TS Madison is an actress, author, social media influencer, and talk show host. She caught our eye with her riveting and hilarious Vine video New Weave 22-Inches. She was a rotating judge on the hit Emmy Award-winning reality competition series, RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2021, Madison became the first Black trans woman to star in her own reality show on We TV, The TS Madison Experience.
In 2022, Madison became the host of her own variety show on Fox Soul, Turnt Out with TS Madison, a program that straddles the line between entertainment and timely controversial topics.
Most importantly, Madison is an advocate for those silenced and disregarded by larger movements, the trans community. The beauty has made it her mission to help stem the epidemic of violence against her trans sisters. Without action, the epidemic will continue to claim the lives of trans people.
Even though Madison has faced more than her share of atrocities, she has managed to steadfastly stay the course toward success. She is also fueled by her unwavering faith in God with whom she shares a special bond and colorful language.
We at 50BOLD.com, are honored to have had the opportunity to chat with Madison about all things that have led her to here. She is forthright and unapologetically as authentic as they come!
We love Ms. Maddie and you will too!
50BOLD: We like taking folks back, so please tell us, how was Madison as a child?
Madison: I was a church queen. Growing up, I met the Lord when I was about 7 years old. I remember being in church with my mom and the pastor was doing the alter calls. And I was like ‘Mommy, I’m ready, I want to know Jesus. I want to know, I want to know!’ Something was in my spirit that made me want to know who the preacher was talking about, who was Jesus, and how do we get into heaven? I remember grabbing my mother’s hand, walking toward the alter, and giving our lives to Christ. My mother had me at age 15, so, she was 22 at the time. I got baptized maybe like a week later.
And I also remember my first experience seeing other men get baptized and also seeing them naked! And I was like…’Oh this is interesting!’ And I remember having…oh…I’m sharing too much…. Ok, whatever, shit!
50BOLD: Oh no share! The main objective of this interview is to help people live in their truth, and to be understanding of those who are living an authentic life. You just exude self-love and that’s what we are all about here at 50BOLD. So, when folks were being baptized they were nude?
Madison: No, we all wore white robes. I was 7 and the others were much older, teens, and adults. And after we got out of the water, we were naked. So, I saw naked men.
50BOLD: OK, I see. Well, you mentioned your mom taking you to church. So, your family dynamic was making sure that you were grounded in the Lord.
Madison: Very much so! I guess whatever was on me, was always on me, and it didn’t wash off in the baptismal tub. I just remembered that it happened. I just know that I was 7 and I had never seen another man naked. I was in awe but I knew, you know…
50BOLD: …That at age 7 there was an attraction?
50BOLD: And just out of curiosity, was your dad around when you were growing up? Was there a male figure around in your life as a child?
Madison: My mom’s father was a definite male figure in my life. My grandfather put us to work. He ran a lawn service business. So, I had been working since I was able to move around! We used to mow lawns. I remember getting my first little money for raking up leaves. The company was called Joe Hinton’s Lawn Service. I was around my grandfather all the time. We didn’t live together, but I was around my grandfather on a daily basis. And because my mother had me so young, I was able to see generations until they died. I got to know my mom’s mother and her grandmother. I got to know my grandfather and great grandfather. There were many male figures around because I lived in my great grandparent’s house. So, I didn’t miss the presence of a dad.
So, circling back to seeing a man naked for the first time. I know I was aroused, but did not understand what the word meant. And moving forward, we started worshiping and loving the Lord. We moved in a way that was outside of worldly things, and I was going to church. But I always, always, always, felt like a different person. And a parent might not see this thing. I’m not saying that my mother wasn’t looking. I was told by others about my femininity. I was not like other boys. I’d hear comments like… ‘Why do you talk like that? Why is your voice not deep? Why do you twitch? Why aren’t you as masculine as we are? You’re a girl. You’re a girl!’
50BOLD: And at such a young age you’d hear such negativity? How horrific!
Madison: Yes! And what people don’t know is that I attempted to isolate myself from other kids, boys, because I really didn’t understand what was happening. So, I isolated myself, you know. I withdrew and was very much into my books. I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn about everything. I felt I had to find myself and needed to figure out who I was.
Fast forward, I’m now in middle school and there, I was introduced to bigger kids.
50BOLD: What was your experience like in high school?
