Pepper Smith is a main character on The CW's Katy Keene. She is portrayed by Julia Chan.

Character Description

A New York City "It Girl" who is at the epicenter of all things trendy. As the funny, magnetic life of the party, she dreams of opening her very own version of Andy Warhol's Factory. But behind all the outrageous noise, no one quite knows where she gets all her money — or if she even has any.[1]

Early Life

Throughout Katy Keene

Season 1


Josie, Pepper, and Katy cheer on Ginger

At a local nightclub, Molly's Crisis, Pepper runs into Katy and her new roommate, Josie, who compliments Pepper’s bag, which she reveals was made by Katy. Pepper just got back from Art Basel with Childish Gambino, lining up investors for her top secret project that she can't breathe a word of until her financing is in place. Josie asks what it is that she does. Pepper just gave a TED talk on the feminist power of SnapChat. She wrote this week's Modern Love column in the Times. And earlier this year, she shot an Indie with Lupita Nyong'o and Kristen Stewart. In other words, Pepper is the most connected person in New York, and she will introduce Josie to everyone that's anyone, Katy adds. Kathy's boyfriend, KO and who works as a bouncer at the nightclub, joins them. He asks if Gloria gave her the job. Katy tells him not yet. Gloria is making her sweat for it.

Katy, Josie, and Pepper hit the dance floor. Jorge, under the stage name of Ginger Lopez, performs on stage in the dress Katy designed for him.


Josie, Pepper, and Jorge celebrate Katy's win at work

The next day, Pepper, Josie, Jorge, and Katy pour drinks and celebrate Katy’s win at work with Prince Errol Swoon. Pepper spent last Easter with him on his yacht in Mykonos. They’re certain she’ll get the personal shopper job now, but she doesn’t want to jinx it, so Katy changes the subject to Josie, asking if she found a job. She didn’t, but she met Alexander Cabot, who works for a record label and wants to meet tomorrow after Josie sends him one of her songs. Josie met him at Washington Square Park, where he heard her singing with a busker. Pepper explains that the Cabots are in the same mentions as the Astors and Rockefellers. They own everything. Katy doesn’t want Josie going alone in fear for her safety and offers to accompany her. Josie insists that she’ll be fine; "I am from Riverdale. It is the murder capital of the world." Still, Katy wishes to join her as her manager if nothing else. She even makes Josie a dress.


Katy tells her friends she was exiled at work

Katy returns home, where she tells Josie, Jorge, and Pepper that not only did she not get the promotion, Gloria has exiled her to the stockroom. Jorge tells her to quit, but Katy needs the job. Besides, she’s wanted to work at Lacy's since she was a little girl. Her mom always dreamt of having her dresses sold there. Josie points out that there lies Katy’s problem. Her real dream is to have her clothes sold at Lacy's. Jorge recalls Katy admitting that when they first met, that she wanted to be a designer. While this is true, Katy informs them about KO’s offer. He wants to move to Philadelphia, so he can train at a world famous gym. Pepper can’t believe she would move away in pursuit of KO's dream, at the expense of her own. Jorge announcers his decision to give up Broadway. He’s tired of being rejected all because he doesn't fit into their little box. His friends, however, support him and suggest to try again. Katy also offers to make him an outfit for the second call.


The gang sneaks into Lacy's

Katy, Josie, Jorge, and Pepper pre-game at the apartment. Katy had an epiphany earlier today. She no longer wants to work at Lacy’s, so tomorrow she’s quitting. Josie encourages Katy do what’s best for her, but tells her not to move to Philly. As for tonight, they’re going out, but first they stop by Lacy’s, where they try on shoes and various perfumes. However, Katy is caught by Francois as she attempts to sneak away. She claims that she left her wallet behind. She notices that he’s upset and asks what’s wrong. Francois reveals that the client, Comme des Filles, threw out his concept for the window. Now, he has until sunrise to figure out a new way to display three evening gowns.


The unveiling of Lacy's window

The following morning, Katy, Josie, Jorge, Pepper, Francois, Gloria, and Mrs. Lacy convene outside Lacy’s, where a crowd has gathered for the annual unveiling of their new store windows. They pull up the curtain and reveal the window, filled with Katy’s designs. The crowd applauds, and Mrs. Lacy is speechless. Francois informs everyone that it was Katy’s idea, and for her hard work, he’d like to offer her a job in his department. It’s low pay and long hours, but she’ll be rewarded for her talents. The job comes with one condition. He’s not letting her work for him forever. She has nine months with him before he wants her out in the world designing.

