Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (2024)

Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (1)

Star in a highly-acclaimed Netflix series, appear in one of Netflix’s most successful global film franchises to date, perform in hit shows for AMC and Amazon, and act alongside Owen Wilson and Michael Peña in a new Paramount film. It’s undeniably a formidable resume, one that is indicative of a long and accomplished career in the industry — except Momona Tamada is just getting started. Indeed, the highly gifted young actress has quickly situated herself as one to watch in the industry, routinely delivering captivating and heartfelt performances and bringing iconic characters to life. From portraying young Lara Jean in the revered To All The Boys films to playing Claudia Kishi in Netflix’s highly acclaimed show The Baby-Sitters Club, Momona Tamada proves time and time again that she is an absolute force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry, on course to dominate.

“I grew up in Vancouver,” Tamada says of her early childhood. “That’s still where I live now. I got very comfortable living in my hometown and I really love it here. I don't see myself living anywhere else at the moment.”

Indeed, it was that very hometown that first fostered Tamada’s love for performing. “I believe I was 11, maybe 12 years old when I started acting,” Tamada reflects. “Quite a few years ago I started with basic dance and acting jobs, and that’s what has gotten me to where I am today.”

Speaking to where Momona Tamada is today, she is far from the world of basic dance and acting jobs. Tamada stars as the lovable fashion-icon Claudia Kishi on Netflix’s hit show The Baby-Sitters Club, a role that she first auditioned for over Zoom. “My first audition was a self-tape,” Tamada says of first going out for Claudia. “I remember not hearing back for quite a long time, so I thought, ‘I guess I'm not going to hear back from this one.’ But right as I was starting to move on from not hearing back, I got an email about a month later saying they wanted to do a callback with me. I was so excited and so shocked at the same time. I ended up doing a Zoom audition for Rachel Shukert and Lucia Aniello and it was so fun.”

From there, Tamada found herself en route to LA, destined for a chemistry read with other potential cast members. “I think it was one of my first times in LA — for an audition at least — so obviously, I was very nervous,” Tamada reflects. “But when I got there, everyone was so nice and I think all the girls just clicked. The day after we did our audition as the BSC, they brought us all back in and told us they messed up the audition tape and that we should do the scene again. Right after we finished and were all about to leave, they were like ‘oh and by the way, one more thing to tell you guys…you’re the cast of The Baby-Sitters Club!’ It was definitely one of the best moments ever!”

Tamada brings Claudia to life with such sincerity and heart, a feat that is due in part to the similarities that the two girls share.

“I would say Claudia and I share a similar energy level,” Tamada notes. “I found myself bringing a lot of my personality traits to her character. I would say we have a very similar bubbly energy and we both love art. I absolutely adore art and I think Claudia has helped me get into that a lot more. There are also simple things, like us both loving babysitting, fashion, and candy.”

Indeed, Claudia is very interested in fashion on the show, with the character’s iconic and bold fashion choices routinely sending the internet into a fangirling frenzy. “It's just so much fun,” Tamada says of playing a character that has such sensational fashion taste. “I think it's so interesting to hear what everyone else has to say about her clothes as well. It’s so fun to see everyone fangirling over her clothes because I myself did that when I got to wear them for the first time.”

As for what portraying the lovable Claudia means to Momona Tamada, the actress explains that playing Claudia is, in summary: very special.

“She’s a very well-loved and influential character — I guess you could say iconic even,” Tamada says. “So for me, getting to step into that role was a huge deal. I think there was a little bit of pressure just because of what she accomplished as a character in the books. Being able to portray her is an experience that I could never, ever put into words. I can never explain to anyone just how grateful I am for the opportunity to play Claudia. As time passes, the gratitude I have towards Claudia increases, especially after hearing what others have to say about her and how much she has influenced people's lives.”

Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (2)

With the first season of the show being so well-received by both fans and critics alike, it was only a matter of time before Tamada and the cast of The Baby-Sitters Club returned to set for season two.

“We were all so excited to be back on set,” Tamada shares. “It had been over a year since we all saw each other in person and we had to get used to the world of FaceTime before returning. Seeing the girls and being back in our characters just opened this happiness that you kind of forgot was there. The first scene we got to film together when we returned was the sleepover scene. All of us were there in our pajamas, eating a bunch of junk food, and it really felt like we were having a sleepover. It was such a good way to get back into The Baby-Sitters Club.”

That sleepover sensation and close community can be felt everywhere on The Baby-Sitters Club set, particularly on early filming days and from some of the acting legends in the cast. “We showed up on set and one of our favorite things to do, specifically in season one, was to get pancakes every morning and watch H2O or Peppa Pig in our trailers,” Tamada explains.

“We would watch all these TV shows and movies from our childhoods and it was so much fun. Working with the girls is so incredible. Getting to work with people my age, especially people who are my best friends, is so much fun. Having the opportunity to be with them every day is awesome. Working with such well-seasoned actors, such as Alicia Silverstone, Mark Feuerstein, and Marc Evan Jackson is a great learning experience for me. Being able to watch and observe them in action and see how they take on scenes is how I learn best. They are such kind and humble people and they taught me to continue to always be humble no matter what. I feel like when you watch actors on screen, you don't really know them and you hope they are nice people, so it’s really nice to know that everyone is so kind.”

Looking at season two, fans can expect “a lot of fun friendship moments,” Tamada teases. “We get to dive deeper into each character’s struggles. There are quite a few twists and turns in there and it's definitely an adventure, so I can't wait for everyone to see it.”

