Meet the star of Netflix’s reboot of the iconic Australian series, ‘Heartbreak High’



Ayesha Madon is one to watch.

Raised in a music-infatuated family, a career in the arts was always on the cards for Australian actor and musician Ayesha Madon. Debuting her first single ‘Outside Of The Party’ in 2020, she’s now delving into the world of acting, starring in Netflix’s reboot of Heartbreak High.

If the eight-episode series is anything like the original ’90s one, we can expect a gritty insight into the turbulence of young adulthood. Airing from 1994 to 1999, the series – centred around sex, friendship and addiction – was way ahead of its time and nothing short of radical.

Interested to hear how others navigate the world? Head to our Life section. 

Through her role in Heartbreak High, Ayesha has found herself as an accidental role model, inadvertently championing the voices of an entire section of her generation (she plays the series lead Amerie, who quickly becomes a social pariah after falling out with her best friend).

It’s a responsibility she’s leaned right into, joining Australian brand Bonds’ campaign to dismantle the stigma that painfully still exists around periods. As she details, Ayesha sees menstruation as an element of adulthood that we need not shy away from or cringe at. If we can skip past the awkwardness that revolves around that time of the month (and while we’re at it, virginity, abstinence, and those galaxy-print leggings you wore in 2011) we will all be better off for it.

Everyone has different high school experiences, how would you describe yours?

It was full of trials and tribulations and whatnot, but I had a really fun high school experience because I went to a performing arts school, so everyone around me was almost on the same level of bizarre as me. I feel like everyone gets bullied in high school (it’s a rite of passage), but it was really fun for the most part. It’s where I found my passion for performing arts, so I had a great and very awkward time.

Did you experience heartbreak? How did you deal with it?

Yes and no. I never had a proper boyfriend (per se), especially not in high school. I think it felt like I had my heartbroken at the time by people I was just really infatuated with and rejected by, but I’m not certain I actually fell in love for the first time until the pandemic. That being said, I don’t want to undermine the feelings I had in high school. I deal with heartbreak the way I can, which is oftentimes badly. I just do what I can to get through, I would say maybe time, crying, friends and writing music is key for me.


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A post shared by Ayesha Madon (@ayeshamadon)

High school was a weird time for most of us, where we were made to feel shame about a lot of things that are totally normal for teenage girls. What were these for you?

I don’t want to get too deep into this because we’d be talking all day, but just being a first-gen brown woman in Australia is a big thing to deal with in high school… [and] quite a difficult feat growing up. Also, I didn’t want to have sex until after high school. Everyone would ask “Why aren’t you having sex?!” and I just didn’t really want to.

I think it’s pretty normal, and it wasn’t until later in life that I realised that so many people don’t have sex in high school. There’s no shame; everyone can develop at their own rate. You can be 40 years old and not have sex. You can never have sex in your life and that’s fine!

The series is still grounded in the ’90s original and is rather nostalgic. What’s a style moment that you used to wear, but now cringe at?

Oh my god, there were so many… and I’m pretty sure they were all Supre! Probably the little thin headbands with the bows that came in fluro colours and were like $15. Shout out to my parents for spending that money on a piece of elastic!


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A post shared by Ayesha Madon (@ayeshamadon)

Your partnership with Bonds’ Bloody Comfy Period Undies campaign sets out to de-stigmatise periods. What was your relationship with menstruation like growing up?

I’ve always been relatively lucky in that regard because everyone in my life has always been pretty brash and open about that stuff. I had a really great group of friends who still are my best friends, and we were able to talk about each other’s experiences and ask each other questions. It wasn’t awkward – we would walk around the house naked in front of each other. We were just so open in that regard.

I got extremely bad period pains, and I do remember being stuck in class a lot and not feeling like I could say anything. I just had to sit through it because I didn’t want to tell the teacher (or the class) that I had my period. That was one thing. I was never comfortable discussing my period with people without a uterus, but other than that I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my period.

Read more about how the period stigma oppresses women here.

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