If you don’t know who Hayleau is, you will soon. If you already do, you probably better know her as Hayley Law and recognize her as Valerie, the character she plays on the CW’s cult-hit reboot of a classic comic series, Riverdale. (She’s the Josie and the Pussycats singer who went rogue and dated Archie on the first season.) In real life, the 25-year-old Vancouver native is unfiltered, unpretentious and infectiously uninhibited. Hayleau is also a legit woman to watch. Catch her on the dark new Netflix show Altered Carbon, and look out for her in the upcoming indie film Spontaneous, co-starring Katherine Langford of Thirteen Reasons Why. A musician at heart, Hayleau’s sultry debut EP is due in late March. We talked to her about who makes her starstruck, the reason she won’t get her nipples pierced and why it’s great when guys just walk away.
Tell us a little bit about Altered Carbon!
I’m so excited. It’s obviously totally different from Riverdale. It’s a cyberpunk sci-fi show about transferring your consciousness into different bodies and upgrading your own body. It’s kind of scary because they do such a good job of making of seem like we’re unfortunately going to be there at some point.
What’s your character like?
Without giving too much away, she’s the daughter of one of the leads and goes through a traumatic experience. Her story is her overcoming it and kicking ass, basically.
So she beats people up?
Yeah, I get to curb stomp somebody, kind of, which I’d thankfully never done before. That was an experience. They literally had this guy’s head on a ledge and you just kick their neck back, which is disgusting and nerve-racking! The stunt performer I was doing it on kept telling me to get closer, so I was super-nervous it was going to end badly. I get to fight a few people. I trained for three months, so that was crazy.
As we know, you first role was on Riverdale. How did that happen?
I had never read anything with dialogue in front of people. I had just gotten an agent maybe a month before the audition. They sent me for Riverdale, and I was like, “There’s no way I can learn three pages and do this in front of people.” And then I got a call back and thought, “Oh, maybe I can,” and then started taking it really seriously. I feel like the fact that I could sing helped me with that role, that audition, in general.
Before acting – I’m not even kidding – I had, like, 28 jobs. When I booked Riverdale, I was working at this breakfast restaurant. On my way to the first fitting, I stopped into work and quit my job and just went to the fitting. I was so scared. But I had to do it.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I used to work at a data entry place. It was eight hours a day of entering hospital records. It was so sad to hear what everybody was coming into the ER for by myself in a warehouse that was freezing cold. That was pretty bad.
What’s most drastic change you’ve noticed since Riverdale came out?
Sometimes fans think you’re that character, but I think it’s cool people have to really get to know me and figure out I’m nothing like Valerie, really. I can’t imagine playing an evil character and having everyone be like, “Fuck that girl, that bitch from Riverdale!” There’s actually a scene when I throw a beer in Archie’s face. I got hate messages for weeks. People saying, “What the fuck? That was too far! You took it too far!”
I’m raising the bar in 2018. I’m setting the bar high and I need to do chin-ups on it.
What about your favorite moment since it came out?
It was at Comic-Con. I was in the elevator with Nancy Cartwright who plays Bart Simpson’s voice and a lot of other voices on The Simpsons. I am so obsessed with The Simpsons and before I went to Comic-Con, I’d said, “My only goal is to meet Nancy Cartwright.” Then she got in this elevator and I was like, “Holy shit! Did I just manifest meeting Nancy Cartwright? Bart Simpson is in the elevator right now.” Getting on The Simpsons is a hundred-percent one of my 2018 goals.
What happens next?
Music is my first thing, but acting has definitely taken over. Next I want put the album out, tour and really go balls to the wall with music. I’m raising the bar in 2018. I’m setting the bar high and I need to do chin-ups on it.
How do you describe your music?
I used to have a really hard time answering that question. I used to be like, “Eh, it’s not pop,” but pop just means popular. So I go with R&B pop. I kind of worry sometimes it’s going to be a little too provocative for the people who expect it to sound like Josie and the Pussycats. But I’m ready. It’s going to shock some parents playing it in the car for their kids, but I’m ready.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
The person who comes to mind is PartyNextDoor. He writes so much good music. It would be crazy to be in the studio with him and just see what we could cook up. Oh, and he’s also Canadian!
