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Meet Madeline Lenahan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madeline Lenahan.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Madeline. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve been sketching obscure worlds and creatures since I was little; I still have all these crumpled notebook drawings from elementary school stuffed in my nightstand. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown away a sketchbook! As I got older, I took these visual characters and started working them into surreal short fiction stories. Through drawing and writing simultaneously, I realized my unique penchant for narrative. I became obsessed with video games, comic books, and horror movies for this reason – all of which fueled my passion for costume design. I started collecting vintage clothing, makeup, and more…

My strengths meshed perfectly when I started studying fashion and filmmaking at SCAD, and I was able to learn even more about historical clothing and wardrobe styling when I began assisting the curator at SCAD FASH. Now, I am a dizzy mix of all of these things, and while it feels a little overwhelming sometimes, I’m so happy to be where I am academically.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh, gosh. No artist walks a smooth road if I’m being honest. We have our unique challenges not just because we are artists but because we are people, too. I, personally, was teased a lot as a kid for being the weird goth girl in heavy eyeliner and fishnet gloves who was always “drawing naked people.” My family and friends clearly needed some time to adapt to my unique design aesthetic and somewhat morbid influences. They are really supportive now, though, and I’m not crippled with terror while showing them my work. I still feel a lingering sense of shame when I present my art to certain audiences because I think the content can be a little disturbing without proper context. I tell myself all the time, though; I can only do what only I can do, and I would rather put my fears, nightmares, and negative thoughts into an interesting garment than something more destructive. Being true to myself and my work is cathartic for that reason.

Please tell us about Liberated State.
I work as a freelance hair and makeup artist as well as a special effects makeup artist, I expand that extensive collection of vintage garments for wardrobe styling and I love treating my fashion designs as costumes. Whenever I can, I still take a moment to sit down and work on my prose or screenplays, though this isn’t as frequent as desired.

My work makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even shocked or angry. I’m not proud of that specifically, but I am proud of my unwavering commitment to be myself despite it. I think what sets me apart from other designers is that I’m not married to just one thing. I make lingerie, loungewear, sleepwear, masks, body hardware, and more. My professors sometimes struggle with that, because they don’t know what corner of the market to put me in. There are so many different paths I can take, and that terrifies and excites me.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My younger brother and I were really close with the two boys who lived across the street from us. We would always pretend we were pirates stranded on a deserted island or knights and archers with our own castle; climbing trees and building forts and running around the neighborhood barefoot. One day we were following a creek through the woods back behind our development and got really far out (at least in our kid brains). We stumbled across this weird thicket of tall, jagged grass that was randomly spiked and flattened from recent flooding. Half-buried in the mud, we found bones. A whole ribcage, to be exact. Not knowing how to process this, we screamed and ran all the way back home. Turns out it was just a deer skeleton, but boy was that an adrenaline rush.


  • $25 for natural makeup/male grooming/minor SFX application
  • $50 for full makeup + hair touch-ups/heavy SFX application
  • $75 for full makeup + hair styling

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 6785459626
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @madeline_lenahan, @liberated_state

Image Credit:
Nina Cammarata, Sam Alves, Rafael Gomes, Madeline Lenahan

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