Madison: When I set foot in high school that really changed my perspective of things. I was afraid. I will never forget. I was a 9th grader. I was walking up the steps to my high school, and there were older kids hanging around, one guy spotted me and said, ‘You’re a faggot!’ Now, growing up, we were taught in church that homosexuals are hell-bound. I’m just starting out in this school. How did this kid know anything about me?
I had been taunted by boys my own age, some who were way bigger than me. I became more afraid when I got to high school, but I had already been a fighter. I had been fighting in junior high and had to go to an alternative school because of it. I fought to defend myself against stupidity. I had to step it up by the time I got to high school because the boys were bigger.
50BOLD: Let me just say before we go any further, I have to bring up your mom, Ms. Mary. Everyone loves her. Now, she appears to have come to terms with who you are now. And of course, there are many seasoned folks in our community who are not as accepting. At what age did you actually come out to your mom?
Madison: I was forced out! People had been saying I was a fag, gay, or feminine. Whether my mother paid any attention to it or not, I don’t know. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know what I was doing. What did they see? I was just being my natural self. What did they see? What was I doing wrong? I felt everything I was doing was natural. All my moves were natural. I was just being my natural self.
So, getting back to my high school years. In school you meet people. And I saw my very first trans woman. I didn’t know the term for her back then. It was my very first encounter with a queer man who was really feminine and living in their truth. Honey, Miss Momma used to come to school wearing tights and tube tops. We wore Patrick Ewing sneakers back then and she would wear hers like a girl. We went to an alternative high school together, which is where I first met her. She sported a Jheri curl. I didn’t know what Miss Momma was because she was very androgynous. I was not feminine to the degree that Miss Momma was. She saw me for who I was. Miss Momma, you were my sister….
50BOLD: Did she want to take you under her wing?
Madison: No, she didn’t want to take me under her wing. Miss Momma wanted me to expound on who I was, but I didn’t even know.
I’ll never forget, it was spring break. I was so enamored by Miss Momma’s presence because I was like, I didn’t know, if that was me. It might have been me and she was living it. I‘d see what the boys at school were doing to her. They wanted to attack Miss Momma, but also fuck her! It was so weird! They were so drawn to Miss Momma because she was not a man. Well, we ended up going on spring break. I remember it was April and Miss Momma would have been my age right now. We were only in 9th grade. She was found murdered.
50BOLD: Oh no!
Madison: I was devastated. Miss Momma’s death haunts me even to this very day. She was the first queer person I had ever encountered. We used to converse. She would not call me a fag or try to harm me. She’d say, ‘You’re my sister. You’re me, you know.’
50BOLD: Many people, especially in our community, believe that being gay is a choice. Who would choose to be trans knowing all they would have to endure! But let’s get into what life is like as a trans woman. We all know there’s discrimination everywhere. It is such a travesty that transgender people have continued to be subjected to such senseless violence.
Madison: Like me, Miss Momma was a fighter. I was so hurt. I’m hurt now thinking about how her life was cut so short. And how she didn’t get to see what is going on today, like how we have evolved. Even though we still have so much work to do in our community, we’ve evolved, somewhat. She would have been such a woman.
50BOLD: I can hear it in your voice and can sense that you are still very emotional about the death. And unfortunately, the violence against trans people happens so often, and we hardly get to hear about it. Now, it doesn’t sound like you were rejected by family or pushed out onto the streets, but you were still in a real state of identity confusion early on. Were you forced out during your teens?
Madison: I still hadn’t fully embraced my sexuality and was in a state of total confusion. I knew I was not any of the men I’d see. I was not my grandfather. I was not my dad. I was an only child for a while, for ten years. I was not any of my cousins. Even my male cousins who were older called me a fag.
I met some other queens in my high school and got wrapped up in that tribe of people; I was 17 at the time. They weren’t trans, they were butch queens. They were gay boys and weren’t living their lives as women. Now, these gay boys were street, hood. They were kind of boisterous and flamboyant. Anyway, I found a little hot spot, a bookstore. I was introduced to promiscuous men at this bookstore. Now, the bookstore workers did not request ID’s from their customers. I also had like a little mustache back then which made me look older.
Anyway, there was a guy who used to work security at the bookstore. He was a gay white boy who used to let us kids enter that bookstore. Well, I had my very first gay sexual encounter at that bookstore. It was an oral situation and nothing more. I did not want to go all the way because of AIDS. I was told that all fags would get AIDS if penetration was involved, so I was afraid.
