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The California Questionnaire: Madelaine Petsch

The star of The CW Network’s Riverdale likes to avoid sunburn—but that doesn’t keep her indoors

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On Riverdale, TV’s fresh reimagining of the Archie comics universe, Madelaine Petsch stars as Cheryl Blossom, something of a complicated vixen. Is she good? Is she bad? In her real life, Petsch plays it right down the middle. “There’s not just one way to be,” says the actress who grew up in Washington state but moved to Los Angeles for her role in Riverdale, following her big break in a Coke commercial. The fair-skinned Petsch says she has upped her use of sunscreen since relocating from the Pacific Northwest, but has otherwise embraced the local culture—from California malls to a never-ending pursuit of the perfect road trip soundtrack. The actress shares with us some of her other California favorites.

Where do you live? West Hollywood

Why there? Because of the hills. And there’s not a big-city hustle and bustle (vibe)+ I hear birds! There’s this wonderful thing about L.A., where you go one street over and there’s a completely different vibe.

Who or what is your greatest California love? For me, it’s the weather. I do not like the super-super heat. That’s not my vibe at all. I’m too pale to go (out into) the sun. The weather here is ever-changing.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? Before I moved here, I was super-nervous. I kept hearing about “L.A. people.” Weird, stuck up, lots of attitude, not welcoming to new people. But that’s not been my experience. The city has been very welcoming. And it was always taught to me that if you live here for more than five years, you’re a native. It’s been six years now. I’m officially a local!

What is the stereotype that most holds true? That you’ll never leave the west side if you live there. Specifically, Venice Beach. There’s just something about it out there that’s captivating. That’s what they say. So I can’t live in Venice or I’ll get stuck there.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? I love a good day when the sun is out, it’s not too hot, and there’s a breeze. And then, I know this is super basic, but going shopping at The Grove. I love the Americana of a mall. I also love hitting the small stores in Santa Monica.

Time for a road trip—where are you going? The last road trip I took was to drive up to San Francisco. It was so gorgeous. We took the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) all the way up, along the water, and we drove straight, all in one go. My favorite band at the time was playing—Two Door Cinema Club.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? I’m a vegan, so there’s only so many places I can recommend. But for me, it’s the restaurant Sage. They have three locations in Los Angeles. Oh, and get the potato broccoli perogies. Mmmm! It’s so good.

How do you define California style? California is the only place I’ve lived where everyone fits in. So I stick to my own style. There’s not just one way to be. But that’s what I like about it here. All the different styles mix together. One thing for sure: I always hide from the sun, so I don’t get sunburned.

Best California song? "Beaches” by Tokyo Police Club. The first time I heard it, I was on the beach, finishing a shoot. I pressed shuffle on my Spotify and that song came on. I listened to it the whole way home. And this is true: Any song that’s good driving music is a California song.

How would your California dream day unfold? I love a nice, lazy morning. So I’d order in breakfast. Then I’d drive over to Santa Monica. Get a coffee. Oh! And spend the night over there. I love the bungalows at the Fairmont Miramar—that’s where my favorite coffee shop is, right by there. I don’t ever want to go out at night. I like my California days. I may even go to Griffith Observatory for a hike.

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