Furthermore, in addition to giving more background on the character’s struggles, season two also gave Tamada her favorite memory from filming The Baby-Sitters Club.

“At the end of episode three in season two, we get to do this fun fashion show/dance party,” Tamada explains. “That was so special to me because it was actually the last scene we shot for season two. Although it's in the third episode, they saved that until the very last day. So at that point, all of us were the closest we had ever been and we got to listen to music, get a bunch of fun props, and just dance around together. At the end, we gathered for a big group hug and all of us had already begun crying. That moment has a very special place in my heart because it's something that I think all of us remember as a very special moment.”

Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (3)

Beyond starring in The Baby-Sitters Club, Momona Tamada has also leant her talents to films like Secret Headquarters, To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, To All The Boys: Always & Forever, and television series like The Terror and The Boys — opportunities that she reflects fondly on.

“I hadn't done many projects before working on To All The Boys and The Terror,” Tamada shares. “Those projects were before I even started filming The Baby-Sitters Club, so for me, it was so incredible. I was so new to the television and film industry and just seeing and being on sets of such loved shows and movies was insane to me, especially when it came to working on To All The Boys. Working with Lana Condor, who I idolize so much as a young Asian Canadian girl, was incredible. I was so honored to be there and get to play the young version of her character.” Tamada continues, discussing her role in Secret Headquarters. “That experience was something completely different,” she notes. “I got to dive into a new character and got to work with such amazing people. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I think being on that set was what made me realize that I don't know what I would ever do without acting.”

Moreover, despite Tamada’s young age, her perspectives on the industry are wise beyond her years. “I learned that when it comes to booking jobs, a lot of it is out of your control,” she shares. “You have to endure all those no’s and learn to get through it. A lot of this industry has to do with instinct and feeling. The smallest things can be a reason behind getting a no, so I think that's why I learned how to not be too hard on myself when it comes to booking new roles and hearing back because a lot of these things are out of my control. This is something that I think is important for any actor who is just starting out in this industry and who may be having a hard time to learn as well.”

Reflecting on her career so far and who has inspired her most along the way, Momona Tamada cites many individuals, both in her professional and personal life, who have impacted who she is as a creative. “Professionally, there are so many people that I look up to and I don't think I could ever name them all,” she admits. “But one person in particular would be Gemma Chan. She's one of my acting inspirations and working with her would be a dream come true. Also, Simu Liu, who I enjoyed watching in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I’m totally fangirling over that entire cast! I am also inspired by all the amazing people that were a part of The Baby-Sitters Club. They taught me that if I have an idea, I can make it my own and I can achieve anything I want to. Overall, I'm constantly discovering and meeting new people that I look up to and I’m inspired by.” Tamada continues on, discussing her personal inspirations. “I would say my family, especially my mom and my grandmother,” she notes. “They’re both very powerful and independent women, and I have looked up to them all my life. I'm very lucky to have those figures in my life.”
By virtue of her remarkable success in the industry at such a young age, Momona Tamada currently resides in a very unique and powerful position — with her impressive resume and powerful perspectives in tow, she’s poised to take on the industry and absolutely dominate. “Acting is a huge passion of mine,” Tamada says.

“The fact that we're able to create these characters that aren't ourselves is really interesting to me. To be able to dive into a character that I'm not familiar with is so much fun. Also, TV and film can really inspire and influence a lot of people. For example, growing up and watching my favorite movies and shows sparked a lot of inspiration for me, and I think it can help people who are going through very hard times. It can be an escape for people. To incorporate all these creative thoughts and create these worlds on the screen that we may not be able to experience in the real world is so fun. I think that is what is so special about acting — being able to feel like you can fully immerse yourself into your work. It is truly amazing to see how much acting brings people together.”

Momona Tamada’s talent shines through all of her projects, while her astute acting choices and her own outlook on life impacts her individual style and voice as a creator.

“With The Baby-Sitters Club, I realized that I do have a voice and that I can accomplish a lot more than I expected,” Tamada reflects. “It’s great to see that so many young creators are rising up and taking this work and making it into their own. Working and meeting people who have the same passions as you is the best. You make these relationships that are on a whole other level because you share something that you both enjoy so much. I would love to start directing, writing, and producing. I’m not trying to rush into it at all, but I’ve always had an interest in being behind the camera, so this is definitely a goal of mine for the future. I would love to be a part of this new generation of filmmakers because I think our generation has a lot to say and I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish.”

Indeed, the next generation of filmmakers and creators are destined to change the sphere of storytelling forever, and who better to lead the next class of creatives than Momona Tamada. The sky seems to be the limit for what Tamada will achieve next, if what she has already accomplished is any indication. Momona Tamada represents the next generation of actors and storytellers. Equipped with a sensational mixture of talent, wisdom, and work ethic, Tamada is destined for greatness — and the cameras are rolling. “Hard work is something that always pays off,” Tamada shares. “That is something I always try to remember, especially when it comes to acting. I feel like a lot of the time, what you put out is what comes back to you, and whenever I try something new, I try to have that outlook. I learned that I can just be myself and I don't have to be afraid of what others think about me. That was something I struggled with a lot before acting and before The Baby-Sitters Club, and I would say Claudia has taught me a lot about being comfortable in my skin. I encourage others to experiment and try their best to be confident in themselves.”

Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (4)

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Heather Koepp

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Meet Momona Tamada: The Rising Star Destined to Dominate the Acting World — Rival Magazine (2024)
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