What’s another goal?
I also want to start a line of hair products for Afro chicks because I have yet to find something that’s perfect. The packaging is usually cheap and has, like, a Comic Sans font.
Do you have a special routine when you’re getting ready for a night out?
Whenever I go out, I bring a pack of Emergen-C. You know that powder stuff? And then at the end of the night, if I’m out at the club or something, I’ll get a glass of water from the bar and put the Emergen-C in. And my friends are like, “Oh, Hayleau’s going home.” I just want to make sure I’m going to be fresh in the morning!
Does it work?
I don’t know. It might just be a Pixy Stix in there.
All right, now for a couple Playmate-style questions! If a guy is coming up to talk to you, what’s something that would make you want to talk to him more and what’s a major turn-off?
Ooh. There are so many turn-offs, who freaking knows? I’ll think of a positive first because I want to say something nice. A funny guy, over anything. If he’s funny and witty, I’m automatically interested. If he’s jabbing at me and thinks that’s funny, then I’m immediately turned off and there’s no going back. Like, “Why are you wearing that? Haha. Just kidding. It looks cute.”
I still don’t know how I feel about this, but last year, I was getting a smoothie and there was only one straw left and this guy was like, “You can take the straw.” Then he said, “I’ll see you on the small screen.” I never saw him again. He didn’t say anything else. At first I thought it was weird, but I respect that he just said it and left. I respect a guy who walks away.
Same. And who never talks to me again. That’s memorable. What makes you feel sexiest?
I think when my Afro does what I want it to. When my ‘fro is in tact, I feel unstoppable.
Do people try to touch your hair?
Oh my god, all the time. It’s insane how many people. People I don’t know on the street. I wouldn’t pet your pet or you without asking. I mean I wouldn’t pet a human being the way people sometimes “pet” my head regardless. It’s crazy. Not that I’m relating myself to a dog, but I wouldn’t touch anybody’s anything! Next time someone does it, I’m going to do some shit they don’t like.
Will you please do that? On another note, what would be a perfect date?
I think just eating something delicious that’s kind of messy. If you asked me five years go, I would have said, “Not anything messy.” But I think if I can eat something messy and the guy can eat something messy and we’re both cool about it, that’s a good date.
Like a big plate of nachos.
Or even the right tacos are messy, you know? Just take me somewhere good. It’s not that I’m more focused on the food, but if the date goes badly and the food is good, the date is fine. If the food is bad and so is the date, it’s the worst.
Do you drink?
I was going to be like, “Yeah!” but I mean, yes, I do. In my sophisticated voice. [Laughs] I recently had a really good gin drink last time I was in New York, so I’m interested in trying some fancy gin things. Other than that, I’m a red wine girl. But if I’m trying to party, then I’ll have Hennessy. I love it.
What about guilty pleasures? Do you have any?
This is not even a guilty pleasure. It’s just weird. I crochet slippers a lot. And bathing suits. Two completely opposite things. So you can get a gift for your grandma and a gift for your sister at the same time. [Laughs]
I love a crocheted bikini.
They’re so cute, except not practical at all. The water just fucks them up and your tits fall out and it’s just bad news. At the same time, I feel like nips – either way I’m like whatever. Nip, no nip, whatever. I know it’s always been a thing that women’s nipples are covered, but they literally look the same as men’s.
I think it’s funny guys even have nipples.
I know. “Look at your own nipples, okay? They’re the same. Suck on your homie’s nipple.”
Finally and most importantly, have you had any weird experiences with guys’ nipples?
No, but I once dated a guy who’d used to have his nipple pierced and then it wasn’t. He took it out and his nipple looked like someone had been chewing on it for weeks. It was mangled. I want to get my nipple pierced, but that guy’s nipple traumatized me.