It's no secret that, the minute Riverdale first appeared on television screens, people were completely in love with the show. Part of it had to do with sheer nostalgia — there are countless people around the world who remember reading Archie Comics when they were kids. And, part of it had to do with the fact that it was just the perfect juicy teen drama. It also didn't hurt that, for the most part, the cast was made up of relative unknowns. Sure, the majority had a few acting credits under their belts, but there were no A-List superstars on the main cast — which definitely made it easier to believe the characters had just sprouted to life straight from the comic books.
Now, there are a lot of people obsessed with the main quartet — Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead — and while they're fantastic on the show, we have to admit, we have a soft spot for the fiery Cheryl Blossom, played by the talented Madelaine Petsch. Cheryl is certainly a complex character and it takes a lot to make her multi-dimensional — and Petsch does it perfectly. She brings just the right amount of sass and mean girl attitude and just the right amount of vulnerability to prevent you from totally hating Cheryl.
Here are 20 things you may not have known about the stunning Madelaine Petsch.
20 Her Parents Almost Named Her 'Street'
There are plenty of celebrities who bestow strange names upon their children, but usually, celebrities come to Hollywood with fairly normal names. Some change them to make them more stage-worthy, but there's usually nothing too crazy. And, while Madelaine is a normal name, it turns out she almost had a much more unusual name — Street. As she told Glamour, "my mom got to name my brother, so it was my dad who got to name me. My dad said to my mom right before she was going to have her C-section, 'how about Street? I think 'Street' is the best name for our daughter.'"
"My mom started screaming and said 'there is no way I am naming my daughter Street!'"
"And then she comes back after having me, looks at me, and is like 'Okay, I understand Street. Why don't we do Lane, like lane on the road, and we'll call her Madelaine? That's how my name came about." Well, a name like Street would certainly have set her apart from the crowd in Hollywood, but she seems to have done just fine on her own, so perhaps it's a good thing that her parents went with Madelaine in the end.
19 She's A Devoted Vegan And Has Been For Years Now
As is the case with countless actresses, the minute Madelaine Petsch started to be kind of a big deal, everyone wanted to know what she ate to get such an amazing physique and such stunning skin. And it turns out, it's not really about what she eats — it's more about what she doesn't it. You see, Madelaine Petsch is a strict vegan, meaning she doesn't consume any animal products or byproducts whatsoever. And, it's not just a recent choice she's made to keep slim for Hollywood — it's actually something she's been doing since she was a teenager. As she told Popsugar, she never really ate dairy or eggs growing up, and also was a vegetarian, and at a certain point she started doing a bit of research on animal rights and realized it just made sense to go vegan. Although she admits that she does cheat and consume honey, she's maintained her vegan diet since her teenage years, which is pretty impressive. Saving the animals and maintaining such an amazing body — what's not to love? We'd love to learn more about the types of things that she eats every day because we have a feeling it's a ton of plant-based deliciousness.
18 She Grew Up Reading Archie Comics At Breakfast
When they take on a role on a television show that is based on a book or series of books, many actors and actresses will at least somewhat familiarize themselves with the original in order to get a better idea of who their character is. Madelaine didn't have to do that for Cheryl Blossom, because it turns out she was already a fan of Archie Comics and was fairly familiar with the whole world of Riverdale. As she told Status magazine,
"I was a fan of the comics — my dad used to clip the Sunday strips in the newspaper and hand them to me at breakfast."
So, she isn't exactly a rabid Archie fangirl who read the comics throughout her teenage years and had a huge collection, but still — it's pretty cool that she was able to bring a character to life that she remembered from childhood. And, while Cheryl didn't really have a huge part in the comics, she definitely has a massive role on the show, so we have a feeling Madelaine is thankful they didn't stick too close to the original comic book material! The characters may be inspired by the comic book's characters, but the plot is totally made for television.
