Madison Reyes is the incredibly talented and spunky Julie at the center of Netflix’s delightful new series Julie and the Phantoms. In a terrific role that is sure to catapult her to stardom, the 16-year-old shows the world she’s a force to be reckoned with. Her voice is truly one of a kind. The first season is out now and follows Madison’s character as she rediscovers her love for music when she befriends three ghost musicians from 1995. The young actress spoke to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about what this role means to her.
“She’s a very lovely character, but she’s a Latin American girl,” Madison told HollywoodLife. “That was the first time that I’ve ever been given an audition opportunity where she was actually 100 percent Latin. I just thought about my sister when I first heard of her because, if I got this, then she’ll have someone she can look up to who looks like her, who has the same ethnicity as her, but also just her realness and how she’s experiencing a lot of the things that everyday teenagers go through. I feel like her story was definitely unique with the aspects of the ghosts and the loss of her mom was definitely giving her some depth to her character and background that I feel like a lot of like kids and family shows don’t cover as much. I felt that she was definitely well rounded, and she had a lot that people can look up to and take away from her.”
The season 1 finale leaves the story wide open for a second season. HollywoodLife asked Madison if there was anyone from the Kenny Ortega universe she would like to be on Julie and the Phantoms in the future. Her answer? The one and only Vanessa Hudgens, whose breakout role was in Kenny’s Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical.
“I’ve talked about Vanessa. She commented on my post, and I freaked out because she’s just so amazing. She’s so pretty. I would love for her to maybe be a long lost family member or maybe a teacher,” Madison told HollywoodLife. “That would be so dope if she was the teacher of the theater or something that corresponds to her being a part of High School Musical. I would love to meet her in person and just be like, ‘You definitely motivated me to become an actress and want to do the same thing as you being able to watch Gabriella.’ When I watched, I definitely wanted to perform like her. I wanted to be able to sing in the halls. I really felt like I was Gabriella in High School Musical in this.”
If the show does get a season 2, Madison would love to bring in “some more Latin culture” into the mix and “get more background on her mom.” She continued: “It’s not touched upon, and I know it’s a very sensitive topic, but as the actress, it will be good to have a little bit more background and just learn what the relationship was like because we know that it was very deep.”
For Madison, Julie and the Phantoms was the experience of a lifetime and one that is going to propel her forward in her rising career in so many ways. “This experience has just made me realize that it’s true that hard work does pay off,” Madison said. “It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is or what your background is like, if you have what it takes and you’re a kind person and you’re working hard for something then good people will definitely get the good that they deserve. It’s definitely inspired me to continue doing what I’m doing and to continue pursuing my dreams. Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it and you believe in yourself.” Julie and the Phantoms is now streaming on Netflix.