Vanessa Morgan is most known for her role as Sarah in the Disney Channel original movie My Babysitter’s A Vampire and the Teletoon TV-series with the same title. Although she has been, for the most part, inactive since the series ended, the Canadian actress has returned to primetime television playing two different queer characters every Wednesday.
Morgan currently stars as Toni Topaz in Riverdale and Princess Lyria in The Shannara Chronicles. Both characters are confirmed as bisexual.
Riverdale, the alluring murder-mystery reboot of Archie Comics, was significantly lacking in LGBTQ+ representation. The show was attacked on numerous occasions for the erasure of main character Jughead’s asexuality and aromanticism, queerbaiting of Betty and Veronica, and their only confirmed gay character being depicted as the stereotypical “gay best friend.” Many more instances can be added to the list of the project’s faults, but Riverdale did one thing right by casting Vanessa Morgan as their first (official) bisexual character.Jordan Connor as Sweet Pea and Vanessa Morgan as Toni Topaz on set of Riverdale
Her character Toni Topaz has shined so far as the show’s bad girl, playing an integral role in the storyline of the Southside Serpents. Although Morgan’s character is set to interfere with the popular relationship “Bughead” (Betty and Jughead), the creation of her role, in the long run, will do more harm than good for a show lacking notable characters of color and diverse sexualities.
“My character is bisexual. This is one hundred percent important.”
— Vanessa Morgan on playing Toni Topaz
The fans of Bughead have given Morgan a lot backlash for her character, but young girls of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere have begun to flock to the actress and construct a loyal fanbase.
Seeing a black, bisexual princess on television isn’t the most common sight, but Morgan’s character on The Shannara Chronicles is all that and more. Princess Lyria has been especially favored by fans. In the show, she is featured as having an ongoing romantic relationship with main character Eretria. Dubbed as “Lyretria,” the ship gained a fanbase months even before Morgan’s character debuted.
Vanessa told Popsugar she’s very happy with the support she has received from the community regarding her characters. She specifically addressed Toni by stating “I would love if people saw Toni and saw that you could love any gender, you know, and just fall in love with a person’s soul and their personality.” Morgan aims to break the stereotype surrounding bisexuality. “I think it’s ridiculous that people think of it as being promiscuous.”
Her two characters are definitely a nice breath of fresh air to queer girls after the loss of so many lesbian and bisexual women in television, especially during this time when popular Supergirl couple “Sanvers” is being haphazardly shut down.Gif courtesy of kadenaz.tumblr.com
Cover Image Courtesy of Twitter/@VanessaMorgan