Nailea Devora and Madelyn Cline on Heartbreak, Fashion Week, and John Stamos

Nailea Devora

All Clothing and Accessories (worn throughout) by Balmain.

Three years ago, Nailea Devora left her hometown of El Paso, Texas for the bright lights of Hollywood. But instead of taking the tried and true route of finding an agent and hitting the audition circuit, the 21-year-old did what so many in her generation do best: she posted. Her Youtube videos, a series of charming and effortlessly funny confessionals about her day-to-day, endeared her to millions of followers and eventually caught the attention of the artist and filmmaker Sarah Bahbah, who cast Devora in her two shorts I ____ YOU and Untangled. The experience opened Devora’s eyes to a new mode of expression. In other words, Devora, who also hosts the podcast Bit My Tongue, caught the acting bug. So earlier this week, her new friend, Outer Banks star Madelyn Cline, called her up to find out how the experience changed her, and what comes next. 

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MADELYN CLINE: Wait, what’s your sign?

NAILEA DEVORA: I’m an Aquarius.

CLINE: That makes a lot of sense.

DEVORA: Do you know about Aquariuses?

CLINE: Yes. We’re the oddballs. We’re so compatible. I’ve always gotten along with Aquarius women, to be specific.

DEVORA: Aquarius men are the worst. I’ve been attracted to Sagittariuses my whole life because you guys exude confidence. I just gravitate to y’all. But anyway, let’s stay on track.

CLINE: Let’s get down to brass tacks before we derail this entire interview. Okay, this is my first question. Do you like answering questions?

DEVORA: I like good, insightful questions that make me think. Do you like answering questions?

CLINE: No, I get test anxiety.

DEVORA: I would’ve never thought. You’re so good at it.

CLINE: I bullshit my way through. So my second question is, according to your Wiki feed—[Laughs]

DEVORA: What is the Wiki feed saying?

CLINE: John Stamos is your best friend.

DEVORA: No, girl. I’m a really big fan of Full House. And one time, I was being super vulnerable on the internet, possibly oversharing, but I was recording a video on YouTube and I was like, “Sometimes I don’t feel the most confident. I wish I was like John Stamos or something. He’s super confident.” And my friend saw the video and he was like, “I’m actually friends with John Stamos.” And surprised me with Mr. John. 

CLINE: No way! 

DEVORA: It was random because he was in a car and it was the last thing I was expecting. I mentioned him out of nowhere and then next thing you know, I’m in a car with John Samos. Yeah, that’s bestie.

CLINE: So no lies were told. My third question, are you happy to be in Paris?

DEVORA: Very happy to be in Paris. The last time I went, there were a bunch of bedbugs. You were there, too.

CLINE: I was there very briefly. I was going to stay longer, but I got scared.

DEVORA: Of the bedbugs?

CLINE: Yes. And also of the strike ending. 

DEVORA: That’s right! How was the strike for you?

CLINE: I went to Greece and had a great time. I am very much a Sagittarius in that I like to flee whatever country I’m in.

DEVORA: How was fashion week? Did you have a good time?

Nailea Devora

CLINE: The idea of fashion week is always so romantic until you put your body through it and then you get there and you realize, “Oh, I’m not doing well.” It’s not always as glamorous as it seems.

DEVORA: Exactly. It’s very glamorous, and then you show up and you’re like, “My body is deteriorating.” I’m pretty sure that because of the junk food that I eat in the States—I’m a Hot Cheeto girl, I love a McDonald’s breakfast hash brown—when I went to Paris, the food that I was eating over there, very healthy, fruits, that was the reason why before the show, I was yakking. TMI, but I was literally head in the toilet, Madelyn. It was bad. I was like, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make the show.” And my manager was like, “Girl, they flew you out. You’re making the show.” And I’m like, “You’re right. I’m there.”

CLINE: The good thing about those situations is that the shows are usually about 30 minutes long. Universally, I feel like everybody pulls it together for 30 minutes and then runs back to their hotel and then has to rot for a good few hours until the after parties.

DEVORA: Wait, is that the show where you were vlogging your makeup on TikTok?

CLINE: Oh yes, it was. I was in a bit of a TikTok era, but now I’m again logged out of my TikTok, so I can’t.

DEVORA: You need to get back on TikTok because that was the best era ever. 

CLINE: Thank you. So naturally when I met you, and then again when you asked me to interview you, I went and did my research. So I went to your YouTube and I love how unserious you are. It makes you incredibly relatable.  

