Sure, Marisol Nichols’ husband isn’t in jail for fraud. But the Chicago native, 43, tells Us Weekly she can still relate to “ruthless” socialite Hermione Lodge, the character she plays on the CW’s Riverdale. With director love Taron Lexton often away on location, Nichols understands the bond Hermione shares with daughter Veronica (Camila Mendes). Says the mom of Rain, 8, “It’s always been me and my daughter.”
Her maternal instinct extends beyond her own kin. As cofounder of the Foundation for a Slavery Free World, Nichols goes undercover to capture child predators. “When I first heard about human trafficking, I couldn’t sleep,” says the actress, awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award May 4. “I was compelled to help to protect my daughter. I trained with law enforcement experts, and now I work around the country to put these guys away.”
Nichols admits it’s a “dark, dark subject” but says it’s her passion and she’s proud of the work she’s done. “I’m glad I can balance it with something as fun as Riverdale,” she adds.
Read on for more with Nichols ahead of the season 1 finale (9 p.m., The CW):
Us Weekly: Were you a fan of the Archie comics before?
Marisol Nichols: Somewhat of a fan. I was familiar with them. I didn’t read comic books, but I did read their comic strips in the newspaper and on the Bazooka gum wrappers. That sort of thing.
Us: A lot of the cast is so young and new. Did you feel like you took on a motherly role?
MN: [Laughs] Absolutely! I wanted to be like, ‘Don’t worry!’ This is a very intelligent young group, so there wasn’t much for me to do after the second, third episode. They got it.
Us: I love that you get to star opposite Luke Perry. Were you a Beverly Hills, 90210 fan?
MN: Yeah! I was on it in the late ’90s. I was what’s his name’s girlfriend — the guy who was like, ‘How do you talk to an angel?’ I did one or two episodes of it a long, long time ago. It’s such an iconic series. It lasted forever.
Us: What was it like reuniting with him?
MN: It was great! It was so long ago when I did 90210, so I’m not sure if I worked with him. If I did, it was like, ‘Hi! Nice to meet you. You’re Luke Perry!’ [Laughs] Luke is extremely down to earth and so easy to get along with. He’s a very professional actor, very smart, very intelligent. It was easy, like a dream.
Us: It seems like this entire cast is a dream.
MN: It’s amazing. I think it’s some of the best casting I’ve seen. It’s fun to be a fan of your own show!
Us: It can be a very dark show at points. How do you guys lighten things up on set?
MN: We’re always joking around. It’s hilarious. We have a blast doing what we’re doing. Always joking, laughing and goofing around. It’s so much fun. Everyone likes each other.
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