The Canada native made her acting debut in the 2000 TV movie A Diva’s Christmas Carol before nabbing a main role as Amanda Pierce in the teen series The Latest Buzz, which aired from 2007 until 2010. Vanessa went on to have a few appearances on Disney Channel where she starred in Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Geek Charming and A.N.T. Farm. In 2014, she kicked off her MTV days with a recurring role as Bird in the series Finding Carter for two seasons. She also went on to play Lyria in season 2 of The Shannara Chronicles before the show’s cancellation in 2017.
After nabbing the role of Toni Topaz on the CW series, Vanessa made her Riverdale debut during season 2, episode 3.
“She’s chill; she’s a boss; she doesn’t really care about what anybody thinks. She’s on the South Side, and it’s not like Riverdale,” the actress told Teen Vogue about her role in 2017. “She’s one of the boys. She’s super artsy. She loves doing photography.”
Since her first episode aired, Vanessa’s Toni has become a fan-favorite character among Riverdale viewers who are obsessed with her on-screen relationship with real-life BFF Madelaine Petsch. During a June 2018 interview with POPSUGAR, the actress compared working alongside Madelaine to winning the lottery.
“Not only am I going to be on the same show as my best friend, but now we get to be girlfriends. Instead of kissing one of the actors on the show, it might as well be your best friend,” Vanessa gushed at the time, touching on the couple fans have dubbed as #Choni — a combination of Vanessa’s character Toni and Madelaine’s character Cheryl.
Aside from her acting projects, Vanessa is embracing her new role as a mom. The former MTV star welcomed a baby boy named River in January 2021. “The most challenging, beautiful experience of my life,” she wrote on Instagram when announcing her son’s birth. “Words cannot describe this kind of love.”
Following River’s arrival into the world, Vanessa revealed where his name came from in an Instagram Stories post. “Early on in my pregnancy, I was walking the river every day,” she explained at the time. “Gave me so much peace, I knew that was the perfect name for his lil soul.”
While fans wait for the actress to return to the Riverdale set after her maternity leave, scroll through our gallery to see Vanessa’s total transformation over the years.
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