Actor Madison Shamoun remembers the day she asked her father for an agent as her Christmas present. She was 13, and determined to pursue acting as a career. The San Diego native had a successful career start in theater landing National Youth Theater Awards for Best Supporting Actress in 2013 for her performance as Lucy in “13” and again as Motormouth Maybelle in 2015 for “Hairspray.”
The former UCLA student starred in season four of the CW’s All American, ABC’s “BLACK-ISH,” Netflix’s “BlackAF,” and Disney’s “Sydney To The Max” since graduating in 2020. Her latest project is playing Billie in the Amazon Original Series, “The Lake,” released today, June 17th. The comedy show stars Shamoun alongside actors Julia Stiles and Jordan Gavaris.
The Untitled Magazine sat down with Madison Shamoun to talk about her acting journey, her latest roles, and dream projects. Read on for our full interview below.
How did you first get into acting and performing?
I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember. I think my parents were overwhelmed by me, so they put me in any extracurricular activity that was performance-based. By the time I was 13, I told them that I wanted to do this for a living. I’ll never forget the time I told my dad that I wanted an agent for Christmas. He laughed so hard.
How has acting from a young age shaped you?
My most formative years and experiences were spent on stage, in rehearsal, behind the camera, and watching musicals and plays with friends. It’s a huge part of who I am and has been a core part of me for as long as I can remember.
You recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in Theater, Film, and Television? Can you share some highlights from your UCLA days? What did you take away most from their program?
UCLA was a diverse experience. Since it was a BA and not a BFA program, I was able to study abroad in Paris for 5 months. You can do minors that aren’t related to your track and get internships. I met some of my favorite people there and I added a lot of tools to my toolbox.
Tell us about your role as Skye in Season 4 of ‘All American’?
You don’t really know who Skye is when she first comes onto the show. Her motives are unclear, which was really fun to play with. She gets caught in between Coop and Patience’s relationship drama, but always manages to stay true to herself. She was a lot of fun.!
Were there any challenges to play the role or preparing for the show?
This may sound ridiculous, but I’m not used to wearing fake eyelashes and Skye definitely is. I had to adjust to wearing them and I felt like they made my eyelids heavy.
You must be excited for the forthcoming release of Amazon’s “The Lake” out June 17th. Can you tell us more about the series and your role?
My character is forced to spend the summer with her birth father in Cottage
Country, causing a lot of family drama to come into play. It’s a comedy with some drama. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry, but hopefully not too much!
How did it feel acting alongside such an accomplished actress as Julia Stiles?
She’s just the coolest. I have nothing but amazing things to say about her. Her first day on set was our scene together and she asked if I wanted to run lines and go over it. Like how giving is that? She’s the best.
‘The Lake’ was shot in Ontario, Canada. Did you have time to explore the area when you weren’t filming?
My shooting schedule was packed! I think I had one day off during the whole three months. On the weekends, we’d walk around or grab a bite, but I never left the town of North Bay.
How did you get into character? Any preparations or training?
We did some canoe and stunt training for tilting and swimming related scenes, but Billie is a character that just lives within me. It’s hard to explain, but I never had to “get into character” for her.
Can you share some highlights of working on “The Lake”?
There are so many. This is kind of funny, but the #1 requested snack by the cast and crew on set was apples and peanut butter. We ate buckets of it. I also got to record a song which was a first-time experience for me!
How is this series different from other roles you’ve played before?
This was truly the hardest I’ve ever worked. Leading a series like this takes everything you’ve got. I ate, breathed, slept, and dreamt “The Lake” 24/7.
Did you resonate with your character in a personal way at all and if so, how?
I did and I didn’t. She is a bit like me in some ways, but she’s also sort of based off another
person I know.
What other performers do you admire or look to for inspiration?
There are too many to list. I’ve been loving Florence Pugh lately. I’m absolutely obsessed with Patricia Arquette’s work right now as well! Olivia Coleman is a powerhouse too. There’s too many!
Are there any actors or directors you would really love to work with down the line?
Everybody! Truly, the list is endless. I was just watching some of Greta Gerwig’s stuff and I’d love to do something with her.
What has been your favorite genre to act in so far?
I think dramedy is just an overall dream because you get the best of both worlds.
What is a dream role for you? Something that you think would challenge and expand your acting knowledge?
I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I would love to be the first female African American to lead a Marvel movie. We haven’t had that yet. How cool would it be if the next Black Widow was Black?
Any other creative pursuits and mediums you would be interested in exploring in the future?
Doing something dark with A24 is also on my list. A Pixar movie would be fun too. I want to do it all!
Any other exciting productions or plans on the horizon for 2022 you can share?
I do have something brewing this summer, but I can’t talk about it yet. Stay tuned!
For more follow Madison Shamoun on Instagram