The Aje Report | Online magazine | Aje Insider – Maddison Ridley
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MADDISON RIDLEY | AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS


With a thirst for the theatre and hunger for the unknown, our latest #AjeInsider packed her bags for the bright lights abroad as soon as she could. Never looking back, stints in both London and New York prove centre stage is the only place for her. Meet Maddi Ridley, the Aussie actress making her mark in the Big Apple.

 

_______________

THE BANKA BLOUSE

THE FIONA WRAP DRESS

HOW DID YOUR CAREER START?

I guess it started with a move to London. I didn’t really have a game plan but I knew I wanted to act, I knew I wanted to travel and I had always wanted to go to London. My first proper acting job in London was one of those cases where being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right person all aligned! .

 

DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ACTRESS?

For as long as I can remember, yeah! I briefly flirted with the idea of other professions, but being on the stage has always been the one thing I loved more that anything and was the only thing that made sense to pursue. Much to my high-school career councilor’s dismay, I didn’t apply to a single university. I just knew I wanted to fill my life with as much experience as possible, I had a lot of growing up and living-of-life to do! I’m really glad I trusted that gut instinct. I’ve lived in Sydney, London and New York all before my mid-twenties which I never imagined.

THE FIONA WRAP DRESS

THE FIONA WRAP DRESS

WHAT IS YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?

I just had my Off-Broadway debut, in the National Theatre transfer from the West End of ‘People, Places & Things’, which is one of the best plays I’ve ever experienced (both as audience member seeing the original production in London, and actress), so that has to be the highlight so far. It was an incredible way to top off a really great year career wise, as I only graduated drama school last April. I’m currently working on the American premiere of an incredible Australian play called ‘Flood’, by Chris Isaacs, and just shot an episode for an amazing new HBO show directed by Terence Nance.

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU? BOTH IN YOUR CAREER AND YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I just had the great honour of working with Denise Gough, who stars in a critically-acclaimed powerhouse performance in People, Places & Things. She’s the most inspiring actress I’ve ever met. She’s fiercely intelligent and articulate, absolutely hilarious and very, very serious about her work (which doesn’t quite feel like the right word for it; she’s utterly effortless on stage). Getting to watch her onstage every night in this viscerally powerful and very important play reminded me why I want to work in theatre. Style-wise, I get a lot of inspiration from the streets of New York. When you walk past someone with an awesome sense of style and a killer outfit you never would have thought of putting together but totally could with items in your own wardrobe.

THE BANKA BLOUSE

THE BANKA BLOUSE

THE AMBURLA DRESS

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

You have to have pretty thick skin. You are always auditioning and rejection is constant. It feels like for every ‘Yes!’ there are 99 ‘No’s..’ My biggest struggle comes on those days when I feel like I’m failing, when I need to stay positive and trust my own potential. Remind myself why I’m doing it in the first place. Adjusting my mindset and accepting that there are so many factors out of my control has been majorly freeing. You walk into these rooms in front of huge casting directors, and you just have to see it as an opportunity to do what you love for 10 minutes, rather than a desperate attempt to secure a job, and then leave it all in the room once you’re done.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK?

How do you even begin to answer that!!? I love this city.
I think the anonymity. All walks of life call this place home. You can totally roll out of bed and go to class/work/a café in your pajama’s with greasy hair and no makeup and no one will batt an eyelid, no one cares. That kind of freedom makes New York the perfect place for all the invariable ups and downs of your 20’s. New York also has the best happy hours, ever.

 

ANY SECRET GEMS YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT?

So I’m trying to eat and drink my way through the city and I love infatuation.com because I’m so indecisive, but love discovering new places to eat/drink/hang out. They have guides for every single neighbourhood and every single mood you could be in like ‘Super-cute reasonably-priced restaurants to catch up with a few friends on a Wednesday evening’ .. etc. I live in Williamsburg and my favourite drinking spots are Midnights and Zablozki’s, and my favourite restaurant is King’s County Imperial. If you want to see some theatre, the app Today Tix is your best friend.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

I hope I’m still just chipping away. It’s not an easy industry, but it’s such a fulfilling one when plays like ‘People, Places & Things’ come along. It’s been such a blessing to be a part of. When extraordinarily brilliant writing like Duncan Macmillan’s meets inventive direction from Jeremy Herrin and a close-knit company of talented actors who bring it alive every night, and people start lining up at 11am for a chance of a ticket … and I get to be a part of it!? That’s the best feeling!! Five year game plan is to keep building up my TV and film credits. And as much as I love living in New York, a really big goal of mine is to work in the Australian television and film industry too, and #1 dream is being onstage at the Sydney Theatre Company.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?

