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Mane Muse Madelaine Petsch Is Just Like Us—Emo Phase and All

Hannah Cassidy

Sep 15, 2022

Concealing her signature red locks and donning a Barbie blonde wig (which is sharply contrasted with a very un-Barbielike expression), Madelaine Petsch’s Mane Muse shoot shows us she isn’t afraid to flip the script. We watch as Madelaine’s alter ego (a.k.a. her hair) takes on a character-morphing persona of its own. It deftly maneuvers between perfectly-flipped ponytail and voluminous red carpet curls, courtesy of hairstylist Marc Mena and wigmaker Zachary Morad. Madelaine points out that she’s well aware of the fact that her long red coiff has a mind of its own. “I have very particular hair. When you think it will zig, it will zag, and I find it never does exactly what we want it to do,” Madelaine jokes. “So I’ve learned to go with the flow with my hair.” In the hands of Marc and Zachary, however, her hair takes direction like a pro.

For Madelaine’s ultra glam look, Marc channels old Hollywood leading ladies like Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth—and gives us all the deets for the megawatt hairstyle. “I start by blow drying the hair in sections, rolling and setting each section with duckbill clips as I move up the head. I then took each section using a 1-1/4 inch curling iron to curl before pinning them back up into a set to cool,” he details. Once cool it’s time for the final touches. “I take the sections down and brush the curls out gently with my fingers, allowing soft yet defined waves to form. I finish by spraying a light layer of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray to keep the waves from falling,” says Marc. 

Oh, and that epic Mane Muse wardrobe? We’re officially petitioning to raid stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn’s closets. 

Madelaine Petsch in a bright pink ball grown posing on a couch for Mane Addicts Mane Muse | Mane Addicts

Madelaine Petsch in a bright pink ball grown posing on a couch for Mane Addicts Mane Muse | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Mike Rosenthal)

Dress: Atelier Zuhra 
Shoes: Le Silla

Over the past five-plus years, Madelaine’s portrayal of Riverdale’s Cheryl Blossom gave the character depths and revelations (Murder! Scandal! Sexuality!) that have transformed the 2D comic book teen into a beloved icon. But outside the town of Riverdale, Madelaine is just as multifaceted as the roles she brings to life: a beauty aficionado, vegan, former scene kid, and voracious reader. It might seem from the outside looking in that she never stops…and she admits that’s not too far from the truth. “Honestly, I struggle more in the quiet than the chaos. I truly find I thrive in a busy environment,” Madelaine tells us. “The hardest part about always being on the go is prioritizing my personal relationships. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance those with my work life. It’s a work in progress.” 

And with the final season of Riverdale on deck, Madelaine is already sinking her teeth into new projects without skipping a beat. “The next film I’m working on is such a dream project of mine and I’m so excited for people to hear about it….soon!” Madelaine expertly teases, without giving too much away. But we’re already getting a glimpse of how the next phase of her career will take shape.

Madelaine Petsch in a Barbie box for Mane Addicts Mane Muse | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Mike Rosenthal)

Dress: Bach Mai 
Shoes: Le Silla

What she can tell us about is her just-released film About Fate alongside Emma Roberts—a rom-com that has all the trimmings for a holiday season must-watch. “It’s such a light hearted film which created a totally different environment on set that I thoroughly enjoyed,” explains Madelaine. “I’ve also been a fan of Emma Roberts ever since Unfabulous, so working with her was a full circle moment for me,” Madelaine notes, referring to the 2004 Nickelodeon sitcom that shows how deep her fandom goes. “She’s just as cool if not way cooler than you think she is.”

Then there’s JANE: a psychological thriller (streaming on September 16th through Creator+) in which Madelaine stars as a perfectionist high school senior (Olivia) struggling with the recent loss of a friend and deferral from her dream school. This cues a social media rampage and total spiral out of control that required Madelaine to take a much more realistic approach to the character. “The biggest hurdle I faced with her was exploring her relationship with anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve also dealt with these struggles for a lot of my life so although tough to explore, this was also an easy avenue into her for me,” says Madelaine, bringing up how difficult it was to let go of the idea that a main character must be likable.

It’s a sentiment that can hit close to home for any career-oriented type—the pressures of an always-on lifestyle, feeling the need to constantly show up on social media, guiding the trajectory of your own life. Thankfully, Madelaine knows the value of disconnecting from work. “I decompress with offline time, a good book, and surrounding myself with people who genuinely care about me.” Luckily many of those people conveniently include her castmates, which makes sense if you’re spending all hours with them. “The glam trailer has always been a favorite part of my day when we are shooting. [We] would all be in the space together sitting on the floor (sometimes at 3 a.m.) laughing so hard trying to do a straight eyeliner or just gabbing on about our lives. I’ll miss those moments,” she says, reflecting on her friendships with Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes

Madelaine Petsch standing in front of a rainbow-colored bookshelf with a pink visor and Barbie ponytail | Mane Addicts

Madelaine Petsch standing in front of a rainbow-colored bookshelf with a pink visor and Barbie ponytail | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Mike Rosenthal)

Visor: Lele Sadoughi
Top + Skirt: Alex Perry
Earrings + Ring: Dominique Renee
Shoes: Casadei

Madelaine’s comfortability in a glam room is crystal clear—she glows as Mane Muse makeup artist Jen Tioseco paints a bold fuschia lip, rosy blush, and sharp cat eye. In fact, Madelaine is a bonafide beauty connoisseur and has some serious makeup skills. She’s been doing Cheryl Blossom’s makeup for five years! But she admits her relationship with hair wasn’t always as comfy. “I really struggled with my red hair as a child and was made fun of for the color a lot,” Madelaine reveals. “I slicked my hair into a bun every day with gel because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself,” she says. It’s wild just how brutal kids can be…especially considering we’re all paying good money to get a red hue as iconic as Madelaine’s.

There were a few other growing pains along the way. “I was a ‘scene’ kid when I was in 7th and 8th grade…and yes, I have the gauged ear holes to prove it! And no, you won’t find photos of the gauges in my ears online no matter how hard you try,” insists Madelaine. Don’t you dare try to! She also details a harrowing pre-teen encounter with a pair of thinning shears that she is apparently still dealing with all these years later. So don’t try that one either. All jokes aside, Madelaine understands firsthand how much hair is connected to identity and the sooner you learn to love it, the better it gets. “I wouldn’t change it for the world now.” 

These days her hair experiments come in the form of maintenance and TLC. “I do a hair mask once a week and a haircut every six weeks. When I’m not in production and have downtime, I like to keep my hair up and not put heat on it to keep it extra healthy,” she says. If you’ve followed Madelaine on her socials for any time, it’s clear she is all about authentic self-care—sharing her morning routines, digging into new books, crafting, and unwinding with evening skincare. So what is her ideal day off? When asked how she prefers to treat herself during that elusive downtime, Madelaine slyly replies: “Book another movie, of course!!!”

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