Netflix’s new Baby-Sitters Club series is a total joy. Filled with a delightful young cast, emotional and hilarious writing, and authentic conflict, it’s one of the best shows of the year. Nerdist was lucky enough to chat with Momona Tamada, who brings to life the coolest member of the club, Claudia Kishi. The brilliant young actor shared her own personal connection to the series as well as speaking about the importance of representation and her favorite on-set memories!
Nerdist: Before you were cast as Claudia, were you aware of the series and had you read any of The Baby-Sitters Club books?
Momona Tamada: I read The Baby-Sitters Club in elementary school. My teacher introduced them to me during novel study, which is when you study a novel. I would even read them after novel study ended. I would go to the library and read them at lunchtime with my friends.
When you think back to first reading the books, do you remember how you felt about Claudia?
MT: I loved Claudia because growing up I feel like I didn’t have much Asian representation in books or TV shows. So seeing Claudia was the first time I saw myself in a book, which is super cool. I just loved how bold she was. I feel like she broke a lot of stereotypes that were created around Asian people. So yeah, she’s amazing! I love her!
Seeing as the character means so much to you, what’s it like getting to create your own version of her in the new Baby-Sitters Club series?
MT: It’s like a complete dream come true. Because I grew up reading about Claudia, I feel the pressure of that a little bit, because everyone grew up with the books and they love Claudia so much. So I hope that they’ll love the modernized version of her.
Have you read any of the reviews? They’re pretty great!
MT: Yeah, it’s insane. It’s crazy.
Do you feel like there are any similarities between you and Claudia?
MT: I’m very similar, actually. She’s super creative and I’ve always been a super creative person. She loves art and I love art. She also has a sweet tooth and I definitely have a sweet tooth as well. And also I have a lot of energy and Claudia definitely has that kind of fun energy to her.
Claudia’s fashion in this series is so wonderful and cool, she gets a lot of the best looks. Do you have a favorite Claudia outfit?
MT: I would say her iconic, mustard yellow jumper because I just love that outfit so much! And the wedding dress, that was so beautiful.
The Baby-Sitters Club is such a beloved series and you clearly have a personal connection to it. What was it like getting to reimagine it alongside a team of amazing young women?
MT: It was such a dream come true. And I love how on-set it was so kind and friendly. And because we were there all the time it started to kind of feel like a family. I’m best friends with all the girls. So it was almost like spending time with your best friends every day.
Aside from The Baby-Sitters Club, are there any other books that really inspire you?
MT: There’s just one book called Happiness Is by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling. It’s a super short book and has one-line, one-sentence answers, and it gives you over 500 things to be happy and grateful about. I love it!
Do you have a favorite memory from being on set?
MT: Ohhh, there’s so many memories! Definitely I would say one of my favorite memories is going to set early and all of us trying to get there early. Then we’d get pancakes for breakfast and go into our trailers and we’d watch TV in our trailers and yeah, it was so much fun.
Now that the show is so close to being out there in the world, is there a particular moment or episode that you’re really excited for viewers to see when they watch it?
MT: I love episode six, that was definitely a big episode for Claudia. I prepared quite a bit for that episode because she’s feeling like all these like crazy emotions. So I’m excited for the audience to see her super vulnerable side and to see that her friends are always there for her.
What do you hope that young people take away from the series when they get to see it?
MT: I hope they have a feeling of the power of friendship and girl power! Also, how these girls have their own struggles within this series. I hope young viewers kind of take that away and think, “Oh, this is how they solved this problem. Maybe I can apply that to my real life.” Because all the struggles the girls are facing are definitely real problems that are relevant to this world.
You spoke earlier about how Claudia was the first representation that you saw, so how does it feel to know that you’re part of such an inclusive show that will offer up representation for kids?
MT: It’s such an honor because film and television are such a big part of people’s lives. People grow up watching TV and it sets almost like an expectation or something. So having the chance to be a part of such an inclusive and diverse show is something that I’m super grateful for and excited for the audience to see.
The Baby-Sitters Club hits Netflix on July 3!
Featured Image: Netflix