Forget #HotArchie 鈥 it鈥檚 Ashleigh Murray who plays the coolest role in The CW鈥檚 Riverdale. Murray plays Josie McCord, one-third of the pop culture sensation Josie and the Pussycats. In many ways, Josie is the voice so many of us need right now. She鈥檚 not just a female voice 鈥 she鈥檚 a black female voice; she鈥檚 confident and talented, and she doesn鈥檛 let anyone push her around. She doesn鈥檛 even care about dating guys. And she鈥檚 following her dreams and is hella confident about it.

For five episodes, Riverdale has slowly revealed more about the characters of its small town, but last night, Josie finally got her due in the Pussycats-focused episode, 鈥淔aster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!鈥 And Murray, who recently talked with Brit + Co about the episode, is more than ready for fans to see the REAL Josie. 鈥淚t鈥檚 funny, because I have so much history of who I believe Josie is to me in Riverdale that we haven鈥檛 been able to display yet,鈥 she revealed. 鈥淚鈥檓 like, yeah, I could talk about Josie for days! You don鈥檛 see all of it, but it鈥檚 there!鈥


Read on for more of our chat with Murray, and find out how excited she was to don the iconic Josie and the Pussycats costume on stage (spoiler alert: Obvs, the answer is very).

B+C: The Archie Comics have been a part of our pop culture world for so long and have gone through so many evolutions, but in their own way, so have Josie and the Pussycats. When you were creating Josie, did you do any research or draw on anything from the comics over the years? Or did you just really focus on making Josie your own through your own experiences and ideas?

It鈥檚 a little bit more of the latter, because I鈥檓 incredibly familiar with the comics. I鈥檝e been familiar with them ever since pre-2002, I want to say. Then when the graphics changed 鈥 they were becoming more of a graphic novel format as opposed to the digest that the die-hard fans are used to, and I was a part of the digest movement 鈥 I kind of fell off鈥 so I took what I grew up loving and combined it with what I thought Josie should be through the sides and just through how I always saw her, and went from there.

B+C: You had that one exchange with Archie in a recent episode, where Archie kind of got put in his place with his music. But the way the exchange happened was very real, and I think that was such an important thing to see on television.

First of all, I want to appreciate you for saying that, because that is how we want to come across. I want people to be able to receive that scene in the same way you have, because that鈥檚 what it鈥檚 all about. It鈥檚 not aggressive, it鈥檚 not 鈥渉ere, have this plate of your daily 鈥榶ou鈥檙e a horrible person.'鈥 There are people who are extremely sensitive to being too politically correct and sometimes, in some ways, in some situations, I understand that. But this is not what that鈥檚 about. And that scene was very important to me because we are seasoned for so many things. And it鈥檚 not only teenagers who are hearing this, it鈥檚 everyone. It鈥檚 the climate of our world, and it鈥檚 become more transparent over the past four years. So being able to have these conversations, and even giving kids today who are going to school, who are dealing with these same issues, a format of how to address those situations and how to have those conversations in a peaceful manner so that everyone is listening and everyone is receptive鈥 it was one of my favorite scenes to shoot.


B+C: Can we talk about last night鈥檚 episode? Because I know you get to wear the original costumes. How excited were you about that?

Oh my god, you have no idea! I鈥檝e been nerding out about this. I鈥檝e been inside Roberto鈥檚 ears for like, five months, begging begging begging if I could wear the original costume. I wanted to wear it to Comic Con 鈥 no lie, I asked about it when I found out that we might be going this past summer. When we got the confirmation, I was like, 鈥淪o, can I go dressed up or not? Because I kind of want to run the floors with the full cat outfit.鈥 Oh my god, I loved that outfit鈥 it was a little tight in the thigh part area. [laughs] It was so great; I was so excited.

B+C: I think everyone is really excited for this episode because we finally get to see more of Josie, so what can you tease for readers about what they鈥檙e going to see?

