by Melissa Fales
Nickelodeon’s new show, Star Falls, features Siena Agudong as Sophia Miller, a teen with a seemingly endless arsenal of ploys aimed at setting her single mother up with one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors. When movie star Craig Brooks lands in her small town for a filming project with his three children in tow, Sophia takes advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play matchmaker for her mom.
Agudong, 13, admits there are some similarities between her and the character she portrays. “She is a huge schemer, and although I have fun with pranks, I am not as mischievous as
Sophia,” she says.
Born in Hawaii, Agudong was acting by the time she was 7 years old. “I grew up watching my older sister, Sydney, do a lot of theatre,” she says. “I was so inspired. I started doing theatre as well and fell in love with everything about acting.” The first time Agudong took the stage was in Willy Wonka and her first role was portraying an Oompa Loompa. “I was so excited when I found out that I was the Oompa Loompa that got to say, in a very deep voice, ‘Doopa Dee Doo,’” she says.
Agudong transitioned from the theatre into TV by playing Lulu Parker on the ABC drama, Killer Women. She went on to become a regular guest star on Nickelodeon’s popular Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. She also appeared as Tiffany on TV Land’s Teachers, winning a 2017 Young Entertainer Award for “Best Guest Starring Young Actress 12 and Under” for her performance.
According to Agudong, these acting jobs were a valuable learning experience. “They were so incredibly fun,” she says. “I got so close to the casts I worked with and I appreciate being able to grow as an actor from those projects.”
Now, Agudong has the lead role in Star Falls. “Sophia comes up with a lot of sneaky and persuasive ways to get Craig Brooks and his three children, Diamond, Phoenix and Bo, to stay at her house,” she says. There’s a little bit of culture shock and a lot of laughs. “Sophia and Diamond try everything they can to set up their totally different parents,” says Agudong. “There are a lot of crazy challenges that arise when the two completely different families try to live under one roof.”
When she’s not acting, Agudong likes playing with her dogs and spending time with her family. “Or you can find me on the soccer field playing my heart out,” she says. All that soccer playing paid off with Agudong landing a role in the upcoming Warner Brothers movie Alex & Me alongside Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team member Alex Morgan. In Alex & Me, Agudong plays Reagan Wills, a big Alex Morgan fan. “Reagan is a passionate soccer player who dreams about being on a certain team but when she doesn’t make the cut, she is devastated,” says Agudong.
When Reagan accidentally bumps her head, her life-size Alex Morgan poster magically comes alive and becomes a friend, trainer, and coach to Reagan. “From that point on, everything changes for Reagan because she now has U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan to help her,” she says.
Agudong says she enjoys every aspect of acting. “I love the adrenaline of going to set and not knowing what to expect,” she says. I also absolutely love adopting another person’s life for a day and experiencing many events that I may not actually encounter in my own life.”
For Agudong, one of the hardest parts about being an actress is trying to fit everything into her very busy schedule. “It’s very challenging to juggle full-time school and a full-time filming schedule but it is so worth it to me in the end.” When things get tough, Agudong turns to her role models for inspiration. Her biggest inspiration is her sister Sydney, but she also looks up to Selena Gomez and Liza Koshy. “I admire how hard Selena Gomez works to achieve her dreams and her honesty and humbleness,” she says. “Liza is so incredibly confident, silly, and not hesitant to be herself. I adore that so much. She is so pure.”
Agudong says she’s aware that girls will be looking to her for guidance on how to act and what to do. “I really want to be a role model for others,” says Agudong. “I know how significant it is to have one. It’s very important for me to be a positive example for girls my age.” As far as future plans, Agudong envisions herself continuing with acting. “I have every intention of pursing my acting career when I’m an adult,” she says. “This is what I want to do and I truly enjoy every second of this amazing journey and feel so blessed and grateful.” •
Find more stories like this in the June issue of Story Monsters Ink! The literary resource for teachers, librarians, and parents!