“I had never read Archie,” said Lili Reinhart, who became famous playing Betty, the iconic good girl in Riverdale, the hugely popular television show inspired by the comic book series. “I kind of knew the names Betty and Veronica, but as I read the Riverdale script, I was certain that Archie would be a superhero with special powers. After all, he was based on a comic book character, and in my mind, all comic book figures had superpowers. I kept reading and reading, waiting for those skills to kick in, but they never did. It was confusing.”
Reinhart laughed at the memory. That was a lifetime ago—or, more accurately, seven years ago. “I was 19 when I was cast as Betty,” she continued. “I’ve spent practically my entire adult life playing her. It was quite an education: I was in a famous relationship [with costar Cole Sprouse], and Riverdale was my introduction to fame. What a trip that is.”
Reinhart was phoning me from her home in Los Angeles. She was back from her first-ever trip to Venice, where the photos you see here were taken. “I had just landed in Italy,” she recalled. “I checked into the hotel, washed my face, and went straight to posing in a gondola! It was very romantic.” Reinhart was in a celebratory mood: She had been named the Max Mara Face of the Future and would be honored at the brand’s Women in Film ceremony in October. “And tomorrow is my birthday!” she said. “September 13. I’ll be 26. I’m such a big-time Virgo: I’m a perfectionist, I’m very critical, and I like to be the leader.”
In addition, Reinhart was preparing for the final season of Riverdale, shooting this fall in Vancouver, Canada. “It was—and is—the biggest chapter of my life,” she said. “There will be lots of tears and lots of laughs on the final day. I have this forever time capsule of my 20s. I can imagine my future children asking about my life, and I’ll just put them in front of whatever screening service will still be showing Riverdale reruns.”
Last year, Reinhart attended the Met Gala on her birthday. “That was fun,” she recalled. “But after going again this year, I don’t think I’ll be invited back.” She laughed. “I said a certain something about a certain person in a certain dress.” She was coyly referring to her vivid comments about the 16 pounds Kim Kardashian boasted about losing in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s gossamer gown. Reinhart felt that Kardashian’s remarks were problematic for young girls struggling with their body image. Throughout her career, Reinhart, who has 28.7 million followers on Instagram, has been outspoken about her own mental health and anxiety issues, and her fans love her honesty. “I have always wanted to stand for something,” she explained. “And while I don’t like it if one comment by me turns into 17 articles in People magazine, I never overthink what I post. It has to be a true representation of how I feel. And I would say that whether I had 100 followers or 100 million.”
At the moment, Reinhart is concentrating on her post-Riverdale career. She currently stars in the movie Look Both Ways, a comedy about romantic paths both taken and not taken, which has been a hit on Netflix. She also has a production deal with Amazon. “I want to keep pivoting from one genre to another,” she said. “After doing a romance, I want to go in the opposite direction. I will never play the same characters twice.”
Reinhart paused. “I would like to play a villain,” she said. “I have the motivation: I recently had to leave my dog, Milo, alone in a hotel room, and I thought, If someone steals my dog, I’ll go John Wick on their asses! That would turn me into a villain so fast.” She laughed. “Maybe that’s next for me: playing an evil woman out for revenge. I have my origin story: Don’t mess with my dog.”
Hair by Yuri Napolitano at Interlude Project; makeup by Augusto Picerni for Armani Beauty at W-MManagement.