The Outer Banks actress and Fenty face is the real deal.
Directed & Photographed by: Olivia Malone Styled by: Sean Knight Written by: Christine Whitney
At 24 years old, (she’s an Aquarius) Madison Bailey has already become a household name. She catapulted into the public eye during lockdown thanks to her role as Kiara “Kie” Carrera on Netflix’s wildly-popular series Outer Banks, which was just picked up for a fourth season. She has 8.7 MILLION Instagram followers, two forthcoming feature film roles, a Fenty Beauty contract, and enough fashion savvy to make her a front-row standout at her first-ever Paris Fashion Week this year. She’s also incredibly grounded.
Bailey met up with Only Natural Diamonds at L.A. power-lunch hub Cecconi’s on a recent Friday to discuss her upcoming projects, keeping it real in Hollywood, and her favorite diamond memories. “Most of the time I’m wearing diamonds, they are not mine,” she admits with a laugh. “They’re [borrowed] for red carpet looks. I wore my most extravagant diamonds for the Outer Banks season three premiere. They had security come to my house to deliver them, which I had never experienced.” (The finished look was Chopard diamond rings and earrings, worn with a showstopping black Tom Ford gown.)
She’s in the middle of recounting how her stylist informed her that gem bodyguards often escort talent to their premieres when a nearby diner apologetically interrupts. Her eight-year-old daughter is a huge Outer Banks fan, the woman explains, and would Bailey be willing to say hi to her on FaceTime? Bailey kindly agrees, ostensibly making the eight-year-olds entire year. “I have nieces and nephews,” she says. “I get it.” You can tell she means it.
I’m lucky to have felt like being myself is the best option from a very early age
EARRING: MARIA TASH NECKLACE: VICE VERSA RING: MESSIKA JACKET: Vintage Maison Martin Margiela from RESURRECTION LA BRIEFS: PRADA
To wit, the actress is as generous with her time and herself as she is with her performances. She’s been open in the press and on social media about her struggles with mental health and shows no interest in pretending to be anyone other than herself — unless, of course, it’s for a part. “I can’t add a second persona,” she says, “I have a lot of nieces and nephews who are looking up to me — I don’t want to present someone else and then come home to my family.”
Below, Bailey speaks to Only Natural Diamonds about the importance of authenticity, her dream natural diamond jewelry, and her favorite memories from Outer Banks. Shine bright, indeed.
Only Natural Diamonds: What’s your first diamond memory?
Madison Bailey: My earliest diamond memories are just seeing my mother wear diamonds on very, very special occasions only. She had so much jewelry and there’s something of a gravitational pull to diamonds that I feel like you experience at every point. Even as a child, I loved diamonds. And then as an adult, I just went to the Louvre and the most exciting exhibit was the French crown jewels. I was in a state of shock, like [seeing a] 140 carat diamond. Insane.
OND: What were some of your mom’s favorite pieces or any special ones that she passed along to you?
MB: I feel like none of it got passed to me. I don’t know where any of this is. I’m the baby of seven, so it falls probably to my older sisters. [My mom] had a necklace that had a figure for every child and it had all of our birthstones on it. Over the years I’ve seen other moms with this necklace and they all have one or two gems. And my mom’s has seven. My mom was a gold jewelry lover and had these diamond earrings that we couldn’t even look at. Having that many kids, you got to protect yourself.
Earrings L-R: Maria Tash, Adina Reyter Necklaces (T-B): Jemma Wynne, Vice Versa, Anita Ko Top: Vintage Junya Watanabe from Resurrection LA
RING: Dorian WEBB
OND: Do you have any diamond pieces in your jewelry rotation?
MB: I have diamond pieces that are on my wish list. I want a Tiffany tennis bracelet — that I think is my diamond goal. Or a necklace — I’m not picky, but a tennis chain of sorts. I have gone to Tiffany’s. I have tried it on. I need it.
OND: Tell us about your upcoming film projects?
MB: There’s Time Cut, which is a feel-good slasher movie, if that’s possible. We go back in time. There’s an aspect that’s just a story of two sisters and then there’s the slasher aspect. It’s a fun concept and I had a lot of fun shooting it. I also shot a movie in November called The Painter which is like a CIA action movie. Lots of twists and turns. There’s room for there to be a second movie in which case my character would unfold quite a bit further.
OND: You have such a wide range of projects.
MB: I’m trying to round out the resumé in a way, while also just taking whatever projects feel best.
At the end of my career, I want the list of things I haven’t done to be very small”
EARRING: Jessica McCormack NECKLACE: IceRock Diamonds Bra: ISA BOULDER SKIRT: Vintage Maison Martin Margiela from The Ruby LA
Earrings L-R: JESSICA MCCORMACK, Adina Reyter Necklace: ICEROCK DIAMONDS RING R: POLACHECKS RINGS L: Renna, Anita Ko, Adina Reyter BRA: ISA BOULDER SKIRT: Vintage Maison Martin Margiela from The Ruby LA
OND: What’s your dream role?
MB: Really any female-driven storyline. Honestly, my dream role would be if they remade Burlesque. Me and Cher, oh my God. At the end of my career, I want the list of things I haven’t done to be very small. I like so many different movies myself. I am a watcher of many genres, whether it’s Burlesque or if they did a modern black-and-white spy movie…I hope people can watch one movie that I’m in and cry and watch one movie that I’m in and laugh and then be terrified — I want to tell all of the stories.
OND: Was there a particular thing that you saw or a moment in your life that inspired you towards acting?
MB: I feel like I kind of fell into acting through other passions. Through music, I fell in love with performing. Through my modeling agency, I got introduced to acting. I think I fell in love in an acting class in the most theater kid way, just people expressing themselves and being very free.
