9 February 2017   by

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DA MAN — Does the name Archie Comics ring any bells for you? Well, you might have at least watched “The Archie Show” cartoons (and got its ridiculously catchy theme song stuck in your head) as a kid, or maybe you’ve laughed at a frame from the comics posted on Facebook or shared on Instagram. This year, however, marks the comic’s TV debut (for the 2010s, that is) with “Riverdale.” And playing as the sharp, witty and sophisticated Veronica Lodge is the lovely Camila Mendes in her acting debut.

A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mendes went through a long, arduous and nerve-wracking selection process before finally being cast as the famously silver-tongued brunette. Speaking of which, she has quite a tale to tell.

DA MAN: Hi, Camila. Awesome to have you with us. So, the first episodes of “Riverdale” have just started airing. How excited are you?
Camila Mendes:
It’s so surreal. I started auditioning for this role in November of 2015. We’ve been working on this project for so long, living in our own little “Riverdale” bubble, and here we are in 2017, about to burst that bubble and share all that hard work with the world. This is a very exciting time.

DA MAN: Can you give us a short explanation of what “Riverdale” is all about? Especially for our readers who might not be familiar with Archie Comics.
Camila Mendes: So, “Riverdale” is a dark and moody drama based on the characters of Archie Comics. It’s about the people that live in this fictional, small town called Riverdale and how they discover unexpected truths that lie underneath its seemingly wholesome surface. In season one, there’s a murder mystery in which everybody in the town somehow plays a part.

DA MAN: What, would you say, is the number-one reason to watch “Riverdale”? 
Camila Mendes: Aside from being downright entertaining, it’s a visually stunning show with an incredibly talented cast. You will fall in love with these characters.

DA MAN: “Riverdale” is your acting debut, right? Was it anything like how you used to imagine it would be?
Camila Mendes: Technically, my breakout performance was as Sister #1 in an IKEA commercial. But, yes, this is my very first role, and I honestly never imagined my debut would be playing something so historical and iconic. I thought that, if anything, I would start off with a small role in a “Law & Order” episode, as many actors do, and work my way up from there. I have absolutely no credits outside of “Riverdale,” so I really lucked out with landing this role. I still can’t believe it.

DA MAN: What was your biggest “hey, I got this” moment while filming the show?
Camila Mendes: I remember there was one point during the pilot episode where one of the camera operators told me that I’m really good at hitting my marks. And I took it as the biggest compliment! As a newcomer, your biggest fear is that your inexperience will somehow inconvenience everyone else. So, when he told me that, it was such a relief.

DA MAN: By the way, what was it that drew you to the world of acting in the first place?
Camila Mendes: Acting has always been a part of my personality. I was a very performative child. Not only did I act in a lot of school plays, but I was just generally a very hyper and goofy child, always putting on voices and pretending to be different people. My mom caught on to that pretty quickly, so when we moved to South Florida when I was about 12 or so, she enrolled me in a school that had a very strong theatre program, a school where people were given scholarships for their talent, and I think that’s when I started to get serious about acting. Everybody there was so talented, and the productions they put on were very professional. I think that’s what truly inspired me to pursue acting as a career.

DA MAN: If you could share one random bit of advice for any aspiring actors or actresses out there, what would it be?
Camila Mendes: Be specific when you set your goals. Visualize the career that you want for yourself, what kind of roles you want to play, etc. If you’re specific about your vision, then it’s easier to clarify what steps you need to take in order to get where you want to be. And don’t allow yourself to get stuck in your comfort zone!

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