Entertainment Interview / Interviews

Aidan Alexander Talks YouTube, Feminism, and New Roles

In the world we live in today, to quote Heidi Klum, “One day you’re in, and the next day, you’re out.” Granted, she’s talking about the fashion world, but this holds true with anything that goes “viral” on the Internet. However, this truth is anything but for actor Aidan Alexander. Sixteen-year-old Alexander is one of many examples that explain why the Internet is a fascinating place. Since starring in his own YouTube channel under the username Maadraad two years ago, he’s moved from the small screen onto the silver screen in just a few short years. With over 200K supporters on his side, there’s no saying goodbye to this star in the making. #TeamInternet for the win.

Cliché: You’ve grown such a huge following over the last few years and it’s amazing. Growing up, what did you envision your life to be like?
Aidan Alexander: I always envisioned I’d be happy doing whatever it might be that I wanted to do. I hoped that happiness would be my acting and making art, and I’m very thankful that it’s happening.
Do you sometimes feel pressure to be a huge influence to those who have followed you since day one?
I’m pretty chill with my followers! There definitely isn’t too much pressure. I do get nervous and excited posting new things because I’m not always sure of the reaction I’ll get.
When you were just starting out up until now, how did you deal with the unavoidable negative comments trolls love to leave on your videos? What would be your advice to someone who is scared to even start a YouTube channel because of the possibility that negative comments may trickle in out of nowhere?
You have to develop a thick skin. Remember that if you choose to start a YouTube channel, the positives often outweigh the negatives and adversity only makes you stronger. 
Do you recall the exact moment where you realized that you began getting noticed by people?
I first noticed when I was close to 13. I was leaving a concert, totally naive to the crowd of girls that had started following. I turned around and was so shocked. It was really cute. I love them.
You’re now involved in more acting roles. Is there a huge difference or difficulty when playing yourself on your personal channel versus getting into character for a different role?
I have always been acting, even before I started my channel. When I’m on my channel, everything I say is organically me. In a movie or on TV, the words are written for me, and then I delve deeper into the character and make it authentically me.

I hoped that happiness would be my acting and making art, and I’m very thankful that it’s happening.

You recently finished wrapping up your first lead movie role in Vikes. Can you tell us about your character and what we can expect from the film?
Vikes was so fun! I play a high school student named Thorvald who organizes a big protest to change the name of the school mascot, all to impress a girl. Thorvald is naive and innocent, but totally hilarious. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
You also just wrapped production for F*&% the Prom, which is slated to be released in 2017. You are on a roll! Where do you hope to see your acting career go in two to three years from now?
Thank you! I love getting scripts and being introduced to new characters. I fall in love with every role I play. They’re all so real. My hope is that I can continue to bring new roles to life.
You’re a strong advocate for Feminism, and I feel as if more and more younger generations have a stronger sense of what it means to be a Feminist. For you, how did the idea of Feminism enter your life?
Feminism has always been a part of my life. I have always agreed with the notion that girls and boys are equal. As I got older and realized some people didn’t feel that way, I knew I had to use my platform to speak out.
What is your definition of the word since there seems to be so many disputes of what it means to be a Feminist, whether it be positive or negative?
Many people assign an angry narrative to Feminists or assume Feminists are out to prove women’s superiority. To me, Feminism is the notion that women and men are equals and should be treated equally.
What words of advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your career path?
Do it. Please! It’s such an amazing way to express yourself. Even if you have the slightest urge, try it. Then, if you like it, keep at it. Success rarely happens overnight, but nothing worth having comes easily.
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Photographed by Ed McGowan

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