Bailee Madison Talks Pretty Little Liars: Summer School & Making Music With Boyfriend Blake Richardson


It’s 2010, and a 10-year-old Bailee Madison is curled up in a white leather armchair, ready to tell the story of how her faith in God has shaped her fledgling career for a nonprofit video series called I Am Second. She’s reflecting on Bridge to Terabithia — the movie that launched her career — and on the person she’s becoming, already keenly aware of her emotions and how to deal with them. “I don’t get nervous,” she giggles. At the beginning of the clip, her mom kisses her and tells her she loves her. “Mom always told me when I was done with [Terabithia], you have to stay humble Bailee,” Madison says. “She continues to say that every day. Bailee, humble. Bailee, humble.”

There’s a lot of that Bailee Madison in this one — the one sitting across from me on the Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin set in late 2021, who has grown up as a working child actor and is now several years into a career that’s shaping up to be even more exciting. I’ve spoken to her three or four times over the past couple years since she began filming the Pretty Little Liars spinoff. She’s surprised to be asked about that video; she remembers what filming it was like.

“Everyone was really worried because they were like, ‘You’re really young. People love to talk. It’s hard growing up in general let alone under a microscope, and now you’re adding how you personally live your life and your beliefs and what makes you you,’” Madison tells Teen Vogue. “My mom was having a heart attack, poor thing. And I was like, ‘But this is me.’”

Bailee sitting at a vanity with her reflection in the mirror

Madison was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the youngest of “a bunch of siblings,” she says. A “surprise” baby, but “born into so much love.” Her six siblings are much older, but she’s close with them; her sister Kaitlin Vilasuso also did some acting, and in 2018 she and Madison launched a podcast together called Just Between Us. Vilasuso inadvertently kickstarted her career: while waiting for her to finish an audition, Madison did one of her own and landed the 2006 Salma Hayek/John Travolta movie Lonely Hearts. As she told Teen Vogue in 2021, the plan was not to keep acting, but the parts kept coming — Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Just Go With It, Wizards of Waverly Place, Good Witch, and countless others. She was a kid you saw everywhere on screen.

If you weren’t so familiar with Madison’s work before she began playing Imogen in Pretty Little Liars, you’d at least have seen the memes. The two most popular are from Bridge to Terabithia (a six-year-old Madison grinning to herself on a school bus) and a series called The Haunting Hour (an 11-year-old Madison looking concerned at her doll doppelgänger).

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Tags: bailee madison, pretty little liars

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