When I was growing up, “The Baby-Sitters’ Club” books were a huge part of my childhood and prompted me, even more, to glue myself to Netflix’s adaptation of the book series written by Ann M. Martin. When binging the new series, I gravitated towards a specific character who demonstrated true growth and realistic evolution during her teenage years – Mary Anne Spier. Unlike her sweet, soft-spoken, timid role as Spier, Vancouver-based actress Malia Baker is beaming with a passion for social justice and activism, especially in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. I had the opportunity to interview Baker about her role as a teen activist in 2020, what her natural hair means to her, and how she incorporated integral self-love moments into her ‘BSC’ role.
HYPE HAIR: What drew you to Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club and the Mary Anne character?
MALIA: What drew me to The Baby-Sitters Club was the fact that I had already known and loved the book series so much! I was drawn to Mary Anne because it showed a Black girl just existing, living and growing. To see a kind, shy, coming of age girl, who I looked up to and related to so much as a young Black girl, was terrific. She’s relatable, and I genuinely feel that audiences enjoy growing with her. There are so many women I have heard from that say they needed a Black Mary Anne when they were growing up, and it just makes my heart so happy!
HH: How do you relate to Mary Anne? How do you two differ?
MALIA: Mary Anne and I can be very similar. We are both dreamers with a warm and accepting nature who love our friends more than anything! She is also a leader in her way, and I am too.
HH: Throughout the series, we see Mary Anne come into her own and develop her own sense of style and self-awareness. How did it feel going through this evolution of the fictional character?
MALIA: Going through Mary Anne’s evolution felt a lot like my own, and I know that it was similar to many other people out there. I am a shy person deep down, of course, I can overcome that while acting, but seeing Mary Anne stand up for not only herself but the transgender girl that is being misgendered at the hospital felt empowering! You can see such a drastic difference from the beginning of the series compared to the end, and I loved being able to experience that arc!