17 She's Originally From South Africa And Has Dual Citizenship
Her character Cheryl may call Riverdale home, but have you ever wondered where Madelaine herself is from? Well, while she's American by birth and spent the majority of her childhood in Washington, it turns out that her parents are both South African, and she has dual South African and American citizenship. However, that didn't necessarily mean she was the cool, exotic, popular kid at school — in fact, it was kind of the opposite. As she told Stylecaster, "I was the only person who was from somewhere else, so I think they just didn't understand it. They said I was a weirdo or that I didn't belong there. That was the hardest one, when people said I didn't belong there." We have a feeling the people who used to say those things to Madelaine are definitely kicking themselves now that she's an amazing television superstar! We wonder how often she travels back to South Africa to get in touch with her roots, and whether she still has family there — perhaps when she has a bit of a break in her schedule she'll take an extended vacation there to enjoy the culture and weather. Who knows, maybe she'll even decide to try her hand in the South African entertainment industry.
16 She Lived With Co-Star Lili Reinhart While Filming Season One
One of the reasons that people love Riverdale so much is because the characters are believable friends — and while part of that is due to their fantastic acting skills, a large part of it is because they actually are friends in real life. And, it turns out Madelaine is particularly close to co-star Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper on the show — in fact, they're so close that they actually lived together during the first season! Reinhart spilled a bit to People, saying that
"after we were done filming the pilot, we [Madelaine and her] both live in L.A. and we realized we live a mile away from each other. We started hanging out over the summer, and we're like 'let's live together in Vancouver' and the rest is history."
Such a cute story! While they've since moved up into their own places, it was probably really great to have someone there going through the exact same thing you're going through during the filming of the first season. After all, they were essentially transformed from aspiring actresses to major television stars — it probably helped them tremendously to have someone to hang out with every evening who totally understood what it was like.
15 She's Terrified Of Large Bodies Of Water
Cheryl has quite a few scenes set near — or often literally in — Sweetwater River in Riverdale, and it turns out that Madelaine's acting skills are truly put to the test in those scenes — because she's battling total fear at the same time that she's acting out her scene. It turns out that Madelaine is absolutely terrified of large bodies of water. She spilled about her phobia to Popsugar, saying that "yeah, I'm afraid of open bodies of water. I was in a glass-bottomed boat that broke a long time ago, so I've always been kind of freaked out. I took a 16 hour trip to Norway on a boat that freaked me out, all of that. When I read the script for that scene in Riverdale, I assumed they'd use a stunt double in the boat. When I got to set they were like 'so we're gonna put you in a wetsuit.' And I was like 'excuse me? A what?'" We have to hand it to her — the fact that she managed to pull off such an incredible performance while she was straight up terrified is majorly admirable. Talk about tackling your fears! Hopefully, Cheryl can manage to avoid the water for the most part in future seasons, though.
14 She Worked Countless Odd Jobs Before Getting Her Big Break
It's no secret that very, very few actors and actresses are just plucked off the street and immediately cast in a major role that catapults them to superstardom. It certainly happens earlier for some than others, but usually, you have to work random service or hospitality jobs for several years — or even a decade or more — before you really get your big break in the entertainment industry. Petsch managed to achieve stardom at a fairly young age, but she definitely worked hard to get there.
She told PopSugar that she's worked as a barista, a hostess, and a waitress, jobs that countless actresses have held, as well as in a hookah lounge, at a political consulting firm, and as a personal assistant to a photographer.
Talk about a diverse resume! We have a feeling that she'll be in the entertainment industry for many years to come, but if she ever wanted to change career paths, she'd probably be successful in just about anything she did. She seems to have a strong work ethic and a little something special about her that makes us think she'd rise to the top of the industry in whatever field she got involved in — nothing can hold her back!
