Star of CW Series Riverdale

March 22, 2022   |   Written by Tessa Swantek

Lili Reinhart is best known for her portrayal of Betty Cooper on the CW’s Riverdale, based on the Archie Comics. Reinhart has played Betty for over five years now with Riverdale recently celebrating its 100th episode which closed off its five-episode Riverdale multi-verse special, RiverVale. The series, known for its chameleon-like nature, has altered Betty Cooper many times throughout the seasons, however at her core she remains steadfast in her pursuit of the truth with a tenacity that is unique to her. Reinhart practically grew up with Betty Cooper as she tells us, “Fans will tag me in pictures all the time from all throughout the seasons and I am reminded of how long I’ve played Betty…how many different shades of her I’ve been able to explore. I will be really sad to say goodbye to her.” As we have seen Betty grow up on the show, we have also watched Lili Reinhart grow into a woman with a nature similar in devotion and tenacity. She describes herself as “a warrior for love,” and while she’s a romantic, that also means that she’s a warrior for loving herself. In our interview with her, Reinhart is confident and candid as she tells us about her journey to becoming a reiki master, discusses the cathartic nature of acting and the gratification in producing, and describes a golden-eyed makeup look to help us visualize Betty Cooper this upcoming season! Read for the full interview, and tune into the sixth season of Riverdale premiering on the CW March 20, 2022!

We are a little bit into 2022 at this point, and I know that you’ve shared that you’re very into self-help and self-discovery. Did you have any resolutions or hopes going into this year?

I’m not a ‘new year’s resolution’ kind of girl. I think when I’m motivated and ready for change, I do it. I don’t need to wait for January. I did, however, start to shift my diet and exercise regimen in December of 2021. I wanted a true lifestyle change. I want to be healthier, starting with my diet- less fast food and soda. And I want to keep growing. I like to say that I had my spiritual awakening during this pandemic, and it has changed my life for the better. I started my journey to becoming a reiki master. I did a 3-month mentorship with a psychic and traveled to Mount Shasta, CA to work with a healer, and am currently taking a course with a channeler who is basically my life coach. I’ve never felt more confident in who I am and what I want in my life.

In other interviews, you’ve said that you were a performer kid making up dances and plays with your friends and family. I always think it’s fun to hear about childhood memories, so is there a specific memory of you performing as a child that sticks out to you?

I have a memory of singing “Where are you Christmas” from The Grinch in front of my family with my cousin when we were all together for the holidays. I must’ve been around 8 years old- something like that. My Nana loved to hear me sing so I remember singing a lot when I visited her, especially in the car, singing along to cassette tapes.

In that same vein of expressing yourself through performance, you have also been singing since you were young which is a talent we have seen in Riverdale! You also came out with your own poetry book, Swimming Lessons, in 2020 as another way of expressing your feelings and creativity in a different form. What form of communication do you think makes it possible to express yourself the best?

I think acting has always been a beautiful way to channel my own emotions, through a character. Sometimes I feel emotions building up inside me, but I don’t allow myself the time to really feel them and cry until I’m at work and being asked to film an emotional scene and it all comes pouring out. That’s something I’ve been working on, personally. I don’t have a lot of free time and when I do, I try to be as productive as possible- run errands, workout, clean my messy Vancouver apartment, etc. I take a lot of naps when I can, since I struggle with chronic fatigue, but I feel guilty if I’m sitting around doing nothing, and that includes feeling sad. So, my sadness and anger doesn’t get channeled very often these days. But when it’s for work and I’m being asked to do so, it sort of gives me the excuse to just let it out and feel.

This question is going to sound like a Buzzfeed quiz, but I know you love flowers, and I was in love with your MET Gala dress by Christian Siriano with all 50 state flowers! If you could describe your personality using a flower, what would it be?

Thank you! That was a fun dress and huge props to Christian for interpreting the theme in such a creative way. I have to go a bit basic here and say the ~rose~. I have two roses tattooed on my body, so you know I really love them. They symbolize love and romance, and I’m a romantic, so that’s the link there. The first rose tattoo I got was to symbolize that I’m a “warrior for love,” meaning I fight very hard for the people I love. Even if it means I’ll get hurt, I choose love, always. Pink roses are definitely a favorite, but pink peonies come second.

Shifting to acting and producing, you began executive producing with Chemical Hearts and now Plus/Minus. Is there anything you’ve learned about yourself from stepping into this role?

