Hayley Law Reveals How That Riverdale Pussycats Reunion Episode Came To Be
Plus, she dishes on the potential Pussycats spinoff.
In Elite Daily’s I Can Explain… series, we’re asking celebrities to revisit their most memorable photos and tell us what really went down behind the scenes. In this piece, we chat with Hayley Law about her recent return to Riverdale, the awkwardness of photoshoots, and her passionate love of Disneyland.
Hayley Law has made the most of 2021. Not only did the actor/singer make a show-stopping return to Riverdale after a couple seasons away from the hit teen drama, but she also dropped a super-catchy new single in September. Most recently, she starred in Mark, Mary & Some Other People (in theaters and on demand now), a very of-the-moment rom-com that sees Law as a young newlywed who opts to open up her marriage in order to keep things ~fresh~. With so much going on, Law has a lot to discuss when she hops on the phone with Elite Daily to chat about some of her favorite photos from her Instagram feed. But naturally, a lot of the conversation is dominated by Riverdale.
Law has a complicated relationship with Riverdale. She credits the show with launching her career and says she has “no bad blood or negative feelings” about the series, but the show isn’t without its flaws. In the series’ early days, Law played Valerie Brown, one of the three singers in the iconic band, Josie and the Pussycats. As Valerie, Law got to show off her musical chops several times throughout the first couple seasons, and even had a major story arc when Archie briefly dated her character. But halfway through Season 2, she and fellow Pussycat Melody Valentine (Asha Bromfield) vanished. Josie’s bandmates suddenly stopped appearing in episodes, without even so much as a mention of their names by any other character from that point on. It was strange.
Although many fans were outraged by this treatment of the Pussycats, it wasn’t until years later that it was widely addressed. Amid the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, Riverdale actor Vanessa Morgan criticized the show for writing its Black characters “as sidekick, non-dimensional characters to [the] white leads.” That hit home for Law, who responded to Morgan’s statement at the time by tweeting, “I’ve felt this from the beginning. We are so much more.” Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa responded to Morgan’s comments, saying the series would “do better to honor ... all [the] actors and characters of color.” The following season, Season 5, Morgan was promoted to a series regular and the Pussycats reunited for their own special episode.
Law says she was contacted about the Pussycats-centric episode shortly after Morgan posted her comments. “I don’t know exactly what her conversation was with [the Riverdale team], but it was obviously positive,” Law says. “They reached out to me and asked if I was open to doing a Pussycats episode, and I appreciate Roberto saying he wanted to do it right and the characters didn’t get the justice they deserve. I totally agree with that.”
Another reason the episode was extra special for Law was because she got to perform her newly released single, “Go On,” a slinky, seductive pop song she released under her stage name, Hayleau. It’s the latest in a steady stream of singles she’s released since her self-titled debut EP in 2016, and now she’s finally (almost) ready to share a bigger project. “I have a full album that’s done; I’m just being really crazy about when to release it,” Law says. “I keep replacing songs with new music I write, but I’m ready — I wanna put that sucker out.”
Even as she’s juggling all of her various projects, Law makes it a point to keep her fans updated on Instagram. Below, she dives deeper into some of her favorite posts, revealing how returning to Riverdale really felt, how she really feels about photoshoots, and the unmatched joy of eating a Disneyland corndog.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: A lot of fans saw this Pussycats reunion episode as an important one for the Black actors and characters on the show. How did you feel when you found out you were coming back to Riverdale?
Hayley Law: I was excited — I have no bad blood or negative feelings for the show; I never did. I appreciate that they reached out to me and apologized for how they handled things in the past. I’ve always been grateful for that show because it gave me so much. I mean, it started my career. So it just felt nice that the family of Riverdale invited me back into the hug.
ED: What does this photo mean to you?
HL: It felt like we never left. It felt so normal. It just felt like I was back at work; it was so comfortable. And to see the other girls that I hadn’t even met before — Camille Hyde and Erinn Westbrook — now we’re all friends, and it was so nice for everyone to come together. We were all standing there outside that bus and I think Asha [Bromfield] was like, “Let’s get a Black girl moment!” So we all stood together, and it just felt like a sweet sisterhood.
