If you’re searching for a fast-paced and exciting show that will keep you on your toes during quarantine, check out Netflix’s Outer Banks. We caught up with actress Madison Bailey, who plays “Kiara” on the show, to hear more about what goes on behind the scenes of Outer Banks and the cast dynamic. Beyond the show, Bailey shares with us how she is using her growing platform to start conversations on the importance of self-care. Bailey also spotlights some of her favorite small businesses to support and provides us with a list of entertainment recommendations to get us through quarantine.
How are you doing? How are you keeping yourself busy?
I’m doing great. I’ve been surprisingly busy. I’ve had a busier quarantine than most with the show coming out. There’s never a dull moment. There are the fans and the interviews. It’s been really, really exciting because it’s given me the time to take this all in.
Have there been any impulse buys or habits you’ve developed during this time that you might be hesitant to admit?
I’ve honestly just been on my phone more than I’ve ever been on my phone in my life. It’s insane at this point. I haven’t even been working out because I think, “Well, why do I need to look good? I’m not going anywhere.” I got my little quarantine body. I’m hanging out.
I admit that because I’ve loved the show so much, I’ve started keeping up with you all on Instagram a lot. One thing I love, along with many other fans, are the blooper videos and videos of you all goofing around together on set. It’s not a perfectly tailored Instagram. Why do you think it’s important to keep that honest, fun look into you all’s lives?
The show is so honest and real with how we look. We aren’t done up all the time, and I think that’s why the show works. It works because we are just outside having fun, and they’re filming it. That’s what the fans love. I think it’s important to see a cast be real people because we aren’t other shows with a full hair and makeup team. It’s important, I think, to show we are genuinely real people who got together and decided to do this show. It’s important to feel the authenticity that is there because it helps them to understand us and the show better.
Who’s a celebrity (or two) you have unashamedly “stalked” on social media in quarantine?
I was stalking Kehlani because her album just came out. I was also stalking Justin Bieber because he said on his Instagram live he would watch the show so I’ve been trying to keep up to see whether or not he’s watching it. Hailey Bieber did post she was watching it.
I did see you post singing videos on Instagram, and you’re currently learning the ukelele. When did you start exploring your musical side?
I’ve been singing since I could talk. Seriously. I just started playing ukulele because they put me in lessons for the show. I stuck with it because it was fun. I haven’t been playing recently because I left my ukulele in LA, and I miss it.
So, touching on Outer Banks specifically, you all do a lot of crazy stuff on set. What was one of the most intense or difficult things to learn/shoot?
In episode one, we were doing the boat chase, and I had to throw the net out into the water. Learning how to drive the boat, in general, was fun. I had been on boats my entire life but never learned how to drive one because I was the youngest on a boat at any given point. I also had to learn to throw the net. It was a really fun scene to film.
In what ways are you similar and different from your character, Kiara?
I’m the same type of friend as Kiara. All of the dialogue written for her are things I would say. I’m all for the environment, and I’m the one always trying to keep everyone politically correct. I would do anything for my friends. In the ways we are different, I’m significantly less athletic and way more girly. I like nice things. There’s a little Kook in there.
In what kinds of ways did you have to push yourself in order to fully step into your role in the show?
I think because Kiara and I are so similar in dialogue, the acting part came easily. The challenge was the physicality of it all. It’s hard to do something brand new and make it look like you do it every day. This character is in the boat every day, surfing every day, and probably running and jumping fences every day. Personally, I’m not doing those things in my day to day life. It was a physical challenge.
It’s important for young girls to be able to see themselves in these roles and positions of power where they have a say in things.
Who on set is most like their character? Different from?
I would probably say Chase and JD are most like their characters (John B and Pope). Least like their character is Drew, who plays Rafe. He’s nothing like that in real life. He’s genuinely the nicest person. There’s none of that crazy, weird freak in him.
You and Maddie are both so talented, and I’m sure there are tons of other amazing women who made the show possible. Why do you think it’s so crucial to have strong women on the set of shows that many young people are watching?
It’s important because we are still at a point where people think women can’t do things. Men are in charge of so much. It’s important for young girls to be able to see themselves in these roles and positions of power where they have a say in things. It’s a show where all of the boys genuinely do respect me and Sarah’s characters. It’s important to see the boys see me as an equal in their group and how we embrace Sarah into the group. It’s never like the boys say, “Are you sure you can do this?” They trust us to do our part of the plan.