Later that night, Josie performs at Molly’s Crisis, as Katy, Pepper, and Jorge/Ginger cheer her on from the crowd.[2]


Josie and Pepper learn that KO proposed to Katy

Katy reveals to Josie, Pepper, and Jorge how KO’s proposal was interrupted by who some are calling the Alphabet City Bandit. Pepper asks to write about it in her weekly column at the Daily Hail. Jorge wonders if Katy was going to say yes to KO’s proposal. Katy isn’t sure what her answer would’ve been. She couldn’t bring herself to say yes. Josie asks if Katy loves KO, which she replies that she and KO have been together since high school, neglecting to answer the question asked. Jorge advises Katy to lock KO down while she has the chance, but Josie sees the ring getting stolen as fate. It buys Katy some time to do some soul searching to determine if KO is the one.

Pepper is greeted by Didi. She compliments her hair. Didi informs Pepper that she has a car out front waiting for her. Pepper tells Didi that she’s headed to Café des Créatifs as she gets one step closer to her dreams.


Pepper pitches her idea

Pepper meets with an important client at the cafe. She pitches the idea of a modern day version of Andy Warhol’s Factory. "The Pepper Plant." A place where emerging artists can collaborate and party. Chad admits to loving to party and asks Pepper if she would like to do some coke in the bathroom. Pepper turns him down, focusing back on her idea. His backing could help produce the greatest art of this generation. She’ll need him to provide eight million dollars though. He tells her to lock down a location, and then they can talk.


Pepper rents a warehouse

Pepper meets with a realtor to purchase thirty-five hundred square feet warehouse. She sees the condition that it’s in and blood on the wall and further inquiries about the building. The realtor assures her that no one is living in the building nor has anyone been stabbed. They’ll have to do a bit more clean up than Pepper hoped for, but she agrees to rent for eighteen thousand, but it’s a firm 25k a month, the realtor explains. However, Pepper knows the realtor’s clients and that they’re going through a gruesome divorce with infidelities on both sides. Pepper informs the women that she also writes a column for the Daily Hail. She then reproposes her offer of eighteen thousand.


Didi tells Pepper that she's been kicked out

Pepper informs Didi that she secured the warehouse for The Pepper Plant. She requests that Didi order them up a bottle of champagne to her room so that they can celebrate. However, Didi tells Pepper that the manager, Dmitri, tried to charge the card that Pepper has on file, which was declined again. Unfortunately, Pepper doesn’t have any money after paying the rent deposit for the warehouse. Pepper insists that she’ll pay, Likely to wire him the money from Hong Kong in two days. However, Pepper’s keycard has been deactivated. She’s locked out of her room until she pays her bill of sixty thousand dollars. Forced out her own home, Pepper gives Didi three hundred dollars to get her laptop and her bags. Pepper will text her an address for where to bring them.


Pepper, Katy, Josie, and Jorge celebrate her buying a space

Pepper celebrates with Katy, Josie, and Jorge after finally finding a space for The Pepper Plant. A place where creatives like themselves can congregate to make magic. Josie then tells them how Chubby’s Record Shop is closing next week. What it need is someone who can save it, Pepper comments. Josie does know Alexander but that would mean getting entangled with the Cabots. She remarks those siblings are more drama that Cheryl and Jason Blossom. If it all goes to hell, at least Josie has them to comfort her. Jorge then reveals that he’s leaving New York. He booked the role for Jefferson. Perhaps after a year or two, it could lead to a role in the Broadway production. And the bus leaves tomorrow. Pepper takes this opportunity to ask if she can sublet his room while he’s gone, claiming that a pipe burst in her room at The Palace. Jorge gives her the room and invites them to attend Ginger’s farewell performance at Molly’s Crisis.


Pepper, Katy, Josie, and Alex watch Ginger perform

Pepper, Katy, Josie, and Alexander watch as Jorge/Ginger performs on the stage. Jorge/Ginger becomes overwhelmed with emotion and runs backstage. Katy, Josie, and Pepper follow him into the dressing room. He explains that while performing, he looked out into the crowd at Katy and became undone. Josie surmises this is about Broadway. Jorge/Ginger explains that he’s wanted to be on Broadway since he was a kid. If he’s going to give up his life in New York, it has to be worth it. He feels as if he’s running away and taking the easy way out, which isn’t him nor Ginger. So, Jorge decides to stay. He recalls giving Pepper his room, but she tells him not to worry about it. She’ll simply check into her room at the Waldorf. KO arrives and tells Katy that they caught the Alphabet City Bandit. He plans to go to the station to see if they found the ring. However, KO will have to go alone as Katy promised Francois she would work the overnight shift and help him finish the window.


