Riverdale might present a slightly heightened version of the Archie Comics world, but one of its stars is thankful for its Latin representation.
Camila Mendes, who plays Veronica Lodge on the hit The CW series, recently spoke to People Chica about her onscreen family. As she put it, Riverdale's portrayal of the Lodge family - Veronica, her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) and her soon-to-arrive father Hiram (Mark Consuelos) - allows a different side of Latin culture to be seen in media.
"It’s just so refreshing to see a different story being told for Latin families." Mendes revealed. "The Lodge family is a much-needed departure from the underprivileged, sleazy Latino drug-dealers we’re used to seeing in entertainment. It’s rare that you see Latin families being portrayed as intelligent, sophisticated, and powerful entities."
According to Mendes, the level of Latin stereotyping in the film and television industry has effected her personally - particularly during the casting process.
"I’m pretty new to Hollywood, but I’m already starting to see the issues in how some projects are cast." Mendes explained. "I often hear things like, 'You don’t look Latina enough,' and that mentality is so backwards. The fact is: I am Latina, so how are you going to tell me that I don’t look Latina?"
Mendes then spoke about her 'American Latina' role as Veronica, and how it helps her connect with both sides of her cultural identity.
"I think it’s different for everybody. For me, being an 'American Latina' means identifying with and being influenced by both my American upbringing and my Latin heritage, and I have so much appreciation for how those two cultures have created who I am. I’m a full-blooded Brazilian, with an entire extended family of Brazilians, but I was born and raised in the U.S. When I go to Brazil, I feel like an American, and in the U.S., I always notice the traits that make me Brazilian."
Fans will get to see more of Mendes' performance when Riverdale's second season premieres on a new night, on Wednesday, October 11th, at 8/7c, on The CW.