Producing has been so fulfilling. I think it’s the Virgo in me, I like to have a sense of control and leadership, I want to feel like I’m being taken seriously, and I want to make beautiful films that mean something. So, I fight for my vision. I’ve also learned not to be afraid of having an opinion. There’s a fear, as a woman in the industry, that if you speak up too much or have too many thoughts/opinions, you’re a “bitch” or “difficult to work with.” I really hope we start to grow out of that misogynistic point of view. I try to navigate through my position as a producer with a lack of that fear. I am very hardworking and strong-minded. I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of. If that intimidates someone and I’m called a bad name, that’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to push for my vision. Putting a project together from start to finish is extremely gratifying. My production company, Small Victory Productions, has very exciting projects in development currently at Amazon and I can’t wait to share what those are when the time comes. It takes a long time for film/tv to actually come to life, from an idea to actually filming it, so I’m trying to practice patience with that!

I love the TikToks of you doing ADR for Riverdale because I think that’s an element of your job that people outside of the industry don’t think of. Is there another element of acting that you think a lot of people are unaware of?

ADR makes me laugh. The weird noises we have to recreate are hilarious at times and I wanted to share that aspect with the fans. I think something that always surprises people when they visit a set or talk to someone in film is the work hours. A film day is usually a minimum of 12 hours. But usually, on Riverdale, we have 13.5-hour camera days. But that doesn’t include hair and makeup… so add an extra 2 hours onto that. It also doesn’t include travel to and from the set. Most of the cast lives 45min to 1hour away from where we film, so that’s an hour car ride to work and an hour home. It adds up. And that is why most people in film will complain about their lack of social lives- or at least I do. It’s hard to do anything else when you’re working a lot. It’s actually pretty insane when you stop to think about it and compare it to most people’s jobs and lives. It’s very difficult to have a work/life balance.

RiverVale, Riverdale’s multiverse of sorts, has set the stage for the upcoming season. Each character’s fashion in Riverdale really shows a lot of personality and Betty’s has changed and evolved from the first season especially in the alternate universe. Are there any particular Betty looks that have helped you portray her that really stick out to you?

For the first few seasons of the show, we really stuck with the iconic girl-next-door look. I had a lot of collared shirts and button downs- sweet and innocent clothes. Pink and blue were my colors. But now that Betty is older and works at the FBI, I wear a lot of office-wear- blazers, turtlenecks, trousers. I am a sucker for a cool suit, though, so anytime we can sneak one of those in there, I try. We’ve also had a lot of fun filming flashback sequences on the show– I’ve worn some crazy sh*t over the course of 6 seasons. We’ve done looks from the 50s, 90s, 1800s… it’s fun to play dress up!

On that same topic, you’re an ambassador for CoverGirl and you are also really talented at special effects makeup. If you could create a makeup look that best represents Betty this upcoming season, what would it look like?

Hmm…I would do something cool around the eyes- maybe some red eyeshadow and bright, golden eye contacts. You’ll see why!!!

Riverdale celebrated its 100th episode a few months ago which is really incredible especially since long-running series are becoming less common. I imagine being on an all-consuming series would be both extremely difficult in not being able to pursue other things as much and extremely rewarding as you are very close friends with a lot of the cast. Have you had time to reflect on the past 5 years or so working on the show?

It’s crazy to think we have shot over 100 episodes. I know I’ll never be part of something like this again, so it feels very special. Fans will tag me in pictures all the time from all throughout the seasons and I am reminded of how long I’ve played Betty…how many different shades of her I’ve been able to explore. I will be really sad to say goodbye to her. I have a lot of love for each character that I play, but I doubt I’ll ever play a character for as long as I have Betty. So, she’s special to me. This show has been with me through almost my entire adult life, that’s a little mind blowing. As grateful as I am for what Riverdale has given me, I’m excited to explore what my life will look like after the show ends. I think the concept of a 22-episode season is going out of style. I know binge-culture is huge and people love having endless episodes to stream, but it’s incredibly hard on the cast and crew. Like I said before, it’s hard to have a life outside of work. It’s easy to lose touch with all other aspects of your life when most of it is centered around your job.

Can you share a little bit about what people should look forward to from this upcoming season or what you are most excited for?

This season is quite different from the rest. I’m not allowed to explain why, but I will say that Riverdale never ceases to surprise. No one will be able to predict what’s coming for these characters. I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to act in every genre of television all within this one show. We explore so many different elements and this season is no different. We are bringing something new to the table.