ED: What’s your friendship with fellow Pussycats Asha Bromfield and Ashleigh Murray like off camera?
HL: We’ve always stayed in touch. When we kind of fell off the show we still all stayed in touch, which is great, because I feel like we went through a lot with that show and it was a big moment for all of us when we first got cast. We’re always going to have that bond. I still talk to both of them — we have a family bond that, for me, is forever.
ED: It seemed like the episode majorly teased a Pussycats spinoff series. Do you have any info on that?
HL: Nobody tells me anything. If there is a spinoff, I will find out with the rest of the world, I’m sure. But they definitely did tease that! When I first read it I was like, “Are we getting our own show?!”
ED: If the spinoff does happen, what direction would you want it to take?
HL: My dream for that spinoff would be… I feel like the music industry is so dark and weird and twisted that I would love for it to go darker — and Riverdale’s quite dark — but I would love for it to go darker in a real way. The music industry is dark in such a real, effed-up way, and I would love for them to touch on that, rather than, like, gargoyles and stuff. I would like for it to be, like, manipulative executives taking advantage of artists, the real stuff that happens in music, and seeing how these three girls take that on and overcome it together. Less sci-fi characters, because you can still get dark with the real stuff.
ED: What song would you love for the Pussycats to cover?
HL: Something by Destiny’s Child. We all grew up with Destiny’s Child, and I know the other two would love to do it. I feel like I’m answering on behalf of all of us — they’ve said it so many times so I feel like I have to say Destiny’s Child. Like, “Bills Bills Bills.”
ED: What’s your favorite thing about doing photoshoots like this one?
HL: My favorite thing is that I don’t have to do the hair and makeup, because I can’t do that. I love that makeup artist. His name is Samuel Paul, and he does such beautiful and different looks. I love that the eye was blue but I didn’t have a crazy made-up face. I thought I looked like a cool Avatar-type person.
ED: What’s your least favorite thing about doing photoshoots?
HL: This sounds silly because my job is being on camera, but I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable in front of the camera at photoshoots. I like it for, like, 10 minutes, and then I’m like, “No, we’re done. We got it, we got it, we got it. Let’s move on.” I just have to do something silly; I start doing the robot, because I just don’t know what to do when I run out of the three poses that I know. Once I start doing the robot, you know the photoshoot’s probably over.
ED: You always have fun and chic hairstyles. How does your hair help you express yourself or get into a character?
HL: My hair is like Play-Doh. I feel like I can do anything with it, so I love being able to explore different looks and show different sides of myself. I feel most like myself when I have it curly and natural, but I also love that I can have it in braids or straight. I just feel like I can morph into whoever I want to be, which is great when you’re an actor, or also for your real life.
ED: What’s one beauty essential you can’t live without?
HL: Moisturizer. My grandma has incredible skin, and she always tells me, “You better moisturize that face, because that’s what does it.” And putting it on your neck! The past year everyone’s been saying, “Put it on your neck, put it on your neck,” and now I’m like, “I gotta put it on my neck,” because my neck’s going to start looking like a turkey in two years if I don’t start moisturizing it.
ED: What do you remember about this day at Disneyland?
HL: Even though going a year and a half without going to Disneyland is not a huge amount of time, it was like my first time out since the [lockdowns]. I mean, you can see I’m beaming in that photo, gripping onto the gates. I just remember being so excited to get a corndog. And it wasn’t very busy. It was such a special time to be there because you could go on the rides without having to wait in line for two hours; you get there in the morning and it’s magic. I love Disneyland so much.
ED: How did this love of Disneyland start?
HL: I don’t know when it started. I remember reading that when they were building it, they wanted to make the park ever-changing, so for the rides with greenery and forest stuff they used real plants so they would evolve with the park. I just love how detailed everything is. It’s not even necessarily because it’s Disney — I think if anything was that detailed I would love it. Like the music: The speakers are so perfectly placed that you hear it perfectly everywhere you walk.
ED: What’s the one thing you have to do when you go to Disneyland? I know you said you were excited to get a corndog…
HL: Corndog, for sure! I also have to get a pickle, and sit front row on the Incredicoaster. You gotta go for front row!
Law’s current project, Mark, Mary & Some Other People, is out now.
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