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Interview With American Actress & Star Of Riverdale Marisol Nichols

The inimitable star of Riverdale Marisol Nichols gives us a glimpse of her world and dishes on her upcoming horror film Spiral opposite Chris Rock.
by Haider Rifaat

Please share an unknown fact about yourself
I am a huge sci-fi geek and read science fiction and fantasy every night.

Having starred in a number of television shows and movies, people know you best for your stints in 24 and Riverdale. Do you regret making some professional decisions in a career spanning at least 23 years?
I am sure everyone can look back and regret a few decisions they have made. There are roles in hindsight that I was not so fond of doing but I also remember my reasons for choosing them. As my career has progressed and I have learned certain lessons along the way, I am now more selective in the choices I make. You never know where a role may lead you or how something will turn out so I just try to do my best and have a good time.

Your character in Riverdale is as dark as it gets. Hermione Lodge is someone you love and hate for different reasons. Why did you decide to play someone who contradicts herself in intense moments? Do you think people have not been able to connect with your role to the core because of this reason?
She has certainly changed a lot since the first season. I was interested in playing her because of her contradictions. Hermione was essentially a mob’s wife trying to reset her and her daughters’ lives. As Hiram came along, things changed and she morphed into what you have seen in the past few seasons.

What I enjoy about her is that you get to see who Hermione is or at least who she could be with or without Hiram. People can sometimes be like that, switching from one set of values to another, depending on the circumstances but I have tried to maintain the core of who she truly is.

You and Mark Consuelos vibe well as a couple on Riverdale. What is the key ingredient in making a fictional relationship work?
Mark is a total pro and a joy to work with. I think the key is to trust each other’s instincts and communicate with each other about the scene.

Do you recall sharing a memorable on-set moment with the cast and crew of Riverdale?
Yes – I would say my birthday during season two of the show. We were filming pretty late in the evening and suddenly I heard a giant chorus of Happy Birthday. The crew took me by surprise while I was in the middle of a shoot with KJ, Camile, Skeet and Mark. It was a bittersweet moment as they sang and I realized there was no other place I wanted to celebrate my birthday than on set with the cast.

How would you describe your co-stars Camila Mendes and Mark Consuelos?
Camila is effusive and Mark is effortless.

You are starring in a new horror movie Spiral: From the Book of Saw slated for a 2021 release. What motivated you to sign the film?  
I love a good scare! I read the script and it was similar to the brilliant film Seven. It was exciting to play a strong female character and be a part of a project that was equally creepy.

Which co-stars did you make good screen partners with?
Mark Consuelos, Frank Grillo, Chris Rock, Camila Mendes and Kristin Chenoweth. I don’t mean romance when I say chemistry. It is more about acting; the ability to understand each other’s delivery and establish history together in a short time span.

Reflecting on your past television and film roles, which project do you consider most special?
That is hard! Perhaps Riverdale because it is so fresh in my mind.

What is the worst part about being an actor?
Not knowing that every acting gig will be your last. A certain amount of instability comes with being an actor, especially when a project concludes.

Which career path would you have chosen for yourself had you not been an actor?
A human rights lawyer or a rock star.

What kind of challenges do women in Hollywood face that are often overlooked by the media?
There is still an odd age discrimination with roles for women over the age of 35. You see men in their late 40’s or 50’s paired with women 15 years younger than them. The landscape is gradually changing with female-centric shows like The Morning Show and Big Little Lies. We are getting there!

What are you passionate about aside from what you already do?
I am passionate about human rights, human dignity and the right to freedom. My non-profit Foundation for a Slavery Free World is all about human trafficking and the child sex trade industry. It is shocking to learn that there even exists a sex trade involving children. My mission is to help put an end to such heinous crimes.

How do you unwind?
On the couch, eating some sort of treat and watching my favorite show or movie. Sounds simple but it does not happen often.

What is your fitness regimen like?
I try to do at least an hour long cardio for about four to five times a week. I also do light weights and Pilates at home.

Who has played an instrumental role in shaping you as a person?
My daughter, hands down! The second I had her, everything changed.

What advice would you give to young boys and girls who aspire to be professional actors in the entertainment business and not just Hollywood?
Work hard for what you feel passionate about in life. Hard work and perseverance go a long way.

Photographer: John Russo - Stylist: Sara Acevedo - Hair: Gui - Makeup: Crystal Tran
About Haider Rifaat: He is a Features Writer for OK! Pakistan, the international edition of OK! Magazine; writer for Arabian Moda, South China Morning Post and Flanelle Magazine. He is also an actor and the creator and host of Pakistan's first web talk show – The Haider Rifaat Show. He can be reached via instagram and twitter.