Maddie plays a teen with MRKH syndrome in Molly McGlynn's latest "traumedy."

Maddie Ziegler is stepping out of child stardom and into her own as an adult movie lead. The actor fronts Molly McGlynn's latest coming-of-age "traumedy" film about a 16 year old named Lindy (Maddie, naturally) who grapples with being diagnosed with a reproductive condition called MRKH syndrome. As the synopsis puts it, "The diagnosis upends her plans to have sex, her presumptions about womanhood and sexuality, her relationship with her mother (Emily Hampshire), and most importantly, herself."

MRKH syndrome is a reproductive disorder that causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent entirely. According to Medline, "Affected individuals usually do not have menstrual periods due to the absence of a uterus. Often, the first noticeable sign of MRKH syndrome is that menstruation does not begin by age 16."

Now that Fitting In is available VOD for the masses to stream and enjoy, Cosmopolitan caught up with Maddie about 4 a.m. filming delirium, how she worked with writer/director Molly McGlynn on the autobiographical parts of the movie, and the importance of centering women's perspectives in tough material.

You've been with this project since it was called Bloody Hell. What drew you to it initially?

As soon as I met Molly, I had an instant love for her. I knew I had to work with her. When we met, it wasn't set in stone that I was doing the movie. I was basically like, 'I will audition, I will do anything, this script means so much to me.' It's crazy to be here now and realize the weight of the project. I'm so grateful every day that I pushed forward with doing this, because there were certain people that were hesitant about me doing something like this just because it's very taboo to talk about this subject matter. I'm so lucky that I went ahead and did it, despite other people's opinions. It's a life changing thing.

What was it like working with Molly on the autobiographically-inspired parts of the film? How much of her life did she share with you to help you embody Lindy?

It's interesting because all of the medical scenes and all of the dilation scenes were drawn from her life. Like the moment where I'm in the doctor's office and four residents come in to observe, she really went through that. And as a woman, I fear so much for her. I cannot believe that everyday women are put in situations like that and feel powerless. I was honored that she was vulnerable enough to not only share her story but also give me extra information behind-the-scenes about what was going on. We would have these intimate conversations before I would do a scene and she would lead me up exactly to the moment when she was 16, and I'm grateful. I was already emotionally very much there and invested, but every extra bit of information just took it to the top for me. I was so emotional for her and protective of her at 16. I just wanted to do her justice.

Some of the most impactful (and frankly difficult to watch) scenes are when Lindy is interacting with male doctors. I will say, I feel like I would've known this movie had a female director behind it just through those shots. The medical scenes center emotionality, they're zoomed in, they're not voyeuristic in a way some movies can be, and I appreciated that because it felt more about Lindy and the impact the situation had on her vs. the situation as a spectacle in itself.

Thank you for saying that, because Molly was so specific about that. As an actor reading the material on paper, none of it ever read as sexual to me so I wasn't worried about that. Once I got there, she really explained to me that this wasn't going to be a Euphoria type—which is great in its own way—but that's just not the film we were making. Even the moments in the doctor's office, she chose to zoom up on my foot when I was in pain, the way you clench your foot, rather than overexposing my body. I really appreciate having predominant females setting that atmosphere. I'm so happy you said that because it really does shine through and you can tell it's coming from a woman's perspective because they've captured me in an almost wholesome, innocent way.

It prioritizes Lindy and her perspective, right. That had the side-effect of giving you the opportunity to really be front and center of this movie, firmly as the lead. What was it like filming a movie where you're in nearly 100 percent of the frames?

Yeah, this was a first for me and something I was so nervous to take on. But that's why it excited me, because I don't want to do things that are comfortable. I want to push myself as an actor. Molly trusted me, and I feel like after this experience, I actually thought, Oh, I'm capable of more than I thought. I was proud of myself, which is so hard for artists to say. It's really hard to be proud of yourself. And of course I overanalyze parts of my performance in the film, but as a whole I'm like, Wow, I really conquered a lot of hard moments.

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