Lucy Hale on the Positivity of Katy Keene and Those Riverdale Comparisons

The actress opens up about her new Riverdale spinoff.

Photograph by Valerie Chiang for W Magazine.

There are few working actors and actresses who come across as instantly peppy as Lucy Hale. The former Pretty Little Liar and, now, star of the upcoming Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene is the kind of person who seems like she’s always in a good mood—which, of course, is inherently impossible, but Hale makes it at least look within reach. Today she’s in a good mood because she’s promoting something she’s passionate about: fitness, which has been her gateway to delving deeper into the world of health and wellness.That includes things like facial acupuncture, gua sha, and even vaginal steaming, which Hale tells me she’s up for trying, in between giving her hot takes on a handful of trends in health and wellness at the moment. “Everyone looked over and they’re like, What is she talking about?” she self-consciously jokes while giving her seal of approval to the hot-button treatment, which Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen are also fans of, that purportedly cleanses your insides while balancing your hormones.

Outside of new age health and wellness procedures and Hale’s fitness tendencies—which, come July 20 at Santa Monica’s Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival, will include a Hale-led exercise class alongside her trainer Luke Milton—the actress and singer is also happy to open up about Katy Keene. Considering Hale’s sunny disposition, she was perfectly cast in the Archie Comics–inspired series about four friends trying to professionally climb to the top of New York City. “It leaves you feeling good and ready to go out and chase whatever it is you’re chasing,” she explains, when talking about the tonal difference between Katy Keene and Riverdale. The only downside? We’ll have to wait until 2020 to see it.

How do you find the motivation to work out?

It was sort of a slow discovery of how much I actually love fitness and wellness. Originally, I did it for PE for school and was home-schooled, so I had to find different ways of working out. I recognized at an early age how great I felt when I consistently did it. Then over the last couple of years, I’ve really come into my own with it. I love being challenged. I love being pushed to my limits. It’s become one of the most important aspects of my life. I start every day with it. I really make it a priority when I’m traveling and when I’m working—not just because of the physical part of it, because obviously we all want to stay in shape. But emotionally, mentally, spiritually it’s one of the main things that keep everything in check.

For that kind of emotional and mental clarity, are you a fan of meditation or breath work?

So I have not tried breath work; I’ve heard about it. I’m new to meditating. I don’t know why I started so late in the game, but it’s so important. I try to start my day with at least five minutes of silence. You can use an app: I have an app called Headspace that has guided meditation. But, honestly, even just sitting alone, focusing on breathing, and kickstarting your day that way — if you do that consistently, I felt a change. It helps me start my day off right.

Lucy Hale trains for the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival.


Have you tried cupping or acupuncture?

I haven’t tried cupping, mainly because I can’t commit to having those circles on my back for a week at a time. I need to do it when I have time off. I’ve done facial acupuncture and regular acupuncture, but not enough to see the benefits. I’ve only done it once, but I know people who swear by it who’ve had chronic pain and health issues. They’ve done acupuncture and they’ve completely turned their lives around, so I’m a believer in that for sure.

How about gua sha, the practice of massaging your muscles and scraping your skin with crystal tools?

There’s a massage place in L.A. called the Now. They do a mini-version of that, and I’m all about crystals and stones and a good massage. So if you incorporate the two of them, I’m into it.

So this is kind of out there, but do you have a stance on vaginal steaming?

Oh, my god, I’m so about that. I want to try this. They offer it at a place downtown, and I’m not really sure what the benefits are. It just sounds really relaxing. I’m going to grab a girlfriend and we’re going to go and get our vags steamed. Sounds great! Everyone looked over and they’re like, What is she talking about?

What do you think of all the Gossip Girl and Riverdale comparisons to Katy Keene?

I love it. Those are both shows that I love, and I love the worlds they created, and obviously they had a lot of success. Being compared to any of those is great. You know, we have the same creators as Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but they have much different worlds. Katy Keene is much brighter. It’s about four friends optimistically trying to make their dreams come true in New York City. The way we shot the pilot, it looks like old-school New York. It’s beautiful. You feel really optimistic and inspired, so tonally it’s a lot different from Riverdale. But I think lovers of shows like those will still gravitate to our show, because it leaves you feeling good and ready to go out and chase whatever it is you’re chasing. I’ve never quite done a show like this. There’s a musical element to it, and lots of amazing clothes. We start filming in September, and I’m really looking forward to it.

It sounds very tonally opposite to Pretty Little Liars, as well. It is [laughs].

How did the experience of having this squad on Katy Keene compare to the friendships on Pretty Little Liars?

I think how you can compare them is: Despite everything going on around them in PLL, it was about the friendship between these four girls, and that was what got them through some of the craziest experiences. With Katy Keene, the foundation of the show is these four friends who are going through the ups and downs of figuring out who you are. What gets you through that is your family and friends. Our characters on Katy Keene don’t have families, so their friends are their families. So the moral of the story is, you are who you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with people who lift you up.