Miami Living Magazine

Bailee Madison

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Summer Bishil has just returned home to Los Angeles from a then rainy Vancouver, when we spoke this past December, where she just finished filming the latest season of the Syfy fantasy drama series The Magicians. The TV show, in its third season, follows a group of students recruited to a secretive academy, who quickly find that magic is real and dangerous. "Scripts are just so fun; you don't have to take yourself too seriously," she says about filming the third season. "Finale episodes are a little tougher, everyone is ready to go home. But the finale flew by so quickly. Our days were not incredibly long —it was a really simple season in that sense… Set designers are amazing! It's hard not to feel like you're royalty. When you're sitting in the thrones —they're beautiful —your posture changes." On the show, the 29-year-old actress portrays Margo Hanson, a character that Syfy describes as "intellectual yet academically unfocused, reserved yet social. The only thing that's dependable is her unpredictability." This may be true, but Summer has had plenty of time to really get to know her character and relax into her role. "She's changed a lot. She went from this vapid, L.A.-type bitch, but now she's a mindful ruler who really cares. She walks into a room with so much self-assuredness. It forced me to have to think about how I carried my body, how I felt about it. It encouraged a much more positive relationship with my body and my self-esteem. Of all the characters I've played, this is the longest I've lived with someone. She's had an incredibly transformative season with how she approaches conflict, how she exerts control without magic and living in fear of the fairies. She's constantly trying to topple the patriarchy." Summer fought hard for the role of Margo. "I read what Sera Gamble had written, the breadth of who Margo was going to be on the show. The material was just really well-done. I went in and read for casting and was brought back in for a test. I believe I was the last of the original six characters to be cast." Being on-set has fostered personal growth. "This show has acquainted me with the idea of collaboration. It's an incredibly collaborative show where you get to work with a ton of other peoples' imaginations." You may also know Summer as Jasira in the 2007 film Towelhead or as Taslima in the 2009 film Crossing Over. But the Pasadena native hasn't always felt comfortable onscreen. "I was shy to the point of needing a lot. I would have benefitted from therapy. I literally couldn't even talk; I couldn't even introduce myself in class. I didn't completely overcome that until now." Growing up in the Middle East and living in such a political environment, she was infatuated with politics. "I probably fantasized about a career in politics a lot. Part of the culture growing up in the Middle East is to know what's going on in the world, why things are the way they are, and ultimately, how to express myself and my views." Eventually, Summer made the move to Los Angeles, near her mom, and quickly began acting. But the acting world would prove to be very different from the world she grew up in. "Growing up in such an international environment, I never thought about my ethnicity. I was never asked about it. I was who I was and exposed to a lot of cultures. When I started auditioning, it became all about: What are you? What are you going to play? Often times there weren't very many roles, and I fought against some stereotypes. Now, it's so exciting how much the world has changed so much from when I started at age 13." Now that she's on hiatus, Summer plans to rest and enjoy the company of her friends and family. Her dream role? "A super-low budget, independent film working crazy hours, completely dedicated. That's how I started. I have a deep longing to get back to that. I'd love to get back to something a little softer, just different, and working at a different pace. I love TV but every once in a while, you want the feature film experience. When you're doing a film, you talk about the scene. You really take your time in rehearsal." As for New Year's resolutions, 2018 is all about her emotional well-being. "I'd really like to focus on being more present and enjoying my life a little more." ML Don't miss The Magicians on Syfy Wednesdays at 9 pm and keep up with Summer on Instagram: @summerybishil and Twitter: @summerbishil1.

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