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Not long ago, Eduardo Verástegui was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world by the Spanish version of People magazine.

He was an impossibly handsome Latino soap star, and women around the globe threw themselves at him as a member of Mexican heartthrob pop group Kairo. He was a Calvin Klein underwear model. He played the leading role in the 2003 film Chasing Papi, where his character had three gorgeous girlfriends. He even was the requisite hunk of macho eye candy in a J-Lo music video.

Verástegui was not only playing the stereotypical Latin lover. He was living the role. Money. Cars. Girls. You name it, he had it.

And then he left it all behind. Why? He recommitted his life to God and vowed to make only wholesome entertainment for the rest of his days.

Now, five years after making that decision, his vision becomes reality as Bella, a wonderful independent film about the things in life that really matter, opens in theaters this week.

In the movie—the writing and directorial debut of his friend and business partner Alejandro Monteverde—Verástegui plays José, a pro soccer star whose life is changed in an instant. He ends up as a chef at his brother's Mexican restaurant in New York, where he befriends a waitress named Nina, whose own life is turned upside down when she learns she is pregnant — and decides she doesn't want to keep the baby. She confides in Jose, whose compassion for her plight plays out in unexpected, and life-affirming, ways.

The film, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, has the tagline, "One day can change your life forever," and to say much more would be to give too much away. But suffice it to say that it's a warm, ...

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October 2007

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