What You Never Knew About Madelyn Cline

The Outer Banks is, as the Netflix series is quick to point out, "paradise on earth," and the show boasts a wealth of fantastic entertainers, including Madelyn Cline. The series that follows the drama of the people with either "two jobs or two houses" became an instant hit over quarantine, thanks to the on-screen dynamic of its leading players and its engrossing plot. Of course, at the heart of the show is the dynamic between John Booker Routledge and Sarah Cameron, who embark on a crazy journey of love and mystery together.

Sarah Cameron — the queen of the Kooks who has a surprising rejection of her privileged way of life — is brought to life on-screen by Cline. Before "Outer Banks" made her a star, Cline worked for years within the entertainment industry, getting her start when she was in the fifth grade. Her success was certainly a long time coming, and her path to stardom hasn't always been easy. But thanks to the hit show, she's found fame, love, and a whole bunch of followers just waiting to see what she does next. But the actress is still a bit of a newcomer, so here's what you never knew about Madelyn Cline.

Madelyn Cline started her career in modeling at just 10 years old

The ways in which actors get into the entertainment industry varies — some are born into the industry, others are discovered by agents, and some start their careers at an early age. Madelyn Cline falls into that last category, as she started working when she was just 10 years old. As noted by The Post and Courier, by the time Cline was in the fifth grade, the future "Outer Banks" star started her career as a model. 

As reported, Cline and her mom traveled to New York during her summer break from school, and she went on to book nine different jobs modeling for department stores, magazines, and catalogs. While she was still a student at Pinewood Preparatory School, she spent her summer vacation getting all dolled up for camera, and it was thanks to her own research and determination that she got the gigs — her parents were simply along for the ride. "We are really proud of her, and of how mature and professional she came across," Cline's mom said at the time. Cline booked jobs for the likes of Toys "R" Us, T-Mobile, Elidel pharmaceuticals, and the Hatkoff department stores.

The actress understood that the entertainment industry was tough from an early age

When we were 10 years old, we were reading J-14 magazine without our parents' permission, plotting how we were going to get our ears pierced at Claire's, and spending the summer vacation pretending that we were far older and cooler than we actually were. But for Madelyn Cline, she spent those early days working hard and making a name for herself within the modeling and acting world. What's more is that not only was she working to make herself known, but she understood at that young age just how tough the industry was that she was trying to break into. She told The Post and Courier at the time that she was hoping to pursue a career "in front of the camera," but understood that her goals would be tough to reach. 

"It's a very competitive business," 10-year-old Cline said. Despite the otherworldly competitiveness, Cline was determined, and her work as an extra on a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, motivated her to keep going. She even picked up ballet and dance classes, as well as voice lessons, to round out her skill set. "I want to improve my projection in front of crowds," she said. 

Madelyn Cline does not come from an entertainment industry family

When we think of the entertainment industry, we often think of the same names over and over again. Just think of the likes of Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith or Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson — family can take its members (whether they're children, nieces, nephews, cousins, you name it) quite a long way within the entertainment world, which can seem a little unfair to some who come from outside the realms of film and television. 

Madelyn Cline is one such actress who didn't come from a film family, but rather, her parents held very normal jobs when she was a kid just getting started as a model. As noted by The Post and Courier at the time she was in the fifth grade, Madelyn was the child of Pam Cline, a real estate agent, and Mark Cline, an engineer for Charleston Water System. Pam traveled with Madelyn during her summertime in the Big Apple, where she booked a number of her first modeling gigs, and from what we can tell, her parents were absolutely in her corner. "We are really supportive of her commitment to her goals," Pam said at the time of her daughter's aspirations.

The Outer Banks breakout got her start in small film and television appearances

Madelyn Cline got her start in the entertainment industry as a model, but she worked her way onto the silver screen and scored some small roles along the way. As noted by The Sun, she would travel to New York for multiple summers (sounds great, honestly) and work in the television commercial business. She even landed a gig in an ad for Sunny D, which, if you're one of us millennials, you'll be absolutely thrilled about. But she transitioned away from 2000s ads for sugary drinks and made her way onto film sets. 

Some of her work before "Outer Banks" included the role of Chloe in the tragic drama "Boy Erased," starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Joel Edgerton, as well as a gig in "Stranger Things." She appeared during the hit Netflix show's second season, and also made a couple of appearances during episodes of the CW series "The Originals." Of course, "Outer Banks" is what really put Cline on the map, and her time on the show has certainly catapulted her to new heights. As of publication, she is filming "Knives Out 2," the sequel to the hit film.

