Talented, Extraordinary, and Just a “Normal” Girl
If Madison Pettis looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen her face in many places over the years. She’s from Dallas, Texas, and has been acting since she began her career on Barney & Friends at the age of 5. Since then, she’s starred in many things, but has been best known as the adorable Peyton from the hit movie The Game Plan (with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and as Sophie on Disney’s Cory in the House. Today, she keeps herself busy with a reoccurring role as Janelle on Disney XD’s Lab Rats, being the voice of Izzy in Disney Junior’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
In spite of her Hollywood life, Madison claims to be just a “normal” girl. Her favorite summer activities include going to water parks, the beach, pool parties, and amusement parks. She doesn’t expect any special treatment, and likes it that way. Her down-to-earth nature is refreshing, and her empowering advice and patriotic spirit make her a positive celebrity role model.
Madison Pettis was BYOU Magazine’s Positive Friendships cover story!
Here’s an excerpt from her exclusive interview with BYOU Magazine Publisher, Debra Gano:
Debra: Madison, as the mom of an 11-year-old who was once a huge Barney fan, I remember you from that show! Please share with us how you got started in acting at such a young age.
Madison: I started with dance when I was 4 years old and discovered I loved performing at recitals and dance competitions, so I entered a contest at the mall to be on cover of a local Dallas parenting magazine. I had no expectations that I would win, but I was chosen! The photographer who did the photo shoot recommended me to a modeling agency where I started doing commercials and got the role on Barney when I was 5. When I turned 7, my mom and I went to LA for pilot season and I auditioned for the movie The Game Plan and Disney’s Cory in the House – and got both of them! Cory in the House was a year-around series so we had to move to LA, but my mom was really supportive.
Debra: Wow, you hear about people auditioning for years for movies and television series before they get anything, yet you booked them right away. How did that feel?
Madison: Crazy! It all happened really fast. My life changed within a few months. I was SO excited to just audition for those roles, let alone get them. I was especially excited to do Cory in the House because it’s a spinoff of That’s So Raven, which was my favorite show! It was my biggest dream come true!
Debra: Are you home schooled or do you attend regular school?
Madison: I’ve been going to normal school since 5th grade, after I finished Cory in the House. I wanted to go back into regular school because I love being able to have both aspects in my life – my career and having a life outside of the business. I like to do the fun activities at school, like football games and dances, and still continue acting. I’m happy with that balance. My friends just think of me as “normal Madison” and don’t give me any special treatment. I’m not a celebrity at school and I’m really happy with that.
Debra: Why is it important to you to be “normal Madison”?
Madison: People think celebrities and child actors could act entitled, but I try to stay away from that. I always try to remain “normal” and surround myself with amazing people, like my mom, who always keeps me grounded, and my friends. I’m so grateful that I’m able to have that lifestyle.
Debra: Since we focus on friendships this issue, I have to ask you: What do you think makes a positive friendship and how do you determine who’s a good friend?
Madison: Someone who is trustworthy and honest, who you can tell your secrets to and who gives you honest advice, and who is kind to other people and everyone around you. It’s someone you can have fun with, relate to, who makes you laugh and you’re totally comfortable being around. With a good friend you don’t have to impress; you can totally be yourself and be goofy around them – that’s when you know you have a really good friend.
Debra: I love that you like to be goofy! What advice can you give girls who are too worried about what people think about them?
Madison: It’s normal to be concerned about people’s impressions of you, but having your own self-confidence is incredibly important – you know, being able to wear what you want to wear, act how you want to act, and treat people the way you want to treat them. I’ve learned to not take people’s opinion to heart too much – I think when you’re an actor, you kinda have to do that. If people say mean things, you have to brush it off, but it’s not always easy. In this business there’s lots of rejection, so I’ve developed a thicker skin.
Debra: What if you have a friendship that doesn’t feel good anymore – what should a girl do?
Madison: People change – it happens to everyone –but if a friend starts to change and you’re not happy about it, talk to her about it and tell her how you feel. Don’t attack her and say “You’re not being nice to me!” Rather say, “You’re hurting my feelings when you… (whatever the situation is).” Communicate with her because she might not even know she’s hurting you. The most important thing to remember is you shouldn’t change who you are just to fit in or to be friends with someone – remain yourself no matter what. Your friends should love you for who you are.
Madison Pettis’ “Good Friend” Checklist:
- Trustworthy and honest
- You can tell your secrets to
- Gives you honest advice
- Kind to people
- Fun and makes you laugh
- You can be goofy around them
- Comfortable to be around
- You don’t have to impress and can be yourself
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