On Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom is the girl you don’t want to f*ck with. She won’t just stab you in the back—she’ll shoot an arrow through it (while wearing a fabulous archery cape, nonetheless.) But on the phone, Madelaine Petsch is, perhaps unsurprisingly, more akin to Good Betty: You can tell in her voice that she’d do practically anything for the rest of the crew. In fact, she and Lili Reinhart (a.k.a. actual Betty) are such good friends, they even squeeze each other zits.
“Lili used to pop my pimples—seriously,” says Petsch. “That might be a little bit of TMI, but whatever. We’re all really close.”
Over the past year, the two have been open books when it comes to their skin troubles. Reinhart’s gotten deeply personal on how her acne gave her a form of body dysmorphia, while Petsch has used her platform as a spokeswoman for Bioré to discuss her struggles with cystic acne.
It’s certainly not all heavy, though. And just as Petsch can toe the line between playing a high school mean girl and young women broken by her family’s toxic past, she can navigate a conversation on everything from unrealistic beauty ideals to kombucha. Ahead of tonight’s season three premiere, we caught up with the actress to talk Riverdale, Serpent Cheryl, and have her answer all our Big Beauty Questions.
Glamour: We know Cheryl and Toni Topaz spent the summer on a motorcycle road trip together. We’re curious: What do you think they got up to during it?
Madelaine Petsch: I think they went and tore up the town. We’ve been talking a lot about Cheryl’s innocence, and I think she’s still very much getting used to having a girlfriend. I’m sure they had a wonderful trip together. But they’re coming back to Riverdale with a vengeance. They’re ready to show the world that they’re happy together. Which I love. When we started season one, Cheryl was in such a positive place. Last season was really tough for her.
Glamour: How do you personally want to see Cheryl’s relationship shake out?
MP: I never want them to break up. I just think they’re the best. I don’t know if that’s a weird thing to say, because of course it’s more interesting to keep things shifting. But the beautiful thing I’ve noticed is that Cheryl has grown so much just having known Toni for those last eight episodes [of season two]. Toni’s helped Cheryl show such a vulnerable, beautiful, open side of her. And now that Cheryl has that vault open, I don’t want it to ever be closed. I think if she and Toni ever broke up, Cheryl would become a monster. If people thought she was bad at the beginning of season one, Cheryl would be a nightmare. Think about this: This is the first time she’s ever been in love again after her mom called her “deviant” and kicked her love out of the house and out of her life. Cheryl’s been pushing this down for so long, she’s finally letting herself live her truth. This is such a big moment for her still. I think she’s very excited about it. And you come into season three seeing her in a really positive and strong relationship, which I think is so important for them.
Glamour: Hide all the bows! You don’t want Cheryl angry.
MP: Well, there’s definitely more archery this season…
Glamour: Riverdale often uses hair and makeup to show character development. Now that Cheryl is a Serpent, will that change her look at all?
MP: We spent a lot of time talking about her look this season because I didn’t want Cheryl to lose how distinct she is in her fashion and herself. I think a lot of times in high school, girls—and guys—get so into their relationship that they stop hanging out with friends and stop being themselves. And then they have that moment of identity crisis because they’ve been so invested. I just don’t want Cheryl to lose her sense of self. I’m hoping—and it hasn’t so far—that her style won’t evolve too much. She is definitely adding some edgier elements though; like a snake print here or there. But for the most part, Cheryl is still that strong, girly, fashionable person. She just has a leather jacket on more often and has added one notch of edge to her style. I’m not mad at it.
Glamour: Both you and Lili have talked openly about your struggles with acne. What’s been the most surprising thing since you’ve opened up about it?
MP: As soon as I opened my mouth about it, about 100 other people started staying they have the same issues too. You know, skin is a weird thing because I feel like everyone deals with a breakout here or there and can relate to that. The beautiful thing is that I’m on a show with a bunch of people who openly talk about everything. We all talk about our skin struggles. It’s pretty tough to be on camera when you have a big zit on your face. You have to work on making that be not the only thing you’re thinking about.
Glamour: What’s one thing you’ve learned about skin care in the past year that you didn’t know before?
