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We can give you 13 reasons why Lili Reinhart is the perfect person to play Betty on Riverdale — but she obviously wasn’t the only actress to audition for the role.
“I remember we went out and we got falafel with a guy who was auditioning for Archie,” Mendes says of hanging out with Langford after their audition.
But Mendes almost didn’t get into the audition room in the first place.
When her team first heard of Riverdale and the role of Veronica, they thought Mendes would be a perfect fit. There was only one problem: “‘They’re probably going to go with some white girl,’” Mendes, whose parents immigrated from Brazil, remembers them telling her. “They were looking for someone who looks like Krysten Ritter.” But when the casting notice was broadened to consider Latina actresses, Mendes jumped at the chance to audition.
It was a “whirlwind,” Mendes says of her path to playing Veronica, which began with an audition in November 2015, a month before she was to graduate from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
“Some teachers were really cool about it, and some teachers… weren’t,” Mendes says of how her professors reacted to her auditioning while still in school. “The goal is for me to be able to pay my loans. I was frustrated that they would get mad when someone’s trying to pursue the career that you’re teaching us.”
Still, Mendes is glad she was done with school by that Christmas because come January 2016, she was already doing network tests in Los Angeles, which is where she met Langford.
“I remember when I met her, too — I never saw her act, but some people just have a personality that’s so genuine that I’m like, ‘I feel like you’re a really good actor.’ They have a presence. I had that feeling with her,” says Mendes, who also stars with Charlie Weber (How to Get Away with Murder) in the upcoming thriller Coyote Lake and alongside the internet’s current boyfriend, Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), in the comedy The Stand-In . “It’s just so funny to think about that time in my life. I would have never thought in that moment that I would be here, and that she would be where she is. It’s crazy!”