Chances are, you first saw actress Bailee Madison on the big screen in the 2007 hit, Bridge to Terabithia, which was based on the popular children’s novel by Katherine Paterson. Since then the 15-year-old actress and Florida native has worked with directors like Adam Sandler and Guillermo Del Toro and, most recently, starred in the popular ABC Family drama, The Fosters.
Interview with Bailee Madison, The Fosters’ Star
Q: It is hard to be a “normal” teenager and a Hollywood actress?
Madison: Definitely not. I have my best friends from my elementary school in Florida. I was very young when I started, and so it was important to my mom and my whole family to make sure my life had roots and that I was a kid and that I was grounded. Even when I was in Florida for a week, I would go to school, put on my uniform, pack my lunchbox. My involvement in the industry is like an after-school activity for other kids. My mom always says that the moment I change, the U-Haul truck is packed. It sounds like a joke but she means it.
Q: Where do you go to school now?
Madison: I have been homeschooled since middle school. When I’m on set, I have a tutor for at least 3-1/2 hours a day. When I’m not working I study with a tutor.
Q: How do you pick your roles?
Madison: It’s a family affair. My sister reads the script first, then it goes to my mom, and if they both like it, then I read it. A lot of scripts are quick to take you from a 15-year-old to a 17-year-old overnight. So, we say “no” more than we say “yes.” We’re selective and we try to keep things age appropriate. We approach every script that way and always have.
Q: How do you handle rejection?
Madison: In this business, you will definitely be rejected. It’s just the way it works. I get support, in the good times and the bad times, from my family and my faith. God has a plan, and I have to look at the bright side. Along the road, maybe days or weeks, I will see what the plan is. People who love and care for me pick me up. This is life and you learn from every single scenario.
Q: What’s your advice for other teenagers who’d like to act?
Madison: Make sure that you really love it. It’s not just a sacrifice for you. It’s a sacrifice for your whole family. Start off in a school play, and see if you really love it. Start making YouTube videos. Everyone knows the overnight success stories, but for most people, it isn’t as easy as that, so don’t give up. Make sure you have good people around you, family and friends who support you.