[Fashion Credits Facing Left Page:Bodysuit: Janey Lopaty,Vintage, Skirt: Helorocha, Shoes: Alejandra G, Ring: Jessica Seaton, Earrings: Lana Jewelry. Facing Right Page: Dress: Adelina Rusu, Shoes(not visible): Alejandra G, Necklace: Circa 1700, Rings: Jessica Seaton]
While many twenty year olds are still trying to figure who they are and out what they want to be when they grow up, the down-to-earth, Lili Reinhart, is working hard to make sure her dreams come true.
Lili, who developed her acting chops doing local theater and indie films, is currently playing Betty on the hit television show Riverdale, which will air its final episode of the season on May 11th.
STORY AND INTERVIEW: KATINA GOULAKOS
FASHION DIRECTOR: CHRISTINA PACELLI
[Fashion Credits: Facing Page Left: Top: Ronny Kobo, Shorts: Jason Boateng. Shoes: Mashizan Ring: Jessica Seaton. Facing Page Right: Coat: House of CB, Shorts (not visible): Yireh, Shoes (not visible): Joyce Echols Earrings: Walters Faith]
Imagista: Where are you from?
Lili Reinhart: Cleveland, Ohio.
Imagista: Where are you currently located?
Lili Reinhart: Now I am LA based. I moved when I was 18 at the start of 2015 and I lived here for 6 months then I moved back home after 6 months because I was not doing well and not making money. I moved back home then moved back out at the start of 2016, so I have been back and forth a couple of times.
Imagista: How did you get into acting?
Lili Reinhart: I grew up doing theater, I did local community theater. Then I branched out into doing local PBS pilots and some small independent films and it kind of grew from there. I was always a performer as a kid, always putting on little shows for my family. I was a dancer, I went to dance lessons growing up. I played sports but I was mainly into the arts. I did try sports, I just was not very good at them.
I kind of knew from a pretty early age that this was something that I wanted to do and take seriously, that it was not just a hobby but something that I wanted to pursue seriously.
My parents are not stage parents at all, they did not put me in this business they were just incredibly, incredibly supportive. My mom would drive me 8 hours from Ohio to New York City for auditions and open casting calls. I was lucky to have had such supportive parents, they knew how important it was for me and they believed in my talent.
Imagista: Did you go to school for acting?
Lili Reinhart: I did not. I went to High School, graduated, but I never went to College. I did not go to a specific acting school either. I have worked with some coached for certain auditions, like when I auditioned for Riverdale. To be honest I did not take classes or go out of my way to look for it, not because I did not really want to but because I was booking things on my own without having to go to school. I never really loved school growing up and I did not want to have to put myself through more schooling if I did not have to. School was never a great environment for me.
My co-star Camilla, who plays Veronica got her Bachelor’s Degree from NYU and I did not go to college and now we are on the same show, which goes to show that everyone’s path is different and you do what works for you individually.
Imagista: Can you tell us what it is like playing Betty on the show Riverdale?
I am so lucky that I can play a girl that I love and care about so much. The show was written so beautifully and I am so happy to be part of this cast. We all get along so well and our show runner is very open to our opinions. He is the creator but we are the ones who won the roles and have this responsibility to be the face of these people and I think our opinions of actors mean a lot to him which is great because I do not think a lot of people have this luxury. We share our opinions about what we want to see from our characters, what kind of challenges we want them to go through.
Betty is such a beautifully complex girl, she is not a one note character, she is so much more than just the girl next door. To me, that is super refreshing and I think every character on our show is refreshing.
I think we are automatically labelled a “teen drama” but we don’t like that phrase and we don’t like to be refereed to as a “teen drama” because we are a lot more than a bunch of teenagers sitting around complaining about their problems. Yes our show is about teenagers, but the problems they go through are not stereotypical teenage problems, it is a lot more than that.
I am super blessed that I was given this opportunity, I think it is rare to play a character that you love so much.
Imagista: Were you a fan of Archie comics growing up?
Lili Reinhart: No! I did not know what Archie was growing up to be honest, I was not exposed to it. I went into this character with a blank slate which is kind of amazing because I got to build her from the ground up with the creator, with our pilot director. I really felt like I had a good amount of creative control over her and also the flexibility. It is not a carbon copy or the comic books, this is not the Betty Cooper that is from the 1941 Archie Comics it is the modern and revamped version of her, who is a three dimensional person.
Betty is not a cartoon character to us, she is so much more than that. We wanted her to feel like she could have lived today and I feel like I put a lot of myself into this girl. I would go to the ends of the earth to defend Betty, I really truly care about her character and I am lucky enough to play her. I love Betty.
Imagista: What do you do to recharge yourself?
Lili Reinhart: It is so crazy. We wrapped season 1 in February but I feel like I have not had much down time. We have two more months until we are back in Vancouver so I am halfway through my “vacation”. We go back in June.
I try to spend as much time with my family and close friends, I go to the beach a lot, sometimes even by myself. The world is overwhelming a lot of the times and I find myself to be an anxious person, I get stressed out and overwhelmed so I find it therapeutic to be at the beach. I have also been writing a lot this hiatus, I don’t write scripts or books I write a lot of poetry. I have been doing that a lot which is very encouraging, it is another artistic outlet. I also like to paint as well, but lately I have been focusing more on writing. I journaled my entire life but I really got back into it in November and I noticed a lot of what I was writing was poetry. I started channeling my more poetic side. Maybe in a few years I will be brave enough to publish it.
Imagista: Who inspired you most as an actor?
Lili Reinhart: I have always said Natalie Portman. I remember seeing Black Swan in the theater and I was so stunned and blown away. When the movie ended I was just sitting there, processing what I just saw and I have been kind of obsessed with her ever since.
I am also a big Nicole Kidman fan, Moulin Rouge is my favorite movie, I grew up watching it which is probably not super appropriate but you know what whatever. I just watched Big Little Lies and I was blown away by her performance in that show, I love that show. Also, Jessica Lange is phenomenal, I fell in love with her on American Horror Story, she is just wonderful.
Imagista: If you were not acting, what do you think you would be doing?
Lili Reinhart: I would be in the arts I think. I love makeup and I love special effects makeup. I was planning on going to makeup school because I had dabbled in it as a hobby and I always thought that I could make a career out of it. It was kind of like my backup plan. Luckily I never had to fall back on it, but I still really do enjoy doing makeup it is kind of an interesting hobby to have. I take advantage of it during Halloween time!
Imagista: Is there anything else you want our audience to know?
Lili Reinhart: Something that I have always tried to get across is that I try not to take myself too seriously. I think that is important especially in this industry. Everything you say has the chance of being looked at under a microscope. I think sometimes you need to remind yourself not to take yourself so seriously. Yes, I am an artist, acting is my job, it is my livelihood even though I am only twenty. I need to stay grounded, go to the beach and remind myself that I do not take myself too seriously and that I enjoy what I do.