know if Marc Anthony's rumored-to-be-estranged wife was at the weekend wedding.
"I never take those calls," Bulnes says.
Being discreet is part of what gives Bulnes and Selecta entrée into the clubby world of the rich and famous.
She's attended Donald Trump's weddings, been a guest in Julio Iglesias' dressing room, and is on the regular guest list for fiestas held at the Dominican estate of the Fanjuls, the sugar moguls. She's been a juror for numerous Miss Universe and other beauty pageants and is often flown to Europe and Latin America to attend soirees.
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