Two weeks ago Maddie Baillio was studying for her college finals. This morning she was on Today with Harvey Fierstein, gearing up for her star-making turn in NBC's upcoming Hairspray Live. Baillio, 20, is the new Tracy Turnblad, the young woman at the center of the Hairspray story. She'll star opposite Fierstein and Martin Short, who will play her parents, and Jennifer Hudson and Derek Hough.
"I only told my mom and my dad," Baillio, who hails from Texas, told E! News after her big reveal. "I've known for like two weeks. It's been the hardest thing ever, to not tell everyone. I don't know how they do it on Game of Thrones. I am so excited that I get to be part of this huge thing."
Hey, two weeks is pretty good, especially for somebody who doesn't have any TV experience.
Hairspray takes place in Baltimore in the 1960s and follows Tracy as she pursues her quest to dance on TV, all the while breaking the mold.
Baillio follows in the footsteps of Ricki Lake, who originated the role in the first film, Marissa Jaret Winokur, who won the Tony for the Broadway musical and Nikki Blonsky, who played the role in the movie adaptation of the musical. She said has plans to meet Winokur already and is eager to pick the brains of her fellow Tracys.
"My message for all of the girls out there, just like me, and everyone, really: Never stop going for your dream because you can achieve it," she said.
Click play on the video above for more from the newcomer.
Hairspray Live airs Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)