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SDCC 2016: ‘Riverdale’ Stars Lili Reinhart & Camila Mendes Chat About Their Modern Versions of Betty & Veronica

Nora Dominick ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

Set to premiere mid-season on The CW, Riverdale is a fresh take on the Archie Comics. The new TV show follows Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and their friends as they explore the surrealism of small town life – the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade. Riverdale will stand out in a crowd of superhero shows on The CW as it brings a film noir take on the teen drama.

At SDCC 2016, Riverdale stars Lili Reinhart (Betty) and Camila Mendes (Veronica) discuss their modern take on Betty and Veronica, their characters overall looks and what’s ahead.

Check out the full interview with Reinhart and Mendes below!

So, tell us about Betty and Veronica?

Lili Reinhart: I guess we’ll start off by saying that our Archie is a lot less misogynistic than the comics. There isn’t a constant rivalry between the two girls, especially over a guy. They have more to their lives than Archie.

Camila Mendes: That’s the thing. There is more going on in their individual lives than just the obsession of Archie and who he’s interested in that week.

L.R: Right!

C.M: And you know, their friendship in the 40s is obviously going to be different than their friendship now.

L.R: Right! It’s been 75 years and things have changed. The world has evolved and so we’re putting the more modern version of Archie and Betty and Veronica into this world.

C.M: There’s more kindness between them, but that’s not to say that there isn’t going to be rivalry as well.

Were you both fans of the Archie Comics before you booked Riverdale?

C.M: Not fans, no. I mean I was familiar with it. I have Brazilian parents, I don’t think it’s a really big thing there?

L.R: Well, I didn’t grow up with comic books. I grew up with all three girls. None of them were into comic books, so I wasn’t really exposed to that world, but I was Skyping with a friend when I got my audition. I was like ‘Oh, Archie Comics.’ And my friend was like ‘Oh my God! Archie! I love Archie! They’re making a TV show?’ And I was like, “Yeah!”

C.M: My agent at the time was like ‘Oh my god! I want you to play Veronica so bad!’ And she looked up like all these pictures and sent them. I mean, there’s so many people around us that do follow the comics that they were able to help us.

L.R: My friend cried when I got the role. She was so excited. She was like, ‘I have this haircut because of Veronica.’

C.M: Oh my god, obsessed!

L.R: Obsessed! She had like the bangs and the dark hair.

Camila, are you going to have Veronica’s signature bangs?

C.M: No, I’m more gonna look like the reboot Archie Comics, like the Mark Waid, Fiona Staples. So, I’m going to have the blue/black hair. 

Lili, tell us about Betty’s look on Riverdale?

L.R: She’s the girl next door. Like Keds. Meanwhile Camilla is wearing… 

C.M: These designer like 40s, silhouettes. 

L.R: Right, like louboutins. And I’m wearing just jeans from Goodwill. She’s modest. She’s feminine. Even just in the clothes. The characters are represented in the clothes. Betty wears very light fabrics, light colors. Veronica is more dark tones and more slimming and sexy. 

C.M: Mysterious. 

L.R: The cape!

C.M: Right!

L.R: She wears a cape.

C.M: I wear a cape!

L.R: I don’t have bangs unfortunately. My hair is naturally like super wavy. People would be upset with my bangs. They would not be good. Like terrible bangs.

Betty and Veronica. Photo Credit: King Features; Archie Comics
Betty and Veronica. Photo Credit: King Features; Archie Comics

You mentioned in Riverdale that Betty and Veronica’s lives won’t solely be centered around Archie. So, what’s going on in each of their lives when we meet them?

C.M: Good question! Right now in Veronica’s life, you know, she’s the new girl coming to Riverdale. Her Dad just got arrested for fraud and embezzlement and is involved in this huge scandal. Kind of like a Bernie Madoff. So, she’s dealing with the shame that, that has brought to her family and changing because of it. So, she moves to Riverdale with her mother to start a new life. She’s really interested in being a better person. Taking that as an opportunity and running with it, being positive about it. Then she starts to see that all of that shady stuff that was going on is still kind of going on. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of family problems. 

L.R: Same with Betty. Coming into the show, Betty and Archie are lifelong best friends. They both come back from the summer and Betty realizes, okay I’m finally ready to tell Archie that I love him and that I’ve always loved him. You know, Archie doesn’t look at Betty that way. He doesn’t look at her as a woman, yet. So, Betty is dealing with a lot of pressure from her Mom, Alice. Betty has a sister, Polly, whom is the troublemaker, the bad seed. So, Betty’s Mom is really trying to make Betty perfect. The perfect kid. Everything that Polly wasn’t. So, Betty has a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Her Mom hands her a bottle of adderall and says…

C.M: ‘Stay focused!’

L.R: Yeah ‘Stay focused, girl. You forgot to refill your prescription.’ So, you know, Betty is starting to crack, which is a good thing because she needs to break down and be confident. 

C.M: That’s part of their friendship. I’m trying to get her out of her shell.

It sounds like it’s about the pressure of being “the perfect girl.”

L.R: Yeah definitely! 

C.M: Trying to keep it all together. And seeing that Betty is this talented, smart, beautiful woman. I’m like ‘Why aren’t you running stuff? Why aren’t you in charge?’ Like ‘You should be strong.’

L.R: It’s just shining a light on how much pressure women are under and how we don’t have to conform to these things. You know?

C.M: To be all things at once. 

L.R: Yeah! We can be anything we want to be!

Catch Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes in Riverdale, which premieres mid-season on The CW.

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