No Good Nick is Netflix's latest original hit sitcom geared toward the teen set.
Siena Agudong stars as the title character, Nick, a cunning con-artist who finds herself in the impossible situation of plotting revenge on the family that takes her in and treats her as one of their own. She convinces a family that she is their long-lost second cousin with nowhere else to turn.
Halfway through the season viewers learn the reason for ruse: The Thompson family is responsible for destroying Franzelli's Italian restaurant owned by Nick's dad (Eddie McClintock). The successful eatery is a casualty in the quest to keep Liz Thompson's (played by Melissa Joan Hart) fine dining Italian place across the street from going under.
When Tony Franzelli ends up in jail it's up to Nick to not only destroy the Thompson's business, but to keep her dad from prison demise. It's no wonder Nick pulls off some hard-hearted schemes with all that pressure.
But as the show progresses a softer side of Nick appears. "My favorite thing about Nick is all her different layers. She is mischievous but she's also sentimental. She would do anything for her dad and later the Thompson family. I love how and complex and unpredictable she is. There's both drama and comedy on the series, and it touches on a lot of different situations that I haven't personally experienced."
At almost 15 years old, Hawaiian actress Agudong has cemented herself as a Hollywood one-to-watch. She first appeared regularly on Nickelodeon, playing light, child characters such as Natlee in Star Falls and the matchmaking Sophia in Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Now on No Good Nick, she is hitting her sweet spot in a show for an audience of her peers.
"I've always wanted to do something that was geared towards people my age. Doing Nickelodeon was fun -I got to do so many different experiences and reach a younger crowd. But doing something on Netflix enabled me to do lot of emotional scenes, add more drama and play a more complex character and do things I wouldn't actually experience.
"No Good Nick is meant for a range of ages. You have the teenagers – me, Kalama (Epstein, who plays Jeremy) and Lauren (Lindsey Donis, who plays Molly), and you have Mr. Sean (Astin) and Miss Melissa (Joan Hart) who appeal to the older audience."
The two industry veterans, Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Melissa and Joey) and Sean Astin (Justice League Action, Stranger Things, Rudy) add multiple layers to the show including seasoned comedic talent and valuable mentorship. Plus they are also a lot of fun.
"They are so genuine. They are great such role models. They give us tips, but they're also our friends, they have fun with us. I respect everything that they say. When it comes to hard scenes they are there for us. Mr. Sean always tells me to trust myself. He sat with me before a dramatic scene to help me get into the character and Miss Melissa will give me notes for comedy, I love it."
In true Netflix form, several social topics are touched on by the show including cultural appropriation, effects of social media, and life's hard knocks. The storyline's undertones focus on the value of not judging a book by its cover and the reminder to always trust your gut.
"I love how Netflix doesn't' shy away from subjects. The message of the show is that everyone has their secrets. Nick does the wrong things but for the right reasons. Don't judge someone based on your first impressions; there is someone different there when you actually get to know them."
As much as Siena likes playing Nick, the similarities few and far between. "I'm definitely not a con artist. She is put under a lot of stress. She handles it much better than I do. She hides it, I could never do that.
"Our humor is the same. I love bringing some of myself to Nick. And our clothes are the same. My mom accidentally took a set piece home. We returned it of course."
Industry icons for the young actress run the gamut of age and genre. "I would love to work with Tom Hanks and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson.) He's also from Hawaii. Melissa McCarthy because I love her comedy and Selena Gomez. I love how she carries herself. She's humble and she's not afraid to show who she is."
Regardless of how busy she is (currently filming several projects including Upside-Down Magic, a new Disney Channel original movie based on The New York Times bestselling fantasy fiction children's books of the same name) Agudong manages to stay grounded. "I spend time with my family and friends. I sit on the beach, and I play--sports for fun, video games with my dad."
And even though she wants to stay the course with acting as her career, Agudong prioritizes her education. "I'm homeschooled. It's hard on set, but as long as I put my head into it, it gets done. Education is really important to me so I do work hard on it. I would love to stay in this field. I love seeing all the different jobs on set. The writers, the directors. Everyone needs everyone."
On the subject of social media, Adugong chooses to use it for good. "I grew up with it. It's a really cool concept – to be able to communicate with a bunch of different people all around the world. I really want to do things that inspire people to be themselves. I want to spread that. I don't want to shy away from showing who I am. I think people who go on your page should see who you really are not just a perfect photo of you.
"It's so important to be unapologetically yourself. Love who you are. You're worth a lot."