Like the rest of us, Maddie Phillips had no idea that twist was coming on ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters.’ The actress spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about the impact of the Sterling and Blair twist and more.
Sterling and Blair got the shock of their lives when they learned in the final moments of Teenage Bounty Hunters finale that they’re not actually twins. Their mom’s twin sister, Dana, revealed that Sterling is actually her daughter, making Sterling and Blair cousins. Sterling and Blair had been raised their whole lives as twins, so this revelation is a game-changer.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Maddie Phillips about what this news means for Sterling. Maddie believes that Sterling could possibly be open to a relationship with Dana in the future. Even though this will change their lives forever, Maddie doesn’t think this will make Sterling and Blair’s bond “any less powerful.” Plus, she’s not giving up hope on Sterling and April. Read our Q&A with Maddie about the Netflix series.
Did you have any idea about the whole Dana/Sterling twist at all before the finale?
Maddie Phillips: Nobody knew. But Virginia [Williams], who plays Debbie, found out right before we went to sit down for our first ever table read, so she kept that secret for almost the entire time. Anjelica [Bette Fellini] and I found out about the twist the night before we started shooting that episode. We’re reading the script and I texted her and was like, “Are we cousins? Kathleen [Jordan] is a sick woman.” It was the most shocking thing ever.
Did you have an inkling at all where the story was going for Sterling?
Maddie Phillips: No way. There was absolutely nothing in my brain that was hinting at that at all. It was an interesting feeling because, on the one hand, I was really gutted. Because I felt like my whole life was a lie. But then, on the other hand, it was just such a fascinating, exciting twist that I wasn’t sad about it. It was exciting, but it was definitely a shock.
How do you think Sterling is going to react to this revelation that she’s not who she thought she was?
Maddie Phillips: I have no idea. I kind of hope that she maybe rebels a little bit because when Sterling is being a hot mess, it’s so much fun to play. Maybe we’ll see her exploring a new side of her life. I don’t know. I have no idea, but I’m so excited.
Do you think Sterling would be open to having a relationship with her real mother?
Maddie Phillips: I think yes, but only because Sterling is such a loving soul. Even when she was being kidnapped, she was like, “I think he’s kind of mean.” And it’s like, he’s not mean. He’s a terrible person who is trying to kidnap you and hold you for ransom. I would not put it past Sterling to want to form a connection, even if her mom’s a psycho.
Obviously, this changes a lot for Sterling and Blair. They grew up their whole lives thinking that they’re twins, and now they realize that they’re cousins. Did you and Anjelica talk about that and what that could mean for their relationship?
Maddie Phillips: We thought it was really special that even though they’re not twins, they’ve always been able to have twin-vision. So I think at the end of the day, they’re always going to have such a magical, deep, intimate connection because it just shows you that you don’t have to be biologically twins for that to happen. I think that’s such a special thing to really represent how deep their connection goes. I feel like regardless of the fact that they’re not twins, it’s not going to make their bond any less powerful.
Another aspect of Sterling is her relationship with April. What it was like exploring that relationship?
Maddie Phillips: I thought that it was such a beautiful representation of a young woman totally following her heart regardless of what anybody else thinks. I felt really honored to get to be that kind of example. Also, working with Devon [Hales] was just the best thing ever. She’s one of the best actors that I’ve ever worked with and doing scenes with her made me a better actor, too. Every single scene that I did with her was really meaningful and fun. That was definitely one of my favorite parts of the show was that storyline.
After they get together, April realizes that she’s not ready to come out yet publicly, so April and Sterling’s relationship has hit a roadblock. Do you think there’s there’s hope for those two?
Maddie Phillips: I would love for there to be more Sterling and April for sure. I definitely think that they haven’t explored each other enough. It’s such a new thing. It got cut off so short because Sterling was afraid of April’s dad and told her that they are the ones that put him away and beat him up, and then April’s not ready to come out yet. I think what’s also really cool about the show is that it shows that just because you’ve discovered a part of your sexuality or are okay with your sexuality, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily ready to tell the whole world. Everybody comes out when they’re ready to, and Sterling shouldn’t force April to come out if she’s not ready. That’s not right. She’s learning and growing, and I think that was a really important thing to show, too. You are allowed to change your mind and that’s totally okay.
Even though it was in the midst of a fight, I love that Sterling told Blair about April. What was it like filming such a heated moment with Anjelica?
Maddie Phillips: That was a tricky time for us because we were so used to being so light and having so much fun together. It’s not like we didn’t talk to each other when we had to do these scenes, but we did have to adjust our energy just because it wouldn’t help us if we were skipping and singing together on set as we usually do. But we were like holding hands before we did the scene and were connecting with each other and stuff, but we were really, really happy to be done with it because we’re best friends in real life.
What was your first impression of Anjelica? When you’re playing sisters there has to be an element of closeness.
