At just 14 years old, Siena Agudong is already well on her way to becoming one of Hollywood’s rising stars. The Hawaiian actress got her start on Nickelodeon, playing kid-friendly characters in shows like Star Falls and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. But with her most recent project, the Netflix comedy series No Good Nick, Agudong is proving that she’s ready to play to an adult audience as well as one of her teenaged peers.
“Having the opportunity to film something for Netflix has been so surreal, and even after season one, it honestly still hasn't registered for me,” Agudong tells InStyle of making a more mainstream transition. “I love being able to reach younger kids on Nickelodeon and promote all of that happiness, but I'm so truly excited to move into a space where people my age, young adults, and adults are watching shows. I grew up watching Netflix with my family, and I love that there are families out there who are hopefully doing that with our show.”
Agudong stars as the titular character Nick, a teen con-artist, in the series (new episodes drop on August 5). She shares the screen with industry veteran Melissa Joan Hart—who Agudong rather adorably calls “Miss Melissa”—and the experience has been unforgettable. “I used to watch Sabrina, the Teenage Witch with my sister, and then I went through a phase where I binge-watched Melissa and Joey, so I was definitely already a fan of hers,” Agudong says. “She's sweet and down-to-earth, and just a genuine person.”
“It was nice to have a role model there,” Agudong continues. “She almost feels like a mom to me because of how she treats me and the other kids on the show. She gives us tips like a mom would about life—from friends and guys to parents and stuff. And she would give me advice about acting, too, of course.”
Having grown up herself onscreen, Hart imparted words of wisdom onto her younger co-star about navigating Hollywood. “She definitely gave me tips, especially about making sure to stay humble,” says Agudong. “That's something that’s really important to me, so hearing her say that as a successful actor was inspiring. She’s still respectful and grounded, and I got to see that every day.”
Though Agudong — who’s been homeschooled for the past year since landing her role on the series — cites actors like Melissa McCarthy, Dwayne Johnson, and Tom Hanks among her inspirations, it’s another former child star who she truly aspires to emulate someday. “Selena Gomez seems like a really genuine and real person,” she says. “She doesn't hide who she is; she just shows people her humbleness. I love that. The way she inspires others is amazing, too. So yes, I would love to follow in Selena Gomez's footsteps.”
Agudong is already trying to pay it forward by motivating her young fans to follow dreams of their own. “I want to show people that even if you come from a small area like Hawaii, where acting may not be as popular as it is in the mainland and specifically L.A., miracles do happen,” she says. “You can make your dreams a reality. Of course, you have to work really hard and commit 100 percent to putting in the effort. But hard work pays off, as long as you remember to embrace and love who you are as a person.”
When it comes to social media, Agudong practices what she preaches. “I want to show people what’s real,” she says. “I don't want to hide any part of me — so whether I’m quirky and awkward or funny and weird and silly, then that's what I want to put out there. I'm not perfect. And I’m ok with showing that.”