Actor/director Eduardo Verastegui who is visiting Canberra this weekend to speak with students at the Australian Catholic University. Photo: Karleen Minney
He's a Mexican-born heart-throb who risked a Hollywood career to stay true to his Christian beliefs.
Former boy band singer and actor-turned-producer Eduardo Verastegui is visiting Canberra this weekend as part of a tour of several Australian Catholic University campuses.
Verastegui was a member of Latin boy band Kairo and acted in Spanish language television programs and movies before moving to Hollywood. He appeared in the film Chasing Papi and television programs including CSI: Miami and Charmed.
But a decade ago, Verastegui turned his back on the Hollywood lifestyle in favour of making his Catholic faith the centre of his life.
''I got to a point in my life, when I was 28, where I thought I had everything, but on the other hand I had nothing, I was very empty, I was miserable,'' Verastegui said.
As a result of a decision to avoid film and television projects which conflicted with his principles or stereotyped Latino Americans, Verastegui was out of work for four years and facing financial ruin.
''When I lost everything, actually that's where I started feeling really good for the first time. I started realising that I was free.''
Verastegui began making his own films. His entry Bella won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007.
Verastegui said he hoped the people he spoke to in Australia would be inspired by his story. ''My hope is that when they leave the room they will leave wanting to be a better person and wanting to forgive more and love more, to use their talents to contribute in a positive way.''
He will also use the tour to promote a short film he produced, Crescendo, which is based on the story of a pregnant woman in the 18th century who considered having an abortion. Crescendo's executive director was Pattie Mallette, mother of pop star Justin Bieber.
''She wanted to be part of this because her story is very similar,'' Verastegui said.
■ Eduardo Verastegui will speak at the Australian Catholic University in Watson at 5pm on Sunday.