Madison Bailey. Photography: Jovon Roberts

The five up-and-comers giving Hollywood a shot in the arm

Get to know the young generation cresting the wave of fame with a spate of compelling roles in flashy new television series.

In Netflix’s Outer Banks, Madison Bailey’s character, Kiara, runs with a crew of three best friends – the Pogues – who try and solve a maritime mystery. As Vlad in Hulu’s The Great, Louis Hynes mires in servitude to Nicholas Hoult’s hilariously careless oligarch character. Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood takes a sweeping look at Tinseltown’s Golden Age, and Jake Picking grapples with his sexuality as Rock Hudson (based on the real-life legend). Sophie Thatcher is Becky in When the Streetlights Go On, a double-homicide thriller set in the summer of 1995 (not really a spoiler: her sister is one of the victims). And Richa Moorjani just wants her sister and her trio of misfits to struggle less as they enter sophomore year in Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever.

All of these upstarts (some of whom you may recognise from other series) are all fellow bright sparks poised to light up the Dream Factory. They are the breakout talent from their respective shows, and when TV is all that we really have at the moment, it’s high time we get to know them better.

Madison Bailey. Photography: Jovon Roberts

Madison Bailey, Outer Banks (Netflix)

Age: 21

Describe the series in a short sentence.

A wild freakin’ ride.

My standout scene in Outer Banks is…

Ward going to Barry’s and paying him off, then kicking Rafe out. Phenomenal acting all around.

Something that will only make sense to viewers once they’ve seen the whole series is…

Pogues actually do mack on pogues.

One fun or funny thing I remember from production is…

People saying me throwing the net in the water and getting it caught in the engine was a little unrealistic but then it actually happened during one of the takes and they had to swim down there and cut the net out.

I’m keeping myself occupied in quarantine by…

Making new recipes and playing tennis. I’ve ran up the screen time on my phone for sure!

The song I have on repeat in lockdown is…

Anything Beyoncé. I always go back and re-obsess over her music. I’m currently on The Carters’ EVERYTHING IS LOVE album. 

Jake Picking

Jake Picking, Hollywood (Netflix)

Age: 29

Describe the series in a short sentence.

Hollywood follows aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in the business – what are they willing to do to get there? 

My standout scene in Hollywood is…

The whole series in itself is a standout. It’s hard to pick just one with such an incredible cast, although Rock’s scenes at the George Cukor party in episode three were thrilling to film. The Oscars, held at The Orpheum Theatre, were also remarkable and powerful. 

Something that will only make sense to viewers once they’ve seen the whole series is…

I want to go to Dreamland.”

One fun or funny thing I remember from production is…

In between takes on a long day, Jim Parsons accidentally barged into my trailer, thinking it was his, with half of his face prosthetics on. Also memorable was a dance off with Darren Criss and Jeremy Pope… I won. 

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done since becoming an actor?

On one of my early films, I had the opportunity to improv with De Niro. I was introduced to one of my heroes… and then I had to yell at him and punch him for several hours.

The song I have on repeat in lockdown is..

Leader of the Delinquents by Kid Cudi.

Richa Moorjani

Richa Moorjani, Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

Age: 30

Describe the series in a short sentence.


A multi-generational coming-of-age story told through the lens of three Indian women living in America: Devi, a young first generation Indian-American girl, her immigrant mother and her seemingly perfect cousin from India.

Something that will only make sense to viewers once they’ve seen the whole series is… 

Why Kamala isn’t as perfect” as her cousin Devi thinks she is.

One fun or funny thing I remember from production is… 

One time we were shooting a dinner scene with the family (Nalini, Kamala and Devi), and the dish we were eating was a South Indian staple called dosa”, which is essentially a savory crepe made with a lot of oil and deliciousness. We were so excited to have dosas on an American TV set that we stuffed our faces in the first take, forgetting that for continuity purposes we had to continue eating just as much for every camera set up. It’s been six months, and I haven’t eaten a single dosa since. 

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done since becoming an actor?

I was once suspended a couple hundred feet in the air on a harness to perform a solo act at the Bollywood Filmfare Awards in 2014 (equivalent to a Hollywood awards show like the Golden Globes). I was quite literally at the top of Bollywood for a few minutes. 

The song I have on repeat in lockdown is…

Loca by Shakira.

Louis Hynes. Photography: Elliot Gilmour

Louis Hynes, The Great (Hulu)

Age: 18

Describe the series in a short sentence.

The Great is an irreverent, witty romp through Catherine The Great’s turbulent rise to power.

My standout scene in The Great is…

On a personal level, my favourite scene took place on a day I was supposed to be sitting a maths test, instead I found myself in a Neapolitan palace helping Nicholous Hoult throw a (fake!) dog off a balcony. Vlad has got some fun scenes in episode seven though. 

Something that will only make sense to viewers once they’ve seen the whole series is…

In the cupboard!”

One fun or funny thing I remember from production is…

I spent a full day in costume, with a wig and make up on, shouting lines from a locked cupboard without being seen. That was probably one of the more surreal days I’ve had so far. To be honest, it was an impressively spacious cupboard with nice decorations in it – I can’t complain really!

My big break was…

Playing Klaus in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation. 

I’m keeping myself occupied in quarantine by…

I have started a podcast called Louis’ Lockdown Lowdown to try to while away some of the quarantine hours. The editing is keeping me surprisingly busy! Netflix has definitely been a constant through this, though I guess I should be a Hulu person now!

Sophie Thatcher. Photography by Emma Thatcher.

Sophie Thatcher, When the Streetlights Go On (Quibi)

Age: 19

Describe the series in a short sentence.

After the murder of a young girl hits a suburb, the victim’s sister and her peers try to find a sense of normality again.

My standout scene in When the Streetlights Go On is…

There is this one scene I have with Kristine after her death, but it’s a very surreal moment where Becky sees her again in her bedroom and finally asks her questions and says the things she always wanted to say to her. The Beach Boys are playing in the background which adds to the bittersweet-ness of the moment. The lighting is this beautiful soft pink (reminiscent of a Sofia Coppola film; the juxtaposition of the lighter atmosphere and the darkness behind the story sets forth an eerie feeling within the viewer).

One fun or funny thing I remember from production is…

I’ve always been a really big fan of Tony Hale from Arrested Development. I practically grew up on the show, and his character Buster is a legend. I really wanted to talk to him but I was way too nervous, so I asked him where the bathroom was like four times… even though I definitely knew where the bathroom was.

I’m keeping myself occupied in quarantine by…

I’m making music, reading, making short films with my sister, making collages/​drawing, watching movies off Criterion, learning to read sheet music for piano, and occasionally playing The Sims 4.

The song I have on repeat in lockdown is…

What I Need (alternate version) by Cindy Lee, or I Want You To Love Me by Fiona Apple. (She will forever be my hero.)


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