'The Baby-Sitters Club's Momona Tamada On Playing The Iconic Claudia Kishi
Netflix's The Baby-Sitter's Club has been one of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer. Based on the 1980s-era book series from Ann M. Martin, the story follows a group of enterprising preteens who start a successful babysitting business together. The new version of the show updates the stories from the mid-1980s to 2020 without missing a beat, teaching the same valuable lessons about family and friends with a modern twist. For Momona Tamada, who plays Claudia Kishi in the new Baby-Sitters Club, getting the show — and her character — right is a really big deal.
Across decades, fans have fallen in love with The Baby-Sitters Club book series (which also inspired earlier TV and movie adaptations) and the characters featured in it, such as bossy Kristy, shy Mary Anne, artistic Claudia, and sophisticated Stacey.
"I read the books growing up, and I loved them so, so much," Tamada tells Elite Daily. "I definitely identified as a Claudia — and probably more of a Mary Anne when I was younger, but that changed as I got older ... Bringing these characters back was such an honor."
When The Baby-Sitter's Club book series was launched back in 1986 with Kristy's Big Idea, it was groundbreaking for causally featuring Claudia as a Japanese American heroine at a time when diversity in the entertainment world was scarce. Moreover, Claudia did not fit the harmful stereotype of the high-achieving "model minority" student. Instead, Claudia wasn't great at school and dreamed of becoming an artist.
At 13, Tamada wasn't alive when the books first came out, but she understands the magnitude of portraying the iconic role of Claudia. "Growing up, I didn't have a huge amount of representation on screen, so being able to be that for younger generations and beyond is so incredible," she says.
Tamada worked hard to make sure her take on Claudia did the character justice. "The Baby-Sitter's Club has such a huge legacy behind it. It was a lot of pressure making sure that I delivered Claudia just how fans read about her in the original series," she says. "I did do a lot of character studying before I got on set. I tried to pick out a lot of her character traits, and when I was reading the script and practicing for the next day, I would think about, 'Oh, how would Claudia say this, and how can I make sure that her personality stays true to the books?'"
Luckily, it wasn't that hard. "Because I was so similar to [Claudia], it wasn't really a huge challenge for me to deliver her personality," Tamada explains. "I've always been super bubbly and fun and energetic, just like her. And I love candy."
Tamada and her character even share outfits now. "After shooting, all of us went shopping in each other's wardrobe," she explains. "I picked some stuff from Claudia's closet, Stacey, Dawn, Kristy, and Mary Anne's." Total Claudia move.
Tamada will next be seen in Netflix's third installment of the To All the Boys franchise, reprising her role as a young version of Lara Jean Covey, who she also played in the trilogy's second film. She's also hoping to return as Claudia in a second season of The Baby-Sitters Club. Though the series hasn't been renewed by Netflix yet, Tamada is hopeful. "I have my fingers crossed, and my toes crossed," she says. "I feel like now, we're so connected to all of our characters that Season 2 would be so much fun to show if we get the chance to."
The Baby-Sitter's Club Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.