Lili Reinhart is really freaking famous.
She is break-the-Internet, can’t-go-outside-without-being-recognized, gets-asked-to-play-a-part-without-audition famous. Anyone who has followed the cult-like popularity of the CW’s hit Riverdale wouldn’t be surprised. But Lili is still new to her fame and all the trappings that come with it, which for her includes being offered roles on the spot.
“It’s weird to get direct offers now, rather than having to audition,” she tells me, on a Monday morning in a West Hollywood restaurant, the night after the screening of her movie Galveston. “But it also makes me feel kind of suspicious, like, ‘Why don’t you want me to audition?’ I still feel like I need to prove myself, very much so. You’ve seen me do Riverdale, but that’s basically all anyone’s ever seen.”
“All anyone’s ever seen” is Betty Cooper, a blonde, ponytailed pinnacle of Americana (which Riverdale has handily thrown into an upside-down world where murder mysteries put just a slight damper on the school play). But let’s make this clear: Lili Reinhart is not Betty Cooper. For one, Lili says she’s scrappier than her onscreen character. And Betty doesn’t have to learn how to deal with instant fame — she’s been a pop culture mainstay for decades.
Lili is navigating the intense machine of social media stardom — where every picture, like, or comment is interrogated (and often makes headlines). She always needs to be “on” and that doesn’t come easy to someone who is not a naturally public person. A Virgo, she likes, as she puts it, “to be in my own little space.” She is notoriously guarded about her personal life and is unapologetic about that. There is nothing to apologize for.
She knows who she is: an actor, an ambitious one, with movie sets and meaty parts on the horizon. In her view, her personal life should have nothing to do with memorizing lines and making call times. But she is famous in the Internet age where instant access serves as a gray area between feeling like you know a lot about someone versus actually knowing them. Lili knows where those boundaries are and she wants you to know where they are, too. And she wants to audition even though she says the process “sucks,” because “I want to show you that I can do more, rather than just get something handed to me.”