Let the good times roll…
Delia Smith, a half-American Filipina from a poor family was presented to talent manager, Rey de la Cruz, shortly after she was discovered dancing at a strip club in Olongapo City, Philippines. He quickly launched her along with a bevy of other young starlets as part of the “softdrink beauties”. She was given the name Pepsi Paloma (together with Sarsi Emmanuel and Coca Nicolas) after the sensually shaped bottled beverages. They were frequently cast in the booming genre of erotic and sexploitation movies popular in the Philippines in the 70’s and 80’s called Bomba or Bold ﬁlms.
If the illusion is real, let them give you a ride…
Her ﬁrst role was in Brown Emmanuelle, an attempt to capitalize on the heels of the international erotic drama series Emmanuelle and Black Emmanuelle. At 14 years old in 1981, she bared here body for a small role in the ﬁlm. Though she and many of the starlets in Bomba were underage, no outcries were made against it even in the very conservative and overwhelmingly Catholic country. The soft drink beauties along with countless Bold starlets quickly rose to be some of the most in-demand actresses of the era, Sarsi even garnering some prestigious ﬁlm award nominations for salacious roles (The Boatman).
Let them knock you around…
In 1982, she approached the law ofﬁces of then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile, accusing three hugely popular comedians, Vic Sotto, Joey De Leon, and Richie D’Horsey, of raping her and another ingénue, Guada Guarin. Vic and Joey were hosts of the number one noon-time variety show, “Eat Bulaga”. Rene Cayetano, a partner in the law ﬁrm and later a senator, was assigned to handle her case.
Rape back then had a penalty of death in the Philippines. Naturally, when news broke that a Bomba starlet was ﬁling a rape case against the three beloved entertainment ﬁxtures, scandal exploded into headlines all over the country. Pepsi “disappeared” but was rescued by police ofﬁcers who found her held by gangster who admitted to being emplyed by Vic Sotto’s maternal kin. Ofﬁcers interviewed Pepsi, who revealed that she was under duress to sign an Afﬁdavit of Desistance by none other than Vic’s brother, now a senator, Tito Sotto.
Let the stories be told, they can say what they want…
Pepsi soon settled for 300,000 pesos (a measly $6,000) with the condition that Vic, Richie, and Joey publicly apologize for the crime. There are contradicting reports where this transpired, either in court in front of a judge or the talk show “Pipol”, but there is no recording of the episode where this supposedly took place. A movie was made exploiting her case with her in the starring role called “The Victim”.
Let them leave you up in the air…
Another scandal broke after the settlement where she was arrested for indecent exposure. In the Bomba era, one of the promotion gimmicks to drive viewers into the theater is to have female stars run naked or dance in the nude. Producers and theater managers played coy and blamed the starlets so avoid fines or imprisonment. Around this time, she had an abortion and was admitted to a rehabilitation facility for “mild abuse”. She ﬁnished two more movies and soon realized at 16, that she was outcasted. Due to the rape case, producers were afraid to cast her fearing that they would be blacklisted in the industry.
Let the photos be old, let them show what they want…
On May 31, 1985, shortly before her 18th birthday, her boyfriend found her hanging. Her best friend and frequent co-star, Sarsi Emmanuel revealed that she attempted suicide the week prior at her apartment. Investigators located her diary and found a suicide note. “This is a crazy planets!", she writes. She continues with the note attributing lack of movie roles, money problems and relationship issues with her live-in boyfriend and mother as causes for her depression. She was the only breadwinner in the family, paying for all her siblings’ tuition and supporting her adopted 4-month old son.
RIP Delia Smith aka Pepsi Paloma
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