Lili Reinhart For Ellen Von Unwerth's Von

August 22, 2022   |   Written by Ellen Von Unwerth

What does poetry make you feel when you write it?

Writing poetry is cathartic to me. I use it as a mean to get whatever I’m feeling out of my head… it’s like a release.

What inspired you to write your book of poetry Swimming Lessons?

I honestly never intended to publish a book. And truthfully, there’s a big part of me that regrets ever publishing my poetry. I think my writing wasn’t ready yet — I’ve grown a lot as a writer and as a person since I first started that publishing process, and I would do things differently if I could. The things I’ve written now, since Swimming Lessons, are in my opinion, much more powerful and thoughtful. But I’m not sure I’m ever going to share them with the world. It’s an incredibly vulnerable thing — to publish your innermost thoughts — and to have people criticize those thoughts is difficult to swallow. I think I’d rather keep them to myself, at least for now. But who knows… maybe I’ll change my mind in the future.

When did you know you wanted to be actor?

I feel lucky to have always known that I was a performer. From a young age, I was performing in front of my family. Taking multiple dance classes, singing lessons, acting in local plays. I liked to make people laugh — I was a little goofball. I grew up with my sights set on being a working actress, and I didn’t have a backup plan. I didn’t go to college, mostly because I absolutely hated school and it gave me horrible anxiety, but I knew I didn’t need to — with the career I wanted. I had a lot of faith in myself — I was always very ambitious, and I’m thankful for that! I wouldn’t be here today without that ambition and drive.

What are your favorite characteristics about yourself?

The last two years have been very transformative for me. I’m definitely not the same person I was before the pandemic — I have grown so much.

I have learned to love myself and truly understand my self-worth. I’ve surprised myself with my own strength and I’m very proud of the personal accomplishments I’ve made. I know how to take care of myself, I know what my boundaries are… who I want in my life and who doesn’t deserve my energy. I’ve always been a very blunt person. I can’t lie. My friends characterize me as someone who doesn’t bullshit anyone — I’m very straightforward and will tell you how I feel. And I like that about myself.

How do you prepare yourself for your roles?

Depends on the role. For role that are more emotionally demanding, I find that I isolate myself more from my friends and family. For my film Chemical Hearts, I didn’t let anyone visit me on set… I didn’t see my friends or family for a little over a month while I was filming and prepping. The character I was playing was grieving a deep loss and I wanted to get myself to that place of true loneliness and seclusion. Then you have Hustlers, for example, where I played a stripper… so look a few pole dancing classes to get myself into that world. I actually started taking classes again recently because it’s a great workout.

What has been your biggest career highlight for you?

Getting a first look deal with Amazon was pretty unreal. My production company, Small Victory Productions, is up and running and it has been such a fun process. My partner in crime, Catherine Hagedorn, and I are so passionate about telling stories for our generation, written by young writers – celebrating the LGBTQ community and looking behind the curtain of mental health in today’s world. Being involved in a project from start to finish is so fulfilling. I had an idea for a feature film one year ago, February 202I, and now February 2022 it’s in the process of being written by a young female, queer writer — slated to shoot after the series wrap of Riverdale. It feels surreal and I’m incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to produce my own content.

You are huge advocate for body positivity, and mental health what is some advice you can give to other women struggling with that?

It’s a battle that I fight everyday. Most recently, I’ve been dealing with bad spells of anxiety and depression-elated weight gain. I try to be vulnerable and open on social media when it comes to body image and mental health because it’s such a vital part of the world we live in right now. Almost everyone has at least one form of social media, we are overexposed to one body type, which is very unrealistic for most of us. I’m all about being real and honest – I can’t fake happiness. Toxic positivity is a thing, and I’m not participating in it. I don’t want to wear a mask and hide behind my struggles. I work very hard on my insecurities, to not let them overpower me or send me info a spiral. In the last few months, I’ve been working with a life coach, who is a spiritual channeler, and she has changed my life. I personally always try to be proactive when I’m in a bad place… talking to my life coach, seeing a therapist, working out, reaching out to someone, doing reiki, getting acupuncture, taking care of my physical body. I know when my mental health is taking a turn for the worse and I recognize those signs now – I know when to sound the alarm and shift my focus on doing whatever I can to help myself in that moment.

What have been your biggest life challenges so far?

Learning how to love myself and set boundaries. choosing myself above anyone else and learning my self-worth – what I will accept and not accept in my life. everything is an energy exchange. the job you go to, the friends you have, the relationships you’re in. so keeping that in mind when trying to live a peaceful life is very crucial. I actively seek out people who inspire me and have interesting perspectives on life. I’m all about growing and learning… and talking to likeminded people who are also on the same path as me, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It wasn’t easy to get to this place, I had to weed out the bad in my life and learn how to harness the good. But the hard work has been worth it, I00x over.

What’s next for you in your career?

I’m very focused on my production company right now. It feels like I’m working 2 full time jobs – filming 5 days a week on Riverdale and then working as a producer on my other projects when I have days off, or on my lunch breaks, whenever I can.

It’s tough, it’s been hard work trying to balance everything… I genuinely don’t have a work/life balance at the moment, if’s mostly just work. But I’m ambitious and like to stay busy… I’m working towards the career I want so it’s all worth the time and effort. I have very exciting things to look forward to and share with my fans.

What was it like talking about your sexuality publicly?

I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal when I posted that I was bisexual on my instagram. Probably because I had been living with this knowledge my entire life so it didn’t seem like any big news. I’ve been attracted to girls since I was quite young, I just didn’t realize that not everyone felt that way. I feel very accepted and was greatly encouraged when I came out. It feels nice to be able to speak freely about my sexuality.

What is something people wouldn’t know about you?

I played the trombone when I was in 5″ grade. I’d like to think I wasn’t bad at it. But I made the switch to choir for 6th grade so I could be with more of my friends.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to be producing and starring in my own content, with a successful production company! Hopefully some more time off from work than I have currently – to travel and see my family.

Who are your dream collaborators in film?

It would really be a dream for me to work with Yorgos Lanthimos. I think he’s brilliant and so are his films. Ari Aster is also a genius filmmaker who I would die to work with. Hereditary and Midsommar are two of my favorites. So I’m putting this out there in the universe – maybe it will happen someday!

What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t acting or writing?

I’d like to think I would still be in the industry. told myself I would go to makeup school if acting seemed like it wasn’t going to pan-out for me. I dabbled in special effects makeup when I was a teen, just as a hobby. But I’m still very into makeup now – I do my own makeup on Riverdale… it’s nice to start my day off without anyone right in my face, it’s more peaceful this way.