Actress Marisol Nichols makes serious use of her time away from the set. The Riverdale star has found another use for her acting chops when the camera stops rolling: catching child rapists. In a lengthy interview with Marie Claire, Nichols explained how she came about the practice, and why she continues to pursue it.
"If good people don't know about it, it will keep happening, because good people are the only ones who will do anything about it," Nichols said. "They're the ones who, when faced with inhumanity, will try to stop it. Because you have to try, right? Even if it doesn't work."
Nichols, who plays Hermione Lodge in The CW's Archie Comics-inspired drama, has spent years volunteering her time to work with law-enforcement groups to help catch pedophiles and human traffickers in various sting operations. She typically plays either a parent pimping out their child or an underage girl who comes across drugged and sheepish. "The voice. When she gets on, it's over," one officer explained. He was part of the sting operation in a midwestern city, which later yielded a dozen arrests.
"These guys look like normal people," Nichols said. "And you're pretending that you just happily and eagerly set up children for them to have sex with." She went on to explain that her interest was sparked after going on ride-a-longs to research roles for guest spots on police procedurals like Cold Case and CSI. "It gave me mad respect for these guys," she continued. "It sparked my interest in the trafficking world, realizing and really being on the other side of the underbelly of society."
Nichols also pointed to a devastating moment in her own life, when she was gang-raped at the age of 11. After spending years in an emotional downward spiral, she said it was the Church of Scientology that "saved my freaking ass." Despite the fact that the controversial organization has itself been charged with allegations of child trafficking and abuse, among a myriad of other claims, the actor outright denies them.
"I get attacked for that all the time," she explained. "Whenever I post about my sex-trafficking work, [the internet] go apes— on me." As far as her response, she usually tells people they don't know what they're talking about. "We're not the church known for this sort of thing. Where's the police charges? Where's the evidence?"