Why Once Upon a Time’s Bailee Madison isn’t Missing Traditional High School

Heartbreak, Rigid Schedules, and Drama are just a few reasons Snow White is happy to be unschooling.

Since she landed her starring role as Snow White in ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Bailee Madison has been thrust into the spotlight and swept away from the “normal” teen experience. While she’s handled fame markedly better than some of her predecessors (looking at you, Miley), she’s missed a lot about that normalcy. 

Just like her character in ABC Family’s The Fosters, Bailee has had enough drama for one lifetime and she’s more than content—more than happy—to skip traditional high school and be learning through experience.  

“I think I’m getting the most incredible education with the cultures around the world I have been able to experience,” Madison told City & Shore, “which is really rare for someone my age.” 

Kept grounded by her mom, Bailee has been able to eschew the traditional social studies worksheets and copying the answers to the odd problems out of the back of the math book in favor of a real, lived education experience. 

If not fueled by textbooks and computer labs, what’s that education experience look like you ask? For Bailee, it’s meant helping to design and launch a collab fashion line with Macy’s. Or how about writing her first novel at age 18, a psychological thriller called Losing Brave? And that’s all between acting and modeling gigs the world over. Best I can do is a pretty decent semi-plagiarized essay on Canterbury Tales that won me an A- in Mr. Heller’s Brit Lit. That compares, right? 

But, with all the jet-setting and promotional appearances, she’s got to be clamoring for some normalcy. Not really. “I joke that I live vicariously through my best friends,” Madison told an interviewer last year. “I get to ask them how high school is—and, to be quite honest it sounds like a very, very dramatic situation! I’m kinda happy that I am not in high school at the moment.”

And while her peers are petitioning to reopen for prom, Bailee’s busy engaging her world to make some real changes. She’s been owning social media for the past few months, fighting for racial equity, helping to spread education about the virus, and generally doing her part to build a better planet. Who needs cafeteria politics when you can move the needle on the real deal? 

And if her social responsibility isn’t enough to get you to follow, Bailee’s style is worth a follow. Nobody’s rocking the pantsuit like she is. #closetgoals


When education is at your fingertips everyday, traditional school I guess just looks a bit more bleak. For Bailee, the drama is reason enough to stay away. From my perspective, we’re the ones missing out on what school could look like.