Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Mexico & Vogue Latin America

Karla Martinez

Karla Martinez de Salas is not only the editor-in-chief of one but two magazines: Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America. On top of an already impressive resume with stints at W Magazine and Hearst Media, she is a mother to two twin girls.  We had the wonderful privilege of chatting with Karla recently about her life’s work and how she draws inspiration.

You grew up in El Paso and had long dreamt of a career in fashion.  What particular memories do you have from childhood that inspired you to pursue this dream?

I don’t think I fully appreciated growing up in El Paso until later on in life. I used to love going to Albertsons with my mom and buying magazines. My dad was a doctor, and I used to love when their friends came over for dinner and wore great clothes. There is a clothing store called Tres Mariposas – I remember when my mom bought her first Diane Gres dress, it was a silk printed two piece, and I loved it. 

What has been the biggest challenge of moving into the editor-in-chief role of Vogue Mexico & Latin America?  Any surprises?  And what has been the most rewarding part of moving into this role?

Yes - the markets are very different.  New York is a very work-oriented city. In Mexico and in Latin America, I would say there is more balance.  I love the sense of discovery in Mexico.

Print media (and online media) have changed so much since you started your career in editorial.  What particular structural changes have been most surprising and how have you seen the industry shift to cater to the way in which readers consume content?

Everything has changed so much in 20 years.  Everything got faster and [wants have become] more immediate. There are more voices – whether they deserve huge platforms is another question, but I have seen the need for magazines to create better content across all platforms. It’s really important to have a strong identity and know what your brand does best.

How do you speak to both Mexican and Latin American women while being relevant to each culture?  Even within South America, different countries (Chile, Argentina, Colombia, to name a few) have different sartorial proclivities.  How do you stay locally relevant while speaking to a broad audience?

This part is difficult because Mexico is part of Latin America, but it’s closer to the US than the other countries. So to address this, we produce two different issues.  We depend on good contributors and strong writers where we have the biggest audiences – Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Panamá.

You are a mother to twin girls.  How do you balance motherhood and a high-profile job?  (Any hacks or insights?).

This is hard question because its sooo hard and I don't think anyone has the right answer. I try and get my work done and be home to put the girls to bed.  I have an amazing nanny during the week that helps me out. She’s almost like my nanny as well!! My daughters are only 3.5 and already have French classes, swimming, ballet - they have a full time activity schedule.

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Everything has changed so much in 20 years. Everything got faster and [wants have become] more immediate. There are more voices – whether they deserve huge platforms is another question... It’s really important to have a strong identity and know what your brand does best.

If you could go back in time and give advice to your 22-year old self, what would you say?

Not to focus too much on finding a boyfriend, really enjoy being single and live in the present. I also definitely would have told myself to be better and more responsible with money. My parents were never rich, but they gave us a nice life, and they helped us too much after college – I would have been more strict with allowances and money management if I had learned to live on a budget.

You've spoken in other interviews about the influence your father had on your drive and ambition.  How have you tried to pass that on to your daughters?

I think that my father and mother (although she was a stay at home mom) always emphasized working for what you want. My dad always said he would leave us with our education; the rest was up to us. I think even though the girls are young, it’s important they understand that they need to clean up after themselves, and mom goes to work everyday to provide them with the blessings in their life.

Describe the cadence of a typical day for you (what time you get up, what you do in the am, how you spend your office hours, and evenings).

I get up usually at around 6 am – I drink coffee at 6:01 ☺ and exercise with a trainer or a do a Tracy Anderson live stream in my living room with a coworker, and I do yoga once during the week. I usually get ready quickly and have breakfast with the girls.  Then we leave the house for school by 7:30 am. Needless to say, I get ready very quickly. I get to the office at 8 am if I don’t have a work breakfast meeting. I have lunch at home or at a casual restaurant with the girls, and then they are off for their afternoon activities. I try and be home by 6:30 pm to bathe them. Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays I try not to make plans as I hate going out these days. I am often asleep by 9:30 pm. On Thursdays, I like seeing friends for dinner. 

What two things from your closet are you obsessed with for summer?

Summers in Mexico feel more like Spring in NYC – the mornings are cool afternoons are around 75 degrees and then it rains and cools down again. I really like wearing long skirts, like the Mi Golondrina embroidered skirt. I bought a few Claudie Pierlot blouses in Paris. I love this brand – it’s hard to find in the US and is very well priced! 

What draws you to the Mi Golondrina brand and how do you style your Mi Golondrina?  

I love that Cristina works with Mexican artisans and has empowered women in Mexico. I love that they are Mexican embroideries but in shapes that are flattering and easy to wear. The cotton is amazing, and the quality is great.

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I love that Cristina works with Mexican artisans and has empowered women in Mexico.

Last meal on earth:  what would you eat?

An entire meal at Cipriani! Any one of them – Tuna Tartare, Pasta, Milanese and the meringue cake! 

Best trip of 2019 to date: 

My husband and I went to Marrakesh in May – I have been there twice but it was even more fun to go with him. We went to the Atlas Mountains and it was stunning. I didn't remember the food being that good. 

You go to a desert island and can only bring one item from your cosmetic bag.  What do you bring?  

LIPSTICK – It can be blush too, and it literally changes my color!