When I found acting, I was 15 and that is the time that you aren’t expressing a lot. I found comfort through acting. But there’s been many, many projects that I have seen that solidified that this is what I want to do. One of the first was Whiplash. It changed the way I viewed acting. At that time I was like 15, 16, and my knowledge of films was High School Musical. [Whiplash] was the first elevated film that I had seen.
Earrings: Maria Tash NECKLACE: Adina Reyter RING: Adina Reyter DRESS: Vintage Bebe from Clothed LA
OND: Do you have any favorite moments from working on Outer Banks?
MB: We’ve had a time, whether it is set memories or exploring Charleston or exploring Barbados…I’d say some of the best memories were created in Barbados, all of us being in this new place. It’s a different vibe down there — the people are so welcoming. If a car stops in the middle of the road, people don’t honk, they go around or they wait. I’ve been in the car and we’re stopped because someone else stopped and they’re talking to their friend. So we’re just waiting, that kind of energy and it creates a different vibe on set. And when we’re in the hotel, it feels like we’re at summer camp.
OND: You’re known for being very authentic and natural in the way that you express yourself on your social media and in your life. Can you talk a bit about what the idea of natural means to you?
MB: The idea of natural means a lot to me. And in an age where everything seems fictitious…I’m in a position now where I am a role model, inspiring young girls who are not seeing a lot of natural at the moment. Not just with the obvious — plastic surgery — but also with authenticity. On social media, you are presenting your best self all the time. And in a way I still am. I get on Instagram and I definitely am posting pictures where I look and feel my best, but I feel like it is important to be vocal about imperfections and about not always being in that moment and not always feeling your best self. Part of being natural is all of those very human emotions — I try to present myself in a way that feels human. I can’t lose myself, and lies are very hard to keep up with.
JEWELRY: BULGARI TOP: Vintage MOSCHINO FROM ARTIFACT NY SHORTS: AGOLDE
Part of being natural is all of those very human emotions — I try to present myself in a way that feels human.
OND: The self-knowledge to say, “Okay, I don’t want to live a double life or I’m not going to yield to these pressures” is a really precious quality.
MB: I think my parents instilled that in me maybe without trying, but truly I think both of my parents taught me that being yourself will always prevail. And I’ve kept that with me my whole life.
OND: That’s beautiful.
MB: My oldest [sibling] is my parents’ biological and then they adopted six more children. So we’re a miscellaneous group of kids. We’re all so different. I feel like my mom did such a great job at telling us and reminding us to embrace who we are. She never promoted a fixed beauty standard onto me. I’m lucky to have felt like being myself is the best option from a very early age…My parents make me emotional to talk about, they’re very good people.
EARRINGS L-R: Seaman Schepps, Adina Reyter TOPS: Vintage Helmut Lang tank top from Resurrection LA (black) Skims tank top (white)
OND: What makes you feel most comfortable and most yourself?
MB: I’m a homebody, so I feel very, very comfortable at my house. I feel the most comfortable when my house is very clean.
I feel happy on days that I cook at least two out of three meals. My perfect day is very chilled. I’m far away from family so I feel like most days I’m just at my house FaceTiming them or I’m with my girlfriend who makes me feel the happiest and is my safe place. I could be anywhere and if she’s there, I’m a million times more comfortable.
OND: How did you meet?
MB: We met on TikTok. We started messaging back and forth and eventually I was like, “Where do you live?” I had no idea. She was like, “I’m in Charleston,” which is where I was at the time [filming Outer Banks]. And I was like, “No way, I have to meet you now.” So we met up for two days together and then just stayed in contact for a few weeks and then she came to visit me in L.A.
I’m in a position now where I am a role model, inspiring young girls who are not seeing a lot of natural at the moment.
OND: Was there a particular post that you connected over?
MB: She watched Outer Banks and then made a video about me, which now knowing her I think is so far out of her comfort zone. I don’t know how she did that. I saw it and I thought she was very cute. So I followed her back and we just started messaging there. In June it’ll be three years.
OND: Tell us about being the face of Fenty!
MB: I love working with Fenty and being a face of a brand that I loved when it first came out. I feel like they made such a statement in the beauty world with color selections and inclusivity. When Rihanna joined the makeup game, it was like “this is the standard for how inclusive brands should be.” So many other brands followed suit. They pioneered a shift in the beauty world. And I’m just a Rihanna fan at the end of the day.
EARRINGS: Polachecks NECKLACE: Jemma Wynne RINGS: (LEft): Messika (Right): Anita Ko BRACELET: IceRock Diamonds Bra: Vintage Miu Miu from Artifact NY SKIRT: Vintage Moschino from Clothed LA
OND: What were some of your favorite parts of your Only Natural Diamonds cover shoot?
MB: Gosh, so many. I loved the styling. I like the looks on the beach even though it was cold. I loved the blue vintage dress — very, very pretty. There’s also a knitted bra with a knit skirt that I love. I loved the barely any makeup.
I’m not picky about diamonds. I’m really not. They’re all sparkly and beautiful and I love them.
OND: Were there any fun jewelry moments?
MB: There were a lot of different types of earrings — ear cuffs; big shell earrings that were really beautiful. All of the rings. Everything. I’m not picky about diamonds. I’m really not. They’re all sparkly and beautiful and I love them.
Photographer/Director: Olivia Malone Stylist: Sean Knight Hair: Nikki Providence Makeup: Sandy Ganzer Manicurist: Vanessa Sanchez McCullough Bookings Editor: Glynis Costin Creative Production by: Petty Cash Production Director of Photography: Kyle May Photo Assistants: Brook Keegan, Charles Brown Digital Tech: Colin Hoefle Set Design: Bryan Porter, Julie Faravel Wardrobe Assistant: Cameron Greene