How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? Maybe you were alone in your dorm watching “The Notebook” or hanging out with some friends discussing the limitless benefits of being single (seriously, I really needed this time to work on myself). Or perhaps you were one of the lucky few who was actually on a romantic date! However you spent this often anticlimactic holiday, I can guarantee that my Valentine’s Day has yours beat: I spent it with Madelyn Cline and Madison Bailey.
Don’t get too jealous though, because you get something out of it too: an inside look into the upcoming third season of the hit Netflix show “Outer Banks,” (OBX) as well as both actresses’ personal thoughts and feelings regarding their characters and the process of filming the show. How do the characters’ relationships evolve in the new season? Will the show build on the action-packed, harrowing momentum of the second season? And most of all, what are Cline and Bailey like when the camera isn’t rolling? I got to the bottom of these questions, for myself and for all of you.
While the actresses were understandably hesitant to disclose details regarding season three, they did divulge their hopes for the audience’s general reaction and takeaways from their characters and the new episodes. Bailey emphasized the power of Kiara’s resilience to inspire change, stating that her main message is to “fight for what you want and fight to be seen.”
Cline spoke on her character’s arc contending with understanding herself.
“I think Sarah has a bit of a similar journey but doesn’t realize who she is just yet,” Cline stated. “She’s beginning this journey of self-realization of what she wants and how to speak up for that, and I think that taking the time to invest in yourself and learn who you are and how to go inward and feel what’s right and understand that you’re not exactly what people tell you you are is difficult, but it’s an important and empowering part of growing up.”
Despite taking months off between filming seasons, both Cline and Bailey said it has been easy to transition back into playing their characters year after year, explaining that the biggest factor is the on-set environment and being back with the cast and crew. Part of their comfort also has to do with how they relate to their characters on a personal level.
“I feel like that was me fighting my parents when I was 16 and hanging out with my friends and fighting for what I wanted,” Bailey told The Hoya. “I relate a lot to being young with a strong voice.”
Cline said the writers on the show put a lot of trust in them to bring their characters to life, even asking for their opinions on what their characters are feeling and doing.
“I think they saw something in us that they wanted us to bring to the table,” Cline said. “There are parts of ourselves that we do infuse into the character.”
When asked which member of the cast is most like their own character, they both laughed and immediately agreed on Chase Stokes, the actor who plays John B.
They said most of the cast is fairly unlike their character, but agreed that Drew Starkey, who plays the role of Rafe Cameron, does a particularly impressive job at transforming his demeanor: “he’s obviously not a murderer, but he does a really great job at playing one,” Bailey said.
Both Cline and Bailey were especially excited to talk about their relationships with the other cast members and spoke at length about how important the entire crew is in making the show what it is. Cline said the set is a “very familial environment,” given how close they have all become after working together to create three seasons of the show.
Bailey added that they have even developed their own lingo and “sense of comfort” due to their shared “crazy experience,” mostly due to the first season airing during the pandemic — something that quickly launched the show and the actresses to an intense level of fame.
As to why the show gained such striking popularity, Cline said it is a combination of the era the show is set in as well as the plot itself.
“The show and ‘Left Hand Free’ (the OBX theme song) brings a sense of nostalgia to the time,” Cline said. “It had such a big impact because it was a time when we all really valued friends and family and personal connection, and the entire show revolves around friends and family.”
Bailey said the release date of the show allowed viewers to feel closer to the actors, as they were all in the same boat during lockdown.
“I feel grateful that our show came out when it did … we have a different relationship to our fans because of it, a kind of relatability,” she said.
Because OBX premiered during such a tumultuous and uncertain time, the actresses said the show shed a necessary “positive light” on the time, especially for a young audience struggling to navigate it.
The end of season two left us all on quite the cliffhanger, with the Pogues and the newest member of their crew stuck on an abandoned island after a thrilling journey at sea. Out of all the scenes and locations they filmed in for the first two seasons, both Cline and Bailey said the setting of the last episode of season two was by far their favorite, as well as the most eventful.
They said Coastal Venture, the ship the characters were on, was completely real and unfathomably huge, and that they were actually filming in the middle of the ocean. Such unfamiliar conditions, including filming in tight spaces and being atop a moving ship, led to more camaraderie among the crew and some extreme stunts.
“We were really all in the trenches together on that one,” Cline said. “We ate together, we slept on the boat … it was everyone, the whole cast, whole crew and even the actual crew of the boat itself.”
Bailey said some aspects of this set felt almost too real — at one point, the lifeboat she was on actually broke during filming.
“I was waiting to hear ‘action’ in three-foot swells in the middle of the ocean, with Rudy on my shoulder,” Bailey said. She confessed that Stokes had to jump in and save her during all the commotion.
As extreme as this all sounds, Bailey confessed that “there’s even more to say about this next season … it’s full of insane stunts and scenes.”
I’m sure you are equally astounded by the prospect of a season even more action-packed than the last, but I definitely wouldn’t put it past the OBX writers and producers.
In the final episode of season two, we are reintroduced to the newest member of the Pogues’ ensemble, Cleo (Carlacia Grant). While we initially met her in the Bahamas at the beginning of the season, the final scene of the last episode as well as the trailer for season three indicate that she has established a more permanent space in the plot.
Bailey said Cleo is her favorite character, and that her joining the team created a new era on the show.
“She’s someone we knew we needed on the show to tell a different story … she brings a crucial perspective to the Pogue and Kook story, having one of the most authentic Pogue stories,” Bailey said. “She lived the Pogue life the way we thought we were living the Pogue life.”
Cline said her favorite character often changes, but she always comes back to Pope (Jonathan Daviss).
“He’s reliable, he’s trustworthy, he’s smart, he’s a good friend and he’s so unintentionally funny!” Cline said.
They also agreed that Topper (Austin North) plays a hugely underrated role in the show and that knowing North on a personal level and knowing how much of himself he brings to the character truly makes you root for him in the end.
By the end of the interview, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my biggest takeaway had nothing to do with season three spoilers or secret on-set romances. Instead, my ultimate revelation was anticlimactic, yet much more significant: Cline and Bailey are just people. Yes, they’re incredibly talented, beautiful people who star in one of the most popular Netflix original series of all time, but like their characters, they’re just like the rest of us.
Sitting down and talking to them — away from cameras, special lighting, a hair and makeup crew and everything else that makes them appear superhuman on screen — added a crucial depth to their humanity that people often forget exists. While their number of Instagram followers or impressive features on magazine covers may suggest some kind of innate inimitability, their goal is to inspire the opposite: if you know what you want and fight to achieve it like Sarah and Kiara, no obstacle will be insurmountable.
So if Madelyn Cline can compliment my sweater on a random Tuesday afternoon, then you can ace that midterm. Making it on the cover of Vogue may take a little longer, but no such setback would stop a true Pogue.
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