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Conversations with the Inspiring Madison Leigh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madison Leigh.

Madison, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was seven years old and rummaging through my grandmas closet with my sister, trying on her 70’s disco pants and heels, and putting on a runway show for our family. Making up dance routines and filming silly movies and magic shows and mock Fear Factor episodes. I have been creating ever since I can remember, even when I didn’t realize I was. I began taking drama classes in junior high, following me through high school where my love of theatre began to flourish and multiply. Come the time when we had to start thinking about colleges and majors and where we wanted our paths to continue on to, my gut told me that LA was where I needed to be. Telling your family and peers that you don’t want to go to college so you can follow your dreams of being an actor and move straight to LA at the age of 17 was… well… scary. I am extremely lucky to have a family that heard me out and supported me. So, my older sister and I packed up and moved three months after my graduation. Flash forward five years, and here I am. Writing about my journey to a bad a** magazine. I am always in discovery of myself and my craft, having learned so much in my five years, and yet still have a lifetime of learning ahead of me. While things are constantly changing, I would like to accredit a lot of my stability in my career to my incredible acting class, Crash Acting. I’m approaching my 3rd year studying with my teacher Benjamin Mathes, and it has been a guiding light as I attempt to forge my way through this industry.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My initial two years in LA were basically not career driven at all. I was going through a huge change already as a young woman trying to find my footing in this world, but doing it in a place that moves so quickly and asks so much of you as an individual. The pressure at some times felt unbearable. It’s easier to look back and say this now with perspective, but I didn’t have a strong grip on who I was or what I wanted. I was learning more and more about myself, going through things that challenged me and asked me to dig deeper. It was a lot of growth in a short period. I didn’t really have a choice but to keep fighting and believing. Going back home was never an option for me. A huge reason I moved here was actually to be a model… and that was a giant struggle I faced early in. I was more and more realizing that it was not feeding my soul the way I had initially thought. The pressure I received on body image, in particular, was very taxing and left me feeling unworthy and empty. I knew a change was in the making, so I had to trust my gut and stop fighting so hard for something that once was a major dream of mine. Anything that feels off or unaligned is worth examining. What about it doesn’t make you feel excited, alive, motivated, and happy to be in your skin? I understand that the journey of an artist isn’t always peaches and cream and is filled with risk and uncertainty, but if I hadn’t listened to myself and taken the jump to leave that industry at that particular time, I don’t know what would’ve happened mentally or physically. That kind of uncertainty wasn’t worth it to me. I needed to give myself a break to gain a new perspective. I always hope to motivate others to be confident in every decision they make. I don’t think we are ever 100% ready or 100% know, but trusting that no matter what comes of it, you will be okay. You will pick yourself up again, dust off, and keep on fighting and believing. To be able to find a home within ourselves amidst all the chaos, that is the journey.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I hope to encompass being a creator in all of its entirety. I am constantly pushing myself to try new things within this realm. I define myself as being an actor, and I am proud to be one. Yet, I’m still on a journey of exploring other areas and have begun writing a bit more, being more hands-on with behind the scenes work, and therefore falling more in love with it all. There is so much to learn and discover that it gets a tad overwhelming at times but in the greatest way. Outside of studying with Ben, I have been very thankful to create films over the past few years with incredibly talented people. I am also signed with LA Models Runway after being away from the modeling industry for a few years. It is a very motivating and encouraging environment, and I am continuing to take this opportunity in hopes of sharing my personal endeavors with other young women and continuing to spread the message of body positivity and push to be more inclusive in this industry. I’ve recently signed with LA Talent’s Commercial department and am excited to begin that new journey. I absolutely love to create, and that is what I strive to do every day for the rest of my life with the incredible humans that surround me, and the ones I have yet to meet.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Growing up, I was in an environment where I was able to express myself freely. I was always challenged by my family in very supportive and inspiring ways. I was encouraged to take risks, to try new things, but no matter what I did, to treat every single human around me with respect and to always lead with love and compassion. I am extremely happy to now be a part of Urban Confessional, a free listening movement that my teacher Ben created. We stand on the streets with “Free Listening” signs and simply just listen to whoever wants to come and share their stories with us. It is incredible to be a part of and it comes full circle with what I was told from my parents as a child, and now to be taken into action in my everyday life as an adult. Having an open heart, an open mind, and open ears has made all of my experiences that much more fulfilling. Especially in a place where the mindsets are so often ME ME ME, to be reminded that we are not alone on this journey, that we are here for one another, and ready and willing to simply give, truly deepens and brightens my journey as an artist.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michael Falco, Alix Rae, LeAnn Oliver, Leah Huebner, Crash Acting

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