Straight From the Heartthrob

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great news! Turns out Shakira isn't the only swivel-hipped, golden-throated international chart-topping Latin sex bomb who's going to help the children. We've also got Ricky Martin on the case -- and he's planning to open an office right here in Washington.

The "Livin' la Vida Loca" singer came to town yesterday to talk about his particular focus: fighting human trafficking. At the Inter-American Development Bank, he unveiled a toll-free hotline for victims (1-888-NO-TRATA, short for "no trafficking" in Spanish) and laid out the data: Some 2 million people are coerced into sex slavery or forced labor worldwide; 20,000 in the United States. "Once you have all this information, if you do nothing, it's like allowing it to happen," Martin said.

(Though the D.C. area is said to be one of the top 10 locations for trafficking, the stats are murky: At least 135 victims have sought help from Ayuda, an Adams Morgan-based aid agency, said executive director Mauricio Vivero, also part of Martin's "Llama y Vive," or "Call and Live," campaign.)

Despite Martin's impeccable heartthrob/paparazzi-bait credentials, his appearance here was far less unruly than Shakira's press-mobbed conference on Capitol Hill last week. The singer (in a sharp gray suit, a tidy soul patch/goatee hybrid sprouting from his chin) sat onstage with bank prez Luis Alberto Moreno fielding questions from Univision and Telemundo telebabes, while our colleague David Montgomery and a gaggle of Spanish-language press were quarantined in the balcony. Speechifying over, our reporter friends scrambled to the reception hoping to catch a moment with the star -- but Martin was gone.

Hey, we may get to see more of him: The Ricky Martin Foundation is shopping around for office space here, as a "platform" for future projects."We've saved many lives," he said. "That's going to happen here in Washington, D.C."


"My children are going to expatriate when that movie comes out."

-- Meryl Streep on donning white spandex for the film version of kitschy Abba musical "Mamma Mia!" (After a well-timed pause, she added: "And that is why I did it.") The Oscar winner spoke at the Natural History Museum last week after receiving the Benjamin Franklin Creativity Award from the Smithsonian Associates.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . .?

Jared Fogle drinking and dancing(!) at Madam's Organ on Monday night. The Subway diet spokesman (in town to testify yesterday for the American Heart Association) and three pals spent three hours at the Adams Morgan bar dining and doing shots of Jameson. Sista Pat, lead singer of the funk/R&B band One Nite Stand (and a fellow veteran of the diet wars -- lost 300 pounds!), invited Fogle onstage to do "reggae-robics" with her to a medley of four Bob Marley songs.


Separated: Washington power couple Matt Cooper and Mandy Grunwald. The former Time reporter (now Washington editor for Condé Nast Portfolio) and Hillary Clinton's media adviser weathered the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal, which nearly landed him in jail for refusing to testify, but they split last year. The two married in 1997 and have a son.

Expecting: Jason Lee and girlfriend Ceren Alkac, reports People. This is interesting only because the "My Name Is Earl" star named his firstborn Pilot Inspektor, now 4. How can they top that?

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