Wearing a diaphanous blue dress and no make-up, her hair flowing loosely over her shouldes, Rubio is completely recognizable. For years she has been known as “the golden girl,” a nickname inspired by her long blonde hair, her honey-colored eyes and permanently tanned skin. But this is her world, her city, and the neighborhood where she sometimes strolls at night when sleep escapes her.
“I came to the Venetian Islands for the first time with [the Spanish architect] Ricardo Bofill,” she tells me, while taking in the ocean that surrounds these small islands connected to Miami Beach. “We came on roller skates, I love skating. I saw this piece of land, I went into the ocean and said, this is for me!”
That was in 1992. In 2017, Rubio still calls Miami her principal place of residence, and that “piece of land” has been her home for more than 20 years.
“I built it from the ground up,” she explains. “It’s inspired by México and by music. The house is called ‘Nanda’, which means happiness in Sanskrit. That’s where I have my studio, where I’ve recorded a lot of great songs, and where a lot of beautiful musical projects have happened.”
Today, “Nanda” is also home for Eros, Rubio’s new baby with singer Jerry Bazúa. Eros turns one in March. Not wanting to disturb his nap, we meet at Dilido 212, a place nearby whose aura and ambiance reflects Rubio’s own aesthetic.
“This is what my house is like,” says Rubio, gesturing around her. “Very modern. More minimalist. I was born in Mexico City, and maybe because I was born in one of the world’s biggest cities, nature, the ocean, anything outdoors is what relaxes me most. I’ve got my bike and my skates, and now that I have the babies, I’m more active than ever. I’m really a hands-on mom.”
Throughout the world, Rubio is a symbol of Mexico. The daughter of an actress, Susana Dosamantes, she grew up in a home where art, music and a bohemian lifestyle were the norm. Rubio was only 10 years old when she went professional, singing with the group Timbiriche, the renowned Mexican kids band that she was a member of for a decade. At 21, she launched her solo career, and her distinctive mix of bold personality and catchy dance music rapidly made her a star.
Today, Rubio has sold over 20 million albums worldwide and is one of Latin pop’s great divas. And her celebrity goes beyond music. She has had her own MAC cosmetics line, was a judge on The X Factor and La Voz Kids in the U.S. and La Apuesta in Mexico, and has been the face of brands that range from Louis Vuitton to Koleston.
Rubio’s new album features songs written by an eclectic group of artists who include Macako and Juan Magán from Spain and Colombians Morat and Cali y El Dandee. It’s “super danceable,” Rubio reveals. “It’s for listening to with your grandmother, your mother, at a wedding and a graduation. For everyone to get drunk and dance to. I think it’s a good time for that, to get everyone on the dance floor.”
At 45, Rubio can’t help but be that bubbly girl who wants to dance and brings everyone with her to the party. When she talks, with that recognizable raspy voice that’s a mix of her mother’s Mexico and her father’s Spanish, she’s still remarkably open and outspoken, even though she’s spent almost her whole life in the critical public eye.
By the sea, with Miami as a backdrop, Rubio spoke about love, her career, family and her adopted city, while giving us tips on everything from the best place to do yoga to her favorite dinner spot.
You moved to Miami in 1992. Why did you pick this city?
I really, really wanted to live here. I came with visions of the American Dream of Julio Iglesias and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. My mother has always been based in Los Angeles and I was so excited about discovering Miami, its beaches, its climate, its beautiful mix of people.
I saw it as the next major Latin capital. It was also a little about rebelling. I wanted my independence, and at that time I still had to ask my mom’s permission.
You're very close to your mom. Does that close relationship help keep you grounded, considering that your life is so complex?
My mom is my soul mate. I think that my mother is key, my family is key, my spiritual growth is key. Family support is important no matter what your career, but even more so when your profession is very intense, very solitary, and, at times, very cruel. It has soaring ups, but also downs. It’s a roller coaster.
Less than a year ago you had your second son, Eros. How has your life changed with the children?
I always wanted to have babies, but I wanted to have them when I wanted to. All of my friends were quick to have babies, my mother was a very young mom. I wanted to develop myself more. I was able to choose when I wanted to have them, and I’m very happy. Everything about motherhood is surprising. The love you feel for them from the very first moment. It’s very dramatic and the same time it brings you so much joy. I didn’t want any help with the babies for the first six months and it’s exhausting. I’m a very controlling person and I know that’s not ideal. I’m working on it. But no one was going to take care of my babies but me.
Was it strange not to be the center of attention?
It was the best thing for me. I had felt like a narcissist. Me, me, me all day long. And then you have a baby, and everything’s about him, thank God. For me it was like giving my mind a vacation. I started [my career] very, very, very young.
Going back to your arrival in Miami in 1992: What was the first thing you did?
I really enjoyed Miami in those first years. I had a restaurant. I was busy acting like a teenager: I had a convertible, I let me hair blow in the wind. I went to clubs and I danced until 6 a.m. That inspired me to always write danceable songs. I bought a vintage blue Mercedes Benz convertible. After I left the dealership the door fell off in the middle of the road. My mother said ‘you’re crazy!’ And I told her, ‘But I want the vintage look, mami!’ You do silly things when you’re young, then you learn and you don’t them anymore.
What do you drive now?
Now I have an SUV and a Range Rover because I have a family. But usually in Miami I walk to get around, or I ride my bike or skate. I also have a boat right outside my door and I love to take it out. The first thing I do when I get home is take off my clothes, change into my bathing suit, undo my ponytail and go around barefoot all day. Life in Miami is fantastic. If you work in an office, when you’re done you take your dog out and go to yoga class. I love the quality of life here.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I drink gross things that no one else would touch. For example, I do a monthly detox with green juice. And I really like to walk at night. It relaxes and inspires me. I’m very nocturnal. Sometimes I have insomnia and I try to get things done, personal and professional. I write a lot at night, and I love to have my space, my time, when the boys are asleep. I don’t like to go to events much. It must be because I’m an artist and I make my living in concerts and events, so I try to avoide them. I’d rather invite you over to my house and make some pasta and open a bottle of wine than be in the spotlight.
PAULINA IN MIAMI
I like to take the boat out, bring food and anchor where no one will see me. I like to think that I still can get lost in Miami.
For eating out, I love Pubbely. And Sardinia makes the best pasta and wood-fired pizza in Miami Beach.
With mom Susana
Smith & Wollensky is her favorite place. She also like Joe’s Stone Crab, and we really like all the new places like Juvia and Nobu, but we also go to Benihana.
Taquería El Mexicano on 8th Street in Little Havana. Whenever I have an award show, I get tacos for everyone, even my vegetarian friends. And there’s a place called Apple a Day Cafe on Alton Road that’s fantastic.
I learned to do yoga with Fred Busch. I usually do Bikram yoga.
Watch the Sunset
From my house or boat. I have a wonderful view from my dock.
I love The Webster, but above all, I really like Lincoln Road. It has a really cool feeling. You can leave your dog tied up while you have a coffee at Books & Books.