Popular Tween: Momona Tamada
Jul 29, 2020
The Babysitter’s Club has been a big hit since its release in early June and we can confidently say that breakout star Momona Tamada has played a big role in the popularity and acclaim of the series. As the free-spirited Claudia, the 13-year old star has been breaking barriers with her acting, portraying an Asian-American character that has been inspiring girls across the globe with her fierceness and her art. The young actress isn’t new to breaking barriers, as she starred in the “To All the Boys” trilogy as a young Lara Jean, another film that played a big part in increasing Asian-American representation through the creation of complex, three-dimensional characters.
For this teen sensation, representation grounds the reason for her work and she is hopeful for more in-depth exploration into Asian American characters moving forward. We were able to sit with the star and discuss her character, the importance of including diverse characters, and the way she found her passion for acting and dance, so check it out and don’t miss out on the sensation that is The Babysitter’s Club, perfectly on Netflix so we can binge-watch the entire first season. (I’ve already done it three times!)
1. Tell us about your character on ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’?
Claudia is the Vice President of the club and is known as the trendiest of the group. She is very talented in the arts and her closet is full of fabulous clothes and accessories!
2. Claudia is pretty good at art. Great, actually. Did you bring any of your artistic abilities to this role?
Yes! I drew a feather on her backpack, which was cool! I also doodled on Claudia’s notebook a lot too.
3. As the fashion-forward VP, what was our favorite or most memorable outfit in the series?
The most memorable outfit would have to be the wedding outfit! That was the most incredible dress I have ever gotten to wear and I loved it so, so much! I actually tried on other wedding dresses and they decided on that one the morning of the shoot. I got fitted for the dress in the morning and it had been altered to fit me within a few hours. CRAZY!
4. So, we know that you read the books growing up, but what did you bring differently to the role of Claudia?
Well, the whole story of “The Baby-Sitters Club” has been modernized to include fresh storylines, but it still manages to keep that nostalgic feeling that readers grew up with. So, although Claudia didn’t change a ton, I would say her room is a bit different and her style is a bit more modern.
5. Is there a specific Claudia storyline that you’d like to see hit the screen in later seasons?
We got to see a glimpse of Claudia’s family life which was really cool because Claudia is free-spirited and fun, but the audience doesn’t tend to see the other personal side of her, which is learning to manage her grades and being misunderstood by her family. So, on that note, it would be cool to see some of the traditions the Kishi family celebrates as a Japanese-American family.
6. If the Baby-Sitters Club was on TikTok, what kind of things would they be creating?
I think they would be helping their audience by creating fun content others can learn from. Something like “art class with Claud,” “babysitting tips,” and “fashion 101.” That would be super fun to watch and make, in my opinion.
7. What does the role of Claudia mean to you?
I absolutely adore how bold and fun she is. She breaks so many stereotypes and she doesn’t care about what others think of her! I was pretty shy growing up, so reading about her was very inspiring.
8. Not only are you the iconic Claudia, but you are also alongside Lana Condor in the To All the Boys trilogy. What was something you learned from that experience?
That experience was another dream come true, especially since I loved the first “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” movie. Working on that project and with Lana Condor, who I look up to, was great. She was so kind and humble which taught me the value of being a great partner on set.
9. Tell us about ‘The Main Event’ and your character Erica
The Main Event was one of my first “big” roles, so I learned a lot about the film industry working on that set! Filming this movie actually overlapped with The Baby-Sitters Club a bit, so that summer was really busy for me. My character Erica is a super sweet and popular girl who becomes friends with Leo, Riyaz, and Caleb. Together they all experience Leo’s adventure as a secret WWE superstar!
10. Heading into high school right now, what is something you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to starting fresh! I love starting on a new and clean slate! You can create new goals for yourself and achieve great things.
11. You originally used dance as an outlet. Is that something you still practice and what made you switch over from dance to acting?
Even when I’m super busy with acting, I’m still training in dance, one way or another, so finding balance is quite difficult. I’m really lucky to have supportive people by my side.
I actually first got into acting through my dance training! When I auditioned for my agency, it was very dance-heavy so I didn’t do much acting in the audition, but my talent agency also specializes in acting too. So they started sending me to TV and film auditions. Even though acting and dancing are 2 very different forms of expression, I realized pretty early on that I love acting just as much as dancing. It all started moving very quickly for me!
12. Across the entertainment industry, and especially at Netflix, more stories from people of color are being told. What is a Japanese or Asian story you’d like to see told and what role would you want to be in it?
I will say things are really moving forward in the film industry diversity-wise. Although we are not there yet, I’ve seen positive changes in this industry that we wouldn’t have seen a few years ago. Some great examples are “Crazy Rich Asians” the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy, and of course, “The Baby-Sitters Club”! I would love to see even more diversity and inclusivity, with all ethnicities.
13. Shuffle all of your music. What are the first five songs that come up?
Smile by Nat King Cole
Better by Khalid
Cigarette Daydreams by Cage The Elephant
Trampoline by SHAED
Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish
14. What does popular mean to you?
Being popular was the least of my worries in school because finding people who you actually care about and love is more important than trying to fit in, in my opinion. If you stay true to yourself, you will find friends that love you for who you are. I would rather have one best friend than a bunch of friends I barely know. Don’t worry about having to fit in, just be yourself! :)