Philadelphia (CW Philly) — Riverdale is a small town full of big secrets, and the meaning behind the Southside Serpents’ double-headed snake tattoo is just as mysterious. Refinery 29 had the chance to talk with Riverdale’s former makeup artist, Erin Mackenzie, who dished about the Serpents’ famous ink.
Though Mackenzie spent time applying the faux tattoos, she doesn’t know the true meaning behind the design. Season One’s art department and the show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, collaborated to create the gang’s tattoo, and they are the only people who know the significance.
However, Mackenzie did share how the tattoos are created.
“The tattoos were printed from FX shops in Vancouver with various levels of age,” she explained. The levels of age are simply to distinguish between Serpents, who have had the tattoo longer, and newer members. So, for example, Jughead’s tattoo was meant to appear darker than FP’s aged ink.
New versus old looking ink wasn’t the only think Mackenzie had to consider.
“The finishing is what made all the difference. For example, Jughead’s tattoo was a stick-and-poke style, so it required a steady hand and a [temporary] tattoo pen on top to give that hand-stitched effect,” she said. After applying the transfer, she would apply foundation “oh-so carefully” to ensure the tattoo looked healed.
Mackenzie also had to make sure every Serpent had a tattoo, even if they were in the background of a scene.
“Not only were the Serpent [main] cast members tattooed, but the background performers as well, and there have been many,” she said. “It would depend on their costume and action within the scene. We wouldn’t take the chance of not applying it with the action possibly revealing the tattoo,” she continued.
Riverdale is returning this fall, and the trailer was released last week. While watching, we couldn’t help but notice something different about Archie and Alice — they are both branded with a double-headed serpent! If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out below!
Do you have any predictions for the upcoming season? Sound off in the comments!
Riverdale returns on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW Philly.