It’s official: The Baby-Sitters Club is coming back to Netflix for a second season! While details have been kept under wraps thus far, Malia Baker — who plays Mary Anne Spier — spilled some tea about what fans can expect while chatting with J-14 exclusively.
“I wish I could tell you everything, seriously,” the actress gushed while promoting the Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows DVD release. “I think you guys can expect a really fantastic character arc with Mary Anne. In the first season, she got to discover herself and her voice even more, especially in her episode. At the end of the series, she was running a play, which was super out of character for Mary Anne, but we did it in a way that could portray shy girls and have them being bosses in their own way.”
Without giving away too much, she teased “a lot of drama, a lot of twists and turns” and “of course, funny comedic moments,” not to mention, the introduction of Kyndra Sanchez as Dawn — Xochitl Gomez, who originated the role, left the show in March 2021. According to Malia, the entire cast “bonded with [Kyndra] immediately.”
Season 1 of the show — based on the book series by Ann M. Martin — premiered in July 2020, and received praise for, as Malia put it best, exposing “younger viewers to these, sort of, important topics.” Specifically, when it comes to Mary Anne, the show’s fourth episode introduces viewers to a transgender character named Bailey (played by Kai Shappley).
“That episode in particular was such a powerful episode,” the actress explained. “So, I really hope younger viewers watching that are able to look up to Mary Anne in that way and see her stepping up everyone and being who she really is: not being afraid to use her voice. You can’t be what you can’t see. So, Mary Anne is that person for people to look up to.”
Aside from playing Mary Anne, Malia also got a chance to play Gabby on Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows. While the characters were different, the young star was able to transition almost seamlessly between the two — and live out a “lifelong dream of serving tables,” even if it was just in character as Gabby.
“It was so fun being able to portray two different types [of teens],” Malia explained. “I thought it was really awesome playing Gabby. She was kind of a baddie. She was out there, but she was still able to use her voice. She was strong. She was brave. She was a sarcastic. She was really witty. She had a great relationship with every single one of the characters. Overall, she was just a really goal-oriented person, focused on a future.”
She added, “I just had a really great time playing both characters, which are so different but similar at the same time.”
When Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows premiered in February 2021, Malia said it was “so cool seeing everything together,” especially the fan reactions.
“We were really tight knit group while we were on set. Off of set, we were the same way,” she gushed, noting that she and Beatrice Kitsos (who played Hanna) were besties because of their “really awesome girl moments in the show.”
Now that Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is officially out on DVD, Malia is just excited for fans to have “a really fun time” watching the series over and over. “I’m super grateful that I got to work with [my castmates] and meet them,” the Netflix star added when reflecting on the Nickelodeon series. “I miss those guys, for real.”
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