LA was a 'harsh city' for Madelyn Cline to face early in her career

It seems that Los Angeles is the hub where most people try to make it in the entertainment industry, and Madelyn Cline was one such hopeful that moved to the City of Angels with a dream in mind. But Los Angeles was not as kind as she may have originally thought, and in an interview with Glamour UK, Cline elaborated on the city that made her into a star. "LA is a harsh city to be in when you're a little girl from the South, and you have absolutely no idea what you're doing and you are thinking," she said, sharing that she asked herself questions like, "Am I making, have I made a massive mistake?" 

Cline shared that, at the time, she didn't have enough money to move back home and her parents weren't particularly "on board" with the idea of her pursuing acting. But despite the difficulties, she kept pushing. "You have to convince yourself that, you genuinely have to believe that it's, 'when,' not, 'if,'" she said, and it seems as though her hopefulness and hard work paid off.

The star's teenage years were difficult, as she battled an eating disorder

Being a teenager is ridiculously tough. From high school politics to social media to living up to what you think is right, the years spent as a teen can be some of the most life-defining (and damaging) times. For Madelyn Cline, her days as a teen were plagued by some rather unfortunate experiences with food and exercise, and she divulged what her experience with eating disorders was like to Women's Health

"When I was younger I did struggle with eating disorders, specifically when I was a teenager," she said. "I think I was around 16 when I started working out a lot. I would wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and I would work out for 30 minutes. It was super rigorous cardio every day." Cardio and going to the gym can be great for your body, but Cline admitted that she was not refueling her system after each workout. Instead, she "started cutting calories," and would eat the likes of "six almonds" at the start of her day because she didn't want to "counteract" all the work she had done at the gym.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

This exercise helped the actress reclaim her self-love

Recovering from an eating disorder is no easy feat. It often takes a significant amount of time and help from medical and mental health professionals to overcome the largest hurdles, but even then, eating and changing one's relationship with food and exercise can remain a daily challenge. For Madelyn Cline, she was gripped by the claws of what she thought she should look like when she was battling different eating disorders, and she told Women's Health that she was "harming" and "starving" herself in pursuit of "a particular body image." 

She shared that she was so angry that she wasn't achieving what she thought she should look like, and that's when her mom stepped in. Cline's mom took her through an exercise that significantly helped her recovery, and all it involved was the two of them standing in front of a mirror and naming what Cline liked about her body. "After that repetition those things became solidified in my mind. I like my curves, I like my hips, and after a while I started to love my body," she said. Positive affirmations really can make the biggest difference.

Madelyn Cline dropped out of college in order to pursue her acting career

A number of successful actors didn't finish school — it seems as though they found the one career path that doesn't require a bachelor's degree. Madelyn Cline took the cue of those who came before her, and she told Glamour UK that she decided to drop out of college in pursuit of her acting career. Cline revealed that she had saved "just enough money" that she could move on her own accord (despite her parents' wants for her to stay in school), and so she took the plunge. She was "completely miserable" in school, and took it as a sign to just go for it acting-wise. 

"I called my mom and said ... 'I know this is what you guys want me to do, but it's not what I want to do, so I'm going to drop out and I'm going to move out to LA and I don't need help, but I just would wish for your support,'" she shared. Her mom confessed that she would "handle" Cline's dad regarding the decision, and the actress packed up and moved. "It was difficult, but we wouldn't be sitting here right now had I not followed my gut," she said.

Outer Banks served as Madelyn Cline's big breakout role

The coronavirus pandemic brought with it, surprisingly, a lot of really good television. While many of us were cooped up inside, waiting for what seemed like forever for restaurants and in-person events to start back up again (both of which are on the rocks thanks to the delta variant, as of this writing), we turned to Netflix. On April 15, 2020, streamers were met with a brand new show called "Outer Banks," and it was an instant smash hit. 

As noted by Deadline, the show starred the likes of Charles Esten (who had previously acted in "Nashville"), Chase Stokes of "Tell Me Your Secrets," Drew Starkey of "Love, Simon," and of course, Madelyn Cline, who was mostly known for her work in "Boy Erased" at the time. The show absolutely marked Cline's big breakout, as she had mostly scored small parts in shows, films, and shorts up until then.

