By Léo Azambuja
Kaua‘i has a long and cozy relationship with Hollywood celebrities, who love to go on vacations here and acquire island real estate. But a young actress currently playing the lead role on a new Netflix show is one-up on any visiting movie star looking for island time — she was born and raised right here on Kaua‘i.
“I love going to the beach. I live on Kaua‘i; I’ve got to go to the beach,” Siena Agudong said. “And I love surfing and skateboarding.”
Born and raised on Kaua‘i, the Wailua Homesteads resident turns 15 this month, and has already built a resume most aspiring actors only dream of. She has been acting since she was 7 years old, and since then has collected many TV and movie roles. Her latest one is Nick, the leading character in the Netflix series No Good Nick.
“She’s a con artist,” Siena said of her character, Nick, who shows up at the Thompson family house posing as an orphaned distant cousin. “She infiltrates into the Thompson family seeking revenge on them, and they have no idea.”
The PG-rated sitcom has plenty of “drama twists and turns, and makes you really want to watch the next episode,” said Siena, adding each episode leaves the audience on a cliffhanger. Netflix released the show’s Part I with the first 10 episodes April 15, and just released Part II with additional 10 episodes Aug. 5.
“Nick is mischievous, she’s sneaky, she’s clever, she’s witty and sarcastic,” Siena said. “Deep down, Nick has a lot of layers. … She just has this clever way of thinking about things. She does the wrong things for the right reasons.”
The cast of No Good Nick also includes Melissa Joan Hart and Sean Austin playing Nick’s foster parents, and Kalama Epstein, who is also from Hawai‘i, and Lauren Lindsey playing the children in the Thompson family.
“I love it so much. It’s so fun,” Siena said. “It’s this really awesome casting crew.”
Siena’s journey as an actress started with her older sister, Sydney Agudong, who is also an actress and a singer. Their mother, Karen Agudong, said Sydney wanted to go to a Beauty and the Beast play.
“After she watched it, she was very inspired and wanted to be in the play, but she was too young,” Karen said.
When Sydney was old enough, her mother took her to Hawai‘i Children’s Theater. Siena said after she saw her older sister acting, she wanted to “copy” her, and got into acting as well. Siena’s first play at HCT was Willy Wonka, when she played an Oompa Loompa.
At that time, Siena was only 7 years old. Within a year or so, she had a role in Rondell Sheridan’s mockumentary Second Chances, and landed a recurring role on ABC’s Texas Ranger drama Killer Women. She was also featured by Huffington Post as one of the 16 Adorable Child Stars of TV’s 2013-2014 season. Since then, Siena kept busy.
After Killer Women, Siena was cast in Nicklodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn, where she played Natlee in 19 episodes from 2015 to 2018. She was also cast in the series Teachers, where she played Tiffany in three episodes between 2016 and this year.
In 2018, Siena played the lead role in her first full motion picture, and also in an entire TV series. In the movie Alex and Me, Siena worked alongside soccer superstar Alex Morgan, two-time FIFA World Cup champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist. In the TV series Star Falls, Siena played Sophia, a teenager who tries to set up her single mother with a Hollywood movie star.
This year, besides No Good Nick, Siena played a role in one episode of the series Sydney to the Max, and shot a sci-fi movie that is currently in post-production.
None of this came to her easily. Siena had to put a lot of work to pursue her dream of acting.
“I pretty much have been on a thousand auditions,” said Siena, adding that for some people, success will happen quickly, but for her, it took a while. “I took a lot of coaching, I took a lot of classes, I had so much help from wonderful coaches along the way. It’s not an easy job.”
Yet, she said she would rather work really hard to achieve her dreams than to have it handed them to her easily.
Though shooting No Good Nick has already wrapped up, there is a chance there will be another season. And for that, Siena said she is praying and crossing her fingers to happen; it will depend on the audience on this season.
“Every night I feel excited to go to work the next day, because it’s not work for me, it’s my second family,” she said. “The way that everyone interacts on set is like we are all meant for each other.”
In the first 10 episodes of Part I, Nick infiltrates in the Thompson family, but some of the characters are suspicious of her intentions. She gets caught a lot of times but is able to find ways to wiggle out of it, Siena said.
In the next 10 episodes of Part II, the stakes get higher, and a lot more situations are revealed, putting pressure on Nick. She’s developing feelings for the Thompson family, while still sticking to her original foster parents’ plan to con the family, and keeping the secret that her real father is alive and doing time in jail.
“She’s all by herself, she doesn’t know which side to choose. So there is a lot of drama in Part II, much more than in Part I,” Siena said. “There are a lot of tears and a lot of, ‘Which side do you root for?’ I love that because it makes you feel, ‘Do I root for the villain?’ and ‘Who is the villain in the story?’”
All this work is bringing fame to the young actress. When she played in a soccer tournament in Hilo, Big Island, she was recognized for her role in Alex and Me, and everyone wanted a picture with her.
She has even been asked for her autograph.
“Definitely not like Angelina Jolie,” said Siena, laughing. “But I’ve been asked a couple times and it makes me so happy when people do that. I love it, I love it so much!”
Success sometimes comes at a price. For Siena, she had to switch to home school from regular school. And even then, there are challenges.
“It’s really hard to keep up with school, we don’t have as much time as you would in regular school, some days you only have one hour of school, and that’s always hard,” she said. “I miss things like being able to go to school everyday.
Her family’s support really comes into play. Because she’s a minor, she has to have a guardian on set, and her mother, Karen, usually fills that role.
“If it wasn’t for my family’s support, I couldn’t do it. I need them with me and they have been,” Siena said. “It’s kind of a crazy journey going back and forth to LA, but having their support means a lot, because they’re always there for me and I love every minute I get to spend with them when I’m not acting.”
Karen said there is a lot of juggling to keep up with her daughter’s shooting schedule. But “Siena is very driven and she works really hard, she’s got a passion for it, so we make it work,” Karen said.
Siena said she wouldn’t change anything in her journey, but she would just tell herself to don’t doubt her confidence.
“You still stay humble, of course, but you need that confidence, and that’s something really important that I wish I knew from the beginning,” she said.
She may say she lacked some confidence when she first started, but according to her mother, she was all about determination. Karen said Siena turned 7 years old on the day of the audition for the Oompa Loompa role in the Willy Wonka play. Siena was sick with the flu, but wanted to audition so badly that she didn’t want to miss it. She gave everything she had and booked the role she wanted, Karen said.
As far as missing out on her teen years, Siena said there is definitely a balance she wants keep.
“I have these amazing friends in LA where I can switch it off and just let go, but when I’m back on set or audition, I can be an actress,” she said. “I’m still developing this balance, switching on and off, but I love where I’m at right now.”
Follow Siena’s journey on social media by searching sienaagudong on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.