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Madison Bailey On Hidden Treasure, Coming Out & Finding Her Tribe

Madison Bailey On Hidden Treasure, Coming Out & Finding Her Tribe

Madison Bailey
Courtesy of Netflix

The Outer Banks star opens up to PRIDE about her character’s season 3 journey and why she has no room in her life for the haters.

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In season three of Netflix’s hit adventure series Outer Banks, Madison Bailey’s character frequently finds herself trapped either by circumstance or quite literally held against her will by some mustache-twirling villain on the hunt for treasure — but Bailey herself could not be freer.

The actor came out as pansexual in early 2020 on TikTok, where she not only shared her authentic self with the world but confirmed her relationship with North Carolina at Charlotte basketball player Mariah Linney. For some, that kind of transparency and an accompanying vulnerability would have been frightening, but for Bailey, it was a no-brainer. “I came out when I was 18, which is six years ago, and I just gained this platform. So it’s less of a decision to come out and more of a decision to be an open book with people,” Bailey tells PRIDE.

Mariah Linney and Madison Bailey attend the Netflix Premiere of Outer Banks Season 3 at Regency Village Theatre on February 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

To Bailey, this kind of honesty right out the gate means she can connect with the right kind of audience — one that is unbigoted, and those who crave the kind of representation she offers as an out and proud pan woman.

“I’m not interested in gaining people’s respect, who don’t respect me. So, being myself was very important,” she explains. “ I feel like I can be closer with people if I’m just being myself, and they can relate to me way more if I’m being honest. So I’m happy. I let people know who I was from the jump. I’m not trying to sneak up on anybody.”

Madison in Outer Banks season 3

Courtesy of Netflix

Like her character Kiara, Bailey has had no trouble finding her tribe, who regularly reach out to the actor to express how meaningful her story has been to them. “I’m so grateful and honored to be the representation off-screen,” she says. “And I get the most wonderful messages, comments, DMs, of people telling me how I’ve inspired them and how I’ve shown them that being yourself is the best option.”

As for onscreen, Bailey is just as keen to see Kiara bringing some representation to the Outer Banks, though this season sees her leaning toward a long-desired romance with the impulsive but deeply lovable JJ (Rudy Pankow). “I think Kiara is where the wind takes her kind of girl,” says Bailey “[Kiara and JJ have] had this chemistry. This season is them trying to figure out what that chemistry means and where that lands them. Is it just chemistry? Or is there something to build off of here? And has a little bit of that push and pull this season.”

Madison and JJ in Outer Banks season 3

Courtesy of Netflix

It’s in keeping with Kiara’s trajectory this time around, says Bailey. “I think you can expect more of Kiara following her heart and passion. And a little bit of a battle of her trying to merge both of her worlds into one.” Kiara is one of the few characters who straddle the world between the haves (the Kooks) and have-nots (the Pogues), so discussion of class and privilege inevitably come up in her story. It’s one of the aspects of the character that appealed to the actor.

“I feel lucky to play to play this character who is constantly preaching that worldly possessions mean nothing to her, and constantly fighting to show her parents that she’s not trying to come off as ungrateful but he’s trying to let them know that her purpose is with being a good friend and following her passions,” says Bailey. “I feel so empowered playing her and championing the spirit of young people who know what they want and are fighting for what they want. I feel really proud to play her.”

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Madison Bailey below.

While Kiara may be focusing on her feelings toward JJ this season, LGBTQ+ fans can’t help but hope that perhaps one day we’ll see Kiara falling for a woman. When asked if it’s wrong to hope that may be in her future, Bailey is enthusiastic in agreeing she’d love to see Kiara discover her queerness. “No! It’s not wrong [to hope]! And it’s not too late. It’s not too late, Kiara is giving very much bi. It’s never too late to be bisexual,” she laughs.

As for which character she would like to see Kiara explore her bisexuality with, Bailey doesn’t specify. “I would love for it to be one of our characters. And of course, I would like the honor of doing that and being that representation because, you know, pulling from my own life, and I would be honored to show that representation in our show,” she shares.

Madison in Outer Banks season 3

Courtesy of Netflix

We hope that, too, but first Kiara has to make it through another tense and dangerous adventure, where this time the Pogues are in search of the greatest treasure of them all. We won’t spoil it, but it’s a culmination of two seasons of treasure hunting and it requires asking some bigger questions about the source of the treasure — questions Bailey relishes. “I’m happy that we get deeper into the history of where the gold even came from. Because you mean in season one you have $400 million in gold. And nobody asked ‘where do you get $400 million in gold?’ So I’m happy this season we’re backtracking to the history of where all this gold originated,” she teases.

Outer Banks season three premieres today on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.

Nothing to lose. Outer Banks S3 premieres Feb 23, only on Netflix.SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/29qBUt7About Netflix:Netflix is one of the world's leading enterta...

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.