Richards, 44, will guest-star in the Aug. 10 episode of the new comedy Significant Mother – and PEOPLE has the exclusive first look.
Significant Mother tells the story of pals Nate Marlowe (Josh Zuckerman) and Jimmy Barnes (Nathaniel Buzolic, who CW fans should recognize as the deliciously devilish vampire/witch Kol Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals), whose friendship is tested after Jimmy sleeps with Josh's mom Lydia (Krista Allen).
Scott Patrick Green / The CW
The last time we saw Richards on TV, she starred in a decidedly darker teen show: ABC Family's Twisted.
Keep reading to learn more about Richards' role, whether she'd date a younger guy and her new StyleHaul series Vanity.
Describe Pepper – how does she fit into the show?
Pepper is very unapologetic and does not have a filter, but not in a vindictive way. It's just who she is. Lydia and Pepper used to be rivals – Lydia then runs into Pepper on a date with her son. They also both date younger men, so it does make for an interesting dynamic!
Why did you want to guest-star in this project?
I was sent a copy of the pilot and immediately fell in love with the show. The writing, the actors, I loved all of it. I was excited to become a part of it.
It's a change of pace from Twisted, which was really dark and dramatic. What do you enjoy most about acting in a comedy?
I think doing comedy there is a lighter tone on set. Although on Twisted, as soon as they would say "cut," we would make things lighter! I've always love comedy, so this was a great opportunity to do something new, fun and comedic for me.
What do you think about older women dating younger men?
I say whatever makes you happy. Sometimes it's not about age at all, it's about the person. Sometimes you can't help who you have a connection with.
As a mom to young kids yourself, what was it like playing a completely different kind of mother on screen?
That is what is most fun about being an actress – I get to do things that in my real life I would never do. I've had the opportunity to play some of the most diverse characters over the years, each time it's different, but that's the fun in it.
I was so sad that Twisted it didn't get renewed after such a cliffhanger. What do you think would have happened to Karen, Danny and Jo in season 2?
It is impossible to guess. There were so many twists and turns that each episode was a surprise to us! We were all very disappointed the show ended because we too wanted to see what would happen to our characters.
Tell us about Vanity – why should people tune in? What drew you to the show?
Vanity is something very different than I've ever done before. StyleHaul teamed up with Maybelline to create this unique scripted series that lives on YouTube and social media. Since today it's not just about tuning into basic cable, practically everything can be watched online or on an app, the YouTube platform itself was very exciting to me! The director (Bernie Su) won an Emmy for his work in the past, so I was very much looking forward to collaborating with him on a new series launched in the digital space.
The show itself is a little similar to Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars, and it centers around the death of my character and continuously has unexpected twists and turns.
Significant Mother premieres Aug. 3, and Vanity airs Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET on the StyleHaul network on YouTube.