Carolina, Columbia

I live in Bogota, Colombia. I would tell anyone that contemplates moving to Colombia: Don’t. It is sad to have to say that about your own country, but it is the harsh truth. Colombia is a country so rich in culture and natural resources; but the political instability that has plagued Colombia for the past five centuries still has reverberating effects on our lives today. The government has killed children under the guise of a noble quest to defeat militias. Guerilla and paramilitary groups fight over land for marijuana and cocaine. Venezuelan refugees flee across borders in search of survival only to be met with extreme discrimination. The pandemic only made the problems with corruption and economic inequality more visible to those looking at Colombia from the outside. The Colombian government was late to deploy vaccines and the distribution of vaccines was uneven. Many vulnerable and marginalized people in the Amazons were not given vaccinations. I am painfully aware how fortunate I am living inside a bubble, blessed with access to healthcare and enough financial means to get by during a time like this. I suppose if you are indifferent to the sufferings happening in the country, you can lead a relatively normal life here in Colombia. But if you are sensitive to the surroundings, you would understand why it is unbearably sad and why I feel the need to leave the country.

I started my acting career twelve years ago in theater. I also worked as a playwright and a theater director for seven years. With the birth of my son, I knew I had to branch out to television to make more of a stable living as theater is not as profitable in Colombia. My husband is a chef and together we owned a little restaurant in Bogota. Our restaurant did not survive the pandemic. He had to leave for a job opportunity in the United States and my son and I are staying behind. He In a funny way, I feel like the pandemic has whipped me into a true adult. I am here alone, weathering through work and single-parenthood and the pandemic on my own, shouldering more responsibilities than ever. I have learned during the pandemic that I am more than just an actor. Because of the pandemic, I had an anxiety attack for the first time in life because I did not have a lot of work. My therapist and friends helped me realize that it is well within my abilities to dictate what my life will be and what state of mind I will assume. I have seen the different sides of myself as an independent woman, parent, and artist. I am now doing things that a year ago I thought were impossible. I was part of the first Colombian HBO series that will be coming out soon. I also have been working on my personal project, Herstoria Latina, that focuses on the feminist history of arts. I cannot wait for all the projects I have been a part of to be released, so I can embrace the film industry in another country with a resume full of hits.

My husband and I want to move somewhere where we will be valued as a chef and as an actor, where our son can safely play outside, where we can freely speak our minds on issues without worrying about repercussions. Right now, we are hoping to move to the United States in the coming year.