Your first same-sex kiss can be so many things: titillating, exciting, terrifying, freeing. According to Madelaine Petsch, who just shared her first on-screen girl-on-girl kiss with her Riverdale co-star, it can also besalty?
On The CW’s Riverdale, Petsch plays Cheryl Blossom, the show’s first queer female protagonist and master manipulator. This season, our second favorite redheaded mean girl (next to Cady Heron, of course) came out as bisexual. The first person she came out to was her friend Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan), who also identifies as bi. Pestch and Morgan recently shared their first kiss as #Choni, and though it appeared to be magical, behind-the-scenes, it wasn’t so pretty. Apparently, Madelaine kisses like a messy bitch.
In an interview with Nylon, the 23-year old actress divulged, “Vanessa is a champ because I was crying in the scene previously and I still had snot running down my face and every single time she ate my snot like a pro,” she joked. “They were like, ‘We want you to be fully sobbing and then when she gets in, you stand up.’ So, I did it and the first take she was like, ‘Salty.’”
The redhead continued, “I was like, ‘That's really disgusting,’ but she just totally rolled with it. I was like, ‘Thank god, that was my best friend, because that would be so embarrassing had it be anyone else.’ Imagine if they were like spitting it out after every take. I'd be crumbled inside.”
Though on-screen, Cheryl and Toni are brewing up a romance, they’re actually best friends IRL. "Madelaine is my best friend, so why wouldn't I want to date her on the show?" Morgan told ET back in March. "We're both very similar and then she even stayed with me for a month in L.A. That's how our relationship blossomed."
Apparently, both actresses are thrilled to be portraying a bisexual storyline on the hit show. Petsch told Nylon, “I'm really happy to bring bisexuality to TV, because you don't see that often on television, especially with women.” She continued, “I find that so interesting because most of my friends - my female friends - are bisexual. It's just the majority of our generation and I don't think you see it on television still.”
The young actress is partly rightit’s rare to see bisexual characters on TV, and bisexual people remain underrepresented in media. According to GLAAD, the amount of bisexual characters on TV dropped since last year. But the organization’s “Where We Are on TV Report,” which tracks LGBTQ representation on broadcast and streaming networks, says that 75 percent of bisexual characters are women, leaving only 18 percent men.
The Riverdale star also discussed a darker part of Cheryl’s queer storyline. This season, we found out that her character’s mother committed her to a conversion therapy program in her youth, which Madelaine alleges broke her heart.
“She caught Cheryl in bed with a girl and told Cheryl that she's deviant and disgusting - so Cheryl hated herself growing up,” she said. “It’s hard enough to play that, but knowing it actually happens to people makes me want to hold them in my arms and hug them and tell them that they are accepted.”
And although Madelaine didn’t know her character would swing both ways upon auditioning for the role, she alleges that she discussed Cheryl’s sexuality with Riverdale’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa in season one.
“I was like, ‘She's definitely not straight,’” Petsch declared. “There's so much more to her than what we've seen so far, so we really wanted to develop that in season two. It was very nerve-racking, because we wanted to make sure we did it with care and grace.”
And though the actress revealed that her and her castmates have received a fair amount of hate from fiery shippers in the Riverdale fandom, she says she’s just happy to be a part of a show with such passionate fans.
“I have people who care enough about what I do every single day, to the point where they feel strongly enough to message me, being like, ‘This person shouldn't have done this to this person.’ It's also like, ‘Wow, thank you for spending so much time finding little Easter eggs on the show that's only an hour long every week.'"
Riverdale returns this Wednesday on The CW.