‘The Fosters’: Bailee Madison ‘Slowly And Gradually’ Transitioning To Teen Roles

"I have turned down so many projects that would take me to being a 16 year-old overnight"

Bailee Madison

Bailee Madison has her fans to thank for landing a spot on TV’s hottest family drama, THE FOSTERS.

“They are the ones responsible for getting [star Maia Mitchell] and I together,” she says.  “They were the ones tweeting and Instagramming and spreading the word about possible story lines.”

Bailee, 14, says buzz about two actresses — and much alike they look — had been building on social media for some time.

“That is the nicest compliment,” she tells me.

“I love Maia and she is so beautiful so the thought of anyone even thinking I look like her is just an incredibly kind compliment.  We had kind of gone back and forth on Twitter for like a year.  She would tweet me and say “a girl just walked up to me and said she loved me in WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE and I thanked her on your behalf.  Then I would tweet her and say “No joke, I was just in Catalina and people are screaming TEEN BEACH MOVIE is my favorite movie so I thanked them on your behalf.”

“So we would constantly get mistaken for each other.”


The resemblance — and fan suggestions that the two actresses could pass as family members  —  did not go unnoticed by executive producers Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bailee Madison Bailee joins the show beginning July 7 as the half sister of Callie Jacob [Mitchell], a teenager fighting to get adopted by a multiracial family with two moms [Sherri Saum and Teri Polo].

“I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” says Bailee, who was most recently seen in the ABC sitcom TROPHY WIFE.

She told me more about her exciting new role and blossoming career when we spoke last week.

You couldn’t have landed on a hotter show!  Everyone is talking about THE FOSTERS…
It is an incredible show.  They handle everything so beautifully.  It is so real and raw and effortless.  I had been a fan for a while.  And I, of course, was the biggest fan of Maia.  But it wasn’t until I got the phone call about the show that I was like, “Wait!  This is actually possible.”

Were you disappointed when TROPHY WIFE was cancelled.
Oh yeah, sure.  I have always done three episode here and four episodes there.  But that show was the first time that it was like a family for me.  I knew everyone and I was able to welcome in guests stars.  So it was an amazing experience for me and we were all hoping [to come back].  But there were lots of tears, obviously.  But we all still talk and I am like best friend with Bradley [Whitford’s] daughter, so we are still like family.

A lot of the young people on THE FOSTERS seem to be involved in complex relationships.  Some of them are having or thinking about having sex.  You usually do more wholesome roles…
It’s funny because I just had this conversation with my mom about 45 minutes ago.  I am 14 now and I am kind of making that transition from a tween to a teen.  But I feel like there are ways to do that and I have done that slowly and gradually.  Which is something I am very proud of.  I have turned down so many projects left and right that would take me to being a 16 year-old overnight.  That is something I don’t want to do at the moment.  So I feel like this show is just a perfect fit because it shows what kids are going through and dealing with these days.  My character is 13 and she is just kind of going through what a 13 year-old girl would go through — with added drama, of course.  So I am really excited to see where she goes.  I am game as long as all the things are done in a beautiful, honest, artistic way.  But we are going to take it slow.  I have so many years ahead of me to do the other stuff.

You are a very spiritual person.  Does that make it more difficult to pick your roles?
We have to choose really carefully.  I read a script and if I like it I send it to my sister [actress Kaitlin Riley].  If she likes it, my mom reads it.  And if my mom likes it, then we will talk about.  The process has been the same for us since we started.  Now that I am a bit older, the process is a bit more complicated.  But I have to always step back when I read something and say, “Is this what I want my fans to see?  Is this how I want to enter into the teen world?  Is this the right portrayal of it?  Is this what I will be proud of doing?”  So there are alot of times I will sit down and read something and pray on it and wake up the next day and make a decision.  But when you have a dad or a mom walk up to you and say, “Thank you so much for being in things that I am okay with my kid watching” and being somewhat of a role model to them… I definitely don’t want to lose that.  I know there are a lot of people watching.  So right now we are trying to do the right things and pick projects that speak to who I am and who my team is.

Is it weird to have fans?
I love it!  It’s so funny because the word “fan” is always so weird to me and it always seems so awkward.  But I feel like my fans are my friends.  They really are.  To be able to have people that recognize you work is a beautiful thing and it is humbling and amazing.  I am so grateful to all of them and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

What are you allowed to tease about your character, Sophia, and her relationship with Callie?
I am contracted and sworn to secrecy.  But what I can say is that Sophia is so excited about the possibility of having a half sister and having someone to talk to.  She doesn’t have any siblings, so being able to explore that world is super exciting for her.  But you will see as episodes progress, The Fosters kind of doing what they do best.  There is something more to Sophia that you will see which will keep things interesting.

There are people wondering if Callie is every going to get adopted.  What do you think?
I think, at the end of the day, from a fan’s stand point, I hope she does.  I don’t know where they are going to take it.  It is still early on.  So I am going to have to wait and watch with you guys.

Is Sophia too young to have a boyfriend?
They will explore that.

THE FOSTERS isn’t the only thing you have going on now.  You just did a movie for Hallmark Channel…
Yes.  It is basically the first time that Hallmark Channel has teamed up with Hallmark cards.  It is a huge Christmas special called NORTH POLE.  I play a really fun, bubbly elf named Clementine.  It is just a great film.  They just announced a sequel, too, for next year.

THE FOSTERS airs Monday nights at 9:00 PM ET on ABC Family


Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly