Isabela Merced

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Isabela Merced
Isabela Merced on vlogbrothers 2022 (higher def) (cropped).png
Merced in 2022
Isabela Yolanda Moner

(2001-07-10) July 10, 2001 (age 21)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
  • American
  • Peruvian[1]
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2013–present
Musical career

Isabela Yolanda Moner[3][4] (born July 10, 2001[5]), known professionally as Isabela Merced since 2019, is an American actress and singer. She played the lead role of CJ Martin on the Nickelodeon television series 100 Things to Do Before High School (2014–2016) and voiced Kate in Nickelodeon's animated spinoff series Dora and Friends: Into the City! (2014–2017). In film, she has played Izabella in Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Lizzy in Instant Family (2018), Isabel in Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018), the titular character in Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019), and Rachel Cooper in the Netflix film Sweet Girl (2021).

Early life and education[edit]

Merced was born in Cleveland, Ohio.[5][6] She is the daughter of Katherine, who was born in Lima, Peru, and Patrick Moner, who was born in Louisiana.[5][7] Merced has stated that Spanish was her first language, and she struggled with English when she first started grade school,[7] adding that she considers herself more Peruvian than American.[8] At age 15, she was accepted into college.[9]

Merced began acting after her family's Cleveland home was destroyed by a fire. Merced was a Judy Garland fan, so her parents, wanting to distract her from the loss, asked her if she wanted to audition for a local production of The Wizard of Oz. She agreed and was cast as a Munchkin. A local theatre director urged the family to relocate to New York City, which they did, to help her pursue a career on Broadway.[10]


Merced has said that she wanted to be an actress from a very young age, inspired by movies featuring Shirley Temple and Judy Garland and starting in local community theatre at age six.[11] Merced made her Broadway debut at age ten in a production of Evita,[12] in which she sang in Spanish with Ricky Martin.[7] She released an album produced by Broadway Records in September 2015, entitled Stopping Time.[13]

Merced's first starring performance was as CJ Martin, the lead role on the Nickelodeon television series 100 Things to Do Before High School,[7][12][14] from 2014 to 2016. That same year, she began providing the voice of Kate, one of the main characters in the Dora the Explorer spinoff, Dora and Friends: Into the City!, a role she performed from 2014 to 2017.[15] In 2015, she appeared as Lori Collins in the Nickelodeon Original Movie Splitting Adam,[16] and was cast as Sadie, one of the leading roles, in the 2016 Nickelodeon Original Movie Legends of the Hidden Temple.[17][18] In May 2016, Merced was cast in the film Transformers: The Last Knight, which was released in June 2017.[19][20] She voiced Heather in the animated film The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, which was theatrically released on August 11, 2017.[21]

Merced in 2018

In 2018, Merced had a "major" role in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, playing the daughter of a drug cartel head,[22][23] in a performance lauded by critics. The New Yorker's Anthony Lane wrote "Moner is terrific, and her character’s fortunes can be read in her eyes—blazing to begin with, as she scraps with another girl in a schoolyard, but dark and blank by the end, their youthful fire doused by the violence that she has seen."[24]

In the same year, she played the adopted daughter of the characters played by Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne in the comedy film Instant Family,[25] for which she also wrote and sang the song "I'll Stay".[26][27] In 2019, Merced starred as the title character in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, a live action film adaptation of the animated series,[28][29] and was cast in the Christmas romantic comedy ensemble film Let It Snow.[30] The same year, she was cast opposite Jason Momoa in the film Sweet Girl for Netflix.[31]

On October 14, 2019, Merced announced to her fans via a post on her Instagram account that she had decided to change her stage name to Isabela Merced,[32] in memory of her late grandmother whom she never met.[33] Merced later explained that she had not legally changed her name and said that it was "just a stage name but it's got a deeper meaning".[34] Her first single, "Papi", was released on October 25, 2019, followed by her first music video released on November 6, 2019.[35] On May 22, 2020, Merced released her debut EP, The Better Half of Me;[36] and was named one of Billboard's top 15 new Peruvian artists to listen to in July 2020.[37]

