Muse inspirations: Amy Winehouse, April March, Bettie Page, Dita von Teese, Jennie Lee, Josephene Baker, Lana del Rey, Lili St. Cyr, Marilyn Monroe...mob queen Virginia Hill...the tragic, mind-controlled model, Candy Jones...several James Bond girls, and several famous Hollywood femme fatales that also became undercover spies.
Carmen is the only child of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, Lucio Colombera, and Tony Award-winning choreographer, Gloria Colombera. She came to know the backstage world in her birthplace of Genoa, Italy, and stayed there until age 7. Although Carmen excelled in the arts as a bright, multi-talented student, she never reached her full potential due to her inattentiveness and restlessness.
Carmen's child star status continued in America. Post-high school, she auditioned for Broadway and New York conservatories but didn't pass any of them. Carmen's family encouraged her to audition for Hollywood. She landed a few bit roles and met yet-to-be-famous Marilyn Monroe at Columbia Pictures. Marilyn warned her about the Hollywood 'casting couch' and its notorious enforcer, Harry Cohn. The minute Carmen encountered said couch, she heeded her warning, escaping before the situation got worse. Shaken and restless, Carmen sought solace with the Tinsel Town Beatniks . Her involvement in their hedonism spiraled her downward into despair.
Carmen also had to deal with the difficult divorce of her parents, as well as Harry's unwarranted film release of her explicit 'audition' to his high-profile party guests. Carmen abused drugs as a way to cope with her chaotic life. She tried her luck at lounge singing, yet fueled all her income towards drugs. One night, one of her patrons—US Army officer, Bran McCormick—caught her wasted on the streets. Taking pity on her, he helped her quit drugs and married her shortly after. Unfortunately, Bran died in the Korean War, leaving Carmen hopeless again.
Not long after her husband's death, Carmen worked as a cigarette girl at the famous Ciro's. The club manager, Herman Hover, mistook her as one of the showgirls, ordering her to get on stage. This accident propelled Carmen to strip-tease stardom. Hopeful that Herman could help fulfill her dreams, she asked him if he’d make her into a movie star. When he couldn't promise that, Carmen decided to pursue acting on her own.
One night in Hollywood, one of Harry's cronies recognized Carmen from his sex reel. Although offended, Carmen saw this opportunity as a way to capitalize on her reel. She transformed into "Harry's Hollywood Strip-tease Star", the high-class call girl of Tinsel Town. She caught the attention of a visiting SIS/MI6 agent—Sir Alexander Korda—in this manner, who scouted celebrities and filming locations for covers. It was through him that she got into in Cold War espionage. Here, she’d naturally pose as a celebrity.
Carmen soon became known as a notorious 'honey trapper'. During her assignment in Vienna, she was emotionally abused and tortured when her target realized her cover. She barely escaped with trauma from her assassination of him. Following the catastrophe, she met German psychiatrist, Dr. Vinzenz von Brandt. She discovered that he worked for the Soviets and planned to steal his secrets. Instead, she fell in love with him after he aided her trauma. Yet their romance was not without its tragedy, as the MGB came after them for their traitorous activities. Too dangerous to leave together, they parted ways in a Casablanca-like fashion, where Carmen boarded a train without Vinz to the Allied sector.
Shortly after, Sir Korda produced a roman à clef of Carmen's mission, casting her as the leading lady in the appropriately titled “Vienna”. Carmen gained overnight, newfound Hollywood fame. She won the 27th Academy Awards for ‘Best Actress’ in Vienna, and the BAFTA Awards for 'Best Foreign Actress'. She infamously wept while giving her speech, as Vienna hit too close to home. She soon suffered a nervous breakdown and went on an acting hiatus, despite receiving lucrative deals. This was also Carmen’s first and last time to ever spy for the SIS.
Sometime later, she started dating a businessman named John Battaglia. He joined the Mafia in 1956, where his criminal activities—as well as jealousy over Carmen’s growing associations with other Mafiosi—initiated them to break up later on a "business trip" to New York. Carmen instead started seeing Mafioso Maximilian Genovese, son of the infamous Don Vito Genovese. He and his family took a liking to her, and they helped her find stability in a nightclub they owned in Greenwich Village. Sadly, during the reception on their wedding day in NoLita, a rival mobster shot Maximilian.
Carmen once again went into a downward spiral. She partied hard at a Mafia-owned fetish club called 'Club Midnight', where they held a drug-fueled fetish event called 'Midnight Climax'. There she met FBI Agent, Harvey Gunnarsen. Unaware of the party’s true purpose as a CIA front for their 'Project MK-Ultra' mind-control experiments, Carmen downed a spiked drink that Harvey unwittingly gave her. Although she successfully passed the disguised experiment, she wasn't free from its side effects. In her hallucinations, she watched the man she left behind in Vienna transform into the Stasi, unaware that he was actually present, unaware that he was the experiment’s mastermind.
Vinz felt so guilty that he conducted rehab on her as a way to erase said guilt. He then proposed her a position in the CIA after she sobered up, knowing full well her history. Carmen accepted Vinz's offer with a vengeance and was back in the spy game. Yet her service was not without its troubles. Still a broken bird, Carmen felt desperate to save the strained relationship between her and Vinz, where it slowly unraveled under the truth of the CIA’s operations.