13 When She's Not Filming, Her Makeup Routine Is Super Chill And Minimal
Cheryl may be known for her perfect red lipstick, but in real life, Madelaine Petsch is a whole lot more low-maintenance about her beauty routine. In fact, she'd prefer to avoid makeup altogether, as she confessed to Teen Vogue. When asked about her beauty routine, she mentioned that "I'll do a little Glossier concealer under my eyes and then fill in my brows because I don't have any naturally. Then, maybe I'll do a light mascara. Undereye concealer is always great. But if I can avoid it, I like to keep my skin pretty clear because I wear so much for the show. Having the days off with no makeup on is what keeps my skin clear, along with my skincare routine, obviously. For the most part, because of my consistency, I'm lucky enough not to get too many breakouts. If I do, I just make sure I wash my face before bed." Even though they look gorgeous on screen, it's easy to forget just how much make-up most actresses have to plaster on to look a certain way on camera — we don't blame her for wanting to keep it light and natural in her downtime when she's just relaxing.
12 She Loves The Environment And Is A Board Member For The Environmental Media Association
Given that she's a vegan, it probably comes as no surprise that Madelaine also cares passionately about the earth — she just seems like such a kind-hearted person in general. And, not only is she a huge environmentalist — she's even a board member for the Environmental Media Association! She chatted about her involvement with Teen Vogue, saying that
"I'm publicly really into the environment. I was raised by vegan parents, and we ate out of my backyard garden for my whole life."
"My dad is very environmentally conscious, and so I've always been close to nature. I made that public, and so the Environmental Media Association reached out to me to work with them during their awards show two years ago. The head of the board told me what they do, which is messaging, and I told them I definitely wanted to work with them when my platform got bigger. We do board meetings once a month, and we do social Sundays, where they send us all of these messages about different things going on in the world that we should be spreading awareness to. I like that I can use my platform for that."
Talk about an inspiration! We love that she's so into the environment.
11 She Has A YouTube Channel
If you're a huge Riverdale fan and you spend a fair amount of time on YouTube, chances are, you just might have stumbled across Madelaine Petsch's YouTube channel. And no, we're not just talking about videos where she's interviewed by different media organizations, although there are plenty of those — we're talking about her own videos. And, the reason behind starting the channel is kind of hilarious. She spilled the details to Byrdie, saying that "last year when the show came out, I was not only perceived as a b**** on camera but off camera as well. A lot of fans would comment on my Instagram photos saying things like 'she's pretty but I bet she's a B****' or 'I bet she's really mean in person.' And after a while, it really started to hurt my feelings... so I began racking my brain to figure out a way to kind of shift that image, and I realized there wasn't really a way to do that other than creating videos showing my fans exactly who I am. So, at first, I intended to only have about five to 10 videos to show everyone, hey guys, I'm a weirdo, I'm not mean at all... but then I really started to get into the editing process and loved the fact that I was really in charge of creating a whole product from start to finish." Fascinating!
10 She's Really Into Fitness
Given how amazing she looks and what an incredibly physique she has, it probably comes as no surprise that Madelaine Petsch is super into fitness — and has been for quite some time. In an interview with Byrdie, she confessed that
"I have always worked out at least about five times a week, and I'm vegan. I eat really healthily and I've always been into training. I was a dancer for 17 years, and I still dance when I have time, so it's always been important to me to feel fit."
"That being said, I always used to keep myself in condition. I would run three miles a day, and then I would do a quick floor routine focused on abs or legs. But within the last month, I started working out with a trainer, and I realized there were so many muscles I wasn't using or wasn't working properly. So now I work out with her about four times a week, which is great because I'm held really accountable."
So, the secret's out — to get a Cheryl Blossom physique, you just need to be willing to have a personal trainer whip you into shape by working out four times a week. Easy, right?
9 Zendaya Is Her Ultimate Celebrity Role Model
We have to admit — it's always fun to find out exactly what celebrities actual celebrities geek out over. After all, it makes sense that a regular person who has no contact with celebs would get a little flustered at a red carpet event, but there are definitely many celebrities who get just as tongue-tied and turn into total fans in the presence of certain fellow celebrities. In Madelaine Petsch's case, her number one role model in the celebrity world would be Zendaya. She explained her love for the rising starlet to Byrdie, saying that "she sets such a great example for how to conduct yourself as a celebrity. She's so young and she's so graceful and so poised and still so real. I've never even met her, but I follow her on social media and see the way she handles things and how she uses her platform for more than just posting pictures of herself. She really utilizes her platform to spread good and to spread words. I think that's so incredibly important." Now, the only question is, does Zendaya feel the same way about Madelaine? We'd love to find out that she's a huge Riverdale fangirl with a soft spot for Miss Cheryl Blossom!
