Dora Madison

 & What She’s Supposed To Do

13. Dora Madison

Growing up in Hutto,Texas as the youngest of seven children, Dora Madison was always an outlier. Acting since she was a tween, Madison landed her first big role at 18 years old on the popular and critically acclaimed NBC Series, “Friday Night Lights,” where she starred as “Becky.” Her layered and tragic role as the small town beauty queen, struck a vulnerable chord in her audience, and thus her future was set and her career took off.

Madison has since starred on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire” for two seasons, which she named as one of her favorite acting experiences. She also has played many memorable roles on popular TV shows, such as Showtime’s smash hit, “Dexter,” ABC Family’s “The Lying Game,” and CW’s “Star Crossed.” In film, she most recently co-starred in EVERYBODY WANTS SOME with award-winning director Richard Linklater.

She will be seen next in the Terrence Malick film, WEIGHTLESS, which stars Christian Bale and Natalie Portman. Another upcoming film includes a project close to her heart, NIGHT OF THE BABYSITTER. Madison stars and makes her producing debut with the stylistic thriller which is one she is especially excited for. Flashing back to her big break, Madison was hopeful she was destined for a career like this.

Tell me about the time you landed your first big role in Friday Night Lights. How did you feel when you heard you got the role of Becky?

I felt validated more than anything and relieved because I had just graduated high school. It was something I had always wanted to do. And everyone that loves you just really wants you to be realistic and they were like “Well, living in California is really hard, there are a lot of really talented people out there, go to college.” Stuff like that. So I was really relieved when I got the part and it made me feel like, okay cool. This is what I’m supposed to do.

So you recently did a film called WEIGHTLESS with Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. Tell me a bit about that project. What was it like acting alongside heavy weights like that? 

I’m excited about it. It was interesting. Especially since the scenes were improv-based, it was cool and kind of fun to come up with things on the fly and think of weird little guidelines and not know really what was going on in that time. It was more like, I’m in this situation with these people experiencing this and they have all their weird hang-ups and relationships. It was a trip—it was cool. The director, Terrence Malik was all about finding natural moments. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, some people can’t identify the story inside all of that, but I like not being hit over the head by story. I like being able to experience it.

Do you do have any pursuits outside of acting?

I like producing and writing and making creative concepts. I produced NIGHT OF THE BABYSITTER and that was the first time producing something on my own. I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping it does well and, if nothing else, I feel like I’m going to be really proud of it. Just because it looks good. My friend that directed it, Louis Edward Doerge, he’s a really tough critic and of himself, too. He told me, “It looks amazing!” So I’m extremely excited about that.

Text by Zee Chang

Photograph by Darian Zahedi
Styling by Phillip Bloch 
Hair by Michael Quinn
Makeup by Heather Cvar 

CHLOE from Saks Fifth Ave. Beverly Hills overalls
Kini from Saks Fifth Ave Beverly Hills swimsuit
Vintage Chanel jewelry from Elizabeth Mason at the Paper Bag Princess