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Why Toni From Riverdale Looks So Familiar

After spending the first season of RiverdaleĀ in the affluent halls of Riverdale High, Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) finds himself shipped off to the other side of town when he's forced to transfer to the rough Southside High. It's there that he meets the tenacious Toni Topaz, a Southside Serpent member who takes him under her wing throughout his tenure at the neglected school. Even after Southside High is closed for being a health hazard, Toni remains on the show, becoming a series regular in season 3 and even going on to launch her own rival gang with Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) after the two are kicked out of the Serpents.

Toni is played by Canadian actress Vanessa Morgan, who recently spoke out against Riverdale's poor handling of its black characters. It's also very likely that you'll recognize the multi-talented actress and singer from her long career as a child star, both in her native Canada and the US.

If you've spent the last few seasons of Riverdale wondering why Toni looks so familiar, here's a breakdown of Morgan's other famous roles.

Vanessa Morgan was 17 forever on My Babysitter's a Vampire

One of Morgan's earliest parts launched her into tween stardom. In the Teletoon and Disney Channel TV movieĀ My Babysitter's Vampire, Morgan plays Sarah, hired to babysit recent high school freshman Ethan Morgan (Matthew Knight). After Ethan stalks her, he discovers that the title of the film is no metaphor, because Sarah is a real-life, bloodthirsty vampire.

The film was a big success, and it ended up launching a follow-up TV series that ran for two seasons. The show was a direct follow-up to the movie, and brought the film's blend of supernatural drama and high school angst to an episodic format. While much of it was played for good-natured scares and humor, there were deeper elements to the series.

In a TV interview about the show, Morgan explained the many layers at play, saying, "She's dealing with having to deal with the drama of high school, then realizing she's going to be 17 forever, not going to get to grow old, and then dealing with having to battle all these supernatural creatures"

Given that the show has obtained a bit of a cult status among those who loved it as kids, it's clear that Morgan was able to successfully handle that sensitive balance of subject matters in her portrayal of Sarah.

Vanessa Morgan risked it all for love on the Shannara Chronicles

Morgan got the opportunity to explore the world of post-apocalyptic fantasy on MTV and Spike's The Shannara Chronicles. The show, based on a classic series of novels by Terry Brooks, follows a group of elves and humans who are dedicated to eradicating a demon scourge on their land. The demons have been breaking free of the magic barrier that keeps them trapped in another dimension, and it's up to the heroes of the series to protect the tree that acts as the door to the other realm from dying.

One of the protagonists is a human named Eretria, and season 2 introduces a love interest for Eretria in the form of a mysterious woman of noble birth named Lyria, played by Morgan. Lyria was once the Princess of Leah, a powerful kingdom the palace of which sits atop a mighty dam.

As Morgan describes it, however, Lyria left her former life of nobility behind. In an interview with Young Entertainment, the actress said of her character, "Lyria moves away from her home. She wasn't happy with her situation being the princess under her mother's strict control as the queen. So she moves away with hope of finding a better life emotionally."

In addition to her complex characterization, fans of the series also applauded the inclusion of a same-sex romance, something often missing in mainstream genre TV shows. Sadly, the show was canceled after just two seasons, and wasn't able to fully develop the relationship between Eretria and Lyria.

Vanessa Morgan dealt with abandonment on Finding Carter

Next, Morgan left the realms of elves and magic behind when she guest-starred on MTV's teen drama, Finding Carter. The series follows a teenager named Carter (Kathryn Prescott) who has to adjust to a new life after finding out that the mother she grew up with is actually the woman who kidnapped her when she was a child. Carter is reunited with her actual parents, who she does not remember, and enrolls in an all-new high school.

It's there that she meets some new friends, including Bird, played by Morgan. Bird is the daughter of extremely rich parents who often leave her to fend for herself. During an interview with Paper Magazine, Morgan admitted that she didn't have much in common with Bird, but that she was able to relate the character's experiences of being abandoned as a child to the challenges Morgan faced after moving to Los Angeles: "I definitely understand what it's like not having family around when you want them there, but you don't live in the same city."

Later in the series, it's revealed that Bird's parents are actually being investigated by the CIA for being spies. Although we can't say for certain, we're going to guess that's another thing Morgan doesn't have in common with the character she plays.