You may know her as Hermione Lodge from Riverdale and Nadia Yassir from 24 but actor Marisol Nichols has been leading a double life.
For the past six years, the 46-year-old has been working as an undercover FBI agent fighting against child sex trafficking.
In an interview with Marie Claire US for its May issue, Nichols revealed that it was research for her various roles as a cop on shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Cold Case, that piqued her interest.
“It gave me mad respect for these guys,” she said during the interview. “It sparked my interest in the trafficking world, realizing and really being on the other side of the underbelly of society.”
The actor is a volunteer and has been a part of six child-sex stings around the world — where she will often play a young girl, changing her voice to make it sound believable.
As Marie Claire describes, she is waif-like and five foot four, and when wearing a hoodie over her head “can pass for a teenager”. Sometimes, she will play a junkie mum “prostituting her kid”.
During the interview, Nichols shared how she would write messages in an app that men used to seek sex with children and would pretend to be the parent of a child. Then she would put on a child’s voice, pretending she was drugged or naive, or both.
“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,” she said.
In 2012, during a career hiatus, Nichol used the time to speak with organisations and individuals who worked on the issue and then in 2014, she founded her nonprofit Foundation for a Slavery Free World.
A few months later, she connected with a former special agent for the Department of Homeland Security who works privately on Internet crimes against kids and child sex tourism, who invited her to an operation in Haiti. It was after this, that the agent asked her to join in on a sting.
Now she partners with law-enforcement agencies that are open to working with a “civilian”.
Sony Pictures Television is now turning her unique story into a television series which is now in early development.
Nichols will serve as an executive producer.
Read the full interview with Marie Claire here and follow Nichols as she goes undercover in an actual sting.