Lili Reinhart is best known for playing the beloved girl next door Betty Cooper on Riverdale, but there were many years of hard work and waiting before she landed the role in the hit drama. So what was Lili’s life like before Riverdale? Join us as we take a walk down memory lane.
She’s from Ohio.
Lili was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in the city of Bay Village. It appears she lived a pretty ~normal~ childhood until her love of acting, singing and dancing became more serious in her tween years.
She started pursuing a career.
The star told V Magazine, “I think I was 10 when I did my first community play, and then I started booking bigger roles in these plays, and people were telling me and my parents that I was talented. And I was like, well, this is something I wanna do. I was always a performer kid, like annoyingly so. I would put on shows for my family and direct my friends in little plays, and my little sister, I’d make up dances with her. But when I was 12, that was when I started taking it seriously, and my mom, for some reason, believed in me and helped me find an agent in Cleveland, which did nothing for me. But my mom would actually drive me from Ohio to New York for auditions – it’s like an eight-hour drive. And we would use my dad’s hotel points to stay in hotels.”
The trips definitely paid off, as Lili landed a number of small roles over the years before Riverdale came along. From Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to Surviving Jack, she definitely built quite the résumé. And how could we ever forget when she starred alongside Love, Simon actor Nick Robinson and Hannah Montana legend
Moises Arias (AKA Rico) in The Kings of Summer. Iconic, really.
Other films she starred in include The Good Neighbor, Miss Stevens, Forever’s End, Gibsonburg, Not Waving But Drowning, and Lilith.
She added, “It definitely didn’t happen overnight. They kind of make it seem like like, ‘And just like that, she got her big break.’ I’ve been working at this since I was 12, so it’s been a journey.”
She wanted to do movies – just movies.
Despite the fact that she’s on television now, Lili actually pictured herself on the big screen at first.
“When I first got into the industry, I had an idea of what my career looked like, and I remember talking to my manager about it when I was 14. She was like, ‘Whatever you’re picturing for your career right now, it’s not going to look like that because you never know what it’s going to look like.’ And it’s totally true, because I thought I was going to be doing films, just film after film after film, and that’s obviously not the case right now,” she continued to V Magazine.
She moved to Los Angeles at 18 years old.
With no friends, no school and no job to keep her busy, all the hope Lili had was to wait for auditions to roll in.
“I lived in three different apartments. I had a horrible roommate situation at first. I lived in Burbank, and then I moved to Hollywood Hills and lived in a shared house with seven other people. I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t have any friends there. I didn’t have any family there. So when I moved there, it was just me. And I wasn’t going to school, so I didn’t have any way to really meet people, necessarily, or be social. I was just kind of waiting around for my auditions. I spent most of my days literally doing nothing, sitting in my room watching Netflix and waiting for an audition to come in. And it was miserable. And I didn’t want to get a job, because I didn’t want to quit right away if I booked something.”
But that lifestyle could be really isolating, which is why she had to really focus on her mental health at this point in her life.
She dealt with depression and anxiety.
Lili has been really open about her experiences dealing with depression, as it’s important to realize that the celebrities we love and adore deal with real-life struggles too – they’re only human, after all.
“The first time I moved to LA, I was there for five months, and my health got so bad because of how depressed I was. I was throwing up every day, [having] panic attacks, night sweats, and I was just sad. There came a point when I called my mom, and I was like, ‘I need to come home. I’m not OK. I’m not good right now. My mental health isn’t good.’ My mental health has always been such a priority to me that I knew when it was affecting my physical health.”
She dabbled in special effects makeup.
But seriously – is there anything she can’t do?
She had a boyfriend, it seems.
“We won!!!! My football stud ❤️,” she captioned this photo from October of 2014.
But that’s not all – she also mentioned her “boyfriend” on Twitter in 2015. Same guy, perhaps?
My boyfriend sent me a package containing hot fudge, gummy worms, pics of us, a handwritten letter, and a sweatshirt💜 pic.twitter.com/NhIw93SwY3
— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) March 4, 2015
Ah, young love. Of course, this was all before Cole Sprouse came into her life. #Bughead4ever.
Watch: See How the Riverdale Cast Compares to the Original Archie Comics
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