National Geographic : 2005 Mar
- glassed-in or covered with bars; the Virgin's crown and scepter are frequently stolen. Besides being an actress, Marta is also a pros titute. Two years ago, after her third daughter, Marjelly, was born, she headed to the streets because of poverty, she says, "and the pain of see ing my kids and mother go hungry." The money is good: She makes 40,000 pesos, or about 15 dol lars, for 20 minutes' work. At first she hid her new job from Bernadita. Now it's no longer a secret, although Marta's children are too young to know what she does for a living. Nazli, the eldest, is getting curious. "One day I'll have to tell her what I do and that it's for her own good," Marta says. "I'll hope that she doesn't reject me." In her cropped white satin jacket and peril ous wedge heels, Marta resembles the character she played in The Rose Seller. Strangers recognize her on the street sometimes, and men stop and stare. "Hey, aren't you that girl... ?" they call out. Her face attracts clients, she says, although men are also a little afraid of her because she is-or was-famous. "I love doing things I've never done before; that's why I like being an ac tress. You can be another person," she says. "That film changed my life. I just don't know how yet." THE DEBUTANTE With her cell phone gripped tightly between ear and shoulder, Daniella Alzate Velez slips out of her Diesel jeans and "Sweet Pea" T-shirt and into her first ball gown: a flouncy fuchsia number covered in flowers. This is her final fitting. The bodice is still too loose. Daniella's about to turn 15, and to celebrate, her parents are throwing a quinceaiera-a"sweet-15" party with a DJ, Fashion models strike a pose (right) in the self proclaimed Lingerie Capital of Latin America. Not far away, hillside shantytowns known as comunas (above) offer dubious haven for poor migrants fleeing the countryside, where vio lence still flares and drug-funded rebel forces can hold sway.