Pop-Culturalist Chats with Maddie McCormick
In her breakout role on the scripted AwesomenessTV series, Versus, Maddie McCormick is leaving it all on the field. The show follows two rival lacrosse players who are forced to play on the same team for a summer tournament. For Maddie’s character, Lauren, it’s an opportunity to change her life, and one she won’t throw away. She’ll quickly learn, however, that she can’t do it alone and how powerful female friendship can be. Pop-Culturalist spoke with Maddie about the role, the women who inspire her, and the important message the show is teaching young teens (especially girls) about the benefits of playing sports.
P-C: Tell us about Versus and your character on the show.
Maddie: Versus follows two rivals from cross town high schools, Madison and Lauren—I play Lauren—and they’re forced to join the same lacrosse team for a summer tournament. Lauren is a really fun character because she’s a total tomboy, doesn’t get along with girls, and puts up a tough wall and exterior because she has a really rough home life. She comes from a pretty broken family and has a lot of pressure on her shoulders to really make it, succeed, and get a scholarship.
The show explores girls’ personal lives, on and off the lacrosse field. It’s a really cool perspective because we haven’t really seen this from a sports show before.
Check out the trailer for Versus below:
P-C: How did you prepare for the role? Did you have to learn how to play lacrosse?
Maddie: [laughs] I did! Two weeks before we started shooting, we had practices every day with this amazing coach, Michelle Mendoza. She played at Chapman and was so patient with us. It was physically grueling, especially for me, since I’ve never picked up a lacrosse stick before. There were many long days in cleats. My ankles have never been this sore, which I wasn’t expecting, but it was really fun to learn something completely new and different!
P-C: How similar/different are you to your character?
Maddie: [laughs] Lauren is definitely more badass than I am. She is introverted and puts up a guard before letting people in, and I can relate to that. She’s also really loyal, which is one of my favorite qualities about her—she’s incredibly loyal to her family, to her team, and to the sport. Once she lets you in, she’ll give you everything she has. It’s something that I admire about her.
P-C: Will we see her open up to the team as the season progresses?
Maddie: That’s my favorite part about the whole arc of the show! They start out as rivals, but episode by episode, they start to open up a little more. It’s a mutual rivalry that comes from both sides. So, it’s really cool to see how they come together and how Lauren learns that girl friendships are empowering and can make you stronger and better. She has this false perception that girls are weak and their friendships are about shoes and makeup, but she realizes she can have deep, meaningful relationships with these girls.
P-C: Lauren seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders. What advice would you give someone in a similar situation?
Maddie: I think the most important thing when you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders is to recognize that it’s not true. You have so much going for you and have a support system around you. There are people there that want to help you and don’t want you to deal with it all on your own. Take a deep breath and really utilize your support system. Use your family, your friends, your teammates to help you work through whatever you’re going through.
P-C: Lauren’s support system on the show is her boyfriend. Who was that person for you growing up?
Maddie: For me, growing up, I was lucky to have a wonderful family surrounding me, plus I have two best friends that I met at a young age, and they’ve become sisters to me. I also have my boyfriend, who I’ve been dating for over five years, who has become my support system as well.
P-C: Gatorade, go90, Awesomeness are focused on creating content that inspires a generation, what inspires you?
Maddie: So much, but right now, I’m really inspired by women in all industries! In the past, girls have grown up being taught to take a backseat and not to ruffle too many feathers, and there’s a strong pushback right now against this. It’s amazing to see. It’s really cool to see more female directors and producers than ever before. Lady Bird, for example, is the best-reviewed movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes and that’s directed by Greta Gerwig. I’m so inspired by the women who have fought for equality and helped paved a path for my journey in this industry.
P-C: Have you been able to see the fan reaction to this show?
Maddie: Yeah! I got this direct message on Instagram this morning from a girl who said, “Thank you so much. My sister and I really relate to Lauren’s storyline with her family. It’s really helping me work through some things.” It was so touching and something that I’ll remember forever. It was this really tangible moment about how this show is really helping people. Go90 and Awesomeness have been wonderful. They’ve been great about sharing our mission to keep girls in sports.
P-C: Besides Versus, are there any other upcoming projects that you can tease?
Maddie: Yeah, I had a movie just released on Netflix called Camera Store that I shot that in New Orleans. It’s a 90s-character drama, so very different. I play a sixteen-year-old runaway.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Maddie: I’m totally a reality television fan. Vanderpump Rules is by far my guiltiest pleasure, but I’m also a huge Bachelor fan and I love mixing in some Chopped.
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Maddie: It’s got to be a rom-com. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is definitely a fun one. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.
P-C: Favorite book?
Maddie: There are so many good ones! This is tough. I’ve read all the Harry Potters and I’m obsessed with them, but my favorite recent book is Ready Player One.
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Maddie: I’m a really big Frank Sinatra fan.
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Maddie: I love these questions, they’re so fun. I just saw Hamilton and I still can’t get over it, so I’m going to say that, and The Children’s Hour is one of my favorite plays.
P-C: Hidden talent?
Maddie: I’m really good at math.
Photo Credit: Alex Lombardi/Awesomeness