The Cane star chatted exclusively with about the writers' strike, upcoming projects and her quirky Dec. 31 superstitions

Por Lena Hansen
Updated Diciembre 17, 2007
Paola Turbay

Colombian actress Paola Turbay isn't asking Santa for a Ferrari or a diamond necklace this year. Like many people in the industry, what the Cane (CBS) star really wants for Christmas is for the writers' strike to be resolved.

Members of the Writers Guild of America began the work stoppage in early November, demanding more money for movie-script writers and for writers working on programs released on DVD and transmitted via internet. Last week, explains the actress, they finished up all the Cane episodes with scripts written before the strike began. “They say that soon as the strike gets lifted, we'll keep filming,” Turbay says of the show's future.

In addition to her role on the popular show, the former Miss Colombia, 36, plays a small part in Love in the Time of Cholera, already in theaters, and is auditioning for other films, among them an independent “Little Miss Sunshine-style” production and a historical drama about Cuba.

Moving to Hollywood has definitely helped her make more contacts in Tinseltown. But Turbay isn't planning on spending the holidays at her Los Angeles home. Instead, she and her husband, Colombian businessman Alejandro Estrada, 39, and their two kids, 7-year-old Alejandro and 11-year-old Sofía, are going to Canada for a ski trip. Contrary to her typical Christmas plans, the actress won't be heading back to Colombia for the end-of-the-year festivities. “It's just going to be us four,” she says, explaining with a hint of nostalgia how much she'll miss the traditional Colombian foods her family prepares for the celebration.

Still, her Los Angeles abode, where she's lived since she started working on Cane in June, is starting to feel home. She decorated her house with a tiny Christmas tree full of “ornaments that kids make in school.” She's taught her children that the holiday “isn't about gifts, but rather about praying and reflecting on the birth of Jesus, and cleansing yourself spiritually to begin the new year.”

To rid herself of bad energy, the actress follows one ritual after another on Dec. 31. She wears yellow underwear “to bring prosperity,” eats 12 grapes at midnight – making a wish with each one –, hands out sprigs of wheat “so that there'll be enough food,” and sometimes walks around on the block dragging a suitcase in the hopes that she can “travel all year.” Let's hope Santa's listening!