Madelaine Petsch is best known for portraying the fabulous Cheryl Blossom on The CW’s TV show “Riverdale”. But that’s not all that is to her. She has her own, very popular YouTube channel with millions of followers, she designs her pieces for Fabletics and is also an advocate for PETA.
Madelaine, people got to know you as Cheryl in The CW’s show “Riverdale”. How would you compare yourself with Cheryl?
Cheryl is a very dark and complex human, like most of us, and I see a lot of young Madelaine in her ‘broken parts’. I would guess a lot of young people feel this way, but I certainly could relate to her trauma and I think my avenue into Cheryl has always been through her pain. She uses this facade to persuade people that she is confident, and I think for a lot of my high school years I did the same thing.
Which Cheryl’s storyline would you describe as the most emotional for you?
Cheryl has been faced with a lot of hardships over the seasons and I think the most emotional part of playing Cheryl for me is how desperately alone she always is. Even in a room full of people Cheryl is still desperately trying to prove herself and fit in. She’s never really had friends or a very stable relationship and she has no familial connections of any worth to her. She’s just alone. And that mental state, that isolation, is the saddest to me. I wouldn’t really call it a ‘storyline’ – it’s almost more of a character trait.
You’ve been collaborating with Fabletics on your own collections. What’s your inspiration when designing pieces for these collections?
I thoroughly enjoyed the process of putting pen to paper and designing clothing for the first time with Fabletics. It’s a pretty terrifying idea, fully coming up with your own concepts for pieces of clothing people are actually going to wear. I had a great team helping to guide me through the process and they really let me take the design reigns. If anything, it’s taught me how much I love designing clothing and lit a fire inside of me to continue. I found inspiration everywhere and I would definitely say my first collection felt a little more ‘safe’, but once I got comfortable, the second collection I really went all in… even down to the type of stitching and color on the leggings. I would start with what do I think is missing in the space right now, then I would do trend forecasting since we designed almost a year ahead of the launch and then I would just start seeing what my brain came up with. There was really no rhyme or rhythm, it’s just whatever came to me.
You have your own, very popular YouTube channel. What has been the main purpose of creating it?
My YouTube channel started as a way to help the public differentiate Madelaine from ‘Cheryl’. It ended up morphing into this really cool way to connect with all the people that support me.
How do you balance your work acting, producing, as well as vlogging your life?
Because of my work on Riverdale I never really have a set schedule, some weeks I work every day and every scene and some weeks I work only a couple days. So depending on my week, I just do what I can. I’m lucky to be very passionate about what I do so in my ”free time” I’m happy to pick up a script to read or send notes on or pick up my camera to shoot a video. It really helps being passionate about what you do. You know what they say, ”if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life”, and although I don’t think that’s entirely true every second of every day, I do think that notion rings true in my heart.
If you have some spare time, what do you like to do the most?
READ! Picking up a good book is genuinely one of my absolute favorite pastimes. That or getting dinner with a close friend.
Tell us something about one of the best experiences of your life?
There are a limited amount of things in this life I enjoy more than that moment between the words ”rolling” and”action” on set.
Looking back, are you happy with the way things have shaped up for you in the industry?
All things considered, I absolutely am happy with the way things seem to be going for me. I think it’s really easy to forget where you started and be hard on yourself when life isn’t exactly how you want it to be at themoment, but I really am grateful and happy. That won’t stop me from always pushing to be better, though.
Our issue of the magazine is focusing on Freedom. Tell us what freedom means to you? What makes you feel the most free?
Honestly, it’s really hard to talk about freedom right now. There’s been a lot of huge steps forward in the world recently, and a lot of huge leaps backwards. With women’s rights coming into question so much recently, for example Texas banning abortion, I’ve been grappling with the idea of freedom as a woman in America. Freedom is the right to personal choice, to being your own individual. I often struggle with ‘mental freedom’ due to my anxiety. I really work on being able to enjoy the little things in my life without worry or heart palpitations. I feel the ‘most free’ with my phone off, my dog by my side, reading a book I’m immersed in while it’s pouring rain outside.
What projects will we see you next in, besides Riverdale? Do you have any other big projects coming up, outside of acting?
Over my hiatus I shot two films. »About Fate«, a rom-com with Emma Roberts where I play a career driven girlfriend who above all other things is just down right not compatible with her partner… she’s a little nuts it was fun to play. And then I shot »Jane«, a film I produced and starred in about the affects of social media and the pressures of societal values in college and grades on a high school student with anxiety. it was dark, incredibly challenging and very rewarding. I think outside of acting, I really want to continue producing and finding pieces of material to turn into film and television. It’s pretty much what I spend all my free time doing.
Talent: Madelaine Petsch
Photographer: Jack Waterlot
Assistant: Shane Rooney
Stylist: Christian Stroble
Stylist Assistant: Makaela Mendez
Market Assistant: Dane Nikko Alvero
Hair Stylist: Rob Talty
Makeup Artist: Jen Tioseco
Casting: Timotej Letonja
This interview was done for Numéro Netherlands by Jana Letonja.