“It’s just fun for people to view these projects,” Madison shares. “I’ve worked consistently since I was a child, but if you haven’t seen anything since then, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I try to pick projects that I’m just passionate about that bring something different, something I’ve never played before.”
While her Cory character Sophie had a competitive, and occasionally brutally honest, edge to her, Madison’s latest role might just be her meanest yet.
Alden, the best friend of Addison Rae’s Padgett Sawyer in He’s All That, starts off as a seemingly sweet and kind-hearted potential prom queen. But when things get heated over a bet and some shared secrets, her true colors come out and — unlike how personable and warm Madison is over Zoom — her character has very few similar qualities. To prepare for her most evil moments, Madison shares she watched Mean Girls, which was also directed by Mark Waters, to channel her cut-throat high school bully.
“I haven’t done a ton of roles that are unlike me, like I think every role I do, I can kind of see myself in the character. But this one there was really no comparison,” Madison says. “I would never be like Alden, I would never do this to a friend. I would never say these things. So it made me look at other projects. What characters can I find that are the most different from me that I can just really step out of myself, and challenge myself as much as possible?”
Challenging herself goes beyond film, too, as Madison has been balancing auditions and filmings with being a Savage X Fenty ambassador since September, donning some of Rihanna’s loveliest at-home fits and keeping herself busy in her very-rare off-seasons from set. “They just make all women and anyone who wants to wear the clothes feel super sexy in their skin, and I just really wanted to be part of it,” Madison shares, revealing that she reached out to the brand about becoming part of the team. “It’s really fun getting into it with a brand that you just already loved, and that’s owned by your icon Rihanna.”
While He’s All That arrived today on Netflix with most audiences keeping their eyes peeled on Addison’s film debut, Madison’s convincing take on a mean girl is the glue that holds the film together, while simultaneously trying to break Addison’s Padgett apart. And as she hopes to take more parallel roles in the future, Madison is looking forward to shaking off even more expectations, fulfilling her ultimate game plan.
“I think you just have to remember that not everything happens overnight,” Pettis shares. “It might seem like it for some people, some people’s stories might seem super easy and quick from the outside. There’s so much you don’t see. So you just have to be really patient and persistent with whatever goal you’re trying to do in the entertainment industry or anything you’re trying to achieve for yourself, like it’s a long game. And you’ve got to believe in yourself the whole way. There’s so many ups and downs you don’t see. But eventually, I think it’s all worth it.”
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