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Quite a bit has modified for Maddie Baillio ever since she was solid in 2016’s Hairspray Dwell!going from comparatively unknown to main girl straight away.
After starring as Tracy Turnblad — greatest buddy to Ariana Grande’s Penny Pingleton — Baillio went on to play supporting roles within the Netflix movie Dumplin’ and the Camila Cabello remake of Cinderella.
When the world was instantly placed on pause in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 26-year-old started specializing in her well being and wellness. She has since misplaced round 150 lbs. over the course of two years, which she says is “greater than half” of what she as soon as weighed.
“Life is nice,” she tells PEOPLE from LA “I am in a stunning, wholesome relationship with myself and my physique and my household and my companion, [boyfriend Solomon Reynolds]. … I am in a way more centered, grounded place.”
Issues had been a bit off-balance, nevertheless, when she was taking pictures Cinderella in early 2020. Although she has, for essentially the most half, “been comfy” in her physique, she was discovering it tough to maintain up together with her fellow triple-threat performers within the fairytale musical movie.
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“There was a scene that did not make it within the film, the place me and the opposite stepsister [Charlotte Spencer] led a bunch of like 300 ladies — implausible dancers, slender, they’d it happening — down this 50-yard pathway to the fortress singing ‘Single Girls’ and dancing,” she explains. “I could not sustain with the choreography . I stored shedding my breath. We might have to start out reshooting the scene again and again for me.”
That is when she determined it was time to “construct stamina,” she says.
Concurrently, the world started shutting down as COVID solid its darkish cloud above the leisure business, and Baillio left the set in London to move dwelling to Texas.
“The whole lot’s greater in Texas,” she says — however she had different targets that had been a lot greater.
“I had a lot free time, so I assumed I am simply going to start out strolling,” she says, starting at half-hour a day. “The solar was so good for my psychological well being and my bodily well being. I may stroll for half-hour to an hour, after which the subsequent week, it was two hours. In order that’s the way it started for me.”
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“I stepped on the size, and that was inspiring to see that I had management over one thing — that I had management over my physique,” Baillio says, including that she additionally began eradicating purple meat from her food regimen, ultimately turning into vegan, and tried new issues like sizzling yoga and exercises that had been gratifying.
Over the course of her journey, Baillio says that her “entire world opened up,” not due to the quantity on the size however as a result of she was capable of “sustain.”
She provides, “I might go to West Hollywood, and I may dance eternally all through the evening. Life turned a lot extra enjoyable after I had that bodily stamina.”
Although she’s by no means felt actually restricted within the theater and movie industries, she says she was additionally afforded new alternatives, like voicing Marilyn Monroe within the smash business studying of the Broadway-aimed musical. She’s hopeful that the leisure world stays open and inclusive for folks of all sizes and styles.
“I am impressed by the altering mentality,” Baillio says. “I wanna play my dream roles on Broadway that don’t have anything to do with my weight. And I undoubtedly see it going that path.”
Whereas Baillio feels she’s getting “notified extra,” she encourages everybody — particularly her followers — to really feel comfy and assured within the pores and skin they’re in.
“We’ve got to be ok with ourselves. It might probably’t come from exterior sources,” she says. “So it’s a praise when folks inform me that I look good, however I chorus from commenting on folks’s bodily look as a result of I do know that after I was struggling — after I was so hyper mounted on the quantity on the size, and folks had been telling me that I used to be doing good and [to] maintain going — that wasn’t good for me. Since you by no means know who’s scuffling with what, how they obtained to that time.”
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For now, she’s having fun with life in Los Angeles and looking out in direction of a visit to New York for her solo cabaret present at Birdland later this month on Nov. 21, her NYC live performance debut. She’s additionally busy spending time with Reynolds, whom she’s recognized for years.
“I had an enormous crush on my companion in highschool 10 years in the past,” Baillio says, explaining that she and the guy actor and singer reconnected in Palm Springs after a decade aside.
“I used to be a plus-size lady in highschool as properly, and he was like one of many few boys who was simply so form to me,” she says, calling him “essentially the most gifted individual I’ve ever met.”
She provides, “I am so blissful; we’re so blissful. Yeah, it is a actually love-filled time in my life.”