She might be best known to many as the fiery redhead “Cheryl Blossom” on the hit television series Riverdale, but Madelaine Petsch is quickly molding her own successful path in entertainment, fashion and beyond. To better understand where Madelaine is going next, it will be helpful to understand how she got to this exciting moment in her career.
“I feel very lucky because I was raised between America and a third-world country, so I was able to see poverty at such a young age,” Madelaine tells Forbes regarding her South African family background, though she was born and raised just outside of Seattle in Port Orchard. “In Washington state, there’s not a lot of homeless people, so I was pretty sheltered. When I went back to Africa to see my family and I really saw poverty at a young age, I was able to be so much more appreciative and grateful for what I had and my parents made sure to instill that in me.”
Madelaine was born with creativity in her genes. Her parents were in a band together and Madelaine recalls having a recording studio in their house. She also says her parents encouraged her and her brother to propel themselves fully into the arts. When Madelaine turned three, her parents put her in dance classes and by five, she was taking part in community theatre. “The feeling that I felt performing was unlike anything I had ever felt in my life and I kind of just knew that was what I was meant to be doing,” Madelaine continues. “I was lucky enough to have parents who believed in the arts and wanted to see me succeed in them and basically put all of their free time and mine into working towards my goals.”
In the midst of her teenage years, Madelaine enrolled in an arts high school 45 minutes away from home, where she majored in dance and theatre. After graduating, Madelaine says she set her sights on Los Angeles and moved there, determined to make her dreams a reality.
In 2016, Madelaine caught her big break starring on Riverdale as “Cheryl Blossom,” which continues to air new episodes on Wednesdays on The CW, since premiering on television in January 2017. Now five seasons into the drama series that recently experienced a seven-year time jump on the show (which Madelaine calls an “interesting” decision), bringing the characters from 18-year-old high school graduates to now 25-year-old young professionals. Even with the new changes, Madelaine knows which moment she continues to cherish most from her Riverdale character thus far. “The most rewarding storyline has been ‘Cheryl’ coming out as a lesbian because it is your dream as an actor, as an artist, to have people feel so passionately and so connected to your character that it actually affects their real lives,” Madelaine expresses. “The amount of people who watched my character come out on television and felt the courage and the strength from watching that to come out to their friends & family has been amazing.”
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