Maddie Grace Jepson
23rd June 2023
The path to superstardom is continually evolving - twenty years ago, it was the TV talent shows that secured aspiring young talent a place in the entertainment industry, but today, things are different. Maddie Grace Jepson is in the middle of going down a route which is still in its infancy - the TikTok route. She’s amassed 1.4 million followers on the app in the last few years thanks to her unique, surreal and genuinely funny absurdist characters, stories and skits. There’s no one comparable to what she’s doing, and she’s the only person capable of doing it, and TikTok is the perfect platform for her to display her comedic talents without interference. But now she’s entering the professional world of acting with a role in Channel 4’s upcoming Big Mood, and the question isn’t whether Maddie is ready for the world to see her talents - it’s whether the world is ready for Maddie.
Corset - Oh Polly / Trousers - House of CB / Jewellery - Stylist’s Own
Hi Maddie! How are you?
Hey, I’m good! I just went to go and watch the new Little Mermaid film.
Was it good?
It was incredible. I literally cried the whole way through.
You’re all with the premieres lately, aren’t you!
What can I say! It was a press screening, I was very lucky to have got an early screening.
But it lives up to the hype?
Yeah. I mean, it’s so Disney, but you have to embrace it. It was my favourite Disney film so I knew I was gonna love it.
I saw you singing ‘Part Of Your World’ on TikTok recently - it was beautiful! And you said that you’d played Ariel before in a production.
That’s true. We did The Little Mermaid in my Drama School for my third year show, and I was cast as Ariel. That was the best time of my life to be honest.
I can see you as Ariel if they bring it to the West End, actually.
Oh, don’t fill my deluded brain! I would love to do it. But Halle Bailey was just amazing in the movie.
Her voice is a bit ridiculous
She’s just on another level. She’s the most beautiful person I’ve seen in my entire life. How can someone be so beautiful?
Blazer - Ray Chu / Top- Oh Polly / Jeans - Reine Ren / Earrings & Shoes - Stylist’s Own
Were you always a performer when you were growing up?
You’ll have to speak to my Mum and Dad - they’ve constantly got stories about me. In a weird way I’ve kind of calmed down as I got older. I was very energetic to the point where as soon as I turned four years old, my mum immediately sent me to gymnastics. I was constantly climbing on stuff. I don’t know if you can see but I’ve got a scar on my face where I fell because I was climbing up some shelves with a pair of scissors in my hands. These are my battle wounds of when I was a child. I was probably a bit of an attention seeker. I always wanted to make people laugh. Drama and acting and performing has always been a big part of my life. And singing.
What other productions were you in growing up?
I did Bugsy Malone when I was really young, and High School Musical when I was seven or eight. Then I took a bit of a break because I was doing gymnastics for a long time. I was training really hard but I was getting injured quite frequently and I was getting really bad knees, so I had to quit. Then I started doing drama again at school, and eventually went off to drama school. We did various different shows but Ariel was my main one. We did Assassins as well but we had to do it on Zoom. Then I graduated into Covid and since then even with everything opening up again my TikTok took over so I've not really had a lot of opportunity to perform professionally since graduating, which is why I hold Ariel so close to my heart because that was the only chance I actually got in Drama School to be a lead. I didn't really have a great time at Drama School. I wasn’t given many opportunities.
That’s mad because you’re literally a stunning singer.
Thank you so much, but once you're at Drama School, everyone’s amazing. It was interesting, because the teachers - although they shouldn’t - acquired favourites. I was very aware of that and everyone was very aware of the favourites of the year. It was only when an external person came in and cast our third year shows that I was given a lead. That was more important to me. It just showed that from an outsider's perspective I'd earned this role. It was a massive reassurance to me as a performer. It gave me the boost I needed to get out there into the industry and get working in theatre. But then the TikTok took over!
You’ve got your first professional acting gig coming up, Big Mood for Channel 4. What can you tell us about the show?
I don't really know what I’m allowed to say! My character is called Jade, and I star in one of the episodes. I’m quite a big part of the episode that I'm in. It was such an amazing opportunity for me. It was Camilla Whitehill who wrote it, and she’s just a genius, she’s incredible. The cast, the crew, everyone was just amazing. I only spent three days there but I have such fond memories of those three days.
How did you feel when you got the role?
