When I attended Chiller Theatre in October of 2016, I met many interesting people, all of whom were very friendly. In addition to all the veteran stars, I also met several up-and-coming talents as well. One of them is a versatile talent named Laura Madsen.
Ms. Madsen started as a writer in her teens, and then progressed her way into radio and modeling, and is currently making her way onto the film scene. Although she’s rather new to the entertainment business, I see big things in her future, and I knew she’d make for an interesting interview subject. We spoke on December 5th, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know this new face.
Say hello to Laura Madsen!
Johnny: Hi, Laura.
Laura: Hi. How are you, Johnny?
Johnny: I’m doing good. Let me pull up my questions. First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Laura: It’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for reaching out. It was nice to hear from you after Chiller.
Johnny: Oh, no problem. Alright, I always start my interviews off with this question. What were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music?
Laura: Oh my gosh. I loved, and I still love, iconic 80s pop culture so much. Some of my favorite movies are very timeless, like Back To The Future, any of the Indiana Jones movies, and Star Wars…So many of the classic films. With music, I just love 80s music…80s pop music. I’m a huge fan of Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and all of that kind of classic, classic music that people will never forget.
Johnny: A woman after my own heart. I now come to my next question. You started out as a writer, and your first work was published in YM Magazine. Who have been your biggest influences as a writer?
Laura: I would say that Candace Bushnell is my icon as a writer. I think that her starting out writing for newspapers, and then eventually going out on her own and writing books, and having that transfer to film and television, is just something that shows me that writing can lead to other, greater things. There’s so much more to explore other than putting it on paper or publishing it online.
Johnny: Okay. What was your first article for YM about, and how did you react to being published at such a young age?
Laura: Well, YM Magazine is no longer around. It became Teen Vogue. I believe it was something to do with fashion, and what I liked in fashion at the time. I wish I had that article. I don’t have it anymore (laughing), so I’m going off of memory. I did not think for one second that, out of all the submissions that they would get, they would pick mine. I was a subscriber to the magazine at the time, and to actually comb through it page by page, and to find out they published my submission was complete shock, surprise, exhilaration and joy. It’s a national publication, and I love to write, but it was the acknowledgement by somebody else saying, “What you write is good enough for others to read”. I think that inspired me to continue on that path.
Johnny: Alright. What articles that you’ve written have you been most proud of?
Laura: Any of the articles I’ve written featuring other people. Usually they’re entertainment-related or on an artist. It’s something that I write about someone else. I love being able to shine light on their talents and what they do.
Johnny: Okay. I can definitely relate to that with the interviews I do. You’re also a radio talent as well. Similar to my question about your start as a writer, who have been your biggest influences when it comes to your radio work?
Laura: That’s a good question. I think there really isn’t one specific individual that I admire when it comes to radio. There are so many people that get on air every day and have years and years more experience than I do at this point, and I learn so much from them. I learn from even my own broadcasts by listening and trying to improve on what I do every time I get the chance to go on air.
Johnny: Okay. Which do you think is the better format to work in: Terrestrial radio or satellite radio?
Laura: Hmm. I think the lines are blended there because there are some traditional AM/FM radio stations that also cross over to the SiriusXM world. It’s sort of like how television and film are crossing over into anything that’s broadcast over the Internet now, like Netflix. I think that both are a lot of fun to do, and I think there’s going to be less of a division between that kind of a thing, especially in years to come.
Johnny: Okay. To my next question: You’ve also spent time as a model. What’s your favorite part of modeling?
Laura: I love working with photographers that I trust to feature me in ways that I have never thought of myself. First of all, I never thought that I would start modeling. When I was a little girl, growing up I never thought, “Yeah, I want to be a model”. I love working with photographers who will say, “Okay, why don’t you try this? Stand here”, or “Why don’t we go outside and shoot? The lighting is great here”, or “Wear this color”. It gives me the freedom to show off a side of me that I don’t usually show the rest of the world.
Laura: I get up and work every day. I have a little girl and I’m a mom. Most of the time, when I’m at events, I’m dressed for that specific event, but there’s another side of me when I model. I don’t leave the house in the morning in a bikini or standing in beautiful lighting, so I love seeing myself in a completely different way that I could never even dream of.
Johnny: Alright. When it comes to modeling, what’s the most interesting location you’ve ever modeled at, and what’s been the most outrageous design that you’ve ever worn?
