Actress Natalie Martinez started out in Miami

Even though she’s hit the big time, Natalie Martinez is still a Miami girl at heart.

Currently starring in Broken City as Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend on the big screen and CSI: NY on TV as Det. Jamie Lovato, Martinez is living out a dream her mother had for her years ago. “My mom guided me into this whole thing,” recounts Martinez from the Setai Hotel. “She forced me to go to this contest when I was 17.” Natalie grudgingly went and ended up beating out 6,000 other girls to be the face of JLO by Jennifer Lopez. More modeling gigs followed, and the Cutler Ridge native, who had been attending St. Brendan High School, moved to Los Angeles the following year. “I come from Cuban parents who spent all this money on private Catholic school and to not go to college? That’s unheard of, ” says the actress.

“Everyone [in my family] still lives within a mile radius of my grandmother’s house!” Ten years on, Martinez is sharing screen time — and kisses — with the man formerly known as Marky Mark. “I’ll tell you what: Mark is good looking, but my dream man is old school, like Marlon Brando. I saw On the Waterfront and almost died,” says Martinez, who used to date Taylor Kinney. “Another one is Paul Newman. Gorgeous.”

Madeleine Marr coves celebrities. Follow her at