In March 2022, it was announced Merced would star in Turtles All the Way Down, a film adaptation of the 2017 novel by John Green, which began filming in April 2022.[38][39] In March 2023, Merced joined the cast of Fede Álvarez's Untitled Alien film.[40]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2013 The House That Jack Built Young Nadia
2016 Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Jeanne Galleta
2017 Transformers: The Last Knight Izabella
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature Heather Voice role
2018 Sicario: Day of the Soldado Isabel Reyes
Instant Family Lizzy
2019 Dora and the Lost City of Gold Dora
Let It Snow Julie Streaming film; as Isabela Merced[30]
2021 Spirit Untamed Lucky Prescott Voice role[41]
Sweet Girl Rachel Cooper Streaming film
2022 Father of the Bride Cora Herrera Streaming film
Rosaline Juliet Streaming film[42]
2024 Madame Web Post-production[43]
TBA Turtles All the Way Down Aza Holmes Post-production[38][39]
Untitled Alien film TBA Filming[44]
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2014 Growing Up Fisher Jenny Recurring role, 7 episodes
2014–2017 Dora and Friends: Into the City! Kate Main voice role
2014–2016 100 Things to Do Before High School CJ Martin Lead role
2015 Splitting Adam Lori Collins Television film
2016 Legends of the Hidden Temple Sadie Television film
2019 The Amazing Race Canada Herself Episode: "Clamageddon Continues"[45]
2020 #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall Herself Television special
2021 Maya and the Three Widow Queen Miniseries; voice role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2015 Imagen Awards Best Young Actress – Television 100 Things to Do Before High School Nominated [46]
2016 Imagen Awards Best Young Actor – Television 100 Things to Do Before High School Won [47]
2017 Teen Choice Award Choice Summer Movie Actress Transformers: The Last Knight Nominated [48]
2017 CinemaCon Award Rising Star of the Year Herself Won [49]
2017 Young Entertainers Award Best Young Ensemble Cast – Feature Film Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Nominated [50]
2019 Young Entertainers Award Best Leading Young Actress Instant Family Won [51]
2019 Imagen Awards Best Actress – Feature Film Instant Family Won [52]


