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Riverdale may be based on the animated world of Archie, but its characters are vastly different from their cartoon counterparts — perhaps none more so than Veronica Lodge. “Ronnie” may be a spoiled snob on paper (literally), but on The CW’s hit show, she’s a reformed mean girl who’s as compassionate as she is confident. And while Betty and Veronica are famously frenemies in the comic books, they’re ride-or-die pals on Riverdale — as are Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes, the actresses who play them.
Between Reinhart and Mendes’s on-screen chemistry and their too-cute Instagrams, it’s little wonder why Bongo tapped the duo to star in its new BFF-themed campaign. Below, Mendes discusses their shoot, the difficulties of finding fashionable clothes at 5’2”, and what’s next for Veronica Lodge in Riverdale season 2.
Hi, Camila! Tell us about shooting your Bongo campaign with Lili.
It was amazing. I always get really excited when people reach out for us to do something together, because having Lili there makes it so much more fun. We both have very goofy personalities, and when we’re together, it’s like we’re unstoppable.
What was your favorite look from the shoot?
Lili says her personal style couldn’t be more different from Betty’s; is the same true of you and Veronica?
Veronica is way more dressy than I will ever be! I’m more laid-back; the less I have to think about my outfits, the better. I prefer to have a bunch of classic pieces I can mix and match, and just keep it simple with minimal jewelry.
So we won’t be seeing you in a string of pearls when you’re off the clock, I guess?
No way! [Laughs]
Tell me about the best thing you bought recently.
I went to Rebecca Minkoff and bought — well, I bought a lot of stuff — but I bought this bright red, almost orange sweater. It’s super comfy and adds some excitement to my closet, because I normally don’t wear much color. I can throw it on and feel like I’m making a statement without going overboard.
What’s your shopping weakness?
Definitely denim — I have way too many pairs of jeans. Also, turtlenecks! I love wearing jeans with a turtleneck. It’s just so sophisticated and comfortable.
I’ve never really been one to splurge on [clothing]. Knowing how quickly things go out of style, how fast trends change, and how often I tend to change my mind, I don’t really want to commit to, say, a really nice Dior bag and then not wear it a few months from now. It’s just so easy to just keep accumulating stuff, you know? That said, I’ll spend on nice restaurants and on experiences, like massages. A good massage is the best.
Actually, I’m such a minimalist that I do this monthly closet cleanse where I get rid of everything that I know I’m not wearing enough. Really — every month! I take a lot of time going through my closet and getting rid of things, because I don’t like having excess anything. I find it overwhelming. I love the idea of everything in your closet making you happy, so you’re getting full use out of your clothes.
Where do you do most of your shopping these days?
Recently, I’ve been shopping a lot on Petite Studio and Stature; I just got a bunch of really cute pieces the other day. They both have really artsy, quirky, whimsical stuff that’s specifically for women with petite frames — and not just skinny petite, but all sizes.
The fashion industry very much caters to the 1 percent of the population that’s tall and skinny. And then everybody else just has to find their way through all that fabric, and you end up spending so much money getting things tailored. Like, I’m 5’2”, and a lot of people probably wouldn’t know that, because I wear heels on the show. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out and someone’s come up to me and been like, “Wow, you’re really short!” I’m always like, “Thanks…?” [Laughs]
Are there any specific shapes you gravitate toward, as someone who’s on the petite side?
I always love high-waisted stuff; it’s hard for me to stray from that silhouette. It just frames my figure really well, and lengthens, which I really enjoy. Also, skirts! I love a tight mini skirt with a looser top.
You love a cat eye. What are your tricks for getting your eyeliner just right?
I’ve been doing it since I was 15, so I’ve gotten so used to it. Now I can do it in under five minutes like it’s no big deal. I use the Stila waterproof liner, which has sort of a shiny finish. It needs to be a perfectly polished line — I can’t do that messy, smudgy look!
But obviously, I have those days when I’m sitting in front of the mirror for half an hour, pulling my hair out because I can’t get it right. You know, when the wings are uneven, so you keep adding more and more liner until you’ve got, like, caterpillars on your eyes.
What’s your favorite thing about playing Veronica Lodge?
I like how strong and brave she is; there’s a lot of fire to her. That’s really empowering for me to play, because I don’t always get to be that angry, passionate, determined person all the time. I don’t know many people who operate like that on a daily basis, honestly! I think I wear my heart on my sleeve more than she does; I’m a bit more vulnerable. And she handles situations differently from how I would.
I think her character is a little bit more grounded in season 2, though. Her father’s coming back from prison, for one, and Veronica’s got a complex relationship with him. She kind of resents him, but she also admires him and looks up to him. She’s trying to play a more active role in her family, but they’re keeping secrets from her. So that sort of motivates her to go to the dark side with them, just to prove that she can.
And then, you know, Archie just went through something really traumatic at the end of season 1, so Veronica has to challenge herself to be a stronger girlfriend and be by his side through it all, which I don’t think is a position she’s ever been in before. I think there’s a lot more substance to her character this season. We got to see her emotional layers in season 1 for sure, but in season 2 she goes through a lot more in terms of her relationships. I think season 2 is the best stuff we’ve done yet; I’m really excited for everyone to see it.
Riverdale season 2 premieres on Wednesday, October 11th at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.