Maddie Phillips: I was a bit nervous about who it would end up being because I knew that we would have to be so close. I was like, “I hope that it’s easy. I hope that I find somebody who I genuinely love.” Because my face is very expressive. As soon as I feel something, you can kind of tell. It would be hard for me to keep it in if I didn’t vibe with somebody. Not that I would ever want to make anybody feel uncomfortable, but when I met Anjelica I was instantly obsessed with her. She just seemed like me in a lot of ways. We kind of talk the same, we have the same kind of energy. When she walked in I was like, “Oh, I would walk in like that if I was auditioning for Blair.” She kind of had this attitude. She didn’t have any sense of desperation for the part or whatever. She was just like, this is me. If you like it, cool. If not, also cool. I actually went up to her after the audition. I said, “Do you want to go get dinner and manifest this because I like love you.” So we went out to dinner that night, and it was like we had twin-vision the whole night. We were just so wrapped up in each other, and then for the next month as they were finalizing the cast, we just FaceTimed all the time and talked. We followed each other’s Finsta accounts and stuff like that. We got matching tattoos with Kathleen Jordan, our creator, as well. So Anjelica and I both have a little heart on our wrists. My says “S+B” and hers says “B+S.”
What did it mean to you to have Anjelica, someone who is playing your twin and is the same age as you, on this journey?
Maddie Phillips: It was so synchronistic. We’re two months apart. We’re both 25. My birthday is in September, and she’s in December. But the fact that we’re so similar in age, we have so many of the same interests and passions and values. We both were raised by our moms and to have somebody’s life change in the same way at the exact same time right by your side, it makes me really emotional talk about it because nobody else can relate to that. Nobody else in my life knows exactly what it’s like to go through this incredibly life-changing situation. But days are really long, and even though it was the epitome of my wildest dreams, it was the hardest thing I’ve really ever had to do. I’ve never been so tired in my life, so to have a best friend who knows exactly what I’m going through, and who just never judges me and I never judge her. We both are really honest with each other, and we both kind of treat each other like sisters. For somebody who doesn’t have any siblings at all and most of my family is in Australia, it’s just such a beautiful, important thing for me to have something like that in my life.
I have to ask about the Sour Patch Kids scene when Sterling was kidnapped. Were those actual Sour Patch Kids?
Maddie Phillips: They were real Sour Patch Kids! But also the lines that were said about how it chopped her tongue into razor blades, that definitely happens to me. I don’t usually eat them, but they were definitely real. I wasn’t mad about having that sugar all over my hands.
Do you know what happens next where the finale ends? Since it kind of stops right in the middle of the action…
Maddie Phillips: The awesome thing about shooting the show is that they didn’t tell us anything at all. The twist about Sterling and April was a total surprise. I found out right before we started shooting that episode. I really think that helps us be honest in the moment because we don’t want to accidentally foreshadow anything, so I know nothing.
The finale leaves it wide open for season 2. Is there anything you’d like to explore more with Sterling that maybe you didn’t get to touch on much in the first season?
Maddie Phillips: I would love for Sterling to dive more into the world of being a confident sexually fluid person. I think that would be really interesting. She knows about that part of herself now, so it would be really cool to see where that takes her. If she’s going to meet somebody else, maybe she’s going to pick back up with April. But also the fact that April’s dad is now out of prison, I feel like that’s going to have some really exciting, interesting tension, too. I’m really curious about that. I just hope that the twins still are twins. They’re not twins anymore, but they’re twins in my heart. I really hope that the twins keep their connection and bond really evident throughout the whole season because, no matter what happens, that is what I think gives the show so much heart and what people seem to be responding to a lot. I’ve seen so many tweets that have been like, “This show makes me want to have a twin sister!” I want more twin love.
I also loved Sterling and Blair’s dynamic with Bowser and the whole bounty hunting element. How do you feel about that aspect of Sterling’s life?
Maddie Phillips: That was so much fun because I hadn’t even heard of bounty hunting really until the show. I don’t think they have bounty hunters in Canada where I’m from. I really didn’t know what the heck that was all about. But working with Kadeem [Hardison] was so incredible. He’s one of those people who you’re like, “I don’t know what my life was without you in it.” He’s just the most protective, loving, warm mentor/best friend/father figure anybody could ever dream of. He’s got a daughter around our age, so the relationship was just so natural. He called us all the time asking how we were doing and everything like that. He also really helped us out when we had to go to the gun range because Anjelica and I had never seen guns before and had never held a gun or anything like that. We were pretty emotional about it, and Kadeem really helped us get comfortable with it and stuff. Working with him was just the best. He gives us so much advice because he’s been in the business for so long, and he knows what it’s like to have the attention that we’re starting to get a little bit of that can be really overwhelming. It’s just been so amazing to have him.