‘Outer Banks’ stars sit down with The Hatchet before early screening of third season

Media Credit: Lily Speredelozzi | Assistant Photo Editor

Two of the show’s stars, Madelyn Cline and Madison Bailey, rolled into the District last Tuesday for an advanced screening of the Season 3 premiere in Georgetown.

The world was in lockdown when “Outer Banks” burst onto the scene in 2020 and became one of the first TV series to symbolize the escapism of media during the COVID pandemic.

As Netflix viewers quarantined in their homes that April, the sound of waves crashing against the Carolina coast and the intro of “Left Hand Free” by alt-J became an overnight anthem for teens looking to feel the thrill of freedom once again. Three years later, the show has become a smashing success far beyond pandemic watchlists with Netflix renewing the series for a fourth season a week before Season 3 premiered.

Two of the show’s stars, Madelyn Cline and Madison Bailey, rolled into the District last Tuesday for an advanced screening of the Season 3 premiere in Georgetown. Cline and Bailey rose to stardom for their respective performances of Sarah Cameron and Kiara Carrera, two wealthy teenagers who choose to align themselves with the working-class “Pogues” on the other side of the island from the affluent “Kooks.”

The Hatchet sat down with Cline and Bailey alongside three other D.C.-based college student publications – The Hilltop, The Hoya and The Georgetown Voice – ahead of the screening to talk about the show’s trajectory and their insight into its third installment.

Quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

The GW Hatchet: How would you say that your relationship with the cast has evolved and developed throughout the years filming?

Cline: Every time we come back to film, it feels like coming home. We not only know each other really well just because we’ve been through so much together, we also know our crew really well. It’s a very, very familial environment at this point. It’s jokey. It’s fun.

The GW Hatchet: Many people our age associate “Outer Banks” with core memories when COVID first started, peak quarantine. “Outer Banks” was one of those shows that we turned to, to rally around something when there was nothing else going on. How do you hope that this COVID generation will remember the show and how far it’s come?

Cline: It’s pretty crazy because I’ve been tagged in TikToks or posts, and it’ll be captioned about how they feel nostalgic for that time, which is crazy because I feel like at the time, nobody wanted to feel nostalgic. We all wanted to be out of it. We wanted to escape. And I feel like that’s one of those things that this show brought, was escapism. And I think it was also that we weren’t able to see our friends and our family, and I think the show really revolves around, completely centered around friends and family. And “Outer Banks” is ultimately like a mindset. It’s a feeling. And I just hope that people are able to still look at it with the same kind of fondness that they did at the time.

Bailey: I feel grateful our show came out when it did. And I think we have a different relationship to our fans because of it and a different closeness and relatability with our audience because it came out and we were all locked in our houses. And we were all getting through it at that time. And I think it’s kind of special to have, not just a marking of when our show came out, but a whole period of history. And our show came out less than a month after the pandemic hit. And I think it’s a positive way to remember the time in such a hard time.

The Hilltop: Madison, I wanted to know how you felt when Cleo joined the team – having another minority there being a part of the main cast and coming two seasons in.

Bailey: I was excited. She’s someone we knew we needed on the show and somebody that I was very excited to have joined the cast and tell a different story. I think she brings a very crucial point of view to our Pogue and Kook story, and I think she has one of the most authentic Pogue stories. I mean she lived the Pogue life. We thought we were living the Pogue life, but she’s actually doing it and did it. I think she brings a lot of wisdom to the group and adds to our dynamic. But as a human being, Carlacia is amazing. She’s so talented and we’re so lucky to have her on this show. And I hope people see her character this season and fall in love with Cleo even more.

The GW Hatchet: So Madison, your character Kiara is kind of the glue that holds the Pogues together in a lot of ways. How do you see that shifting or evolving next season when her romance with JJ potentially develops?

Bailey: Yeah. As we are seeking out that chemistry and what that means, I think Kiara’s in an interesting position this season. With a little spoiler, we do eventually come back to the “Outer Banks.” And I think this season you see her trying to balance her friend life with her home life and maybe like a little less glue of the Pogues and a little more trying to figure out what she’s doing and how to marry the relationship between her family. And Kiara has always been the character with a foot in both worlds, but her foot’s only in that world because of her family.

The GW Hatchet: The first look at Season 3 features the classic chases, combat and other action-packed moments that have defined “Outer Banks” through the years. What was the most thrilling moment on set from the show?

Bailey: At the end of Season 2, that ship that we were filming on was crazy, just being on the top of this moving ship and seasick.

Cline: Yeah, it was a really crazy location. And it was paired with really intense stunts and really intense scenes. Like we were really in the trenches together on that one. We ate together. We slept on that boat.

Both: In their kitchen.

Bailey: We had our pillows at their lunch table.

Cline: We had a little boat that broke while we were in it. We were jumping into the water. And it was all around very intense. I mean, that was the end of Season 2 which was…

Bailey: Yeah, like so intense. Chase ended up jumping in and saving my actual life. Him and JD, there was a point after we had jumped ship where I was just in the water, and we were treading water, and they hadn’t called action yet. And I was just getting so tired. And I’m holding Rudy on my shoulder…

Cline: With three-foot swells coming in.

Bailey: Yeah, we’re in the middle of the ocean. We didn’t shoot that on the shore like we could have. And then I remembered the boat pulled up where they’re supposed to pick us up. And we’re just like both drifting with the water. Like they’re not getting any closer. We’re not getting any closer. And Chase and JD just jumped in and literally pulled me onto the boat. And they were like, ‘This is not going to work.” So I’d say that one, top five.

The Hoya: So you guys seem to have formed really deep relationships with each of your own characters individually. Would you say either of you has any pressing hopes for your characters in the future?

Cline: I feel like this season, Sarah is working through a lot. She was out of her family. All of a sudden she went from a world of material to a world where material meant nothing, and relationships and chosen family meant everything. Change like that comes with little parts of yourself that you leave in the past. And sometimes, without realizing it, you might reach back for that comfort. And we see that a little bit this season. And I was really, really excited about that this year for her.

The Georgetown Voice: You play characters who are younger than yourselves and the audience is a little bit younger than yourselves, maybe. What do you hope people watching Season 3 will take away from what your characters go through or just like what it’s like to grow up on the Outer Banks?

Bailey: I hope the message people receive from Kiara is to fight. Always fight for what you want, when you’re fighting to be seen, whether it be from your friends or your family. Being young and knowing who you are is a scary thing. And people are going to tell you you don’t know who you are. And I will tell you, if you relate to Kiara’s character in knowing what she wants for herself, then I say fight for that always and know thyself and fight for yourself.

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