River babes, unite! Madelaine Petsch is fully supportive of Vanessa Morgan following her call for more representation and equal pay on Riverdale.
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“She’s a badass and I’m so proud of her,” Petsch, 25, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting her campaign for AbbVie.
Morgan, who is pregnant with her first child, spoke out in May about Riverdale’s lack of diversity and opened up about how Black people are portrayed in media. She also claimed that she’s the “only black series regular but also paid the least” via Twitter in June.
The Canada native’s character, Toni Topaz, is also part of the LGBTQ community, which prompted her to add that Toni is being “used as the token biracial bisexual” on the show. She went on to clarify that her comments weren’t directed at her castmates, but rather those who call the shots.
Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa apologized to Morgan, 28, and vowed to do better. “We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She’s right,” he wrote via Instagram in June. “We’re sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her. We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color.”
This isn’t the first time Petsch has defended her longtime friend. The Chicago Tribune reported on Monday, July 27, that Morgan’s husband, Michael Kopech, filed for divorce in Texas in June. The split news came three days after the actress announced she is expecting a baby boy.
The F the Prom actress has since shut down social media trolls who asked Morgan, “Where’s your husband at though?” Another hater defended the baseball player, writing, “Don’t disrespect our pitcher like that.”
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Petsch stepped in and replied back, “Honestly if I see one more comment like this I’ll lose it. Vanessa is a beautiful mother to be and the hate and disrespect I’m seeing on this post about her bringing a new life into this world is disgusting.”
Onscreen, Petsch is also rooting for more from her character, Cheryl Blossom, and Morgan’s Toni in season 5. The two characters have been romantically linked since season 3.
“I want her and Toni to stay together,” the Washington native told Us exclusively. “I’d like Cheryl to be away from her family. It’d be really nice, I think for her to start fresh. Maybe have a new career path, maybe something that doesn’t involve maple or rum.”
The actress, who was a bridesmaid in Morgan’s January 2020 wedding, teased that she doesn’t know if Choni fans should be anxious next season. “I just want to keep [Cheryl] like the roller-coaster that she is,” Petsch added. “Cause that’s what keeps my job interesting.”
As fans and the cast wait to see what’s next for the teens of Riverdale, Petsch is focusing on her AbbVie campaign and its goal of empowering women to speak openly about birth control.
“I’m actually really excited to partner with AbbVie, who is the makers of Lolo estrogen on this. It’s all about empowering women to make educated decisions on their birth control,” the Fabletics designer told Us. “I’m all about empowering women. I’m all about environmentalism, about educating people on reproductive health. So I think it’s, it’s a really amazing partnership.”
Petsch explained that AbbVie has the “lowest daily dose of estrogen available in the pill,” which is an “amazing option” for some women.
No matter what birth control someone uses, however, the Polaroid actress is proud to be a part of the effort to start women talking about their sexual health.
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“I was raised in a household where everything was on the table, every topic of conversation were on the table,” she revealed. “But within with my friends group, my friend groups, it’s not the same for them. That’s why I think it’s important to have these conversations, especially on social media, to a large platform of followers because reproductive health is very important and it’s just like every other part of health.”
Petsch added: “It’s just like talking about allergies. It should be the exact same thing. And yet we make [it] as just a boot topic of conversation because women and sexual health is such an awkward conversation too. And it shouldn’t be.”
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