You鈥檙e going to get to meet Josie鈥檚 dad. You鈥檙e also going to find out how she got her name, and you鈥檙e gonna see how she deals with the fallout of her friendship between Valerie and herself, and how they come back from that. It鈥檚 a really intense episode. My favorite thing is the family dynamic. I view it not only as the world seeing who Josie is and why she is the way she is, but the audience is also almost like Archie, because he鈥檚 the one person in Riverdale other than Valerie and Melody who knows who Josie is, and he鈥檚 getting to see this layer of the cake and oh my god, this is why you are Josie McCord.

B+C: We recently met Cheryl鈥檚 parents and got a look into her life at home, which really gave us a lot of insight into who she is and why she acts the way she does. And we鈥檝e already seen the inner lives and parental relationships of Betty, Archie, and Veronica. So I鈥檓 really excited that we鈥檙e going to get that for Josie, also.

It鈥檚 such a beautiful transformation, and I really hope that we鈥檙e lucky enough to go to season two so that we can continue to explore that. Really, this entire season, aside from the murder mystery, we鈥檙e hoping to build out this world and give everybody a chance to see what each of these character鈥檚 lives are like. Kind of like the way Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl was 鈥 they had all these different storylines and all these different characters, and I think what makes it work the most in our show is that there鈥檚 always a through-line that connects us in some way. We鈥檙e always coming back to each other. It鈥檚 not just us having these crazy lives with our parents. So I鈥檓 very excited for the world to take a look at Josie McCoy鈥檚 chapter in Riverdale.

B+C: Now that the show has found its feet, have you started hearing from fans about how they feel about the character?

I have. And it鈥檚 probably biased, because I don鈥檛 look for anything negative. [laughs] I read certain things, certain comments, and reviews about the show because I think it鈥檚 important to see if there鈥檚 something people are disliking and if there鈥檚 something we can work on. But the things that I have seen so far in regards to Josie have been very positive. I get a lot of comments about people being inspired, being very happy that there is a representation of how they see themselves. We also have a few fan accounts on Instagram, and there are a couple who have been die-hard followers since the very beginning, and one of my favorites is this guy Peyton Behrman. And he鈥檚 a huge, huge Josie and the Pussycats fan. And he posted something not too long ago, and it was really really moving. He would talk about how his friends would come to him and say, 鈥淲hy are you so all up in arms about these girls? They鈥檙e just these people on a TV show, it doesn鈥檛 matter, you鈥檙e making them all over your profile, why is it so important to you?鈥 And he talked about how it鈥檚 more than just these three girls on this show; it鈥檚 about that he鈥檚 always loved Josie and the Pussycats. And his favorite character was Melody. And Melody is the blonde girl with blue eyes, and he never felt like he could play Melody. It was never presented to him in a way that he could relate to. And it didn鈥檛 have anything to do with the fact that Melody was a girl, it was just that he couldn鈥檛 relate to blonde hair and blue eyes. And now that he has this new representation of Josie and the Pussycats, he feels like he can relate to them more, and express himself in a way that he couldn鈥檛 before. And I think it speaks volumes to what we鈥檙e doing. It was definitely one of the most moving posts that will stay with me. Because that鈥檚 why I do it 鈥 I don鈥檛 do it for myself. It does make me happy, but I do it because I want to inspire people in a way that I was inspired.

B+C: What have you learned from playing Josie?

The amount of confidence that you really have to have in yourself, even if others don鈥檛. And that鈥檚 something I deal with every day. I鈥檓 a fairly confident person; I鈥檓 very aware of my strengths and very aware of my weaknesses, and I鈥檓 conscientious about the choices that I make. But sometimes I get hesitant and second guess myself. Even going into this week, I鈥檝e been so excited for this episode so I can watch it with my friends and it鈥檒l be this really great moment鈥 and I am terrified. And I think about, okay, think about Josie. Josie would be like, 鈥淵eah, this is happening, and it鈥檚 what you wanted, so go out there and f****ing enjoy it!鈥 And that鈥檚 something that somehow, someway鈥 I鈥檓 able to give myself 100 percent to that confidence that she has when the cameras are rolling. And I try to remind myself, what would Josie do?鈥

Are you looking forward to seeing more of Josie鈥檚 story? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via The CW)