Born Paulina Rubio Dosamantes on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City, Mexico; daughter of Susana Dosamantes. Addresses: Record company--Universal Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404, website: http://www.universalrecords.com. Website--Paulina Rubio Official Website: http://www.paulinarubio.com.
Mexican singer and actress Paulina Rubio began her career as a child star with the group Timbiriche and has not left the public eye since. Her work has included roles on the soap opera Pasión y poder (Passion and Power), a stint with the musical Vaselina (the Spanish-language version of Grease), and a series of pop albums beginning with 1992's La chica dorada (The Golden Girl). After the release of Planeta Paulina (Planet Paulina) in 1996, Rubio took a four-year break from recording. Her return to the recording studio resulted in Paulina, an album that astounded the Latin music industry by selling more than four million copies. Now back in the front ranks of Spanish-language recording stars, Rubio recorded her first album aimed at an English-speaking audience with Border Girl, released in June of 2002. The album got off to a quick start and debuted at number eleven on the Billboard album chart, making Rubio the latest Latino crossover success in the wake of stars such as Ricky Martin and Shakira.
Paulina Rubio Dosamantes was born on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City. Her mother, Susana Dosamantes, was a film actress who raised Rubio alone after divorcing her father. Rubio planned on an artistic career from the start. As she told Carmen Teresa Roiz of the Hispanic Online website in 2002, "My mom was shooting many films in Europe when I was young, so I was traveling with her around the world, surrounded by artists: writers, painters, singers, film makers." Rubio recorded her first song when she was three, and later entered a performing arts school for her primary education. In 1982 Rubio joined the all-female singing group Timbiriche, which starred in its own television show. Aimed at a preteen audience, Timbiriche earned little critical respect, but the group made Rubio and the other members into household names in Mexico and Latin America. The experience led to more acting offers once Rubio left the group.
In 1988 the 17-year-old joined the cast of the Mexican telenovela (soap opera) Pasión y poder as a villainess. She later came to be identified with her role as a scheming blonde seductress, especially after she became involved in a long-term relationship with architect Ricardo Bofil, Jr., who was married to the daughter of Julio Iglesias. In 1999 Rubio and Bofil were rumored to have married in Africa, but the couple refused to confirm that a ceremony had taken place.
Rubio also denied rumors of alleged rivalries with other singers on the Latin music scene, such as former Timbiriche castmate Thalía and Colombian native Shakira. In reality, Rubio and Shakira were close friends. "We go to the beach and have fun, and when we're sharing the stage in some awards ceremony or something, we talk about cell phones, batteries, diets, love, movies," Rubio explained to Jon Wiederhorn of MTV in April of 2002. "We just chill down. I think our whole generation is very supportive with one another. We don't have any ego trip. We are like a pyramid. We support each other and we're a very simple generation just trying to be friends."
Rubio worked steadily in Mexican television, theater, and film through the late 1980s and early 1990s. She starred in the series Baila conmigo (Dance with Me) and Pobre niña rica (Poor Little Rich Girl) and made her feature film debut in 1994 with Bésame en la boca(Kiss Me on the Mouth). She also starred in Vaselina, the Spanish-language version of the long-running Broadway musical (and later film) Grease. In 1992 she returned to her musical roots with her debut album as a solo artist, La chica dorada(The Golden Girl). A collection of rock, pop, and dance tunes, La chica dorada was more successful with the public than with critics. "Much like her role model, Madonna, Rubio is more about style than musical substance," wrote Mark Holston of Hispanic magazine in 1993. "But the album does yield some gems, like the moody ballad 'Sabor a Miel.'"
Rubio's subsequent Capitol-EMI releases in the 1990s--24 kilates (1993), Tiempo es oro (1995), and Planeta Paulina (1996)--covered much of the same dance-pop territory and received lukewarm critical reception. Critics noted that Rubio's records traded on her looks instead of talent; a Los Angeles Times profile by Agustin Gurza in June of 2002 referred to her as "the sexpot pinup," a description that Rubio laughed off. "Well, maybe I'm cheap sometimes. I don't care," she shot back. "Whoever doesn't like it, well, too bad. I'm not going to change because of anyone. On stage, I feel free to do whatever I want to do." Rubio also insisted that her image was a sign of empowerment. "I was raised in an environment in which women were always the ones who pulled the family through," she told the newspaper. "The stereotype of the Mexican woman as fragile, full of children, and powerless has completely disappeared. I believe I am a woman with a strong character who knows the value of discipline and decisiveness."
