Spotlight: Head Back to High School With Jolie Hoang-Rappaport

With her role as “S.T.E.M. queen” Makayla Nguyen, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport is taking the beloved ’80s sitcom “Head of the Class” into the 21st century.

Hoang-Rappaport has been stealing scenes since she first got into show biz. After her appearances in “Just Add Magic” and “Watchmen,” the young actress has quickly become one to watch in television.

Originally from San Diego, she moved with her family to Los Angeles to pursue acting. But the decision wasn’t just made on a whim. “It is a business; it is a huge time commitment and emotional investment, not just for you but for your whole family,” Hoang-Rappaport said. Still, she advises other young actors to stick with their passion and follow through on their goals, no matter how difficult they might seem. “There are a lot of factors that go into casting a role besides your talent so when you go into a role,” she said. “Bring it all on the table, and the second you leave, just let it go and forget about it. You are more than the jobs you book; there’s always another audition around the corner.”

Hoang-Rappaport is also setting an example for young audiences with her role in “Head of the Class,” which follows a group of overachieving high school students who must contend with their biggest challenge yet: a laid back teacher (Isabella Gomez) who encourages them to focus on their lives outside of the classroom. “I’m part of a really diverse ensemble, which I’m so excited about,” Hoang-Rappaport said of the series, which premiered on HBO Max on Nov. 5. “I hope that teens will be able to watch this show and see themselves reflected in the characters and be able to identify with what they’re going through.”

Watch our full Spotlight interview above, and make sure to catch Hoang-Rappaport in “Head of the Class!”