Watching her grow up! Fans may remember Isabela Merced from her portrayal of  CJ Martin in the Nickelodeon series 100 Things to Do Before High School, but the actress has since nabbed tons of roles, and it’s safe to say she’s killing it.

Isabela looked back at her life from childhood to stardom while chatting with Teen Vogue in March 2023, revealing that before becoming an actress, she found a talent at school.

“I figured out early on that it isn’t about who’s the smartest; it’s about who can memorize the answers,” the Nickelodeon alum recalled. “I got good at absorbing information, using it when I needed it, and releasing it immediately. I guess that was my first experience with learning lines.”

After some commercial and stage gigs, Isabela nabbed a part in Evita on Broadway, which she remembered as being “just so fun.” From there, her TV and movie roles started pouring in. Today, the actress is set to star in Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man Universe movie, Madame Web, alongside some big names, including Sydney Sweeney. While there are a lot of projects in her future, Isabela has more than just acting on her mind.

“Hopefully, I’ll have an empire of loving relationships,” she told Teen Vogue. “I also hope that I’m just as life-savvy as my mom. I hope I have eight dogs. I want to be in some random area, some place of the world that’s secluded, in a villa like the one Lenny Kravitz has. And I want horses. I don’t know. That’s just a thought.”

Other than acting, Isabela has also dipped her toe in the music world.

“I want my music to represent who I am. I am bilingual, and I often do speak Spanglish. I grew up with a white dad and Latinx mom, who was an immigrant. That is who I am,” she told Refinery29 in October 2019, upon the release of her “Papi” single. “It’s OK to be a mix. Latinx culture has infiltrated everywhere. An American-Latin blend is apparent in so many aspects of our world. Often, the two languages that characterize us are split in songs to either be one or the other. Us mixed kids have a place in this society, and Spanglish songs do as well.”

Click through our gallery to see Isabela’s transformation over the years. 

Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.