MP: My skin has surprisingly changed a lot in the past year. Especially now in Vancouver, where we shoot Riverdale. The city has such extreme weather. And then I’ll travel to L.A. where it’s sunny. My skin will go from really dry to really oily, so I’m learning how to balance that out depending on which city I’m in. I didn’t realize it, even though I should have, that the environment you’re in has an affect on your skin—even the water you’re washing your face with.
Glamour: What have you been doing regimen-wise to adjust for that?
MP: Bioré has both a baking soda line and a charcoal line. So depending on how my skin is feeling that day, I’ll tailor which line I go for. When I’m feeling really oily, the charcoal is amazing. It just sucks all the congestion out of there, and leaves you feeling clean and refreshed. And the baking soda is great because it’s a lot more gentle on your face, but it still gets the job done.
Glamour: What are the things you never forget to bring with you when you’re on set?
MP: I always bring a kombucha or a green smoothie depending on what time of day it is. The smoothie is for breakfast, the kombucha if it’s lunch. And then I’ve always got my laptop, phone charger, and a couple different protein bars depending on my mood. And then, that’s really it. We’ve got Netflix in our trailer, which is amazing. I also do a lot of video editing for my YouTube channel during our downtime.
Glamour: What’s your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?
MP: If I’m in L.A., every morning, no-fail, I’ll make sure I wake up at least an hour before I have to be anywhere. I’ll get up, get my coffee, and then get back in bed and will just scroll through my YouTube explore page and watch whatever I find on there. I do that for at least 40 minutes. My me time is the morning. It’s the only time that I can truly control. And then if I’m in Vancouver, I don’t have as much downtime as I do in L.A. It’s very go, go, go. So usually my me time is after work. I’ll take a bath with a bath bomb and light a bunch of candles.
Glamour: You have $20 and free range of a drugstore. What do you buy?
MP: This is going to be such a boring list. Hmmm… I’m always out of cotton rounds—the flat, circular ones. I use so many of them to take off my makeup. Maybe, like, four a night? I got to get it all off. I’d probably also get a big jug of water. And maybe some vitamins? That could be exciting. And, if you go to the right drugstore, they’ll have one of those Seen on TV sections, which really is such a weird thing to have in a drugstore. But that’s where you’ll find me. If there’s a Shark Tank product, nine times out of ten I’ll buy it. I’ll bring it home and only use it one time, but that’s fine.
Glamour: What’s one beauty lesson you’ve borrowed from Cheryl?
MP: I was always really afraid to go big with my makeup. I think because my hair was red, I had this idea that I had to play it safe. But playing Cheryl’s made me realize that you can go all out and have fun with your makeup. I wear, like, pink eyeshadow half the time [on the show]. I always thought that’d make me look over the top or crazy, but it actually looks really cool the way that we do it.
Glamour: Cheryl does a red lip so well. But I’m curious about what you’re personally into right now.
MP: I’ve had pretty much the same color on my lips for the last three years. If I’m going to wear any lipstick, it’s a mauve-nude. And most of the time, I don’t even do that anymore. I’ll put on a lip balm, and I’m happy. My favorite at the moment is this rose lip balm from By Terry that comes in a little jar. I’m obsessed with anything rose. I keep it with me everywhere I go.
Glamour: What’s your favorite emoji?
MP: I use the red heart ❤️and the beating pink heart 💓the most. I’m very mushy with my friends and my family.
Glamour: Your house is burning down! What are the three skin care products you bring with you?
MP: Well, of course my dog is in one hand. And then in the other, I’d have my pore strips, my charcoal micellar water—which is a god send—and I’d grab my lip balm, because I can’t go anywhere without that.
Glamour: If there’s one thing you could change about beauty perceptions, either on social media or in Hollywood, what would that be?
MP: Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, emotions, everything. There are so many different kinds of beauty in the world and the problem that we’re finally starting to crack the surface of in Hollywood is that there is more than one standard. I grew up thinking I had to look the way women did on magazines, and I don’t want kids growing up now thinking that way too because of social media. We have to start shifting gears in our heads.
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