I had a 17th birthday party, and was forced out during this time. The gay guys I knew from school came to my house and brought this other guy with them. The guy was accompanied by his boyfriend who recognized me from the bookstore and who began flirting with me. A fight broke out over the flirting situation at my mother’s house. My mother was like, ‘Why is this gay man trying to fight you? What is wrong with this gay man trying to fight you?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know why he’s trying to fight me?’ Anyway, the guy was doing all this trash talking. My mom was like, ‘What are they talking about? Why are they talking about you’re being gay?’
50BOLD: You were outed in front of your mom?
Madison: Yes, there was so much stuff going on. The party turned into one really big debacle!
50BOLD: When did you begin transitioning and did you face discriminatory issues?
Madison: I’m from Miami and it is a melting pot for people from other lands. There are a lot of Jamaican, Cuban and Haitian influences there. They migrate to Miami with all of their beliefs and traditions and things like that. Keep this in mind, a few of these people are in hiring positions. I began transitioning around 18-19 years old. By this time, I had moved out of the house.
Years ago, honey, the times were just so different. I was growing my hair out. I was taking hormones, so I had little nipples, and my breasts began to grow. My fingernails were getting longer. I also shaved off all of my facial hair. I was the first male cashier to work in the front of the store where I was employed. Customers would come into the store and some people could not deal with my appearance. The managers at the store would say things like ‘You have got to wear your name, Timothy, on your nametag because we’re receiving complaints about you!’
I do remember this one time in particular…. I was ringing up groceries at the checkout and a lady was trying to use all these coupons on the same single item. I explained to the woman how she could only use one coupon on a product. She became real belligerent and cursed me out. I ignored her. So, she went to the manager and stated, how she was insulted by the female cashier. The manager was so angry that the woman had referred to me as a ‘lady.’ The manager kept asking the woman who she was referring to because I was a male cashier. Well, she pointed me out and stated, ‘This woman right here! This lady right here!’ I was fired after the incident. I was not let go because of the complaint. I was fired because the customers were confused.
50BOLD: Wow, incredible, and so very sad! You are an activist and this was probably one situation out of many that fueled you to fight for trans rights.
Madison: What really fueled me to become the activist that I am today was the death of Miss Momma whose life was tragically cut short; she was so young. We were just young girls. We went home during spring break in April, and she never came back to school…. She never came back to school…. Never came back….
50BOLD: I’m just so, so, sorry. She never came back….
Madison: And it hurts me even to this very day. It hurts.
50BOLD: What do you think will put an end to these horrific ordeals that are faced by trans people?
Madison: I don’t think we will ever see an end to any of the ordeals that trans people face because so many in society are so deeply rooted in the misinterpretations of God’s words. And I must say this, we didn’t hear God say anything. We didn’t see him write anything. We’ve only read what was interpreted by mere man.
50BOLD: God is love and that’s what He is all about. We are rooted in man’s biblical interpretations from way back when that unfortunately, still rules Christianity today!
50BOLD: Homophobia still reigns supreme in our community, and specifically the Black church has major issues with it. Please speak to our 50-plus age readers who might have children or grandchildren who identify as trans. Are there some words of council you can offer?
Madison: Well at 7 years old, God was already communicating with me. He already knows us. He knows who we are, how He speaks to us, and what He wants us to do in this life. He makes no mistakes! Who I am is deeply ingrained in my DNA because this is what He sprinkled into my DNA. He created all of us. He created me. He created the straights. He created the gays. Again, He makes NO mistakes!
50BOLD: What an enlightened perspective. Your autobiography A Light Through the Shade co-written by Jasmine P. Rain was a work that you felt compelled to get out to the masses?
Madison. Oh yes!
50BOLD: I think because of you, many are beginning to understand, or at least be more respectful of, folks who march to the beat of their own drum.
Madison: Yeah, I think we’ll progress, Russell. I think we’ll progress…..
50BOLD: You’re a groundbreaker indeed! You are making a difference to help other people understand the plight of the trans community. Now, you’re a successful talk show host, author, actress. What are Madison’s next steps. How about a biopic?
