‘Riverdale’ Star Reveals How She Overcame Crippling Anxiety

Lili Reinhardt has revealed how her anxiety nearly stopped her from being cast as Betty Cooper in the hit show Riverdale. In an interview with W magazine, Reinhardt described how difficult her time in L.A. was before she landed her role in the hit show, based on the Archie comics, Riverdale


Reinhardt acquired a manager at fourteen and, as a result, landed guest roles in shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Surviving Jack, as well as a few small films. When she turned eighteen in 2015, she moved to Los Angeles, auditioning as much as possible. However, the challenge of supporting herself financially while auditioning became too much. She said


I didn’t have a car, so I was spending $500 Ubering everywhere. 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.”


Having quit several side jobs because of her anxiety, she pushed herself to get another in a restaurant at Universal Citywalk. However, when she got there, she was instructed to go and buy a uniform of a black shirt and black shoes, however, she was unable to find appropriate clothing in any of the shops she went to, and ended up having a panic attack in her Uber home. “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.’



Image Via Zimibio


Reinhardt moved home after this incident, and began seeing a therapist who she says “really helped me build myself back up again.” She landed her first audition for Riverdale when she was “rebuilding” herself and “in between meds.” She said: 


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.


She wasn’t surprised when they passed her up, but she didn’t let the initial rejection deter her, saying, “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 my ass off for one try.” 


Once she was better, Reinhardt moved back to L.A. and auditioned again, this time in person. 


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. And I remember leaving the final audition and calling my manager, as I was driving towards the sunset, and saying, ‘I feel proud of myself for what I’ve done. Regardless of what happens, I feel happy and really at peace.’ And I truly felt that.


And look what happened! It’s great to see someone in the public eye speaking out about how important it is to recognize when something is taking its toll on your mental health, and making sure you put your health first.  


Featured Image Via Heavy.com