8 She Was A Competitive Dancer Growing Up
Madelaine Petsch always seems to have a certain sense of gracefulness, whether she's on screen or posing for a photoshoot — and it turns out, that just might be because of her childhood activities.
You see, as she told Flare, she was actually a competitive dancer from the age of 5 to the age of 17 — that's a major dedication to dance!
She even attended an arts high school as a teenager and double majored in dance and theatre. While she's obviously not a competitive dancer anymore — her schedule is way too busy to add a major commitment like that to it — she admits that she still loves to dance just for fun, and even calls it her "escape from the real world." Petsch obviously has her hands full playing Cheryl Blossom right now, but we would absolutely love to see her put her dance skills to good use at some point in the future by tackling a character who is a dancer — can you just imagine her playing a dancer on screen? Given how well regular actresses with no dance experience can prepare for such roles, we can only imagine how amazing someone who was already a trained dancer could be in that position.
7 Her Fiery Red Hair Is 100% Natural
One of Cheryl's trademarks — and Madelaine's trademarks — is that amazing red hair. While most actresses have dyed their hair quite a few times throughout their career, often dramatically transforming for roles, Madelaine hasn't had to do that quite yet — and we admit, we sort of hope she never has to, because we just can't imagine any color being better than her amazing red locks. And, while some famous redheads in Hollywood like Christina Hendricks actually aren't natural redheads, Madelaine is. I know, I know — we couldn't quite believe such an amazing shade could be real either! However, as she hilariously told Flare, "If I dyed my hair, my mother would actually disown me. My hair is very much real." Her co-star KJ Apa, who regularly has to go through the painful process of transforming his naturally dark hair into Archie's signature red hair, is probably super jealous that she doesn't have to go through the same process to achieve the required hair color for the show. We really hope no one requests that she dye her hair for any future roles because while she's gorgeous and probably would look amazing with any hair color, it's so rare to see such incredible red locks.
6 She Originally Auditioned For The Role Of Betty
It's always fascinating to hear about how exactly actresses and actors get their roles on successful shows — what the audition process is like and whether they actually auditioned for the character they ended up getting because in many cases, they audition for someone entirely different. That definitely applies in Petsch's case. Originally, she auditioned for the role of the blonde girl next door, Betty Cooper. The producers ended up bringing her back, but they let her know that it wasn't for the role of Betty — they just weren't able to tell her what role it was actually for.
As she told Marie Claire, she was told "you're obviously not auditioning for Betty; it's for another part that I can't tell you about yet. You look exactly like I imagine her to look, and you've got the presence."
As we all obviously know now, the role she was auditioning for without knowing which character in the Archie universe she would be playing was none other than Cheryl Blossom. And, we have to agree with the individual who felt she'd make the perfect Cheryl — we just can't imagine anyone else who would do a better job in the role than Madelaine Petsch. She was born to be Cheryl!
5 She's Dating Travis Mills, Who Also Auditioned For 'Riverdale'
You may have seen Madelaine Petsch walking the red carpet next to a certain young man, but given that he's not an A-List celebrity, you might not know exactly who her frequent arm candy is. It turns out, it's actor Travis Mills — who actually auditioned for the show as well! She chatted about her relationship with Cosmopolitan, saying that "he messaged me on Facebook in January of season one and congratulated me on the show. He had auditioned for Jughead. I think we just randomly had mutual friends, so we added each other. We kept in touch very rarely, not even that much, from January to February, and then the day I got back from season one in February I was bored in L.A., believe it or not. I was like 'What am I gonna do?' I got my hair cut and he texted me like 'let's go to a movie!' We hung out and spent every single day together that I've been in L.A. since then, since February." Adorable! And, let that be a lesson learned for all the guys out there — sometimes, even if it may seem like a long shot, you just have to ask, because you never know.
