The actress reveals that her career as we know it almost didn’t happen!
You may know Lili Reinhart best as the fan-favorite Betty Cooper on The CW’s mega hit series “Riverdale,” but before booking this amazing role, the actress’ life was VERY different. The star has bravely opened up about her struggles with anxiety and depression before, but now she has revealed that these disorders almost prevented her from starting her career to begin with.
In a new interview with W magazine, Lili explained that after moving to Los Angeles at age 18 to pursue acting full time, she found herself quickly running through all of her savings and feeling too anxious and overwhelmed to find the motivation to go out for more casting calls.
“I didn’t have a car, so I was spending $500 Ubering everywhere,” Lili explained. “I remember looking at my bank account and seeing all of this money that I had saved acting over the course of many years just gone. I had so much anxiety booking work, and I spent almost five months holed up in this bedroom in this house just feeling anxious, waiting for my next audition, and not doing anything else. It was the most miserable time of my life.”
“My anxiety was so bad that I had to keep quitting jobs because I physically could not work,” Lili added about her early days. “But I knew I needed to make money, so I got [a restaurant] job…. I threw up in my Uber because, one, I was carsick, and two, I was having a panic attack. I get home, lock the door in my room, immediately Skype my mom and said, ‘Mom, I’m not okay.’ I had to get a brown paper bag and breathe into it, which felt so dramatic, but I really could not breathe. I felt like my world was crashing. I didn’t want to admit defeat, but I was like, ‘I need to come home. My mental health is suffering, and it is making me physically ill.'”
Lili also shared that it was only through the support of her parents in the first place that was she was even able to pursue acting at all, and she will never forget how helpful they have been.
“My mom would drive me from Cleveland to New York City and use my dad’s hotel points for auditions,” she said about her early childhood acting days. “They were the most supportive parents that I could have. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. My mom would take off work to take me to auditions, because they believed in me, which is a very big leap of faith. Seeing it from their point of view, they must have been like, ‘Is my child even good at this?’ But they knew it brought me so much happiness.”
Knowing this, Lili was able to get help from a therapist and build herself back up again. That’s when “Riverdale” came into the picture for her.
“I got my first audition for the show during that period of my life when I was rebuilding myself, and in between meds,” Lili shared. “I went on a medicine that gave me the worst mood swings—I felt like a monster. My mom was like, ‘I can’t even be in the same room as you.’ And this is when I was self-taping for Riverdale. I spent three hours on my first audition tape, and I felt like I could not get it right. I sent it in, and wasn’t the girl.”
At first, Lili didn’t get the role, but she was able to try again later down the line. Obviously, she nailed it.
“Somehow, I revved myself up. I was like, ‘I’ve wanted this for so long, I went out there, failed, and now I’m going to try it again.’ I didn’t work [this hard] for one try,” she said.
Lili’s story proves just how important perserverance and a strong support network around you can really be for your successes. Plus, we can’t picture “Riverdale” with anyone else as Betty!