Disappointed with the efforts of her label, Rubio left Capitol-EMI after Planeta Paulina. As she told Billboard in June of 2001, "I think [EMI] saw me in a way that I didn't fit into. They tried out one thing and another and finally, I couldn't take it anymore." It would be four years, however, before her next album, on Universal Records, appeared. Simply titled Paulina, the album marked a fresh start for the veteran performer. The album eventually sold over four million copies in the United States and was the best-selling album of 2001 on Billboard's Latin album chart. Capping her comeback, Rubio won three El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for "Y Yo Sigo Aquí." Rubio and her manger, Dario de Leon, disagreed about the singer's next step. While Rubio wanted to pursue an English-language project, de Leon was worried that this new direction would alienate her old fans. Rubio ended her relationship with de Leon and took on Angelo Medina and Ricardo Cordero as new managers. Medina and Cordero had been instrumental in guiding Puerto Rican singer and actor Ricky Martin's career into mainstream success in the United States and hoped to do the same for Rubio.
Having spent a considerable part of her childhood in the United States, Rubio was already fluent in English when she began to plan her English-language album. Still, the challenge was a daunting one. "English is the universal [language], so I wanted to cross boundaries," she explained to MTV.com in April of 2002. "But it was hard because we were very clear that we didn't want to miss the simplest thing. When you translate one thing to another language and you use the exact same words, sometimes you're not gonna get the same feeling. So I worked very hard because we wanted it to be as I am. I'm very feministic and I'm very strong and I didn't want to miss that."
Released in June of 2002, Border Girl debuted at number eleven on Billboard's album chart despite lukewarm critical reviews. A July of 2000 People review called the album "disposable dance-pop," while Billboard's reviewers complained about her "voice that is sensually raspy but too wispy, a fact made more obvious by the excessive doubling of her vocals." For her part, Rubio was excited to bring her work to a broader audience. "I think my music, it's international now," she told Jane Stevenson of the Toronto Sun in June of 2002. "I grew up in different countries. That's why Border Girl is Paulina growing up in different cultures and how all that reflects into my life. My life is music--it's the way I express myself to the outside world."
by Timothy Borden
Paulina Rubio's Career
Performed with the group Timbiriche in Mexico, 1980s; appeared on television series Pasión y poder and Baila conmigo; recorded first album, La chica dorada, 1992; sold four million copies of 2000 release, Paulina; released first English-language album, Border Girl, 2002.
Paulina Rubio's Awards
El Premio de la Gente Ritmo Latino Music Awards, Album of the Year for Paulina, Best Female Artist of the Year, and Best Music Video for "Y Yo Sigo Aquí," 2001.
- Selected discography
- La chica dorada , Capitol-EMI, 1992.
- 24 kilates , Capitol-EMI, 1993.
- Tiempo es oro , EMI, 1995.
- Planeta Paulina , EMI, 1996.
- Paulina , Universal, 2000.
- Border Girl , Universal, 2002.
November 2005: Rubio was named Star of the Year by People en Espanol. Source: USA Today, www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-11-01-rubio_x.htm, November 1, 2005.
- Billboard, June 30, 2001; October 27, 2001; December 29, 2001; April 27, 2002; June 22, 2002.
- Dallas Morning News, June 16, 2002.
- Hispanic, March 1993.
- Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2002.
- New York Times, June 30, 2002.
- People, July 1, 2002.
- Toronto Sun, June 27, 2002.
- "Is the World Ready for Paulina Rubio?," Hispanic Online, http://www.hispaniconline.com/vista/julrubio.htm (July 11, 2002).
- "Paulina Rubio Hoping To Cross Over Border Like Shakira," MTV, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1453550/20020422/rubio_paulina.jhtml (July 11, 2002).