PHOTOS: Emma Craft at The Canvas Agency
TALENT: Kiana Madeira
STYLING: Britt Theodora at The Only.Agency
SET DESIGN: Christina O’Neil
MAKEUP: Holly Gowers at The Wall Group
HAIR: Cheryl Bergamy for Exclusive Artists using Contents Haircare
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: Ryan Schostak
STYLIST ASSISTANT: Georgie Galinson
SET ASSISTANT: Lidia Moore
LOCATION: PROSPECT STUDIOS
INTERVIEW: Chance Perdomo
PRODUCTION: Jasmine Perrier AT Studio J•T•P
SPECIAL THANKS: Persona PR & Identity Agency Group
This feature is taken from Grumpy Magazine’s ISSUE NO.17, available soon in digital and print worldwide
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Meet Netflix’s latest darling, Kiana Madeira. The 28-year-old actor, who you might recognize from the coming-of-age drama series Trinkets, is continuing her rise with her leading role in the Fear Street trilogy based on the beloved book series from R.L. Stine. Speaking to her friend Chance Perdomo that she met on set in Bulgaria last year, she takes a moment to look back on shooting the three horror films back to back, how John Travolta influenced her career path, and making the transition from Canada to New York to open new doors.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
CHANCE PERDOMO: Hello Kiana, miss Madeira. How do we know each other?
KIANA MADEIRA: Let me try to remember, it was just so long ago — I’m joking. It feels like we’ve known each other for a long time, but we met probably [around] end of September, beginning of October last year, on set for After We Fell and After Ever Happy.
CP: Indeed! We worked together and became friends on that set, and now I have the pleasure of interviewing you. How is it going and where are you in the world right now?
KM: I’m in Boston with my sister, she’s here [and] I have time off right now. It’s close to New York so I’ve been going back and forth but I’m doing really well. Today, I feel very at peace and excited about things that are happening. I’m going to LA this weekend for some Fear Street press stuff. How are you?
CP: I’m doing really well. I’m out here in Florida, just chilling. But this is about you! So for those of you who’ve been living under a rock — miss Madeira’s had quite a trailblazing few years. You may have seen miss Madeira on Trinkets, you will been seeing her as she had mentioned in the next two After installments, and you will most definitely be hiding behind your couch with the Fear Street trilogy, of which she is the lead. Am I missing anything?
KM: [Laughs] No, you just made it sound very exciting. That was amazing.
CP: That is a lot coming out in a short period of time, congratulations! You said you spend a lot of time in New York, but you’re not from there. Where are you from?
KM: I’m Canadian, I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Actually, I’m from a city called Mississauga which is the suburbs, probably about a half and hour drive out of Toronto. I moved to the States three years ago, so I’ve been here since but going back and forth whenever I can because Toronto will always be home for me.
CP: How did you get into the acting process up in Mississauga?
KM: When I was five, my cousin and I were obsessed with the movie Grease, and I very fell in love with John Travolta. My 5-year-old self wanted to marry him and [I was like], “I need to be in a movie with him.” And then, I realized that movie was shot in the 70s, so when I saw a recent photo of him at the time, on a magazine cover, I was heartbroken because he was not the same as his character in Grease. But for some reason, that desire to still want to be in movies, it never really ran away. So when I was 10, [my parents] signed me up with a small agency in Toronto and I was auditioning for commercials and stuff, while I was still in school auditioning for plays and musicals. And then, when I was 14, I signed with a bigger agency in Toronto, and I started auditioning for bigger projects like Degrassi. I eventually got my visa, made the switch to the US where I booked Sacred Lies, which is the first project I’ve booked with my US agent and from there, it’s been about three years and thank God, it’s been good, it’s been busy.
CP: It’s been a whirlwind for sure, and what I’ve got from all of that beautiful explanation was your love for John Travolta. How did you get in? Johnny did it [laughs].
KM: It’s funny my dad’s name is Johnny.
CP: Really? You know, by association, Johnny did do it. The parental loving guidance helped carry you through your career. That is beautiful.
KM: My dad also always wanted to be an actor when he was younger. So when I mentioned that to him, my parents were always so supportive. I guess all parents just want their kids to have a life where they can sustain themselves and be happy. Thank God, I have parents who really saw what I wanted to do and supported me. So, shoutout to them.
CP: That makes sense. You definitely have a very kind, nurturing energy. That’s the energy that they gave you. So your parents, Mr. Travolta, they were strong influences [to get you] where you are today. What else has influenced you along this road? For example, what got you to Trinkets?
KM: That’s a great question. My character in Trinkets was different for me because for the first time in my career, I felt like I could bring my own nuances and the things about my personality and my character that people really close to me can recognize. It was really interesting. So I think there have been influences along the way that have really encouraged me and inspired me to let those strange characteristics and little nuances of myself shine through my work. And I get a lot of acting inspiration from male actors. I like seeing actors on-screen who aren’t so caught up with how they look. I just watched Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet on HBO Max. It was really important for her to portray a real-life person on-screen. I feel like often in our industry, it can become a lot about your esthetic, what you look like, and what shape your body is. It’s about my work, it’s about me being a vessel for this character and not really just me as a shell.
