We met actress Marisol Nichols, who stars as Hermione Lodge in the TV series “Riverdale.” Marisol has a long list of both movie and television roles. She is of Mexican descent and has played several roles cast as a Latina character. Her performances have accumulated three ALMA Award (American Latino Media Arts Award) nominations. Besides being an inspiring and wonderful actress, she was the perfect interview for us as students in our Spanish class.
What do you think is one of your greatest achievements?
Founding my nonprofit [Foundation for a Slavery Free World] is probably my greatest achievement. I was just awarded by President Barack Obama for the 2016 Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award. That was pretty cool!
What was your favorite show to act in?
That is a good question. I would say “24.” It was amazing, and Kiefer Sutherland is amazing. It was at the height of its fame and publicity, so I dropped into a dream job. Everyone was already watching, so that was really good. Although I would say that I am having a lot of fun on “Riverdale” right now.
Of all the characters you have played, whether it be movies or TV, which one do you think you related more to?
There is a character I played on a TV show called “Blind Justice.” She was a hard New York homicide detective with a really thick accent from Queens. She was a completely street-wise girl, and I was born and raised in Chicago. So there is something about the city, the life and its pulse that I love. So I probably related to her the most.
What was your inspiration to start acting?
Does everybody take the brush in front of the mirror and dance and sing and act everything out? I was doing all that. I saw a movie called “Grease,” and John Travolta in that movie was so amazing, I said to myself that I wanted to do that. And then I didn’t do anything with it until after high school, and I was in college and I tried out for a play just by accident. I ended up getting the starring role. I was like, “Really? Really!” I felt right there that I loved this and this is what I want to do forever. I finally found something I am good at and thought to myself: Let’s go!
What are your goals for the future?
I have an 8-year-old daughter, and the top thing is to make sure that she is good, especially with her going into her teenage years. The world outside today is not that kid-friendly at all. It doesn’t really censor things for ages, and an 8-year-old girl is exposed to a lot of adult kind of things. I am kind of hoping that I can raise her into a responsible adult, especially as she goes through her teenage years. But I also want her to be happy and get to do what she wants to do.
Do you want your daughter to follow in your footsteps?
She wants to be a director. She has 53 dolls, and she knows all their names — my husband is a director — and she takes her phone, and she has scenes and has full-on shoots and then sits down with my husband and makes a 45-minute film. She puts a soundtrack to it and puts credits and transitions. She overmuch wants to be on the other side of the camera, and to that I say, “Great, go for it.”
Is there anything that you can tell us what to expect on season 2 of “Riverdale”?
Yes! It is going to be even more dark than the first season. For the first season it was a new show trying to figure itself out. So now all of us have been in these characters and have lived with it for so long, and the writers know the characters so well. They are able to take all that experience both in front of and behind the camera and then put it into the next season of “Riverdale.” The season is probably going to be twice as long and probably twice as dark. It is fun — I am excited.
In the season 1 ending of “Riverdale,” your character was more stressed-out because of Dad. Will that carry over to season 2?
I do. I think Hiram [the father character] is a dangerous man. When he was away in prison and Hermione comes to town, she is like great, she can always be who she wanted to be, she can have this relationship with friends, she can be a mom and she can chill out. As the season progresses she gets more and more stressed and scared. You can really see change. You will understand it more on season 2.
What was your first on-screen acting job?
My first on-screen job was for McDonald’s. It was a film where they showed all the McDonald’s employees from all over the world, and it was like an infomercial for hamburgers and French fries. Someone has it somewhere, and I would love to see it.
What do you do when you are not acting?
I have this nonprofit that focuses on child trafficking. I do a lot of dark work in that subject. I feel that it is necessary because a lot of people don’t know it is going on here in the United States. They don’t know that it is our kids, too. They may think it is the poor kids from Mexico or the Philippines. And, no, it is us, and if we don’t do anything about it, people are one day going to ask, “Why didn’t anyone do anything about it?”
Did you enjoy working on “90210”?
I did! I had just moved from Chicago, and I think I was in L.A. for like three months, and “90210” was a really big deal. It was fun!
What about when you were younger? Did you have other aspirations?
No, I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to be Joan Jett. But the acting thing came. It didn’t start until way late, but if I could go back and tell my younger self, I would say get started now, take singing lessons and acting lessons.