Didi and Pepper kiss

With no money and no place to stay, Pepper has been forced to live in her rented space. She makes several calls in hopes of getting in contact with Chad Gekko, but he was arrested for drug possession and no longer works at the bank. Didi then arrives with Pepper’s belongings. She barely got her stuff through the service exit without being seen. Dmitri called the cops, and he’s faxing Pepper’s picture to every hotel in town. Pepper insists that she’ll pay the bill given the time. She promises that in a couple of months her warehouse will be legendary. She then kisses Didi.[3]

Pepper is woken up from her sleep at the sound of the buzzer in her rented space. It’s Willcat Builders, a construction company who Pepper has hired to renovate the space. She wants a stage, as well as a dance floor. But first, she asks them to install a heating system. For $20,000, they’ll start on Monday, provided that they’re paid upfront, which Pepper remarks won’t be a problem.


Pepper gossips with Katy, Josie, and Jorge

Pepper, Josie, and Jorge learn from Katy that Alexander came by Lacy’s and purchased a sexy robe for someone special. Josie insists that the gift isn’t for her, as she and Alex are keeping it casual. Unbeknownst to Josie, Friday is Valentines Day, the same day that Alexander proposed that she come over. Jorge surmises that Alexander wants to get serious with Josie, which she is not looking for. Josie fears that Alexander may distract her from the reason she came to New York, to write the next great American song. Josie explains that she wants to play something fresh for Alex on Friday night, but she’s screwed.


Pepper, Josie, KO, and Katy watch as Jorge burns his hand

Jorge asks Pepper what she has planned for Valentine’s Day, to which she replies that "I don’t do romance." But, she did have sex on Saturday. Speaking of which, Katy questions Jorge about Buzz Brown, who they still haven’t met. He’s been seeing Buzz for the past year. What started out as a Grindm hookup, has turned into a long term relationship, that Katy remarks has never left the bedroom. Pepper adds that he should be showing Jorge off, noting hiding him. Josie proposes that Jorge invite Buzz to see him perform at Molly's Crisis. However, as Jorge explains, they can’t be out in public until he’s out at his job. KO interrupts with a yellow top, asking who it belongs to. Josie claims the shirt and takes it. They then notice that the kitchen is full of smoke. KO is preheating the oven to make them lasagnas. Unfortunately, Jorge’s clothes are in the oven. He tries to pull them out and burns his hand in the process.


KO joins the girls

Afterward, Pepper, Katy, Josie, and Jorge reconvene in the living room, where they discuss the fireman that Jorge was flirting with. This incident made Jorge realize that life is short, and so, he’s decided to ask Buzz out on a real date. As KO attempts to fix the mess he’s made in the kitchen, Katy catches a glimpse of Josie and Jorge rolling their eyes. Jorge explains that while he loves KO, Katy didn’t even bother asking if he could move in. And now Jorge’s parents, also their landlords, are on his back about it. Katy then tells KO to join them, as they continue their conversation about the fireman. KO tells them how one of the firemen tells his daughter how much he loves her everyday in case he never sees her again.


Ms. Freesia agrees to help Pepper

Pepper arrives outside an apartment building, where she is greeted by the doorman. Pepper notices that the Jackmans are back together. The doorman informs her how Mrs. Jackman found out about her husband’s lover, and then he found out about hers, and they called it even. A proper cheat truce. The doorman invites Pepper to grab a bite to eat with him, but she’ll have to take a rain-check as she has a date with Ms. Freesia, who greets Pepper at the door. She tells Pepper that the board wants to ban Peterbald cats, the specific breed that she owns. Also, the IRS is looking into a house that she flipped in Yonkers. Ms. Freesia inquires about the space Pepper purchased. Unfortunately, Pepper can’t bring in any artists until she’s had the heat installed. And to make matters worse, her primary investor has disappeared to San Tropez. Pepper is hoping that Freesia will break out her black book. She presumes it’s the same rate as before, five hundred a meal and no funny business. Ms. Freesia is always willing to help Pepper, but she’s disappointed that she hasn’t been able to move beyond these hand to mouth payouts. She wanted Pepper to be playing with the big boys by now.