DEVORA: I feel like if I’m not a 100 percent being myself, it shows. I come off as fake or uncomfortable or awkward. So the easiest thing for me to do is just be myself, and if people get it, they get it. If they don’t, then it’s fine.

CLINE: Totally. I also feel like with us being so incredibly active on social media, we have so many influences, so many creators and comedians. It’s helpful to have so many people who are so open with how they’re feeling. Sometimes it makes you feel a lot less alone.

DEVORA: For sure.

CLINE: And it feels like life is such a shared experience.

DEVORA: It really does. You’ll talk about something and you’re like, “I’m the only one feeling this way. Am I crazy?” And then you see people responding or relating and they’re like, “Oh my god, I literally thought the same thing.”

CLINE: It feels like we’re living all of our lives in just different fonts.

Nailea Devora

DEVORA: No, literally. When I first started being vulnerable on the internet, people would comment and be like, “Oh my god, that’s crazy that you said that ’cause I feel that exact same way. And I feel heard because you’re talking about it.” And that made me feel heard. I don’t know if that made sense.

CLINE: It makes a lot of sense.

DEVORA: I think it’s crazy how nowadays, actors, actresses are so active on social media now, whereas a couple years ago, that wasn’t really a thing.

CLINE: Sometimes it wigs me out because I go back and forth between wanting to be active and then also not wanting to be active. I flip-flop.

DEVORA: You want to disappear a little bit.

CLINE: I do love to disappear, but at the same time, I love to, in some ways, put myself out there. So it’s a funny balance. So that kind of but not really leads me to my next question. Where did you grow up?

DEVORA: I grew up in El Paso, Texas. 

CLINE: Is that near I-40?

DEVORA: Is that the freeway?

CLINE: Yeah.

DEVORA: Oh yeah, it is!

CLINE: I think I might’ve driven through it or near it when I moved out to L.A.

DEVORA: Oh, really? It’s a city, but it’s not huge. And it’s on the border of Juarez, Mexico. My mom was born in El Paso, but she grew up in Mexico, and then when she had me, she moved back. But we spent so much time in Mexico. My aunt lives there, my grandma lives there. I feel like El Paso is just a little bit of an extension of Mexico, but it was really great growing up there. The sense of community is really tight. I know for a lot of cultures and families it’s the same way, but for Mexicans, family really is everything. Moving to L.A. and leaving my family was tough. Where are you from?

CLINE: South Carolina.

DEVORA: South Carolina’s beautiful. Do you miss the beach over there?

CLINE: I’m not really a beach person.

DEVORA: You’re not?

CLINE: No. Are you?

DEVORA: Honestly, I’m not the type to just be on the beach in the summer.

CLINE: Me neither. I’ll do it if my friends are doing it, but I don’t really like sand. It gets in places I don’t want it to be.

DEVORA: [Laughs] Wait, you’re shooting Outer Banks in the sand all the time.

CLINE: I know. And the irony of it is so funny. 

DEVORA: So for the Glass Onion, how was shooting that?

CLINE: Girl, whose interview is this?

DEVORA: I know, you asked me questions and I feel like I have to ask the questions back.

CLINE: I know, I know. Because it’s like we’re having a conversation. It doesn’t feel like an interview. Shooting Glass Onion was incredible. It was the experience of my life. Now that we’re speaking of shooting projects, in the past year, you’ve starred in Sarah Bahbah’s short films, I ____ YOU and Untangled, which are about love and heartbreak. And I just wanted to say, I thought you and your performance were gorgeous.

DEVORA: Whoa. Well, first of all, that’s an insane compliment coming from you. It really changed a lot for me just because in general, I can be a little bit timid. I never thought that I’d do something like that, just like, act. I was like, “I’m too shy. That’s really intimidating. Really confident, cool, artistic people do that.” I’d been following Sarah for a while and she reached out to me and she was like, “This is a project that I wrote myself and I’d love it if you could play a younger version of me.” She was like, “I want you to portray this love story.” I was kind of thrown into it. I’m really glad that that’s how it happened because I think if I would’ve known, I probably would’ve chickened out.

CLINE: It’s intimidating.

DEVORA: Very. But when I did it, I was like, “This is so freeing.” Just being a part of something, having my own little piece of the puzzle, instead of usually with my YouTube or just social media, I’m the one coming up with ideas and I’m the one setting up the camera and recording myself, and then I’ll edit it and it’s fun. But being a little part of a bigger project was so meaningful and cool.

CLINE: It’s a very special shared experience. Do you separate your personal emotions and experiences from what you put out in your work?

