Mississippi native Michelle DeFraites portrays Madison Kelly in BET’s The Quad. Michelle began her entertainment career in Los Angeles and has starred in Paramount’s Project Almanac and Lifetime’s Pregnancy Pact and is also featured in multiple television series such as Glee and Disney’s Hannah Montana. And not only is Michelle pursuing her career in acting, but she is also currently attending university for her business degree.
When did you know that you wanted to make a career out of acting and entertaining?
I’ve always been involved in the arts in some way since I was little. I would do Community
Theater with my family and I’ve been taking dance classes since I was three. It wasn’t until I was about 14 that I realized that I could do that for a career and once I did there was no stopping me!
What was the biggest challenge going from Mississippi to California?
The scariest part for me was going from such a small town to a big city and I was worried about making new friends since I was going to be homeschooled. I gave up my high school experience to be able to live my dream. It was a tough decision but I’m glad I did.
What are a few similarities between you and your character in The Quad?
I like to think that at the core, Madison and I are very similar. What I like most about her is that she is a loyal and true friend and I like to think of myself that way too. She’s also navigating her love life and social life while trying to get her education, which I completely relate to because I’m still in college as well. It is a tough thing to juggle!
What’s the hardest role you’ve had to play and why?
My hardest role would be my role on HOUSE. It was my first dramatic role because everything up to that point had been Disney comedy roles. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me fall in love with drama. It has become one of my favorite jobs so far.
Who are you closest to on the set of The Quad?
I love everyone on set but I’ve grown the closest with Jazz who plays my roommate Sydney. We had almost every scene together and we lived in the same apartment so we basically spent three months attached at the hip! She has become a really great friend!
What are a few tips you can give to aspiring actors?
My advice to aspiring actors is to never give up and strive to be the best you can be. Never get complacent! The biggest acting tip I can give is to listen. When doing a scene, be sure you are listening to what the other person is actually saying so that every take can be something new and genuine.
What’s it like being a role model for younger actors?
I love being able to be a good role model and a light in this industry. I came from very humble beginnings and I want to show others that hard work and determination is enough. You can achieve your dreams.
What are a few struggles you’ve faced when adjusting to your character in The Quad?
Honestly, there weren’t too many struggles. The only thing is that they want me to give her a slight southern accent and my whole life I’ve tried to fight having a southern accent. So of course on my first show they would ask for that haha!
Who’s an actor that inspires you and why?
I have always admired Emma Stone. I loved her in Easy A and I think it’s so cool that she can go from doing movies like that to something as beautiful as La La Land and win an Oscar. That’s what I’ve always envisioned for my career, so to see someone be able to do both is inspiring for me.
What projects do you have coming in the near future?
I have a few things in the works, but what I can talk about is a fun Christmas themed thriller coming out called “All the Creatures Were Stirring.” I don’t watch scary movies, but to be a part of one was super fun.
The Quad airs Wednesdays on BET at 10p/9c. You can see more of Michelle on her Instagram and Twitter @mdefraites.