It’s difficult to imagine anyone else but Lili Reinhart playing the role of Betty Cooper, but the Riverdale actress has revealed that her struggles with anxiety almost cost her the show.
The 21-year-old actress had just returned home to North Carolina after a disastrous move to Los Angeles that left her ridden with anxiety and suffering from panic attack when she was given the opportunity to audition.
‘I got my first audition for the show during that period of my life when I was rebuilding myself, and in between meds,’ she told W magazine. ‘I went on a medicine that gave me the worst mood swings — I felt like a monster.’
‘I felt like a monster’: Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart has revealed that she battled severe anxiety which nearly lost her a leading role in the series
Nightmare: The 21-year-old was at home in North Carolina when she filmed her first audition tape, after a disastrous move to Los Angeles left her struggling with panic attacks
Even though she spent three hours filming her first audition, she said she couldn’t get it right.
‘I sent it in, and wasn’t the girl. It doesn’t surprise me, because I was in a s**t place when I taped that,’ she admitted.
Lili revealed that most of the show’s leads were turned down multiple times, and when she returned to Los Angeles after working with her therapist, she found herself auditioning for Riverdale again.
‘I auditioned in person with a fresh take, and a fire under my a** that I hadn’t had before,’ she said. ‘I felt so close, and I had been so close to so many things before, that I didn’t want to let this one slip through.’
Lili ended up winning the career-changing role that has launched her to stardom, but she still remembers how difficult her first move to Los Angeles was for her.
Second chance: Despite producers telling her that she ‘wasn’t the girl’ for the role after she sent in her first audition tape, she was later given another chance to read for the part
Star: Lili eventually landed the role of Betty Cooper after a stellar second audition, a part that has seen her launched into the spotlight
The budding actress, who as 18 at the time, said she was living in a shared house, spending hundreds of dollars taking Ubers everywhere because she she didn’t have a car.
Lili recalled being anxious about booking jobs as she watched the money she had saved from years of acting disappear from her bank account.
She explained that her anxiety has been so bad at times that she has had to quit multiple jobs in North Carolina because she ‘physically could not work’; she had similar struggles when she tried getting a job at a restaurant on Universal City Walk.
After she was told she needed to get a black button-up shirt and slipless shoes, she took an Uber to multiple stores, but she couldn’t find the pieces that she needed.
‘I threw up in my Uber because, one, I was carsick, and two, I was having a panic attack,’ she said.
Breaking point: The actress realized she needed to seek treatment for her anxiety when she had a severe panic attack that left her struggling to breathe
‘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.’
Lili said it was the worst panic attack she had ever had, and she made the decision to return home and seek the treatment that she needed.
It is not the first time that Lili has spoken out about her struggles with anxiety; earlier this month she took to Instagram to share her own story, while urging anyone who is struggling with depression or anxiety to seek the help that they need.
‘YOU are the one thing in this world, above all other things, that you must never give up on,’ Lili wrote in the caption of her image, in which she could be seen holding up details about how to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line.
‘When I was in middle school, I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression and the help and support I received from my family and a therapist saved my life.
‘Asking for help is the first step. You are more precious to this world than you’ll ever know.’
Helping hand: The actress took to Instagram on World Suicide Prevention Day to share details about her struggle with depression and anxiety, while urging other sufferers to seek help
Global sensation: Riverdale fans have become obsessed with the relationship between Lili’s character and Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse, who she is rumored to be dating in real life
It’s not lost on the star that just two years ago she was struggling with mental illness, while living at home with her parents – and now she gets recognized whenever she leaves her home.
Many Riverdale fans are obsessed with the character of Betty and her relationship with Jughead, who is played by Cole Sprouse.
The duo is affectionately called ‘Bughead’, and the two are rumored to be dating in real life. However, Lili admitted she was actually a bit more taken with KJ Apa, who plays Archie, when she first met her castmates.
‘I thought KJ was so hot, so charming,’ she recalled. ‘I had seen Cole and Camila at the studio test, and thought Cami was so beautiful.
‘It’s funny, I don’t really remember having an opinion on Cole, to be honest. Of course, I had grown up watching [The Suite Life] but I wasn’t really starstruck. He just seemed like this really attractive, normal guy.’