Madelyn Cline is one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising stars, with a schedule that has recently included a trip to Paris Fashion Week and the Oscars party circuit in between two major press runs — yet these days, all she really dreams of is some rest and relaxation.
“Doing nothing, staring at the ceiling and laying on the floor” is how she describes her fantasy that things have slowed down. It’s yet another rainy afternoon in Los Angeles and Cline is dressed in her usual uniform of comfy cozy (“at this point I have more sweats than I do actual pants”), playing with the hoodie strings of her Off-White fleece as she talks. Her immediate plans are to head back home to Malibu, California, and meet her boyfriend, Jackson Guthy, for some oysters and beyond that she’s enjoying the luxury of playing things by ear.
“One step at a time. Seeing what’s next,” she says.
Cline, 25, is in an unusual position of doing her first proper press tour, despite being three seasons into one of the most popular TV series to have debuted in recent years. “Outer Banks,” in which she stars as Sarah Cameron, premiered in April 2020 and immediately spent weeks in the number-one most viewed spot on Netflix. The third and most recent season, which premiered last month, was viewed more than 154 million hours within the first four days (yes, that’s the number-one spot again). In the nearly three years since “Outer Banks” became a thing, Cline has been followed by 16 million people on Instagram and was tapped to join the “Knives Out” universe for the sequel, “Glass Onion,” which premiered last fall.
But her fame blew up virtually while she was at home in lockdown during the pandemic — and so much of the IRL publicity for her projects is still new to her.
“This past year has been different just because we’re properly doing everything, and it’s not just over Zoom,” Cline says. “So in a way it still feels very new and it feels like I’ve experienced two different things. You know what I mean? The pandemic and shooting during the pandemic, and also our show premiering during the pandemic. It just existed on your phone, but that only feels as real as this screen,” she adds, holding up her phone. “And so being able to properly go and do everything that accompanies the show being successful and ‘Glass Onion,’ that’s what feels like a ‘pinch me’ because I’m like, ‘What am I doing here?’”
The third season of “Outer Banks” was celebrated not only with a traditional premiere but with its own daylong festival called “Poguelandia,” (a reference to the friend group on the show, called Pogues), drawing legions of fans who turned up to nerd out on a day of their favorite show.
Cline guesses that early on people were drawn to the show, which follows a group of teenagers on a treasure hunt for gold, because of the element of escapism. It’s also a show about the friendship between the Pogues, something Cline thinks a lot of young people yearn for.
“I think people were craving connection and were missing their friends,” she says of the show’s initial success. “And the friendships on the show I think are one of the strongest things we have, the characters’ friendships with each other.”