Lili Reinhart might be one of the CW network’s biggest stars, alongside her Riverdale castmates, but she feels different in at least one respect.
“I don’t have the CW girl body — tiny waist, nice-shaped legs, skinny, small, tiny,” she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Monday. “I had to do a bra and underwear scene in this last season and I felt really insecure about it. I really, really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t tell anyone this. I wasn’t pressured into doing it. I did it because it was my job. But I felt bad about myself doing it. I really did. And this is where it gets complicated.”
The 23-year-old actress is very aware that young women everywhere are watching her, so it’s not as simple as refusing to do those scenes. At least not for her.
“I can’t preach body positivity if I don’t practice it,” Reinhart said. “So even if I’m not feeling amazing about my body, I felt it was important for me to do the scene anyway in my bra and underwear so people could see my body as it was. I did it for the people who feel like they need to look a certain way.”
In February, Reinhart wrote about some of her body insecurities on Twitter, after someone said the Riverdale actors were all “perfectly chiseled.” She mentioned the underwear scene back then and said she had felt an “obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do.” She explained that she wanted others to realize that she’s “not a perfect hourglass shape” nor a “size 0,” yet she’s starring on a popular TV series.
Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled. And even I feel intimidated by the physique of my surrounding cast mates sometimes when I have to do bra/underwear scenes. I’ve felt very insecure due to the expectation that people have for women on tv, what they should- https://t.co/9ISUBkgrKl
— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) February 6, 2020
Of course, she won’t be on Riverdale forever. Reinhart said she aspires to a career like that of Oscar winner Tilda Swinton.
“I would like people to start seeing me as a film actress,” Reinhart said. “I want people to see me and know: Hey, I’m in this for the long haul. This is a career for me. I’m not just gonna be on Riverdale for five years and then disappear.”
Her next projects are Swimming Lessons, a book of poems she wrote that comes out Sept. 29, and the romantic drama Chemical Hearts, a movie now streaming on Amazon that she also produced.
As she looks to take on that behind-the-scenes role on other shows and movies, Reinhart said she’ll use some of what she’s learned on Riverdale. For example, seeing her co-star Vanessa Morgan write about her disappointment in how Black characters are portrayed on the teen drama inspired her.
“I mean, the show historically has been pretty white. [Show creator] Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] is very conscious of it now to make sure that that doesn’t happen again and Vanessa doesn’t feel that she’s put in that position again,” noted Reinhart, who said she’s “grown closer” to Morgan over the phone in the last few months. “I feel as a producer now moving forward how important it is that I’m not stereotyping, stereo-casting anything — really making sure I’m going out of my way to do right by Black people, by transgender people, by people who don’t look like me.”