How Riverdale Helped Madelaine Petsch Understand Her Own Bullies

The actress opened up about being bullied and late co-star Luke Perry in Seventeen.

By emily belfiore Oct 03, 2019 4:26 PMTags
Madelaine Petsch, Seventeen Digital Cover, October 2019

Madelaine Petsch is known for playing scene-stealer Cheryl Blossom on Riverdale, but she hasn't always had the same confidence as her fan-favorite character.

The actress, who is featured on Seventeen's latest digital cover, opened up to the magazine about her past experiences with bullying and how her role has helped her move on from them.

"I've learned the mindset of the people who bullied me very well because Cheryl's been a bully on the show," the 25-year-old explained. "I've learned that the people who've made the most fun of me as a kid probably had their own s--t that they were going through. And so, they were taking it out on other people. And that breaks my heart."  

Playing Cheryl Blossom has even helped the star accept her red hair, something she used to be insecure about. "Finally, my hair and I have a great relationship," Petsch said. "And when fans tell me they're being bullied, I remind them that the things they're being bullied for now are the things that make them unique. When you get older, those things are going to make you stand out."

"Riverdale" Cast Reflects on Being Role Models

Her fellow Riverdale cast members have empowered her as well. Petsch said that her gal pals encourage her to be herself and not succumb to the expectations of the industry. "We remind each other to be funny and embrace who we are," she shared. "I don't feel any pressure about being perfect on social media anymore. I'm showing my true self all the time. I'm just being me."

Late co-star Luke Perry was also mentioned in the interview. The actor passed away in March after suffering a stroke and Petsch referred to him as her "oracle."

"He was on 90210 and had done all this work, so anytime I had any questions, he opened his door to me," the actress recalled. "He was such a kind and loving soul, and he was so generous. He was the kind of actor that gave you everything when he worked with you."

Riverdale returns to The CW on October 9.