Stylish, Spunky & Soulful – Vanessa Morgan

“I tried to channel a tougher version of myself and tried to give the character justice,” actress Vanessa Morgan recalled about what it was like auditioning for her role on The CW’s “Riverdale.” The 27-year-old plays the pink-haired, bisexual female gang member, Toni Topaz. Putting her own spin on the Archie Comics character has earned the actress quite a fan base.

“I didn’t really know what I was going into,” Morgan admits about the audition. “They didn’t really give me much of a character description. I think that it said something like, ‘spunky, bisexual, character that starts a love triangle,’ “Morgan described, as we were preparing to shoot for the fall issue of INLOVE Magazine.

Sari: How did you feel when you booked the role?
Vanessa Morgan: I was so excited. I was doing another show at the time in New Zealand. My agent called me when I was in my trailer. I was jumping up and down because my girlfriend Madelaine [Petsch] was already on the show. I called her right away, and I told her I got the part. I was just so excited because, one, I wanted to share with one of my best friends, and two, I auditioned for the show in season 1, and I didn’t get the part. It was kind of a little heartbreak of mine.

Sari: What role did you audition for?
VM: For Josie. But, I connect more with Toni. So, everything happened for a reason. It’s crazy how the universe works that way.

Sari: How has being around this group of actors changed your life?
VM: You develop certain relationships with people, and it almost becomes like family. You grow with them, and you see them every day. It changed my life for the better because I have lifelong friendships from the show.

Sari: Everyone on the show is fantastic. I had the privilege of interviewing Luke Perry before he passed away. He was magic. I thought your tribute to him was beautiful.
VM: Thank you. That means a lot.

Sari: What was your experience like working with him? What did you learn from him?
VM: Never let the little things bother you. He was always so positive. On set, he just had a chill vibe. He was running on a higher vibration. You know, he was just always so happy; always so Zen. That’s what I’ll take from that relationship, is to always be positive. No one can say anything bad about Luke because he was always such a positive light in everybody’s life.

Sari: What do you love most about playing Toni?
VM: We don’t know much about her backstory. She’s a strong, independent female character. I love playing such a strong character. I love that she’s bisexual; I love representing. I also love her style. I love that she’s like a more badass version of me. She’s the personality that I would love to be.

Sari: There’s been a lot of talk about the “Riverdale” universe expanding. There’s the “Katy Keene” spinoff. Fans really want to see a “Riverdale-Sabrina” crossover. How do you imagine the Archieverse evolving for Toni?
VM: Well, I don’t picture a “Sabrina” crossover ever happening. I don’t know if they would make “Riverdale” supernatural. I would love it to happen because I’m obsessed with “Sabrina.” I’ve been obsessed with “Sabrina” since I was a little girl, so, that would be cool. And, I’ve played a vampire before so I would love to have some magical powers again. I would love to go on “Sabrina” and play a vampire or witch. I could picture Toni’s backstory is actually that she doesn’t have a family because she was a runaway witch or something, and then she moved over to “Riverdale.”

Sari: That’s a great story. I feel like that opens the door for some interesting fanfiction. I want to jump into trends now. Your character on the show has a great style. Where do you pull your style inspiration from in real life?
VM: Whatever I’m feeling. I don’t really go with what the trend is. Sometimes I see something I like and want to copy that. But, I’m not a fashionista. It’s not like I want to wear what’s new on the runway. Whatever I feel best in, is what I’m going to wear. I don’t care if it’s 5 dollars or if it’s 500 dollars. I’ll wear a 5 dollar dress on the red carpet. What I feel the best in, what I think looks good, is all that matters to me.

Sari: Is there something that you’re in love with right now at the moment?
VM: I’m such a workout clothes person. I love my leggings, with sneakers, and a crop; a crop hoody, or a crop tank. That’s my go-to.

Sari: Let’s talk about dream roles. Is there something you haven’t done that you would love to do?
VM: I’m so obsessed with Marvel movies. My dream would be a character in a Marvel movie. That would be the dream – a superhero.

Sari: What would your superpower be?
VM: I’d love to read people’s minds. And, there’s something intriguing about ice. Turning people into ice, or, freezing would be awesome. Wonder Woman’s strength would also be cool.

Sari: Since we are INLOVE Magazine, I do want to talk more about being in love. What does being “in love” mean to you?
VM: Being in love is unconditional love. That’s what real love is. It doesn’t mean that if they mess up, you’re not going to love them anymore. Real love is unconditional love, meaning you love them for who they are, no matter what. Love is eternal. I mean, we’re all made of love. Love is the most important thing.

Sari: It’s the most powerful thing in the world. As a superhero, I feel like love is the greatest power you could have. Love conquers everything.
VM: Love is the only thing that is real.

You can catch Vanessa Morgan in season 4 of “Riverdale.” The actress is also putting out new music, which she says has “a pop/R&B vibe.” Fans are bound to show the star some real love, as her universe expands, both on screen and off.

Sari Cohen