Earlier this year, Netflix added the Representation Matters Collection to its platform, which highlights content that is created by and featuring people of color. This is separate from the Black Lives Matter Collection, and based on the titles currently displayed upon search, it seems geared toward a younger audience overall. The family-friendly musical series Julie and the Phantoms is one of many presented titles in this collection. Julie and the Phantoms star Madison Reyes has spoken about working on a Netflix show and what being a voice for representation means to her.
Although portraying the titular character of Julie and the Phantoms is her first role, you wouldn’t know it watching Madison Reyes. She exudes a mesmerizing confidence both on and off screen. The push for representation in the media has been going on for years, and for Reyes, it has made a difference. At 16-years-old, she has grown up seeing it. Here’s what she told me:
Even before I got into Netflix, I did see a lot of representation and thought it was really cool. I never thought I would be an inspirational part of it. Representation is very important, it’s something I’ve worked on in my life to bring importance to, so to apply it to my platform now and be able to be that [representative] for someone else is really cool.
Based on the Brazilian show Julie e os Fantasmas, Julie and the Phantoms follows a musical prodigy at a performing arts high school who has lost her mother, and subsequently her creative spirit. Julie meets three ghosts that were in a popular '90s band called Sunset Curve, and are just now learning that they’re dead. The series expertly tells beautiful stories of loss, love, and friendship without missing a beat by delivering more of what we’ve come to expect and adore from director Kenny Ortega.
While chasing her musical dreams on screen as Julie, Madison Reyes is doing the same in her personal life. She recognizes that she’s seeing success very early in her career, and we chatted about the advice she would give to other young girls wanting to pursue their own dreams. She didn’t sugar coat the necessary hard work. Here’s what she said:
I really like that I got to take advantage of the method of teaching myself a lot. Sometimes learning things on your own is better than being taught by somebody. I would say, have fun with it. You’re going to hear a lot of no's, but the only person that can stop you is yourself. It’s really up to you not to feed into that negativity and stay positive. It does get hard and tricky, but when I look back on those times where it was a little hard and I look at it now, I see you do have to go through that bad to get to the good.
Madison Reyes has certainly gotten to the good. She gives a magnetic performance in Julie and the Phantoms with her stunning voice, elegant dancing, and delivering raw and real emotion as an actress. This girl is definitely one to watch. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to see her back in Season 2 to answer some burning questions.