Laura: The most interesting location I’ve ever modeled at has been a rooftop in New York City. It was the most perfect day in June 2 years ago. The sun was setting and the timing was perfect. The weather was perfect so it wasn’t too hot or too cold. I absolutely loved that location for shooting. The most outrageous design that I’ve worn? I don’t know if I’ve worn anything outrageous.
Johnny: Well, when I say outrageous, I mean like unusual, out of the ordinary…
Laura: Okay. I’m going to answer this in a very unexpected way. Probably the most daring thing that I’ve NOT worn on camera would be to have a photographer feature me in a provocative way where you can tell by the photo that I’m not wearing a top, but you don’t see me topless. It’s not really what I’m wearing. It’s what I’m NOT wearing.
Johnny: Okay. If I may be so bold, you look great and have an amazing body. What do you do to look so great?
Laura: Well, I’m thankful for my genetics, first of all (laughing). That has something to do with it. Also, I have a little girl and a little dog, and they keep me active. I like to burn calories, but not in a gym. I don’t like to exercise indoors at all in a structured environment. What I like to do is go for walks in the Summertime. I like to kayak. When it gets cold enough, I’ll figure-skate. Anything that I can do outside, I find exciting because the world around me is changing. It engages my mind and takes my mind off the fact that I’m actually exercising.
Johnny: Okay. I’m like that, too. I like to take a walk when I can. Now we come to your film work. What has acting provided for you that writing has not?
Laura: An outlet to explore life through someone else’s eyes. I think that, whenever someone presents me with a script, they put a piece of themselves in there. I say that because, when I write, I always put pieces of myself in there. I always hope, when I’m acting, that I can do that character I portray justice. I might be able to find pieces of that character inside myself that I can draw upon, but it’s really fun to play pretend, and to do it in such a way where I hope I’m doing a really good job for the person who wrote the script. That way I become the character that they had always dreamed of.
Johnny: Alright. You had a role in an independent film called Who’s Jenna?. How did you get involved in that project?
Laura: That is so funny. I was an extra in the movie Who’s Jenna?, and I am a publicist for the film’s production company, 624 Productions, as well as a publicist for that particular film. Literally, I was on set that day. I never in a million years had thought that I wanted to act or be on camera, and I was presented with the opportunity. It was just like, “Hey, would you like to be in a scene? Would you like to sit at the bar?”, and pretty much just like everything in life, I will try it. I’ll try it because you won’t know if you’ll like something unless you try it. The worst thing that can happen is that I don’t like and I never have to do it again. Well, I sat there, I did what I was supposed to do, and I ended up NOT hitting the cutting room floor in the scene. I didn’t have any lines or anything, but it was kind of neat to step out of myself and just be somebody else for a scene in a film.
Johnny: Okay. According to IMDBPro, you’re currently working on a horror film called Death At A Barbecue. What can you reveal about that movie, if anything?
Laura: Well, Death At A Barbecue actually wrapped its’ filming at the end of the Summer. It’s a horror movie and I have a supporting role. I play a character whose name is Amy. In one of the scenes of the film, let’s just say that you don’t know if Amy’s going to live or not in that particular scene (laughing), and it’s due to be released in 2017. I think that the director, Larry Rosen, is planning on having a limited theatrical release and a few screenings at film festivals. I also have a lead role in an upcoming movie called That’s Life. It’s not on IMDBPro yet because it just started production. The director and writer, Sean Guess, has not placed it on there yet with a list of the characters. I play the lead female. Her name is Roseanne. The movie is about a family that’s going through a lot of change at once. I play the girlfriend of Rick, played by Matthew Gochman. He has a son, getting into trouble. His father is elderly and developing Alzheimer’s. He recently became divorced, and I play the brand-new girlfriend, which I like. It spices things up. I love playing roles where I can be a little bit creative and expressive and somebody who’s a little bit different. That’s really all I can tell you about filming right now. I start December 13th. That’s another film that’s due to be released in 2017.
Johnny: Okay. Working both in front of the cameras, as an actress, and behind them, as a publicist, do you ever have difficulty balancing the two?
Laura: The only film that I’ve worked on in a dual capacity is Who’s Jenna?, and it was not a problem to balance the two. Like I said, I was only an extra in Who’s Jenna?, so there was no conflict for me. I was able to do my job as a publicist and just be on set for that one day in a different capacity. All the other film work that I’ve done? I’ve only been the actress, not as a publicist, so again there was no conflict of interest.
