Here's How Old Ashleigh Murray Really Was While Playing a Teenager on Riverdale

Here's How Old Ashleigh Murray Really Was While Playing a Teenager on Riverdale
Image credit: Legion-Media

It's pretty common for actors in their 20s to be cast as teenagers in Hollywood productions.

Labor laws make it a little bit tougher to bring on ACTUAL teenagers to sets, as they are restricted in the number of hours they can work. On top of that, actors in their 20s generally have more training and experience under their belts than teenage actors. Older actors are also generally more marketable, as they've been seen in films and television before, which brings in more viewers than rising stars.

Also, unsurprisingly, Hollywood prefers casting attractive actors who have grown out of their awkward, acne-riddled phase.

Oftentimes, it fits. Zendaya and Tom Holland have been playing a high school couple for five years in the newest Spider-Man series and it makes sense. They look young but have the training of mid-20s actors.

Other times, it's a bit of a stretch.

Actors as old as late 30s have been cast as high schoolers – they're portraying characters half their age. The film "Grease" is an infamous example of that, with most of the cast twice as old as the high school characters they play.

A famous example among today's popular television is Ashleigh Murray, cast member of Riverdale. She played Josie McCoy, who joined with Hayley Law's Valerie Brown and Asha Bromfield's Melody Valentine as members of the coolest band at Riverdale High: Josie and the Pussycats.

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Murray was born in 1988 and starred in Riverdale's first season, released in January of 2017 – eight days after her 29th birthday. She went on to play McCoy, Josie, and the Pussycats' lead singer, for five seasons, with her last appearance coming in 2021 at 33 years old. She reprised her role in the short-lived CW spinoff Katy Keene in 2020, starring fellow 30-plus actress Lucy Hale as a high school student.

Murray doesn't seem to have any issue with playing a character so much younger than her, according to her 2017 interview with Teen Vogue.

"I don't know how to explain it more than sometimes when you read a role and you know it's YOU," she said. "I wanted to really breathe a different kind of life into Josie that is more relatable in [2017]."

Murray said in the same interview that, more important than her age, is the fact that she gets to represent her race on television: "I'm not playing a stereotype."

Since her departure from the main cast after Season 3, Murray has come back for two episodes in Seasons 4 and 5, with no appearance in Season 6. The newest Riverdale season has been confirmed, likely to release in Fall 2023.