DEVORA: During that time, I was definitely pulling from the relationship that I was in.

CLINE: Okay.

DEVORA: Prior to a couple of years ago, I didn’t really know what being in love was like.  I’m 21. I had one boyfriend in high school and it was whatever. When I moved to L.A., I met someone and I had a serious relationship with them. I actually felt like what it felt to have a partner and to be in love for the first time. And the feeling of being in love is just so beautiful. I’m such a romantic.

CLINE: I am, too. I’m such a lover girl.

DEVORA: It’s the worst, but it’s the best. I’m the type that if I really like someone, I’m obsessed.

CLINE: Have you been heartbroken?

DEVORA: I have, Maddie.

CLINE: What do you think that being in love and being heartbroken has that taught you?

DEVORA: We’re getting deep here. This sounds intense, but like you, I’m kind of a lover girl. Before this experience, the love and the heartbreak, I was like, “I don’t know if I can love someone like that. I don’t even know what that’s like. Is that real or is it just in the movies?” And then when I met someone, I was like, “Oh, whoa, this is all-encompassing.” I felt like I was really giving up a part of myself to another person. It’s really beautiful.

Nailea Devora

CLINE: It is.

DEVORA: You take parts of people as you love them, and I feel like it makes you grow as a person. So I think that overall, I’m more giving and I’m more empathetic, and now more than ever I want to be the best version of myself, not only for myself but also for the person in my life. 

CLINE: There’s so much power and vulnerability in expressing those emotions.

CLINE: So my final deep question and then we’ll get into some not as deep questions because I know I really went in. If you could meet your younger self, what advice would you give her?

DEVORA: It is a big question. I would probably say don’t overwhelm yourself so much. Don’t stress out thinking about what’s the next step? What’s the plan? What am I doing next? What am I doing next? I feel like sometimes I don’t enjoy the present moment and what’s happening in my life right now because I’m always thinking, where am I going to be? What am I going to do? Who am I going to be as a person? I feel like even when I was younger, I was always thinking about that and always was the type to be like, “I need a five-year plan.” And the five-year plan is never going to go that way.

CLINE: Never.

DEVORA: Life is so random and beautiful, and I think that that’s the point.

CLINE: Sometimes I look back and I think about what advice I would give to my younger self and realize that it is advice that I would probably give to myself now. It’s hard to even realize it because you’re in it.

DEVORA: Yeah, I’m definitely feeling that right now.

CLINE: That’s the end of my deep questions. This question I would like to preface was given to me. What are you wearing right now?

DEVORA: That’s so crazy because I thought we were going to be on-screen, so I put on this halter top polka dot dress, and then I was like, “I’m cold,” so then I put on jeans under it, and then I was like, “Wait, I look ridiculous,” so then I changed it, and now I’m wearing this silk blue dress with UGG boots.

CLINE: You know what? It sounds comfortable.

DEVORA: It’s not a good fit, but I was like, “I’m giving up right now.”

CLINE: We’re reaching the end of the day and it’s acceptable to give up, and I live by that.

DEVORA: No, it’s a gown though. I don’t know why I put this on. I was like, “I want to feel cute.”

CLINE: It’s a Zoom call attire. It’s whatever is there at the moment. No thoughts.

DEVORA: You’re wearing sweatpants, aren’t you?

CLINE: Running shoes, sweatpants, a jean jacket, and a turtleneck, which sounds cute, but I look like a mess. I’m finishing up my Christmas shopping.

DEVORA: I was like, “I’m in a gown, but Maddy is probably a normal person and has a normal outfit on.”

CLINE: I love that you’re in a gown for our Zoom interview. I feel very special.

DEVORA: Just for you.

CLINE: What’s a bad habit of yours?

DEVORA: I drink a lot of caffeine, as you know.

CLINE: Yes, we do.

DEVORA: We do together. I need to stop. I definitely am the type that I’m like, Don’t talk to me before my morning coffee.

CLINE: If I don’t have it, I have a headache and I’m confused. 

DEVORA: Totally, 

CLINE: Perfect. Well then, I think we killed it. Nice.

DEVORA: Thank you so much for doing this.

CLINE: Of course. Thank you for taking the time. I love you.

DEVORA: I love you, too.

Hair by Antoine Martinez using Oribe at Paradis Agency

Makeup by Sydney Szramowski at The Wall Group 

Nails by Naoko Saita at Opus Beauty

Photo Assistant: Skylar Pedroza

Production Manager: Alaura Wong