Incredible. I really didn't think I was gonna get it at all. I went into it completely blind with no idea what the audition was gonna be like. So I came out of it thinking I’d done a really bad job and that I was lacking experience, so when I got it I was just over the moon. I couldn’t believe it. It felt so good. I just felt so pleased and grateful to have been given the opportunity. Camilla actually told me once I got the part that she always had me in mind for the role and she said she really wanted me to do it. It was just so nice to have someone in the industry, someone who is so amazing and so talented at comedy writing, to believe in me and want me to do this.
I can definitely see you headlining your own BBC Three Comedy Series eventually.
Thank you, I'm really pleased you said that because that's exactly what I'd love to do. With the comedy acting, I just love it so much. It feels so authentic to me. I just love it. That's what I want to do.
There’s a real skill to comedy acting which we see on your TikTok, especially when it comes to the physicality of your characters.
It’s so funny because I've just never been told that I had a knack for comedy until I took it upon myself to put myself out there doing it. That's one thing I've taken from this whole thing - don't limit your abilities based on what you've been told you can do. If something feels right to you, just do it. I just love physical comedy. That's the thing for me. I'm not very witty and I'm not very good at punchlines, but I am all about physicality and facial expressions and voices. That's my comedy.
Dress - Oh Polly / Jacket - Stylist’s Own / Rings - Retro Chic
When did the TikTok take off for you?
It was really quite a gradual thing, I think. People have different stories. I've got some friends from TikTok and it just happened for them overnight. They just got hundreds of thousands of followers from one video, but for me it was more of a gradual thing. I started making TikToks just for friends for fun, and I didn't think people would even see them. I had sort of forgotten that things you put out on the internet anyone can see. And then it eventually just got bigger and bigger.
The tongue, the famous tongue!
People adored the tongue! That was a weird one because that's something that I've done forever, and now people are loving it.
You have the best tongue on TikTok.
I do, darling.
You’ve got a real crew of young TikTokers that you seem to be friends with. Is it nice to have them to bounce ideas off?
Yeah, it’s been such a nice surprise that a group of influencers could get together and everyone actually genuinely gets along. I think everyone really wants there to be drama but there really isn't. I really, really enjoy everyone's company. And everyone’s come from similar backgrounds to me. Everyone’s just normal and they've found themselves in this situation just from putting themselves out there.
That's so true actually - with the music industry and the film industry it can be a bit about who's got a foot in the door, whereas with TikTok it could genuinely happen to anyone. It’s purely about who is making the funniest videos or the best videos.
It could be anyone. You've just got to find your niche.
There’s genuinely space for everyone - that's the beauty of TikTok. It's not like you're all going for one role.
Exactly, and if you've got your own thing that you're doing and people are liking it then that is your thing and you can just roll with it.
I saw you were hanging out with the Jonas Brothers the other day. How was that?
Oh yeah, just my friends, just my bros. That was unreal. That was actually like a real pinch me moment for me. Being in a room and Joe Jonas coming up to me and giving me a big hug and then calling his amazing, beautiful wife, Sophie Turner - I was like “What is going on right now?” And then Sophie was on the phone going to me like, “Are you gonna be at the after party later? I really want to meet you.” I was like, “What is going on? Why do you want to meet me?” I really had a bit of a meltdown the next day because I was on such a comedown. It was just mad. It’s just the weirdest thing. I can't even begin to put into words how that feels. It doesn't feel real until the next day.
Shirt - Tora Lily / Trousers - A Vintage Fit / Belt - Phussy Couture
Actually now that you say it - you and Sophie Turner could totally play sisters in something.
I do get comments on my TikTok saying that I look like Sophie . . .
Yeah, you do! I’ve never put that together but you totally do.
Oh God, that would be amazing. I would love that.
Well, you’re friends with her now.
It was just the best day. They were so lovely. I’m very grateful to have experienced that.
So looking forward, what are your main goals? What’s on your bucket list?
I want to get back into acting properly. Ideally, I’d love to be in a situation where I'm known as an actor, not a TikToker. There's no shame in TikTok and I’m very grateful for it and what it’s done for me, but I'd love acting to be my full time job. This year the focus is on working my way into that world and meeting people and getting back into auditions. But equally I’m very happy to just ride the wave and see what comes my way. Whatever comes my way I'm very open to do it. Every day something new is coming. But acting is where my heart is. I really wanna write a sitcom. And then I can make myself the lead.