Camila Mendes on her final, sweaty audition for Riverdale, and what she’s learned from Veronica Lodge
When you hear the name Veronica Lodge, you probably picture a girl wearing a tight, plaid dress and pearls, arching her dark eyebrows as she struts off to make some serious money moves, stilettos clacking behind her. And although she learns a lot from playing Veronica, Riverdale star Camila Mendes wants you to think of much more when you hear her name.
The 25-year-old actress catapulted into stardom when she landed the role of Veronica Lodge on cult-favorite teen drama Riverdale. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of the CW show based off of the Archie Comics: Mystery, romance, teen gangs, and high school drama make for an addictive series that has garnered an obsessed fanbase since the first season premiered less than three years ago. But with instant fame comes inevitable pigeonholing, which Mendes says the cast feels the weight of.
"A big obstacle that a lot of us on the show face is feeling like everyone perceives you as 'the teen star' or as a part of the 'teen show' mold," Mendes told HelloGiggles. "Then comes fearing that we're never going to be able to branch out of that. Will I always play these kinds of roles, or will I even book anything else because people are just going to see me as Veronica from Riverdale?"
Although this fear weighs on much of the Riverdale cast, Mendes thinks it’s natural for actors on shows with cult followings to feel this way.
"I don’t let that fear mess with my head because I believe that I’m capable of so much more," she said. "I always keep that at the forefront of my mind—maybe I’m just going to have to prove myself a little bit harder than others."
Playing the role of Riverdale’s resident boss-lady has taught Mendes how to channel her inner boss lady, and says she admires Veronica’s fearlessness.
"Every time there’s an obstacle in her way, she just sees it as a challenge and something to conquer," Mendes said. "There’s nothing she won’t do to make things happen. She inspires me to not let obstacles scare me away, but to see them as challenges and opportunities to prove myself.
For Mendes, proving herself as an actor came with—no surprise here—lots and lots of auditions. While living in New York City and attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts (in the same graduating class as Riverdale costar Cole Sprouse, btw), she recalls running from audition to audition, sweating on the subway, and landing in rooms where nerves made her sweat even more.
During her final callback for Riverdale, Mendes still hadn’t found a deodorant that combated sweat well, but she had a trick up her sleeve to avoid those dreaded pit stains.
"I was wearing a really tight turtleneck, and it was the type of material where if you literally had a drop of sweat, it would show immediately and look really obvious," she said. "I had to put paper towels under my shirt so that right before they called me into the room, I could whip them out and hope nothing would show too fast."
Although her paper-towel-whip-out-plan worked for this situation (and we have a feeling she would have landed the role, pit stains or not), Mendes still needed a reliable deodorant to keep her sweat under control during stressful situations.
"My most stressful moments are when I’m going into auditions and am nervous," Mendes said. "I think I sweat more when I’m nervous than when I work out, to be honest. It was really important to me to find something that would take care of that issue."
That’s when Mendes started using deodorant brand Secret, and she’s never turned back. Now, the actress is partnering with Secret for their “All Strength, No Sweat” campaign, which encourages women of all industries to take pride in their power.
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How does Mendes take pride in her own power on the daily? She leans on her strong community of friends and family—and that’s something she and Veronica Lodge definitely have in common.