Regardless of quintessential stereotypes: girly-girls, bookworms, or sport-fanatics, tremendous amounts of young individuals resonated with the immaculate storyline of The Baby-Sitter’s Club, myself included. I fondly recall recreating the series with my own friends on the school playground; a clever way for us to grasp our differences and eventually, learn to take pride in them. Perhaps, this is why my own group of elementary-school friends and the characters of, The Baby-Sitter’s Club, got on so well, for the reason that each person’s differences worked together to bring out the best in each of us, to paraphrase whimsical Claudia. Based on Ann M. Martin’s critically acclaimed book series, the Netflix adaptation introduces a group of middle school friends who run a babysitting business in their fictional hometown of Stoneybrook, Connecticut. We had the pleasure of speaking with Shay Rudolph, the embodiment of Stacey McGill, fashion connoisseur and treasurer of the beloved club. Shay details her experience working with her in-real-life BFFs, novelty performances, and exploring other niches in the industry.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Shay Rudolph: I’m constantly getting inspired by some of the incredibly talented people in this industry and by new films and shows that are created. I started acting in my elementary school plays and built up roles overtime; from playing a lost boy in the first-grade version of Peter Pan to Alice in the sixth-grade version of Alice In Wonderland. I also took ballet classes from the age of five to age twelve, so I was really comfortable being on stage and performing. I definitely love the feeling when you walk on stage with the lights, the costumes, and looking out at the audience.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
SR: I started taking acting classes and realized how much I loved the process of developing a character and being in scenes. I signed with an agent and manager and then started going on a bunch of auditions and working really hard, just like everyone else in the industry. I booked my first role when I was eleven, which was a feature film called, The Adventures of Thomasina Sawyer, where I played the role of Becky Thatcher. Then I booked the role of Maya Flynn on Fox’s, Lethal Weapon, playing Seann William Scott and Maggie Lawson’s daughter. That was an incredible experience and really gave me a taste of what it’s like to be a working actor and to be around such incredible talent. Soon after, I booked The Baby-Sitters Club! It has been a wild ride of hard work, determination, and incredible experiences. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given and I hope that this is just the beginning!
MM: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy partaking in when you’re not acting?
SR: Music has always been a big passion of mine. I started playing the piano seven years ago and I just started learning the guitar about six months ago. Music is one of my favorite ways to just let go and be creative! I also love to watercolor paint, read, write poetry, and garden. I just planted some herbs and flowers hoping that it will attract lots of butterflies!
MM: What was it like to be a part of the hit Netflix series, The Baby-Sitters Club?
SR: It’s been absolutely phenomenal. The whole experience of filming the first season has been amazing, from the friendships I’ve made, to the directors I’ve been able to work with, and the incredible scenes I got to film. Being away in Canada while filming made me miss my sister and dad so much, but I loved being able to live and work in Vancouver and explore the city. I have so many wonderful memories from each day on set and I learned more in those few months than I have in years.
MM: The chemistry between the cast throughout the series was undeniable. What was your experience like working with everyone?
SR: I know we have all said it before, but we are genuinely best friends, both on and off-screen. The connections between the five of us clicked the moment we met and it’s only grown stronger since. Imagine you and four of your favorite people getting to spend every single day together doing the thing you love to do the most. That’s what it was like working on set. Each day was full of laughter, inside jokes, and new memories. I’d do it all over again in a split second.
MM: Your character, Stacey McGill, is a smart, outgoing girl who has a knack for fashion! Do you share any similar traits as your on-screen character?
SR: Playing Stacey made me realize how fun being fashionable and stylish is! I started to get out of the jeans and t-shirt mindset and wear cool, colorful pants, blouses, and fun sweaters. Stacey and I are also both very responsible girls. We’re able to take care of ourselves and not rely on anyone else to do things for us.
MM: If there was one thing you would want viewers to take away with them after watching, The Baby-Sitters Club, what would it be?
SR: I hope that anyone watching the show can take away the really strong friendship morals. Throughout the series, you can see these girls stick by each other’s sides through thick and thin. They care about each other so deeply and it’s really important for kids and teens to remember that they never have to go through anything alone. If you have someone in your life that you can really trust, like a sibling or a best friend, that’s sometimes the best medicine.
MM: Was there anything, in particular, your character, Stacey, taught you throughout the storyline?
SR: She really taught me to not judge someone based on who they seem to be at a first glance. You have to get to know that person first, on your own, and give them a chance to become your friend before making decisions about who they are. For example, Kristy really judges Stacey at first when she joins the club. Kristy just saw Stacey as a preconceived version of a standoffish, popular girl who was getting more of Claudia’s attention than Kristy was. But in reality, Stacey was just a sweet girl who was looking for new friends. It’s really important to remember to never, ever fill in the blanks about someone based off of who you THINK they are.
MM: Have you ever experienced any challenges throughout your career?
SR: Being an actor takes a lot of hard work. It took me four years of auditioning and booking small roles before I got The Baby-Sitters Club. There have been so many projects that I fell in love with and wanted to be a part of so badly, but I didn’t make it past the first or second round of auditions. It is tough hearing so many “no’s” for projects verse the small amount of “yes’s”. Since the beginning, I’ve had a really great attitude about it and I’ve always known that if a project is truly right for me, then it will be a part of my life.
MM: If you could work with anyone in the industry, who would it be?
SR: Wow! If I could work with absolutely anyone it would be hard to choose between Wes Anderson and Greta Gerwig. They’re both absolutely brilliant and have directed my all-time favorite movies. I’ve been manifesting working with them both for quite a while!
MM: If you weren’t pursuing acting, what would you aspire to do?
SR: If I wasn’t an actor, I think I’d still be drawn to something in the industry. Having a hand in directing, writing, or producing a film or series has always been a dream of mine. Hopefully, that dream will come true sometime in the future!