'Riverdale' Cast Covers 'emmy' Magazine -- See All the Exclusive Pics!
By Desiree Murphy
The cast of Riverdale can't believe how much their lives have changed since they said "yes" to joining the show.
ET can exclusively reveal that the leading men and women of the hit CW series grace the cover of emmy magazine's August issue (on newsstands Tuesday), which features stunning shots of Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge), Ashleigh Murray (Josie McCoy), K.J. Apa (Archie Andrews), Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom), Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper) and Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones).
In their accompanying interviews with the magazine, they get candid on everything from why they love the characters they portray to the reaction from fans on social media and so much more.
"In the first season, I went through a lot of online bullying from people who didn't like my character, who was supposed to be the villain," Petsch, who plays the popular, privileged Cheryl Blossom, says. "I was bullied in high school, so I felt like, 'Great, this is going to follow me the rest of my life.'"
But during the show's second season, most fans changed their views on Cheryl, when they got to see a whole new side of her and what she deals with outside of school. She became more vulnerable and even expressed her sexuality when she struck up a relationship with edgy Serpents member Toni Topaz, portrayed by Vanessa Morgan. It wasn't long before "Choni" became everyone's favorite ship... including us Riverdale lovers here at ET!
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," says Petsch. "People have come up to me crying, saying Cheryl's story gave them the confidence to come out to their families. It’s wonderful to be on a TV show that connects with its fans."
"Her mean-girl persona was a façade," she adds. "She was actually super broken, because she was pushing her sexuality down and not owning who she was."
When it comes to Riverdale pushing the boundaries in the topics it covers on TV, Reinhart couldn't agree with Petsch more -- that being a part of this series has been an amazing experience. All of their roles are based on fictional characters from Archie Comics, but Reinhart says she's happy with the way the writers and producers have evolved them.
"Betty is not as much of a pushover -- she's not some girl who fawns over Archie and lets him walk all over her, which is basically what happened for 75 years," Reinhart explains. "I love that the show doesn't just go on the easy path of having these girls constantly battle for Archie's affections. That's so boring and overdone."
One massive change from the comic books to the TV series, for example, is Betty's romance with Jughead, which fans refer to as "Bughead." Though, according to Sprouse, the pairing isn't a complete departure.
"Within the 75 years of Archie, there were moments of flirtatiousness between Betty and Jughead," he explains. "When he'd say things like, 'I love women -- not only food.'"
Mendes adds that because the show is so relatable, their fan base has grown tremendously since it made its debut on The CW last January, welcoming even more viewers when it was acquired by Netflix. "We got a pretty massive boost from Netflix," she reveals. 'Now people are watching it live because they want to be in the know and not have it spoiled for them."
She also tells the outlet that the fans "love" that she and the cast live-tweet during each episode. "It keeps everyone engaged and it makes people bond over the show, which is a beautiful thing," she explains.
"I quickly realized it was a pretty big franchise," adds Apa, who was born in Auckland, New Zealand. "It could either go two ways -- it was either going to be a big success or it was going to be a complete [fail]."
"None of us on the show really realized how successful the show was going to be," he continues.
And while Murray agrees with everything her castmates brought up, she admits that playing her character, the lead singer of the Pussycats, is just downright fun.
"I love cosplay [costume play], so dressing up in a crazy leopard outfit with a tail and ears is awesome," she says.
Riverdale returns for a third season on Oct. 10. In the meantime, watch the video below to hear more on why "Bughead" is totally shipworthy: