Shay stars in "The Baby-Sitters Club," which has been transformed into a modernized TV adaptation by Netflix.
The show, which premiered July 3, is based on the beloved novels by Ann M. Martin. It follows five young girls in a Connecticut town as they navigate life, middle school, family, and start their own babysitting business.
We sat down with Shay Rudolph, who plays Stacey McGill–the club's treasurer and fashionista–to learn more about the show, her character, and her journey into acting.
J: Can you describe the show and your character to someone who has never seen it before?
SR: The Baby-Sitters Club is a show about a bunch of young girls who are basically just navigating the middle school world. It’s all about their friendships as they grow as people and as girls and friends, and they become young entrepreneurs and start their own babysitting business.
Stacey is very chic, fashionable and smart. She’s formally from New York City, and she's really good at math, that’s why she is the club’s treasurer, and she cares about her friends more than anything in the world. Although she does also really care about fashion and boys.
J: What drew you to a career in acting?
SR: I had done a lot of musical theater in elementary school, just like local plays at my school and stuff like that, so I guess that was really my first taste of acting and performing. From there I started taking local acting classes and I eventually worked up to getting an agent.
The main thing that drew me to acting was being able to put myself in other people’s shoes, and being able to transform myself into all of these really amazing characters–I think that’s the most fun part about it.
J: What quality (or qualities) of your character do you align with most? Which quality are you completely opposite to?
SR: Stacey really cares about her friendships with the girls, and I care about my friends and family more than anything else in the world, so I really align myself with that side of her. Also, she is pretty chic and fashionable, and I like to think that I am as well. But the main thing about Stacey that I don’t really relate to is how boy crazy she is. I’ve just never been the type to be super flirtatious or crazy about boys, so that was the main difference with the two of us.
J: You talk about how she was very fashionable and you say you are very fashionable–did you get to bring any of that into the show of your own?
SR: I didn’t get to bring my own things into the show, but I brought some of Stacey’s wardrobe home with me. That was really exciting to get a little taste of her and allow it to influence my fashion sense in real life as well.
J: If you weren’t in acting, what career would you pursue?
SR: I would definitely be in music, because I do play the piano and the guitar. That’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve been playing the piano since I was seven, so even longer than I’ve been acting. It’s a really great creative outlet for me just to let everything go and not really think about anything else, rather than the music I’m playing. So if I wasn’t doing acting I’d definitely focus mainly on that.
J: Who’s your favorite artist?
SR: Well, I listen to music a lot, like I’m always listening to something, so I really like the band Dayglow, and also Cage The Elephant. My music taste changes a lot, sometimes I’ll listen to indie rock and other days I’ll be listening to Ella Fitzgerald. I mean, I love all kinds of music, I don’t think you can go wrong with any type of music.
J: “The Baby-Sitter Club" shows a lot of representation on screen. How is this helping younger generations feel seen and comfortable in who they are?”
SR: I think if you grow up not really seeing yourself in other forms of media, you kind of start to feel really alone in the world and you’re like “oh my gosh, there is nobody out there in the world that is exactly like me.” It’s really important to represent all different types of people in all kinds of media, whether that be television or music, all of that kind of stuff. That way young kids, and honestly teenagers watching at home, can feel really celebrated and seen and not have to go through everything alone.
J: Are there any scenes from filming that was a big moment for you, that you loved, that you wanted everybody to see- one scene that sticks out to you?
SR: I think the scene I would choose to answer that question would probably be in “The Truth about Stacey," when Stacey reveals that she has diabetes. She’s so terrified to tell them this main part of her because she was really hurt by her friends back in New York, and that has kind of stayed with her as a traumatic experience for a really long time. But as soon as she tells these new girls that she has diabetes, they are just so warm and accepting and loving, and I think that is really great to see if you’re watching at home, to know you don’t have to go through everything alone. It’s really great to have friends by your side to help you go through things like this, and not everybody is going to pick on you for certain things, and you can feel comfortable in your own skin and being who you truly are and telling people about that.
This or That
Dunkin or Starbucks?
Favorite candy right now
SR: Reese’s Pieces
What are you currently binge watching?
SR: Well it was The Baby-Sitters' Club, but now it’s Avatar.
Most recent book that you’ve read?
SR: Eleanor and Park
If you could go on a dream vacation right now, where would you go?
SR: London. I don’t know what it is about that place, I’ve never ever been there, but I’m so drawn to it.
Watch "The Baby-Sitters' Club" Now on Netflix!
Follow Shay on Instagram @shayrudolph
Photography: Emily Sandifer
Glam: Aaron Paul
Styling: Amanda Lim