The Baby-Sitters Club is back, and this time Netflix brings a refreshingly inclusive and girl-powered adaptation of the book series!
When putting together the new cast, the creative team behind the Netflix series carefully selected a group of young and talented actors to bring the much-loved and multidimensional BSC characters to life on screen. And like the 5 baby-sitters in the book series, these girls have become friends, staying in touch despite living in different cities.
The new generation of BSC is brought to life by five young actresses: Sophie Grace as Kristy Thomas, Malia Baker as Mary Anne Spier, Momona Tamada as Claudia Kishi, Shay Rudolph as Stacey McGill, and Xochitl Gomez as Dawn Schafer.
In this exclusive interview, the five girls talk about their own baby-sitting experiences, which The Baby-Sitter Club member they can relate to the most, and more:
I’ve been an instant fan of the BSC ever since I picked up my very first novel in the 90s! The stories in the books are set during a time you girls weren’t born yet, so how were you first introduced to The Baby-Sitters Club?
Sophie Grace (Kristy Thomas): My older sister shared the books with another sister and me when we were really young. She got them from my grandma. The books were something I could talk to my sisters about – which made me love them even more.
Malia Baker (Mary Anne Spier): My mom has always referred to herself as a “Dawn,” so I was very confused and wanted to figure out who the heck Dawn was at around eight years old. I did some research and discovered The Baby-Sitters Club book series by Ann M. Martin and fell in love right away as most of the people who read the books do!
Momona Tamada (Claudia Kishi): I was introduced to the original book series when I was in elementary school for a novel study. I fell in love with the books!
Shay Rudolph (Stacey McGill): My Elementary School had a Scholastic Book Fair every year and the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels were the most popular of all the books. I loved reading them so I definitely knew about the BSC from the 4th grade on. I think that people watching The Baby-Sitters Club at home will find comforting nostalgia in the series and it’s amazing to introduce these iconic stories to a new generation.
Xochitl Gomez (Dawn Schafer): I was first introduced to the graphic novels because they had them at my elementary school, they were a favorite at book fairs. I started to read the Ann Martin novels once the series reboot was announced so that I would know the stories and characters just in case I got called for an audition. I really enjoyed the books and once I started reading them I couldn’t put them down. I’ve collected over 80 books now, they fill an entire shelf in my room!
A lot of readers grew up with and relate to these iconic baby-sitters. Which character do you see yourself most as?
Sophie Grace: I mostly see myself as Kristy, however, I can definitely relate to all the characters. I love art like Claudia, nature like Dawn, fashion like Stacey, and I hope I am as nice and compassionate as Mary Anne.
Malia Baker: I related to Mary Anne the most reading the books while growing up. Mary Anne is this shy character and I related to that the most because I was a shy kid. Shy isn’t the only attribute that connected me with Mary Anne. She’s also funny without knowing and she’s a leader in her own way. In addition Mary Anne is smart, organized, a dreamer, and kind. She cares about her friends so much!!
Momona Tamada: I relate to Claudia the most! I always liked art and I’m pretty crafty myself. I also love candy, just like Claudia!! I have a secret stash of candy in my room too! [laughs]
Shay Rudolph: The BSC books are very relatable characters who feel like REAL people! They go through real life struggles and say funny real life things. I definitely think that I have bits and pieces of each of the BSC girls inside of me!
Xochitl Gomez: I totally relate to my character, Dawn. She’s like me, but bolder. I’m not as political or as confrontational as Dawn, but I do have the same social justice concerns and her empathy for others. I’m also a healthy eater and I stay away from sugar.
Do any of you have memorable experiences you want to share about your own baby-sitters or baby-sitting other kids?
Sophie Grace: I’ve babysat for every kid in my neighborhood. One of the funniest babysitting experiences I ever had was when I was acting as a lifeguard to some of my favorite kids to watch. They told me they had a secret to tell me. I walked over so they could whisper it to me and guess what? They pulled me in with all my clothes on!
Malia Baker: I don’t remember anyone babysitting me, but I do remember babysitting other people. I babysit my little sister the most and have definitely been in similar situations from the BSC books. This one time I was babysitting my sister and her two friends and it totally reminded me of the book “Dawn and the Impossible Three” [laughs]!
Momona Tamada: Yes! My mom and I often took care of a little girl with beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. She spent quite a bit of time at our house and she insisted that she was Japanese and that I was her big sister [laughs]! She even asked for miso soup and rice balls for lunch!
Shay Rudolph: I used to have a babysitter when I was younger and I absolutely loved when they would have dance parties with me! When you’re babysitting, it’s really important to remember that these kids just really want someone to play with, not someone to watch tv with. The best memories were when they would paint my nails, dance with me, play with my dolls, and play so many other fun games.
Xochitl Gomez: My baby-sitter growing up was a neighbor of mine, Mari. She had many grandchildren and she was from Mexico, so she didn’t speak English. I remember helping her make tamales and tortillas by hand. Her cooking was delicious and she always gave me a job to help out, even when I was a toddler. We traveled everywhere on the bus and she would take me on all her errands and buy me little treats. I have very loving memories of her.
These characters and stories have been around since the 1980s. So it’s expected that us fans of the novels, now all grown up, are watching the show on Netflix. What do you think is the greatest appeal of the show for the younger generation?
Sophie Grace: I think everyone who watches “The Baby-Sitters Club” is going to see someone who either resembles them or thinks like they do, or dresses like them, or even has a problem like theirs. It’s why I love this show so much.
Malia Baker: I think kids and tweens will see their own situations represented on the screen. This show talks about divorce, re-marriage, overprotective parents, medical situations, LGBTQ+ friends. And of course, the friendship of these five young empowering feminists! I love it when I can relate to a character and see them face challenges that are similar to what’s happening in my life. I feel that this series is really able to do that!
Momona Tamada: The creators and writers did such an amazing job of modernizing the books for this series. I think the main appeal is relatability. The BSC girls all face obstacles that many pre-teen and teenagers experience in their real lives. The great part is that the series remains nostalgic, even though the show is very relevant to today’s society!
Shay Rudolph: I think the best part about the show is the girl empowerment! It’s really awesome to watch such strong female characters, let alone teenage characters, that are super independent. I hope that the show, just like the books did, will inspire other young teens to become entrepreneurs and create something of their own.
Xochitl Gomez: The main appeal is the stories, which are timeless, and the primary characters who are both interesting and believable. You instantly feel like you know them. The characters have to deal with real life issues that a lot of kids face, but the way the stories play out in the show isn’t overly simple. There are problems that come up and not everything works out perfectly. This is what made the books (and now the series) stand out for me; they feel real.
All episodes of The Baby-Sitters Club are now streaming on Netflix.