break on through
Originally published in Schön! Magazine's Issue 34. (March, 2018)
Jet-propelled into the spotlight with her breakthrough role as the stalwart Veronica Lodge on Riverdale, Camila Mendes is making a space for herself in the entertainment world.
If you’d have told Camila Mendes just three years ago that she’d be starring in one of the most talked-about series on primetime TV, she wouldn’t have believed you. The Brazilian-American starlet hadn’t even graduated from the NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts before landing her decisive (and debut) role as the silver-tongued Veronica Lodge. Riverdale is currently in its sophomore season, but all the odds point to Mendes being in it for the long run.
Launched in 2016 to critical success, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s reinterpretation of the 1939 Archie comics has proven to be a pop culture phenomenon and cemented Mendes’ status as a rising star. Her undeniable talent and charisma have garnered a social media following of over six million and her initial reluctance to “step into that spotlight as a role model” has disappeared: she has partnered with non-profits like Project HEAL to shed light on eating disorders. “As I’m establishing my independence and growing as a person, I want to use my voice, but I needed to find what that voice was first,” she explains. “I don’t want to speak on anything that I don’t feel completely knowledgeable about.”
Fame brings with it great responsibility, but also the risk of being typecast. “We all knew we were in good hands. If anybody is going to do this show, it’s Roberto,” she says, “but everybody has that fear; especially when you’re playing an iconic role that’s so specific and stylised.” Regardless, Mendes refuses to be pigeonholed. “We now have so much control over what image we put out via social media. We get to establish who we are outside of the character. I don’t stress about it too much because I know I’m capable of playing roles that are unlike Veronica.”
Disclaimer: This is an extract from an interview published in the print version of Schön! Magazine. Full version available upon request.
words. Sara Delgado
photography. Ben Duggan
fashion. Anna Schilling
talent. Camila Mendes
casting. Anissa Payne
hair. Christine Symonds @ The Wall Group
make up. Kayleen McAdams @ Starworks Artists
photography assistant. Geoffrey Glenister
studio + production. The Forge
film processing. The Icon LA