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Published on Nylon — August 23, 2016 | Written by Chloe Schildhause

Camila Mendes

Camila Mendes began her acting career as a cranberry. The production was a third grade play, The Turkeys Go On Strike, and, as Mendes recalls, “I was taking the role so seriously, playing all sorts of emotions. I think that’s when I started to get a kick out of it because the audience was laughing, and people seemed to be enjoying my performance.”

Mendes is taking her newest role just as seriously. In Riverdale, the CW’s dramatic reimagining of Archie Comics, the Miami native plays Veronica Lodge, a snobby vixen whose large wealth is matched only by her attitude. But Mendes insists this is the most connected she has felt to a character. “I had never felt more confident about a role and about playing a character than I had with Veronica. I read the breakdown for this and I was like, she could not be closer to who I am.”

That’s because while Archie fans know Veronica as the spoiled brunette who always gets her way, Riverdale will present her as a three-dimensional character. The show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, was drawn to the vulnerability that Mendes brought to the role, giving Veronica a likability factor that had escaped the character in her previous incarnation. In Riverdale, Mendes says, “She’s trying to be a different person and she’s trying to reinvent herself. But there’s one thing I didn’t want to take away from the essence of Veronica: her poise.”

Another aspect to Veronica one could never take away is her best friend Betty Cooper, played in the series by Lili Reinhart. Mendes, who lives in New York City with her boyfriend, says, “She really is the Betty to my Veronica. We’re out to portray two iconic characters on our own, plus we’re portraying an iconic friendship. To have someone to take on that challenge with me is really special. I don’t have to do it alone, I have Lili with me.”