There are no shortcuts, so be kind and work hard. I’m finding it’s actually a real small industry, everyone knows everyone. The best advice I’ve been given is show up early, do good work and be a decent person, and people will want to work with you again and again!


The Aje Girl: Maddison Ridley (@maddiridley)

Photographer: Sophie Hur (@sophiehur)

Shot on the streets of New York

MOBILE DEVICES BELOW

HOW DID YOUR CAREER START?

I guess it started with a move to London. I didn’t really have a game plan but I knew I wanted to act, I knew I wanted to travel and I had always wanted to go to London. My first proper acting job in London was one of those cases where being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right person all aligned! .

 

DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ACTRESS?

For as long as I can remember, yeah! I briefly flirted with the idea of other professions, but being on the stage has always been the one thing I loved more that anything and was the only thing that made sense to pursue. Much to my high-school career councilor’s dismay, I didn’t apply to a single university. I just knew I wanted to fill my life with as much experience as possible, I had a lot of growing up and living-of-life to do! I’m really glad I trusted that gut instinct. I’ve lived in Sydney, London and New York all before my mid-twenties which I never imagined.

WHAT IS YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?

I just had my Off-Broadway debut, in the National Theatre transfer from the West End of ‘People, Places & Things’, which is one of the best plays I’ve ever experienced (both as audience member seeing the original production in London, and actress), so that has to be the highlight so far. It was an incredible way to top off a really great year career wise, as I only graduated drama school last April. I’m currently working on the American premiere of an incredible Australian play called ‘Flood’, by Chris Isaacs, and just shot an episode for an amazing new HBO show directed by Terence Nance.

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU? BOTH IN YOUR CAREER AND YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I just had the great honour of working with Denise Gough, who stars in a critically-acclaimed powerhouse performance in People, Places & Things. She’s the most inspiring actress I’ve ever met. She’s fiercely intelligent and articulate, absolutely hilarious and very, very serious about her work (which doesn’t quite feel like the right word for it; she’s utterly effortless on stage). Getting to watch her onstage every night in this viscerally powerful and very important play reminded me why I want to work in theatre. Style-wise, I get a lot of inspiration from the streets of New York. When you walk past someone with an awesome sense of style and a killer outfit you never would have thought of putting together but totally could with items in your own wardrobe.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

You have to have pretty thick skin. You are always auditioning and rejection is constant. It feels like for every ‘Yes!’ there are 99 ‘No’s..’ My biggest struggle comes on those days when I feel like I’m failing, when I need to stay positive and trust my own potential. Remind myself why I’m doing it in the first place. Adjusting my mindset and accepting that there are so many factors out of my control has been majorly freeing. You walk into these rooms in front of huge casting directors, and you just have to see it as an opportunity to do what you love for 10 minutes, rather than a desperate attempt to secure a job, and then leave it all in the room once you’re done.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK?

How do you even begin to answer that!!? I love this city.
I think the anonymity. All walks of life call this place home. You can totally roll out of bed and go to class/work/a café in your pajama’s with greasy hair and no makeup and no one will batt an eyelid, no one cares. That kind of freedom makes New York the perfect place for all the invariable ups and downs of your 20’s. New York also has the best happy hours, ever.

 

ANY SECRET GEMS YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT?

So I’m trying to eat and drink my way through the city and I love infatuation.com because I’m so indecisive, but love discovering new places to eat/drink/hang out. They have guides for every single neighbourhood and every single mood you could be in like ‘Super-cute reasonably-priced restaurants to catch up with a few friends on a Wednesday evening’ .. etc. I live in Williamsburg and my favourite drinking spots are Midnights and Zablozki’s, and my favourite restaurant is King’s County Imperial. If you want to see some theatre, the app Today Tix is your best friend.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

I hope I’m still just chipping away. It’s not an easy industry, but it’s such a fulfilling one when plays like ‘People, Places & Things’ come along. It’s been such a blessing to be a part of. When extraordinarily brilliant writing like Duncan Macmillan’s meets inventive direction from Jeremy Herrin and a close-knit company of talented actors who bring it alive every night, and people start lining up at 11am for a chance of a ticket … and I get to be a part of it!? That’s the best feeling!! Five year game plan is to keep building up my TV and film credits. And as much as I love living in New York, a really big goal of mine is to work in the Australian television and film industry too, and #1 dream is being onstage at the Sydney Theatre Company.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?

There are no shortcuts, so be kind and work hard. I’m finding it’s actually a real small industry, everyone knows everyone. The best advice I’ve been given is show up early, do good work and be a decent person, and people will want to work with you again and again!


The Aje Girl: Maddison Ridley (@maddiridley)

Photographer: Sophie Hur (@sophiehur)

Shot on the streets of New York

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