It was thanks to Madelyn Cline that her Outer Banks character became more in-depth and complex

We've all watched the stereotypical queen bee character play out on-screen time, but thanks to Madelyn Cline, her character of Sarah Cameron on "Outer Banks" is far more deep and complex than your average popular girl. It was through Cline's own work that Sarah became the multi-faceted character so many of us enjoy watching. Cline told V Magazine that when she initially read the script for "Outer Banks," there was a "one dimensional" impression of Sarah, so she set her sights on the show's creators and expressed her desire to give the character more depth. 

"I really wanted there to be something about her that was endearing, something that made you feel like maybe she doesn't quite belong in this world," she said. "I wanted to add some depth and some quirkiness to Sarah to make her feel not so stereotypical." What was fantastic for Cline was that "Outer Banks'" showrunner Jonas Pate was very much on board with Cline taking the character and running with her development. "We were all on the same wavelength and they told me, 'We trust you and we want you to run with this,'" Cline shared of the process.

The actress reflected on her own insecurities when preparing for the role of Sarah

We've all heard of techniques that actors use to get into character, but for Madelyn Cline, she sourced inspiration from her own insecurities when it came to playing Sarah Cameron on "Outer Banks." She told V Magazine that in a unique way, channeling her own doubts into her character was "cathartic," and she was able to recognize many similarities between herself and Sarah. "It's almost like I was giving advice to myself and telling myself that it's okay to feel these things," Cline said of her process. 

The actress also shared that occupying her character's headspace was much like being in her own head, and she sourced her own experiences for inspiration and motivation for the character. Although when it was time to really dive deep and bring out her character's pain and "turmoil," Cline turned to a heavier method to get the job done. "For heavier scenes, you could catch me sitting in a corner and crying just trying to get in the headspace," she said. "Especially for a lot of the later scenes in the show, I really had to create the betrayal and the pain that Sarah was going through in those moments for myself."

Madelyn Cline and her co-star worked to create this type of dynamic for the screen

The cornerstone of any good drama is the on-screen dynamic of the star-crossed lovers, and for Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes — who play love interests Sarah Cameron and John Booker Routledge in "Outer Banks" — they worked in a unique way to get into the mindsets of their characters. What most people might not know about Cline is that she worked with Stokes "as authentically as possible" to create an on-screen relationship and dynamic that was as believable as it was compelling, as she told V Magazine. She and Stokes acknowledged right away that it was up to them to really make the relationship believable. 

"Our goal from day one was to really sell John B and Sarah's relationship," she shared. "We really had to start at our own friendship and find that friendship in John B and Sarah for the love story to sell." By the time the cameras were filming the two on set, Stokes and Cline had created "a fortuitous bond off-screen" that directly transferred into their characters. What most of us do know about Cline, however, is that her bond with Stokes certainly led to something amazing off-screen.

The dedication to their on-screen romance paid off because Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes fell in love

There are some celebrity couples that stand out from the others, perhaps because their on-screen characters fell in love. Think of the likes of Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, or Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. (the last of which were just the cutest in "Scooby-Doo" together, though they met earlier while filming "I Know What You Did Last Summer," according to People). What made these romances that much more enduring for those of us watching from the outside was their dedication to each other both on and off the screen, and Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes got bitten by the same bug. 

The two started dating after meeting thanks to "Outer Banks," and Cline shared a bit about the relationship with Entertainment Tonight. Calling the Netflix show "a pretty big life change," Cline shared how she and Stokes' lives were altered overnight. What was crazy about the whole experience was that the two were quarantining due to the coronavirus pandemic. If anything, the time allowed them to explore their connection. "We were just wanting to kind of give it some time and enjoy it while it's, you know, new and fresh," Cline said, adding, "It's really cool. Love is tight." We love their love, to say the least.

Outer Banks served as an opportunity for Madelyn Cline to appreciate her home state

While "Outer Banks" is very clear on its setting, it's shot in Charleston, South Carolina. This presented Madelyn Cline with an amazing opportunity, because Charleston is her hometown. After moving to Los Angeles, her profession brought her back to the place that started it all in a "full-circle sensation," as noted by V Magazine. Filming the show, Cline said that she "fell back in love" with where she's from, and it allowed her to develop a new sense of appreciation. 

"Shooting a show and a love story in that whole ecosystem with the most amazing people, our cast and our crew, I fell back in love with that area because I was so in love with the project," she said. She also shed a light on her love of the Outer Banks and the fruitful ecosystem it boasts, but highlighted how global warming is threatening the place she's called home. "A huge thing for me is our environment. It's not called the low country for nothing," she said. "If we don't start paying attention to conservation in our environment, the water levels are going to rise and those areas are going to start disappearing."