Madison: A biopic is definitely in the works. That’s definitely my next step. I also want to create more stories of success. I want to show more. I want to produce more successful trans people to show their ascension. I’d like to show the masses that God does bless and is with us. We who belong to Him!
50BOLD: AMEN! A lot of people rave about your beautiful skin. Do you care to share any of your beauty secrets? And are there plans for a skin care line?
Madison: I do want to launch a skin care line. My skin has its ups and downs just like all Black skin does. I use a good razor. I have an esthetician who keeps my skin up. I do have some hyperpigmentation, some blemishes here and there. I recommend that you make sure to use skin products formulated for Black skin. I use soaps and washes that are created by Black companies, some of which I find on Instagram. One thing about me, I’m definitely a champion for my Black community. So, when I see Black businesses, I always try to shop with them.
50BOLD: Tell me something, when it’s all said and done, and you get to those pearly gates, what is God going to say to you, TS Madison?
Madison: God’s going to say to me and you can quote me on this because this is the way God speaks to me. This is how I know God is with me. He’s going to say…’Bitch, now…!’
50BOLD: I don’t think God is going to say ‘Bitch.’ (laughs)
Madison: Oh, yes, because I want you to know he speaks to me using the word, and I want you to quote me on this. God meets you exactly where you are, Russell. My whole life, He has guided me through every turn, every twitch, every hurdle and has spoken to me via the spirit. And I know when the spirit is talking to me instead of someone else, he gives it to me exactly how I understand it.
I was in DC recently for a conference sponsored by an organization that helps fight HIV and Aids among Black women in our community. I went to this restaurant and my server was a Black kid. He came to the table and kept staring at me. I looked at him and said, ‘Honey, why do you keep looking at me?’ The young man said, he knew me from somewhere. He had probably seen me on XYZ. Then, I said something that made him cringe. I asked him if he was saved. And he said, ‘Yes, I’m saved and filled with the Holy Ghost.’
God placed me at the young man’s table so that we could talk. I told the young man that God wanted me to let him know that we were both loved by Him equally. And God speaks to us both equally. I told the server that before I walked into the restaurant God said to me, ‘Bitch carry your ass over there and sit at this table honey, and order some chicken wings. I’m going to send you someone to talk to.’ And I know the message to be true because God speaks to me in a certain way. The young man said, ‘God ain’t said that. God ain’t tell you that!’ God has always spoken to me in a way that gets my attention. I continued to explain to the young man, ‘Sweetheart, I was a streetwalker, an escort, and a pornographic actress. And through all of life’s situations, God spoke to me. He manifests himself to us in a form we understand.’
And I’m going to tell you another story, Russell. One day, I was sitting on my sofa, and received a phone call from the actress Mo’Nique. She is my girl! She said, ‘Madison, God told me to call you to tell you something.’ And I said, ‘What did he say?’ She said, ‘Bitch, God said XYZ…’ Now, when God speaks to me, He wants my immediate attention and uses the word, ‘bitch!’ When Mo’Nique gave me God’s message, her first word was ‘bitch.’ I told Mo’Nique that I then knew God told her to relay a message to me.
I remember hearing God explicitly speaking to me when I was angry about George Floyd being murdered. God told me, ‘Bitch go downstairs, put on that old nappy wig you’ve got nearby, get in your chair, get on your social media, and just rant about it.’ And so, I ranted about it, and one of my videographers chopped the video up, pieced it together, and we put it out. God filled my mouth with what I needed to say. Well, do you know the rant was sampled and ended up on the song “Cozy” on the Beyoncé “Renaissance” album!
50BOLD: Well, you’ve changed my mind! God does speak to folks individually, and in a language they understand.
Madison: So, you see Russell, when I get to those pearly gates, God’s going to throw his arms up after I get through (by the Grace of Jehovah) and he’ll say, ‘Bitch, you know what, you thought you weren’t going to make it here!’ And I’m going to respond with, ‘God, for a split second, I didn’t think I would make it here because of all the vulgarities, filth, and all the stuff that was in my way.’ And I’m going to hear him say, ‘Everything you thought that would keep you from getting here, was part of your destined path to get here. Welcome!’
You can follow TS Madison on Instagram and on Facebook. Madison also has a new fragrance, EH-VRITHENG, that is clean, fresh, and free of chemicals and dangerous parabens. Visit the Methra site to order the sensual and lasting fragrance.