Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon magazine targets adopted Asian girls

BRANDON — Traci Wright admits that she and her husband, Paul, were a little naive when they got the idea of creating a new national magazine and publishing it from their Brandon home.

"Frankly, if we had known what we were getting ourselves into, we probably wouldn't have done it," she said.

What they were getting themselves into, they soon learned, was an awful lot of work for virtually no money.

But after five years, Wright wouldn't consider giving up Mei Magazine. It's a passion for her and an important part of the lives of her thousands of readers.

Mei, which is pronounced "may" and is the Mandarin Chinese word for "beautiful," targets Asian girls who have been adopted by American parents. The magazine has a fairly small but loyal readership, Wright said. Subscribers total about 2,500 girls throughout the United States and a few in other countries.

Wright got the idea for the quarterly magazine after adopting a daughter from China. She found a dearth of information for her daughter and other Chinese adoptees.

The idea, Wright said, was to make those girls realize that they are growing up with the same joys and problems of other American girls. The magazine also seeks to celebrate the girls' heritage.

"A lot of the articles are the same kinds of things you would see in American Girl," Wright said, referring to a popular national magazine aimed at girls about 8 to 12. "But most of the content is aimed specifically with Asian girls (in mind)."

Inside Mei, readers will find reader-submitted photographs of themselves along with features on such topics as Asian culture, heritage and travel.

If celebrities appear in the magazine, they're almost always Asian-Americans profiled in a regular feature about role models. Recent stories have proffered tips on traveling to China and advice on how to communicate with family and friends.

One of the most popular features is "Amanda's Place," in which New York City psychiatrist Amanda Baden, an Asian woman who was adopted by American parents, answers questions from readers.

Readers ask whether they should try to find their biological parents, or how to make friends in a small town where they may be the only Asians.

In one letter, a reader who called herself "Lily, a.k.a. 'First Runner-Up,' " asked how to deal with the feeling that her mom would have given birth to a child, if she had been able to, instead of adopting. Baden replied, in part, that just because a woman wants to give birth to a child doesn't mean she doesn't also want to adopt.

"I think you'd have a hard time finding any adoptive parents who would want to give up that adopted child for the chance to have a child by birth," Baden wrote. "Once you become a family, that bond is as strong as any other."

Mei may be the only publication that gives that kind of information and advice to these girls, Baden said.

"I think it's important for these girls to have a publication like this," Baden said in an interview. "It lets them feel that they're part of a community, even if that community is widespread."

Taylor Robinson, a 10-year-old subscriber in Brandon, said Mei gives her a sense of belonging.

"I like to read about the kids who are going through the same things I'm going through because I'm the only Chinese girl in my class," said Robinson, a fourth-grader at Nativity Catholic School. "But even if I wasn't Chinese, I'd probably still like the magazine because it's really cool."

Taylor has had her picture in the gallery section of Mei a couple of times and found a pen pal in Minnesota through the magazine.

Kathy Robinson, Taylor's mother, said she reads Baden's column in every issue and finds her advice spot-on.

"If there's anything I want to add, we talk about it," said Robinson, who recently contracted with the magazine to do some sales and marketing work. "But most of the time, (Baden) gives the same kind of advice that I, as a parent, would want my daughter to have."

One of the challenges the Wrights face is that Mei has a few thousand subscribers. That's not enough to interest most national advertisers, and there aren't enough readers in any one geographic area to interest many local advertisers. So the Wrights keep their full-time jobs and spend all their spare time working on the magazine, for no money.

"At this point it's a labor of love," Wright said. "It's exhausting, and it's frustrating sometimes. But it's a total labor of love."

Marty Clear can be reached at [email protected]

To learn more

For more information

about Mei Magazine,

including subscription and advertising details, visit

meimagazine.com.

Brandon magazine targets adopted Asian girls 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion

    Briefs

    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 


  2. Live blog: Some scuffles, shot fired, but otherwise calm after Richard Spencer speech at UF

    College

    GAINESVILLE — A small army of law enforcement officers, many of them from cities and counties around the state, have converged on the University of Florida in preparation for today's speaking appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

    A Richard Spencer supporter is escorted by police along Hull Road outside of the Phillips Center after the white nationalist's speech on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
  3. This unidentified man was punched outside of Richard Spencer's speech in Gainesville.
  4. Pentagon faces demands for details on deadly attack in Niger

    Military

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration had no answers Thursday to key questions two weeks after an ambush in the African nation of Niger killed four U.S. soldiers, prompting demands in Congress for details, complaints of Pentagon stonewalling and a comparison to the 2012 Benghazi attack. The White House defended …

    In this image provided by the U.S. Army, a carry team of soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), carry the transfer case during a casualty return for Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, of Lyons, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2017. U.S. and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders when they were ambushed on Oct. 4 and Wright and three other soldiers were killed. There were about a dozen U.S. troops and a company of Niger forces, for a total of about 40 service members in the joint mission. [Pfc. Lane Hiser | U.S. Army via AP]
  5. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]