Coat by Mannei, Earring by Cled
Who do you think you are?
Impossible to say really, I’m still figuring it out. I think I’ll always be figuring it out. At least I hope I’m evolving enough to always be figuring it out. But right now I think, I’m tired, hopeful, scared, grateful, content, stressed, and insecure.
Tell us in 5 sentences what makes you, you?
Alright! To be completely honest – I could not write 5 sentences about myself. It was weirdly hard and daunting. So I asked my friends and family members to do it instead haha. I’m nothing if not a problem solver! She loves to make people laugh. Both happy and sad all of the time. You couldn’t pay her to eat meat again but she’s a massive foodie. A big sister, fiercely independent, persistent, diligent, reliable, health-oriented, generous with her energy (because she has so much of it) and a lover of all types of TEA (reality TEA-V, peppermint TEA, spilling the TEA). Overall, she never stops moving.
Dress by In the Mood For Love
Season two of your show “The Lake” is out now, congratulations! For those who are not familiar with the show yet, can you tell us a bit about the show and the character you are playing?
Thank you! The show follows a family in Canadian cottage country during their wild summers. I play Billie, a teenager who’s trying to reconnect with her birth dad and grow into her young adult self. From sibling feuds, to whacky step-moms, a farce, and an ongoing mystery, this season’s got the same raunchiness from last year, with a whole lotta heart.
When you start to work on a character like Billie and prepare for a new show, how do you get to know the character and get into their mindset? Is your approach always different depending on the character/ script? Or do you have some personal ways of tapping into the character and all that she is about.
It’s both similar and different every time. I do the go to work – reading the script, getting off book, running it with someone. But then I have to deep dive into who this person was before their first line on the page. What music they listen to, what their family dynamic is like. Sometimes it’s organic and lends itself to me, other times it’s harder to figure out. Sometimes I need mentorship, and sometimes I can read the sides and know exactly who that person is. Billie is a mix of some people I know and a bit of me. I spent so much time on this character from the initial audition to when I finished shooting later that year, I think it was a total of 6 months + 3 months of adr, so I felt really locked into her.
Dress by Kasia Kulenty
What are you most excited for the audience to see in season two?
I think the farce in Episode 6, because it was so much fun to shoot. It’s kind of the crescendo of Billie’s arc this season, and I’m curious what audiences will make of it all.
You sang in season one, a beautiful Cover of “You gotta be”. Is music something you want to focus on more in the future, or combine it more in upcoming roles and projects?
I appreciate that, thank you. Not really if I’m honest. I have some training in musical theater and I do love to sing, but for me – I’m an actor who can sing, not a singer. If the role calls for it I’ll do my best, but I’m not seeking it out if that makes sense. Although I’d never turn down an opportunity to play Mrs. Lovett!
As a California Girl, was it difficult for you to get into the Canadian vibe the show has? What did you feel was different in terms of culture and aesthetic?
It wasn’t difficult because Billie is also a city girl, so I had that going for me. There is definitely an intensity that doesn’t exist here in America when it comes to summer cottage country life. We don’t have summers that revolve entirely around our cottages and who owns them, who’s in the will, who gets invited, who doesn’t. It’s a whole thing here in Canada. Aesthetically, Canada has a lot more nature than I feel like we do in LA. The bugs are real bugs, compared to the little spiders we have here. Google Canadian dock spiders, you’ll die. In terms of culture, Canadians are just so pleasant and well-mannered and kind. It’s palpable.
How much of your own self, Madison, is in your character Billie, you are playing in “The Lake”?
There’s a bit of me for sure. I can’t imagine there not being parts of me in the characters I play. I can’t give a percentage or ratio but I based this character off of a few people I know.
If you could choose a famous co-star actor, who would it be and what kind of movie would you want to make?
Oo what a delicious question. There are so many people I’m dying to work with. I actually had a dream a few years ago that Zoe Kravitz, Zendaya, and I were doing a modern film adaptation of Three Sisters, and I think that would be insane, in the best way possible. Something dark, dramatic, A24 vibes with actors of my generation would be so fun I think.
Green Top and wrap by Kasia Kulenty
What advice would you give other young actors who want to turn their passion into a career?
This is the hardest question. For one because the industry is constantly changing. Where it was even just 2 years ago when I booked The Lake is not where it is now. So what worked for me might not work for someone else, but I’d say familiarize yourself with the business side of the industry. That isn’t taught enough in class or conservatory training. Find people ahead of you, at the same level as you, seek out mentorship.
This industry can be very critical and tough to navigate. How have you or still do, overcome negative feedback or critique from peers?
I feel really lucky in that I’ve cultivated work friendships and just friend groups in general that wouldn’t critique me in that way. They may be honest with me about something, but never without tact or without my interests at heart. But negative feedback and criticism in general in this career can be really exhausting and difficult. I’m in therapy. I have my affirmations, my meditations. I try to remind myself of what’s real, what are the facts, so I don’t spiral.
Coat by Mannei, Earring by Cled
As an actor/actress there tends to be “that something quality” that draws you into playing a character, what was it about ‘Billie’ that drew you in and captivated you into telling her story? And how did you interpret her personal story?
We weirdly had a couple huge things in common. City girls, adoptive dads, birth dad that gave us up, parentified at a young age, lots of responsibility. For me it was as simple as, from the second I read the sides I just knew who this girl was. I wanted to play her because I felt I could do her justice and I had to do her justice. I didn’t have to do too much jumping through hoops to interpret her story because the writing was all there for me.
For our viewers, can you tell us how you started out your journey as an actor/actress and what was it that initially inspired you to act?
I was just that kid in the cul de sac that put on plays with the neighborhood kids. I would come home from school and go straight to my computer and watch pbs kids shows like Anne of Green Gables or my favorite movies over and over again until I had all the words memorized. I’ve just always known this is what I wanted to do. Making people laugh, cry, change their mind, all through a performance was therapy for me. I took classes, got training, went to college and studied some more, and have been trying to be a working actor ever since. I loved to read fantasy books, and I’d pretend I was the characters in my books and act out chapters in front of the mirror. So I think initially, and still now, people are what inspire me to act.
Talent: Madison Shamoun
Photographer: Sam Spence
Styling: Karolina Frechowicz
Make-Up: Zara Kaplan (Atelier Management)
Hair: Sophia Porter
Location: Venice Suits
Collaboration Agency: The Haze Agency