Self-care is also so important. How did you take care of yourself during the filming of the show? Or even now during quarantine?
I’m a huge advocate for self-care. All of the TLC, all of the time. Any type of pampering, meditation, or time to yourself that you need is important. You need to be selfish at times, especially during a time when you might be struggling with that. It’s important to know you can put yourself first and take care of yourself. You absolutely should. I love meditating. That’s probably my favorite form of self-care. It makes me focus in and think about myself and the things I need and don’t need. It’s good to take that time and sit with yourself and have a little check-up.
You’re half Black, half Italian. Jonathan is also Black. It’s great to see Black actors playing dynamic characters instead of token characters. Beyond on-screen, it’s important to talk about the discrimination faced by Black people in our country. How do you encourage people to use their platform and presence in order to empower people of color?
I’m honestly proud of the industry for making some of the content they are making. We touch on it in our show, not only in the obvious class divide between the Pogues and the Kooks, but you see it in our families in understanding we are different. You hear it in my mom’s voice in episode 10 when we tell her we are going to save John B. She says, “YOU can’t go. YOU are not safe. JJ can go.” Speaking from my personal mixed girl platform, Kiara is important to me because that Pogue vs. Kook divide can mean Black and white very easily. I believe that’s where Kiara is saying she doesn’t fit in with the Kooks. 100%. I have felt that my whole life. I’m adopted into a white family. It’s like getting privileges that don’t belong to you. You have to find your group and your community.
Speaking from my personal mixed girl platform, Kiara is important to me because that Pogue vs. Kook divide can mean black and white very easily. I believe that’s where Kiara is saying she doesn’t fit in with the Kooks. 100%. I have felt that my whole life. I’m adopted into a white family. It’s like getting privileges that don’t belong to you. You have to find your group and your community.
And in general, what’s one good way you think people can be kinder to others or themselves during quarantine?
I think you should spread positivity. I’m trying to use my Twitter to empower people with their bodies. I mean, I’m only 120 pounds, and I’m feeling like shit about my body. I think a good way everyone can empower each other right now is by not being scared to talk about things you’re uncomfortable with. Now is the time to come across as a real person and say, “I am struggling, and it’s okay if you are too.” Nobody is at their A-game right now. It’s important to be honest and an open-book. [May’s] mental health awareness month. Now is the time to open up. Now is the time to talk about it. Speak from your heart. Lift others up.
I think a good way everyone can empower each other right now is by not being scared to talk about things you’re uncomfortable with. Now is the time to come across as a real person and say, “I am struggling, and it’s okay if you are too.”
Other than binging OBX, what are some other ways we can support you/things we should be keeping an eye out for?
After Outer Banks, I actually did a show called Council of Dads on NBC. I’m in three episodes.
What are three song suggestions you have for our quarantine experience?
1. There’s a song in the show called “Someday Soon” by Harlem. It’s a great one.
2. “Love Songs” by Kaash Paige.
3. And Beyoncé always. We are in quarantine. Now’s the time to learn every dance and every word to every album.
One challenge you can set for all of our readers during quarantine?
I want to challenge people to be more open. Keeping secrets doesn’t help anyone. What can help people is being honest about a situation. It’s okay to be sensitive. I wish people were more in touch with their emotions. I wish it weren’t such a bad thing to have emotions.
Madison’s At Home Recommendations
Small businesses to support:
1) Elsie Frieda: I love Elsie Frieda because the women are so sweet. I wear their jewelry in the show and I will always support a women-owned business.
2) The Gary Wear: I went to school with the creator. The jewelry is made out of 100% recycled skateboards. It’s so Pogue.
3) Spacedust: There’s a little place in Echo Park called Spacedust. I love it, they have some really funky eclectic pieces, from clothes to stickers!
Movies/shows to watch:
2) The Pursuit of Happiness
Books to read:
1) The Stranger by Albert Camus
2) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
3) Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Ways I’m staying creative at home:
3) Studying movies
Tips for self-care:
1) Bubble baths
2) Talking to your family/ friends
A positive message:
Take care of yourself during these times. You’re cared for and you’re loved. Your feelings are valid and you’re certainly not alone.
STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD
PHOTOS JOHN APSEY
HAIR LAURA FRAZIER
MAKEUP CHELSEA KOEHLER