Marisol Nichols talks Riverdale, Philanthropy and That One Time She Worked With Luke Perry

The actress, who stars in the CW’s new hit show Riverdale, tells us about auditioning for the role, working with a fictional daughter and more© Benjo Arwas Photography - Fashion, Celebrity and Advertising

Marisol Nichols sounds warm and inviting over the phone, a seeming departure from the guardedness that defines Hermione Lodge, the character that she plays on Riverdale, the CW TV show based on the Archie Comics.

Having just wrapped up production on season one, Nichols takes a few moments to tell us about the possibility of a second season (no word on that yet), what to expect from the upcoming episodes (“It goes in a lot of different directions”), the bond she shares with Camila Mendes, who plays her daughter Veronica on the show (“It’s really nice”), and more.

Did you read Archie Comics before landing the part of Hermione Lodge?

I knew about it. So, when they told me they were remaking it, I was like ‘Huh?’ They wanted me to audition and I said, ‘For Veronica?’ [They were like], ‘For Hermione!’ I had never heard the name before and then I learned that she was in the comic book and she was Veronica’s mom and her history [sounded] really exciting and special.

What can we expect from Hermione herself and from the show in general in the upcoming episodes?

What I love about the show is that there are so many things that happen in each episode. For Hermione in particular, we’re going to see her go in all kinds of different directions. You may think she’s going one way and then she’s going to go the complete other way. I’ve been waiting for this, I’ve been waiting for audiences to get to know Hermione and see what her life is like. She very much has her own drama and her own mystery going on and we’re definitely going to see [more of it].

Six episodes in and Hermione turns out to be completely different from the character that was first introduced.

That’s what I wanted. I figured [that] yes, she lived in New York and [was part] of high society but because of what happened to her and her husband going to prison, there were two choices: you can become even bitchier or you can become humble and I chose that it made her humble and brought her and Veronica closer together and made her a better mom.

How is working with Camila Mendes, who plays your daughter Veronica?

She’s wonderful! We get along great! She’s an amazing actress, truly. It’s so nice because we do really have a nice bond together. I’m more experienced than she is, this is her first gig out of the thing and so we sort of really got to know each other really well and it’s really [wonderful] working with her. I’m so happy and grateful.

Luke Perry is also part of the cast. You’ve worked with him on Beverly Hills 90210, right?

I did do a couple of episodes of 90210 and I think we met. If we were in a scene together, it was a group scene and I don’t particularly remember it but I do remember being on 90210 and it’s kind of impossible to forget who Luke Perry is.

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You’ve been working in the industry for quite some time. Do you find that the advent of the Internet has changed Hollywood in more positive or negative ways?

I think it’s a positive thing in the sense that there is more equality now because there’s more competition. Because there’s more competition, each venue—whether it’s the Internet, cable or mainstream—has had to up the ante and create better and better [content].

You are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Do you feel like, as a public person, you ought to be on social media? Is it a burden?

Yes and no. Sometimes, I’m super busy and all of a sudden I need to stop and go ‘Ah, I haven’t posted anything.’ Sometimes I find it not annoying but more frustrating that I can’t do everything at once. As a mom, I don’t want to take away from my kid to go tweet. But, at the same time, it is sort of necessary and I really like the fact that I can get immediate feedback [about] the show.

You are involved in philanthropic work as well. Tell us about that.

I [was involved in] a non-profit called Foundation for a Slavery Free World and I got involved and started learning about human rights and, in particular, human trafficking. The more I got involved, the more I found myself spending more of my time in that field and I felt that there was a lack of not only awareness but media attention to it. So, I started my own non-profit to do what I could and I started creating these events in Hollywood to bring media attention and celebrities together and to highlight those organizations that are combating this [through] so many different avenues.

Do you find that the current politically charged climate has affected philanthropy at all?

I think that this particular issue goes across both aisles: it’s not a democratic issue and it’s not a republican issue, it doesn’t matter because it affects every kid. I focus on that issue and I kind of try not to ignore but to not get too involved in the noise because it would take me away from my true purpose.

Photo Credit: © Benjo Arwas Photography