Camila Mendes Says Rachel Bilson Was Her 'Fashion Inspiration' Growing Up

In a new interview with ELLE, the Riverdale star raved about Rachel Bilson's "laid-back, chic style" during Bilson's time on the hit show, The O.C.

camilla mendes; rachel bilson on OC
Photo: Getty; FOX

When Camila Mendes was growing up, there was one TV star she looked to for outfit inspo — Rachel Bilson's California cool style on the early 2000s hit show The O.C.

The Riverdale star revealed to ELLE that Bilson was "everything" to her when she was younger.

"Rachel Bilson was the fashion inspiration for me growing up," Mendes, 27, told the magazine. "To me, she was the epitome of laid-back, chic style. God, she was the coolest."

A few years ago, the CW actress had the opportunity to meet Bilson. "I met her once at a party and we exchanged numbers. I guess there was a bond there. She was like, 'Text me if you ever need anything,' and of course I didn't have the courage to do it. So I still have Rachel Bilson's number in my phone—if she hasn't changed it, I guess!"

Camila Mendes for ELLE
Tyler Joe/ELLE

Mendes also opened up to the publication about her early love of fashion, especially Chanel.

"My love of Chanel goes way back," she revealed. "For my graduation gift from high school, my dad got me my first Chanel bag. It was an orange metallic crossbody bag—really unique—and I was obviously so excited. I still have it, and actually, I need to start wearing it again!"

While Mendes' Riverdale character Veronica Lodge also shows off her own one-of-kind style on screen, the actress has learned the importance of separating her acting from her personal life.

"That [mentality], 'I suffer for my work' comes with some egotistical pride," Mendes shared. "But you have to do [it], to separate yourself from your character, and separate yourself from the emotions that might come up in a scene."

"It's vital to your mental health...that's why we have training. I went to school to learn how to be the best actor I can be, and learning to separate myself from the work is part of it," she added.

Riverdale — which recently celebrated its 100th episode — has forced Mendes to confront her own experiences to bring her emotionally complex character to life.

Camila Mendes for ELLE
Tyler Joe/ELLE

"It's hard, because sometimes you reach into those deep dark places of your past or your present in order to play that emotion authentically," she revealed. "But then you find yourself, once they call 'cut,' still stuck in that mindset. It's like you opened a wound, and now you have to see it through."

She continued, "I've had moments where the scene is over, but I can't stop crying. And I have to walk out of the room for a few minutes to catch my breath and compose myself and then come back. Because that can be dangerous, to pull from personal experience."

Camila Mendes for ELLE
Tyler Joe / ELLE

When Mendes wants to lighten the mood, she spends time with her co-stars Madelaine Petsch and Lili Reinhart. The trio even created their own TikTok account which has 9.4 million followers and shows off the actresses' sense of humor.

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"Our TikTok was so last-minute and so thrown together...every once in a while, I'll have an idea, but if you're not careful, it can be a full-time job, and we already have those," Mendes told ELLE.

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