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Interview with Maddie Clemmons

Posted by Angela Buchanan on

Maddie is a speedcuber from New York and is currently the assistant manager at the Cubicle Pro Shop as well as the Outreach Coordinator. Maddie has been cubing for eleven years and her favorite event is megaminx. We were able to sit down with her during one of her less busy day.


Your WCA profile is really young, but you’ve been a cuber for a much longer time. What’s your cubing origin story? 

I began my cubing journey about 11 years ago when my mother first got a 2x2 cube for me. I remember that I was getting tutoring sessions for Mandarin and I couldn't stay still. As counterintuitive as it sounds, being able to hold a cube and fiddle with it actually made me pay better attention. From there, I got hooked and the rest is history.

That’s cool. If you remember, what was your first cube like? 

My first cube was a Rubik's brand 2x2. It was the very, very small one they made back in the day. It didn't corner cut and was quite hard to turn. I think I even put Vaseline and/or sand in it! 😂

Going from sand to Cubicle Premium Lube like a true champion! Speaking of Premium Lube, it’s well known you’re the Assistant Manager at the Pro Shop. What’s that like? 

Once TheCubicle began making lubes I instantly got some! It made a world of difference. I had always liked modding and setting up my own puzzles, so being able to do that now and for other people is great. I currently split administrative duties with Rowe and set up a ton of premium cubes wherever there is demand. Developing new premium lines and adding different cubes to their lineups is a lot of fun, especially when we are some of the first to get to try new puzzles. Working in the Pro Shop is also a great source of practice since I’m cubing all day. I have seen huge improvements in my times since I began working here. 

The improvement in your times on your WCA page is really evident! What are your short term and long term goals for the events you like the most? 

Thanks! It's so fulfilling to beat personal records in competitions. Right now, I’ve been doing a lot of 3x3 practice, mainly due to all the amazing 3x3s being released. My main goal is to be more consistent and be around 11-12 seconds. My favorite events would have to be megaminx and clock. They also just happen to be my best rankings, haha! If I had to choose just one though it would be megaminx since it is a different take on the 3x3 and it allows larger margins for error (similar to big cubes). As for goals, I'm at a plateau right now with megaminx at just above a minute. Short term I would like to start seriously practicing it again and learn more algs. Long term, I’d like to become consistently sub-1. For clock, I would like to stay sub-10 and eventually be sub-9. 

Great. It’s always nice to see those times highlighted in orange on your WCA profile. Did you have any favorite cubers when you were younger? 

😄 As many cubers have and do, I admire Feliks and am amazed at all the records he has broken. A couple of my other role models when I was younger were Yu Nakajiima, Kevin Hays, and Rowe! I distinctly remember watching a video of Rowe getting the 2x2 world record and thinking it was so cool. Getting to work with him is crazy to think about since he was such an influence in my cubing journey. 

So you mentioned earlier you’re practicing quite a bit now. What’s your practice routine and environment like? 

One wouldn’t think that I cube much outside of work given how much I cube all day here, but I do cube a ton at home, especially on weekends. I also use it as a method to distract myself (which can be good or bad), but it makes sense as my name and motto is “when in doubt cube”. I tend to watch or listen to YouTube or TV shows during my sessions. I like to practice a couple of different events during each session too. I always end up losing track of time and can’t stop cubing until I get a good time or average. I’m sure many of you can relate! 


You guys should follow when_in_doubt_cube on Instagram, by the way. Outside of cubing, do you have any fun hobbies? 

Since starting that Instagram, I’ve actually gotten more into photography, mainly taking pictures of cubes lol! It's a great creative outlet. I also love playing and cuddling with my adorable dog! I don't think people would consider this fun, but I also like picking up moderately heaving things and putting them down (weight lifting). A future hobby that I would love to pick up is rock climbing! I hope to go to a climbing gym once things are safe.

Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that you think most people don’t know? 

Hmmm that's a good question! I wouldn’t expect people in the cubing community to guess that I played rugby for 4 years in college. Ah, good times! I get pretty nostalgic about those days. I also studied kung fu for about 10 years and was a black belt at the teacher level. I'm definitely not that good anymore though!

Now for the last question, if you had to describe your cubing style using only three words, what would they be?

Finish learning OLL

Thanks, Maddie, for this wonderful interview! Good luck with OLL!

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