CP: I don’t know where I heard it, but it stuck with me that, if you can keep hold of your passion, keep hold of your life, the reason you are here, well then, you won. What would be the best quote or best advice that you have received, whether it’s been within the industry or indirectly influenced you into the industry?
KM: I always think about my dad because when I was younger on set — I think I was on my second set — I was 14 at the time and my dad told me, “Always hang up your wardrobe clothes.” Because at the end of the day, everyone has worked so hard and everyone wants to go home. It’s a team. I carry that little piece of advice with me throughout all aspects of the industry and especially on set where it’s so true. We’re the actors and often we’re catered too. But at the same time, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to set the tone on set. And if we care about all the different departments, collaborate, and work together, that just makes the project so much better in so many ways.
CP: Is there anything along that journey that you found that has surprised you?
KM: I’ve noticed that I’ve played a lot of characters who lean to the more masculine side. I don’t know if that’s just the way it was written, or that’s what I brought to those characters, but I think that’s something that is a strength of mine. It does come down to a lot of body language and the way that I walk as these characters. So now, I’m challenging myself to play characters where I take more from my mom as opposed to my dad.
CP: Interestingly, for whatever reason, it seems like everyone has their own kind of way in.
KM: Yes, exactly.
CP: Now, you’ve got Fear Street coming out. I remember you were telling me about the process and the physicality of it, there was a couple of physical things that really stuck with you. Is there anything you can share?
KM: The main thing that I would talk about is a super spoiler, so I can’t. But my character goes through a lot throughout the course of the three films. She’s so determined, so resilient, and doesn’t back down from any challenge, including physical challenges. So I had some fight scenes in those films. That [was] physically demanding because I’m not a confrontational person as Kiana, so I get very emotional when I’m being physical with someone, because it’s so uncomfortable for me. Then, it just makes it more exhausting.
CP: You’re really in the process of giving everything you have because you’re living essentially in that moment, that’s brilliant. And I noticed that in the breakdown for Fear Street, it says that it is across several decades. Without spoilers, are you playing the same person or is it a lot of age makeup involved? Or are you playing different people in these installments?
KM: I can say I play two different characters.
CP: Two different characters across three movies.
KM: Yes, I play a different character in the third movie, the 1666 one.
CP: It is very exciting, indeed. And with that lovely smile, the big grin you have on your face, can you share any of the happy moments that you’ve had on that set?
KM: Honestly, I was really blessed because the cast was all super cool, super funny. I actually was sent a blooper reel, which I’m sure everyone will see at some point. But it made me so happy to see these moments where we would make mistakes. Even in between setups, we were just laughing all the time. There was so much joy underneath all the craziness, action, blood, and everything that was happening on set.
CP: It sounds like you’re very family oriented, you love laughing, you’re always smiling, at least from what I’ve seen of you. Would that positive energy be something that keeps you grounded?
KM: Positivity definitely helps keep me grounded. Some days it’s easier than others — sitting here talking to you, this is a great time. I’m so happy, by the way, that we’re doing this. It’s so nice to see your face and hear your voice [laughs].
CP: I reciprocate that emotion.
KM: But you know, at the end of the day, we’re human. I guess that’s where my other practices come into play — I’m Christian, there are certain verses that really stand out to me and give me inspiration. My favorite one is 2 Timothy 1:7, [it says], “God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power, love, and self-discipline.” So as much as I’m positive, in those moments where I’m feeling anxious or fearful of the future or anything, I remember that verse and that just fills my spirit with positivity and energy. I also love doing yoga, I love playing my guitar, I also talk a lot to the people close to me about how I’m feeling. That helps me a lot.
CP: Beautiful, and thank you for sharing that. Along that philosophical deep dive, [here is] the most important question, pineapple on pizza or not?
KM: [Laughs] I love pineapple on pizza.
CP: You heard it here first, folks. Pineapple on pizza is the mood for 2021 and beyond. What is next on your goal sheet to be ticked off after this amazing year?
KM: It’s been like last year was so crazy [with] everything being shut down. And then, this year, everything’s picked up, especially with the release of Fear Street. So after all this amazingness and excitement, I honestly really would love to go home and see my family and friends.
CP: And when you do come back and do this thing again, is there any kind of story or a particular interest that you think you’ll be gravitating towards next?
KM: It’s been something that’s been on my mind. [After] this groundbreaking trilogy that’s being released on Netflix three weeks apart, what can follow up?
CP: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame.
KM: I would love to play a superhero. I love action and I do love the physicality that comes with the job. I don’t know if I would want to do a horror next, I lose my voice really easily. I just scream one time [and] I lose my voice. But I would [also] love to play a musician. I know that’s a lot of voice work.
CP: I’m pretty sure you can sing. I think those are all of my questions. It was really lovely chatting with you, Kiana.
KM: Thank you, Chance. This was awesome. I hope I can see you soon.
FEAR STREET IS NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX
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