4 She's Never, Ever Getting A Tattoo
In addition to her fiery red hair, one of Madelaine Petsch's most distinct physical characteristics is her gorgeous porcelain skin. We bet she probably has to layer on a ton of sunscreen to avoid burning during a day at the beach, but it's worth it for such flawless skin. And, you won't find her covering up any inches of that skin with ink, no matter how talented many tattoo artists out there are. As she told Cosmopolitan, "I won't be getting them [tattoos] ever. I'm so indecisive and I am very like... everything needs to be clear and neat and organized. I feel like I'd pick something and I'd hate it the next day."
"I think it would be the biggest regret of mine — getting anything tattooed."
Of course, people change their minds all the time, so perhaps she'll one day fall in love with ink and decide to get a whole bunch of tattoos. However, for the time being, you won't find her trying to cover up any recent body art additions as she prepares for another season of being Cheryl. Tattoos are becoming more and more common in Hollywood, but it's still a no from Madelaine Petsch when it comes to inking up.
3 She Was In A National Coca-Cola Ad In 2014
It's always fun to see what kind of jobs successful actresses and actors got before they had their big break. While some walked right into the entertainment industry and snagged major roles right off the bat, most had to struggle for a few years with smaller guest-starring roles, or work in commercials. And, it turns out, Madelaine Petsch is no different. Before she managed to audition for and get the role of Cheryl Blossom, she took whatever jobs came her way, including commercials. She managed to really get her name out there in 2014 when she got a part in a national advertising campaign for Coca-Cola. That's right — we're not talking about some tiny regional commercial for a company that no one has ever heard of. We're talking about a huge brand with international recognition. We wonder if anyone saw the stunning redhead in the commercial and thought there was a certain quality about her, something that hinted you'd be seeing a lot more of her in Hollywood in the years to come. She hasn't revealed what she was paid for being in such a huge commercial, but we have a feeling that she definitely made a decent amount of dough.
2 She's A Big Tea Drinker
As a vegan, you know that Madelaine definitely isn't fuelling up with creamy cow's milk lattes or milkshakes, but have you ever wondered what exactly her beverage of choice is? Well, when it comes to hot, caffeinated drinks, it turns out she's more British than American or South African — she's a huge tea drinker. She confessed her love of the hot drink on YouTube, saying that
"I drink a lot of tea and my favorite is earl grey tea."
Given how exhausting long days on set can be, we don't blame her for opting for a caffeinated drink to keep the pep in her step! Although, we do wonder whether she drinks coffee at all, or if she's strictly a tea drinking girl. There's nothing wrong with earl grey, but there's also a lot to be said for a delicious dairy-free latte. Given her vegan diet, we have to admit, we're always curious about what exactly she eats on a day to day basis — we'd love to get all her secrets for looking so gorgeous! Perhaps we'll all have to start adding a cup or two of earl grey into our daily meal plans — after all, it certainly can't hurt!
1 Cheryl May Be All About The Colour Red, But Madelaine's Favourite Colour Is Yellow
When it comes to her character Cheryl Blossom, when you think of color, one comes to mind immediately — red. From her red hair to her signature red lip to the amazing red pieces of clothing she wears all the time, Cheryl is all about the powerful shade. However, in real life, it turns out that Madelaine really isn't a fan of the color red at all — she's always felt it clashed with her natural hair color and did her best to avoid it at all costs. It turns out her favorite color, as she admitted on her YouTube channel, is actually yellow. It's just as bold a color as red but in a completely different way. Still, it proves that there are probably more similarities between Madelaine and Cheryl than you might think. After all, her favorite color isn't some pale, pastel shade — it's a strong, vibrant color that really captures your attention when you see it. What could be more Cheryl than that? We have to admit, knowing her favorite shade definitely makes us hope she'll make some bolder style statements on the red carpet — we'd love to see her in a gorgeous sunshine yellow gown. She'd look so amazing!
References: seventeen.com, popsugar.com, teenvogue.com, flare.com, byrdie.com, cosmopolitan.com, marieclaire.com, youtube.com