Johnny: Alright. How did you get into publicity, anyway?
Laura: Well, I started writing, and then I had an opportunity to get on radio. I was like, “What? You want me on radio as a guest?”. I gave that a shot, and apparently the audience and the producers of the radio show I was on, on WOND radio in Atlantic City, New Jersey, asked me back. And other radio stations had invited me on as a host or as a guest, and then I had people who read my blog ask me, “Can you feature me on your blog? Can you get me on radio?”. I started acting as a conduit for them to have publicity done, so I kind of fell into publicity by accident, too.
Johnny: Alright. What directors would you most like to work with?
Laura: The one that comes to mind first is Kevin Smith. He’s famous for the movie Clerks, and his whole laundry list of films, but I name him at the top of my list because he’s from New Jersey. Like me, he had a dream, and he said, “You know what? I’m going to take a stab at it, no matter what”. His first film, Clerks, was so important to him that he just did everything he could to see it through to fruition. I like that kind of drive, I admire that kind of talent, and when you pair both of those together, it can only bring success. I have a soft spot for New Jersey talent, I must say, so he’s definitely at the top of my list as someone I would love to work with. Two other brilliant directors that I would love to work with are Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. They are brilliant minds and they pay such amazing attention to detail, as they did with the Back To The Future films. I have a lot of respect for them, too, as they know when to say that something is complete. They’re not going to continue the Back To The Future series. You know they’re not going to have a Back To the Future 10 coming out. They know when to conclude something that has been such a great success. I would like to work with them, too.
Johnny: Alright. We met at Chiller Theatre in October of 2016, as discussed at the beginning of the interview. I imagine you’ll be doing a lot of conventions in the future, so what was the most rewarding part of attending Chiller Theatre?
Laura: I would absolutely love to do more autograph shows or Comic-Cons in the future, and that’s definitely something I’m looking forward to in 2017. The most exciting thing about Chiller in October was, for me, meeting so many talented people who had been in the industry for a lot longer than I have. When I say “the industry”, I mean the entertainment industry. They were so welcoming to me, the new kid on the block. Eddie Deezen from Grease was at the table next to me, and he was just so kind. He offered some valuable advice that I plan to use going forward with my career.
Laura: I met Dawn Wells. She was so completely lovely, and she had so much more experience working in television and film. She gave me a hug and was very warm and complimentary. She didn’t mind, for one second, for me to sit down next to her. I think it was the best photo I had taken with someone at Chiller that day. It was how other people didn’t look down on me for being somebody who is the new kid on the block, and they were just so completely nice to me, and welcoming and warm. That was THE best part of it for me.
Johnny: I can definitely say that every celebrity I encountered there that weekend, yourself included, was very friendly and kind.
Laura: That’s always nice. You know, some people can be a little more cautious when they meet others, and that’s to be expected sometimes. They don’t know who you are. You’re a stranger to them, and the fact that they were just so genuinely open to meeting a new person was just amazing to me.
Johnny: Definitely. We now come to my final question, and it’s this: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Laura: Well, I hope to be doing more film work ten years from now as an actress. I’ve enjoyed that. It was a new experience for me over the past year-and-a-half that I’ve been working as an actress. I want to continue with my writing. I definitely hope that, 10 years from now, all the ideas I have in my head for publishing a book will come out. I just need to have the time to sit down and write it. I want more brand new experiences to come my way…To do things that I never dreamed of doing or thought I could do that I wind up enjoying. I’ve only been adding to who I am and discovering the gifts that I have over the past four-and-a-half years that I’ve been A Lady In Red Who Writes with The Lady In Red Blog. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Johnny: Neither can I. You sound like you have a great future ahead of you, and it was an honor to speak to you today.
Laura: Aw. Well, thank you so much.
Johnny: That about does it for me, so I just again wanted to thank you. It was an honor meeting you at Chiller Theatre, and I look forward to all your future work.
Laura: Thanks so much. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk again. This has been an absolute pleasure.
Johnny: I’ll speak to you soon. Thank you very much, and have a good afternoon.
Laura: You, too. Bye.
Johnny: Bye bye.
For more on Ms. Madsen’s work, you can visit The Lady In Red Blog linked to earlier in the article, and you can also visit her on Facebook.
Stay tuned to Pop Geeks because soon I’ll be flashing back with voice actress Katie Leigh and actress/dancer Galyn Gorg. Thanks for your support, and have a good day.