Pepper works as an escort

Thanks to Ms. Freesia, Pepper, disguised in a black wig, escorts multiple men out on lunch dates. During which time, she meets a man named Richard. She removes the wig and reveals to Richard how she’s a grad student at Columbia, who was cut off by her parents. She has to graduate, otherwise they’ll cancel her visa, and she’ll be sent back to Heathrow. She claims to need $20,000 to cover her last semester. He agrees to give Pepper the money but only if she does something in return.

Pepper calls Richard and tells him that she’s game. But she won’t just meet him at a hotel. She’ll text him where to go. Pepper then calls Katy, and asks her to get her inside the Lacy’s event.


Pepper plays Richard and leaves with the items he bought

Pepper attends the Lacy’s event with Richard. She picks out a $6,000 suit and tells him that it’s perfect for him. She then encourages him to buy a watch as well. Richard purchases Pepper a very expensive pair of earrings. He says that he she can make it up to him later in the Empire Suit he booked for them at the Carlyle. They can watch the sunrise from Central Park while in the bed. Richard then spots his wife, Alisha, as she enters the store. Pepper called her at her publishing company. She told Alisha that she was Richard’s new second assistant and that he had epic Valentine’s Day plans for her. Pepper tells Richard just how fantastic his wife is and how she deserves to watch the sunrise over Central Park. And Pepper deserves the $20,000 without selling herself off. So, she takes the items that Richard paid for a leaves just as his wife approaches.


Pepper, Katy, and Josie at Molly's

Pepper, Josie, Jorge/Ginger, and Katy meet at Molly’s Crisis. Katy reveals that she and KO got into a huge fight and he isn’t answering his phone. Jorge/Ginger tells Katy to be grateful that KO showed up at all for her, as Buzz didn't come for him. The girls each take a shot, and Josie reveals that Alex got the robe for his sister. Josie tells them how she hasn’t hand chemistry with someone like this since Archie Andrews. Katy asks which would Josie rather have: a boyfriend or a music career. Josie admits that having both would be messy, so she’ll have to draw some boundaries. The girls take another drink. Katy then tells Jorge/Ginger how she’s sure that Buzz will be there at any minute. As Jorge/Ginger performs on stage, Katy, Josie, and Pepper watch from the crowd. Katy and Pepper are going to kill Buzz for missing Jorge/Ginger’s performance. Josie adds that she’ll bury the body in Riverdale, where no one will find it. Katy then starts to cry as recalls all the joyous moments spent with KO.


Pepper, Katy, and Josie comfort Jorge

Jorge joins Pepper, Josie, and Katy and informs them how he’s single. They assure him that one day he’ll find the guy right for him. Pepper encourages him to pursue the fireman from before. Josie then asks about KO, who Katy still hasn’t heard from. This is the first time that Katy has ever felt like she might lose him. If she wants to keep him, Josie tells Katy to do something big and make room for each other.


Pepper returns the items Richard bought

Pepper arrives at Lacy’s to return the purchase she made with Richard the night before. All except the watch, which she decided to keep. She asks for cash return. Amanda approaches and asks if Pepper wasn’t pleased with her purchases. Pepper claims that she’s been rather ambivalent lately. Pepper is given her refund of $20,897 and leaves. Amanda tells the clerk to call her next time he sees Pepper.

Pepper gifts the doorman outside of Ms. Freesia’s building with the expensive watch that Richard purchased. She then heads off to Washington Heights in search of the fireman that she saw Jorge flirting with. Pepper, Josie, Jorge/Ginger, and Katy arrive at Engine 141. They’ve brought sandwiches for the firemen to show their appreciation for saving their apartment. Bernardo arrives Jorge/Ginger personally thanks him and asks him out for drinks.[4]

Physical Appearance




Season 1




See also: Category:Images of Pepper Smith
Katy Keene Star
Katy Keene Star

Pepper Smith's Gallery Can Be Found Here. The Gallery May Consist of Promotional Images, Screencaps, and Video Clips Released By Network Officials


  1. 'Katy Keene': Jonny Beauchamp & Julia Chan To Star In CW's 'Riverdale' Spinoff - Deadline
  2. Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto & Grassi, Michael (writers) & Kiley, Maggie (director) (February 6, 2020). "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in New York". Katy Keene. Season 1. Episode 1. The CW.
  3. Grassi, Michael (writer) & Adelson, Steve A. (director) (February 13, 2020). "Chapter Two: You Can't Hurry Love". Katy Keene. Season 1. Episode 2. The CW.
  4. McGarry, Shauna (writer) & Jierjian, Harry (director) (February 20, 2020). "Chapter Three: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted". Katy Keene. Season 1. Episode 3. The CW.
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