Mexican Actress-Turned-Lawmaker Takes Heat for Film Striptease

An actress-turned-lawmaker in southern Mexico is on the defensive after a racy clip of her performing a striptease in a chestnut wig and lacy red lingerie made its way to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Before winning a seat in Veracruz state's legislature in September, Dalia Perez worked as a local television show presenter and she co-starred in the 2006 movie "Xalapeno Chiles," playing a table dancer named Ana having an affair with a powerful politician.

A clip from the film posted online this week shows Perez performing a pole-dance striptease as a man looks on from a hotel bed. Mexico's most-watched morning television news show broadcast the image on Thursday.

Some lawmakers and the local press have lampooned Perez. "It's unfortunate that Rep. Perez is better known for her acting work than for her activities as a lawmaker," said Uriel Flores a rival party congressman.

But other women in the legislature defended her. Margarita Guillaumin, of Flores' party, complained the film images were shown "to create morbid interest. The intention was decadent."

During her 2007 campaign, Perez, 37, had to fend off similar criticism over a music video in which she portrayed a teacher who has an affair with an underage student.

My critics "aren't interested in promoting local film or helping Veracruz artists," she said Wednesday. "They want to discredit a woman who's new to the traditionally male realm of politics."

"Xalapeno Chiles" — a reference to the jalapeno chilies named for the city — was never released. But it has become a best-seller at Veracruz's pirate DVD stands.

Several Mexican actresses have won election to the country's Senate despite risque roles on stage or screen, including Silvia Pinal, Maria Rojo and Irma Serrano.