With classes back in session—at least virtually—in the midst of coronavirus, what once felt like an opportunity for a fresh start may not feel as exciting this year. On the bright side, all students are in the same boat: School’s back and no one’s particularly excited about it.
To make up for that missed social connection of IRL lectures and tutorials, the next best thing is diving into some nostalgic TV that’ll remind you of simpler times and middle school hijinks. Enter: Netflix’s The Baby-Sitter’s Club. The feel-good adaptation is just as fun and inspiring as you remember from the iconic books by Ann M. Martin.
If you grew up reading the popular series, you probably wanted to be Claudia Kishi’s friend at some point. I mean, who can blame you? We still kind of want to emulate everything about her: She’s smart, stylish and an all-around great gal pal. We chatted with Momona Tamada, who plays Claudia in the TV show, about all things friendship, style and how she’s been keeping in touch with her BSC co-stars in between seasons.
How was your summer? What have you been up to these days?
“My summer was pretty good. I think, in the beginning, [lockdown] was very new, so I was kinda just doing anything to keep entertained. But now that we’re allowed to go outside, I’ve been going on lots of bike rides. But I also have been staying inside a lot and staying safe.”
Now I’m actually back on set, and I’m so happy. It’s super exciting.”
Did you keep in touch with your BSC co-stars in between filming?
“Our group chat is active all the time. We’re texting on it at least once a day. We’re always talking and FaceTiming. There’s also Netflix Party, so we’ve been watching shows together on there. It’s been a lot of fun!”
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Did you all get along right from the start?
“Even at the chemistry read, we just instantly clicked. Our parents were all taking photos, and they have a bunch of photos of us sitting together. We just bonded together right away, even before we knew we were cast. I don’t know. It’s like I’ve met them before.
“It was so cool that we instantly had such a strong connection because I find that it can sometimes be very rare. These girls are like my best friends, and working with them was just such a blast.”
Any advice for people trying to make new friends during this isolating time?
“Always be yourself. I think you get the best out of it when you’re yourself and you’re not pretending. You will really be able to find people who will love you for who you are. It’s much better than pretending to be someone you’re not and being friends with people you don’t actually have anything in common with. So, just be yourself. I promise you’ll find amazing friends.”
Why do you think people love the BSC books so much?
“I mean, there’s such nostalgia when it comes to the BSC books. They’re so relatable. There are so many versions and generations to the BSC. It’s such a great way to maybe connect as well, you know? I know many of our parents have read it, so it’s something we can bond over. The topics they cover are also things that really do happen in real life. I think people can find a connection between the characters and themselves, whether it’s one of them or all five.”
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What do you hope everyone watching takes away from the TV series?
“If there’s one thing, I’d say it would be the power of friendship. These girls always have each other’s backs even when they have their own struggles. Their friendship is so strong, and together they can do anything. There’s a great sense of girl power in there.”
Claudia is obviously such a fashion icon—even for us ‘grown ups.’ What are some of your favourite Claudia looks?
“The wedding look! Of course. That look was definitely one of my favourites. Fun fact: I actually got fitted for that dress on the exact same day I had to wear it. It was a surprise to me.
There was also one look with this pink chunky sweater and splatter paint overalls. I actually got to keep them. I love clothing pieces that are one of a kind and you can’t really find anywhere else.”
How would you compare your personal style to Claudia’s?
“My personal style is always changing, but I would say I dress more “street style” compared to Claudia, who always looks like she’s ready to walk the runway. Portraying Claudia definitely made me more open-minded about fashion, like how different clothes can go together. We also worked with such an amazing wardrobe team. I really appreciate fashion a lot more now. I think fashion is such a great way to express yourself.”
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You’re also set to reprise your role in the third To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. When you first landed the role of young Lara Jean, how excited were you?
“Oh man, I was like over-the-moon excited! I look up to Lana Condor [who plays Lara Jean] a lot. She’s a big influence on me. To be the younger version of her character was so cool.
“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was such a big hit. I feel like everybody watched it and loved it. I never thought when I was watching the first season that I’d be a part of it. I still feel like I’m living in a dream! It was incredible.”
So what are you most looking forward to after the pandemic?
“To see all my friends again. We’ve only been able to see each other on FaceTime. You know, I’ve realized I shouldn’t take any moment for granted. I’m excited to be back on set, and I’m definitely looking forward to things being back to normal.”