Spotting Riverdale’s Cheryl Blossom without her signature red lip seems as unnatural as a 2001 Pepsi commercial without Britney Spears, or Anastasia Steele without her Ben Wa balls. The distinctive feature is one we’ve come to know — and begrudgingly love — about the notoriously petty character. But according to Madelaine Petsch, the real-life actress behind Riverdale High’s HBIC, Blossom’s signature look might not be around for much longer.
We recently sat down with Petsch, the new ambassador of Bioré, to chat about her skin-care routine (she swears by triple-cleansing her face), her hair (yes, it’s real), and her favorite brow pencil (it’s Hourglass Cosmetics). But there’s no chance in hell that we didn’t at least try and finagle Riverdale tea out of her. Luckily, she totally spilled.
According to Petsch, Cheryl will be following Betty down the path to the dark side this season — yes, even darker than she naturally acts 24/7. “I’m wearing darker nails right now, because Cheryl is going through a darker period of time,” Petsch tells us, as she shows us her wine-colored manicure. “It’s tiny details like that that our makeup artists think of. We show motifs and emotions through the way she looks.”
Like the symbolism behind Betty’s undone ponytail, Cheryl’s inner struggles tend to subtly manifest through her outer appearance. Petsch confirms we even saw a moment like this back in the season one finale. “We broke Cheryl down as much as she could be broken down,” Petsch recalls of the minimalist beauty look. “There are actually some great moments coming up in episode 16, 17, and 18 where her makeup emotes how she’s feeling. A lot of dramatic things are happening.”
What’s more, Petsch suggests that Cheryl’s progression from River Vixen bully to a young woman with agency and genuine emotions could mean shedding that devilish style. “I feel like that’s a part of an identity she hasn’t really clung to because her parents were so awful to her and she lost the one person who loved her,” Petsch explains. “My interpretation of the red is that this is something her family has forced on her for a long time, that red is the color she always has to be wearing.”
Petsch’s guess is that as time goes on, as Cheryl gets more comfortable with her individuality and sexuality, the red lipstick will fade… and Cheryl’s power will be even harder to ignore.
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