Madalen Mills gives us a glimpse into her inspirational life as she shares some key insights into her magical role as Journey in the Christmas Classic, “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.”
Madalen Mills, an adventurous and intelligent actress, brings magic to any stage she steps foot on. She has portrayed characters on Broadway, musicals, as well as starred in inspirational films as, Tiger Rising. Despite this current pandemic, she found ways to reach new levels and continues to bring inspiration to us all as she plays Journey in Netflix’s first original live-action musical Christmas classic, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, written and directed by David E. Talbert.
With the support of her parents, family, and community of role models, Mills finds new confidence in herself to be bold, ambitious, and just magical as she stars in the movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The actress shares with us who Journey is, “Journey has a big imagination and is just filled with so much love.” This is not just a character, but it is a role that Madalen embodies and is honored to play. Enjoy this exclusive interview to learn more about Madalen Mills and her love for the performing arts.
You play a key role in Jingle Jangle: The Christmas Journey, can you tell us more about your magical role?
I play Journey who is Jeronicus Jangle’s (portrayed by Mr. Forest Whitaker) granddaughter. Journey is a lot like me. We both are very adventurous, creative, and love math. Math is my favorite subject in school!
In the beginning, Journey struggles with finding who she is. During the movie, you will see her grow as she meets her grandfather. Throughout the movie, she really finds herself and realizes that it’s okay to just be yourself. She is an incredible character and I really had a lot of fun playing her!
What inspirations did you use to prepare for this role?
My inspiration begins with my mom, she is a mathematician and that’s where I get my love for math from. My dad is an architect. I was drawn to this role because Journey likes math, science, all things S.T.E.M. I knew Journey liked to build and dream up things using her imagination and those two aspects helped me embody the character and portray her easier.
I am a lot like Journey, which drew me to this role. It’s really rare to find a role that really suits you like I feel Journey did for me. It’s an honor to be able to bring her to life!
What inspirational message do you hope your character portrays in this classic holiday movie?
The message that Journey portrays and I feel like kids will be able to relate to is the freedom to be yourself. Like I said, Journey likes math, science, all things S.T.E.M, which is typically attributed to boys. I hope kids see Journey and just say, ‘I can be myself, I can go out into the world and pursue my passions,’ whether that is performing arts, makeup, fashion, or S.T.E.M.
Can you tell us more about your favorite a part of this amazing cast? Give us an insight into what to expect.
There has definitely been a lot of love that has gone into the making of this movie and every single aspect. Mr. David E. Talbert has been working on this movie for more than 20 years. I think you will really see that when you watch the movie. Everything is thought out and detailed, magic in every single thing. Literally, everywhere you look! I truly think the time and creativity really shines through this movie. It’s like no other! I cannot wait for everyone to see it!
How was your transition from theatre to working on film?
I really learned on Jingle Jangle was that movies are completely different from theatre. I’ve done musical theatre all my life. It is so big and it’s all about personality because you have to “play to the back of the house.” When you are in a theatre with an audience of twenty-five hundred and the people in the nose bleeds have to see you with that personality. Whereas with film you do not have to be as expressive and as big because the camera is right on your face.
That’s definitely one thing I really learned. Also, I have some great role models like Mrs. Anika Noni Rose and Mr. Forest Whitaker who was able to help and guide me to transition into the film world. Truly blessed to work with some amazing and inspirational actors and actresses as well as directors like Mr. Talbert. It was so amazing!
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to play my base guitar, play the piano, I love to work on makeup. My mom got me this mannequin head form this past Christmas, so I can practice doing makeup. I also love to shop and enjoy fashion. Also, I love video games, my favorite videogame is Super Smash Brothers. I like to play with my cat, her name is Gabby Pork Chop, since I love to eat food her name has some food elements and character roles I’ve previously played. She goes everywhere with me.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I truly found my love for academics. Surprisingly, even more now because with the industry shutting down, I have not been getting much auditions. So, I have really been focusing on school, reading, and my love for math. This may sound nerdy, but I love to be able to discuss with my peers along with my schoolwork and just read a book then discuss the different aspects. Truly developed my love for academics, especially during quarantine.
At such a young age, you have portrayed some amazing characters. You were in the School of Rock on Broadway, the Broadway National Tour of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical, and most recent film The Tiger Rising. What do you hope to accomplish in your future?
I hope that I end up doing what I love if it exists or other interests. I love makeup, fashion, and math. I truly hope for the opportunity and ability to continue to pursue what I love. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that every single moment on earth is a blessing.
For more on our digital cover for “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” starring Madalen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Forest Whitaker, Keegan – Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad and so many more, check out our digital issue on Issuu’s official website.
Featured Image by Gareth Gatrell/NETFLIX