"There's gonna be some news about somebody in the Lodge family that is going to be very heartbreaking and difficult," says Camila Mendes


WARNING: This story contains information from season 4 of Riverdale.

Camila Mendes and Veronica Lodge have a lot in common.

Ahead of Riverdale‘s return on Jan. 22, the star, 25, opens up to PEOPLE about what’s to come for Veronica in the upcoming episodes and the similar qualities she shares with her character.

This past fall, viewers were left with a serious cliffhanger: Archie (KJ Apa,), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica stand over Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) seemingly dead body in a flash-forward scene. But the twists and turns don’t stop there, according to Mendes, and there’s “a lot coming” for her character in the rest of season 4.

“There’s gonna be some news about somebody in the Lodge family that is going to be very heartbreaking and difficult, and kind of throw Veronica a curveball,” she reveals. “There’s gonna be some news coming Veronica’s way that’s going to shake her world.”

(From left) Lili Reinhart as Betty, Camila Mendes as Veronica and Cole Sprouse as Jughead in ‘Riverdale’
| Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

In the series, based on the characters of Archie Comics, Veronica is off fighting the empire of her father Hiram (Mark Consuelos), courting admission to prestigious universities and running a speakeasy, all while trying to survive high school. Meanwhile, Mendes herself is shooting 22 Riverdale episodes a year, among many other projects, including two upcoming films.

Despite her booming career, the actress hasn’t always celebrated her ambition. “I admire that in Veronica, ’cause I don’t know that I’ve always admired that in myself,” she says. “Playing Veronica and seeing how shamelessly determined she is kind of made me embrace that quality in myself more.”

Mendes, the face of Secret Deodorant’s new Secret with Essential Oils collection, remembers running around from audition to audition.

Camila Mendes as the new face of Secret Deodorant’s Secret with Essential Oils.
| Credit: Courtest Secret Deodorant

“Auditions can be nerve-wracking and you sweat, so you need something that’s not gonna show through your clothes when you’re on camera,” she shares, explaining how her search for a deodorant led her to Secret.

The actress, who spends much of the year shooting Riverdale in Vancouver, Canada, loves to sweat it out, especially when the day-to-day grind gets overwhelming. “Being physical really grounds me,” she explains. “Whenever I stop what I’m doing and do something for my body, that will give me the most peace.”

Camila Mendes
Camila Mendes as Veronica in ‘Riverdale.’
| Credit: CW

The brand’s “all strength, no sweat” campaign fits well with the “game-face” mentality she’s taken on. “You’re constantly being rejected and fighting to prove yourself to people,” she says. “Being able to be told ‘no’ but then keep going … that to me is strength.”

Mendes auditioned for Riverdale weeks before graduating from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, according to Entertainment Weekly. Soon after, the show had launched her career “a lot faster than I could comprehend,” she says, a sentiment she shares with many of her castmates.

Cole Sprouse, Camila Mendes, Casey Cott, Madelaine Petsch, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Charles Melton and Vanessa Morgan attend the 2018 CW Network Upfront.
| Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage

“We’re all in the same boat right now, we’re all being launched on the same platform,” says Mendes. “We use each other by talking to each other, like ‘What kind of roles are you taking? Is it bad to do projects like this? Is it cool to do this? Am I going to be judged for doing this?’ ”

The cast — which includes Sprouse, Reinhart, Apa, Vanessa Morgan and Charles Melton, whom Mendes dated for over a year before reportedly going on a break in December — relies on each other personally as well as professionally.

“I have a shoulder to lean on with every single person in this cast,” she says. “I know they’re going to be there for me. I know that when the show ends, they’re still going to be my closest friends.”

Riverdale season 4 returns Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET to the CW.