  1. ^ "Isabela Moner ya tiene DNI y lo celebra en Instagram". July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ merced, isabela (February 9, 2019). "Republic Records' Class of 2019 Billboard's The Power 100 Issue : @joepug Congrats Monte and Avery".
  3. ^ "Isabela Moner ya tiene DNI y lo celebra en Instagram". MSN. October 16, 2019. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  4. ^ Kiernan Shipka & Isabela Merced Answer the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED, retrieved January 5, 2022
  5. ^ a b c Dawidziak, Mark (August 14, 2014). "Isabela Moner is a Cleveland native with two Nickelodeon shows". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. and Northeast Ohio Media Group. Retrieved June 30, 2015. Her parents, Patrick and Katherine Moner, ... She turned 13 on July 10.
  6. ^ "Află totul despre Isabela Moner" [Learn all about Isabela Moner]. Nickelodeon Romania (in Romanian). March 29, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Fernandez, Celia (June 6, 2015). "Exclusive: Isabela Moner Dishes On '100 Things To Do Before High School'". Latina. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Melandri, Nico (April 14, 2016). "Esta niña peruana de 14 años será la nueva Megan Fox". E! (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Isabela Moner Writes a Heartfelt Message After She Gets Accepted Into College". M Magazine. January 12, 2017. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Carreon, Justine (September 7, 2021). "A House Fire Led Isabela Merced To A Life On Stage And Screen". Elle Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  11. ^ Katzman, Sarah; Kirshnitz, Nora; Nair, Karthhika (May 1, 2015). "Nickelodeon star Isabela Moner talks to Kidsday". Newsday. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Calvario, Liz (May 27, 2015). "Getting to Know Isabela Moner From '100 Things To Do Before High School'". Variety Latino-Powered by Univision. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  13. ^ Jones, Helen (September 26, 2015). "CD Review: Isabela Moner – Stopping Time". The Reviews Hub. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Lloyd, Robert (June 6, 2015). "Review '100 Things to Do Before High School'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Davids, Brian (August 9, 2019). "'Dora' Star Isabela Moner on Playing an All-Too-Rare Happy Teenager and the 'Sicario' Scene That Made Josh Brolin Cry". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ Baron, Steve (February 9, 2015). "Nickelodeon Stars Unite in 'Splitting Adam' Premiering Monday, February 16th". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  17. ^ Steinberg, Brian (March 1, 2016). "Nickelodeon to Revive 'Legends of the Hidden Temple' as TV Movie". Variety. Retrieved August 5, 2016. Isabela Moner, known from her role on Nick's "100 Things to Do Before High School," will star.
  18. ^ "Nickelodeon Greenlights Legends of the Hidden Temple Live-Action TV Movie". Nickelodeon. March 1, 2016. Archived from the original on July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  19. ^ Romano, Nick (May 28, 2016). "Transformers: The Last Knight releases viral teaser with cryptic message". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  20. ^ Alexander, Bryan (June 22, 2017). "Who's the new kid in 'Transformers: The Last Knight'? Meet Isabela Moner". USA Today. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  21. ^ "Open Road Films Acquires Animated Feature Film PLAYMOBIL Based on Iconic Toy Brand". Wisdom Digital Media. May 25, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  22. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (December 9, 2016). "'Sicario' Sequel 'Soldado' Adds Isabela Moner". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  23. ^ Alexander, Bryan (March 18, 2018). "Exclusive trailer: Benicio Del Toro's killer returns in 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'". USA Today. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Lane, Anthony (July 16, 2018). "The Borderland Brutality of 'Sicario 2: Soldado'". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  25. ^ Galuppo, Mia (February 23, 2018). "Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro Join Mark Wahlberg Comedy 'Instant Family'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  26. ^ Sneider, Jeff. Up-and-Comer of the Month: 'Instant Family' Star Isabela Moner. Collider. November 16, 2018.
  27. ^ Instant Family (2018),
  28. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (May 2, 2018). "Isabela Moner Cast as Dora the Explorer in Live-Action Film". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  29. ^ Viscardi, James (August 10, 2018). "First Look At Live Action Dora The Explorer Released". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  30. ^ a b N'Duka, Amanda (December 17, 2018). "Kiernan Shipka, Isabela Moner, Shameik Moore, Odeya Rush & More To Star In Netflix YA Film 'Let It Snow'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  31. ^ Sneider, Jeff (October 21, 2019). "Exclusive: 'Dora' Star Isabela Merced Joins Jason Momoa in Netflix Movie 'Sweet Girl'". Collider. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  32. ^ "ISABELA🇵🇪🇺🇸 on Instagram: "You were born Isabela Moner. Why is it important to you to use Merced instead? "This is when I begin writing my own story as Isabela..."". October 14, 2019. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2019 – via Instagram.
  33. ^ Romero, Ariana (October 14, 2019). "Isabela Moner to Isabela Merced. Dora Star Spills All On New Single & Name". Refinery29. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  34. ^ Moner, Isabela (October 14, 2019). "Isabela Moner Stage Name". Retrieved October 15, 2019 – via Instagram.
  35. ^ "ISABELA🇵🇪🇺🇸 on Instagram: "PAPI Oct 25th Pre-save link in bio"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  36. ^ "ISABELA🇵🇪🇺🇸 on Instagram: "WE OUT HERE MAN #TheBetterHalfofMe IS OUT NOW EVERYWHERE Big thanks to everyone who made this happen. This ain't a one man job ♥️"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  37. ^ Roiz, Jessica (July 28, 2020). "15 Peruvian Artists to Have on Your Radar: Isabela Merced, Renata Flores & More". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  38. ^ a b Kit, Borys (March 9, 2022). "Isabela Merced to Star in John Green's 'Turtles All the Way Down' for New Line, HBO Max (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  39. ^ a b Kiesewetter, John (April 26, 2022). "'Turtles All The Way Down', based on John Green's bestseller, films in Cincinnati this week". WVXU. Archived from the original on April 27, 2022. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  40. ^ Squires, John (March 2, 2023). "Isabela Merced Joins New 'Alien' Movie from 'Evil Dead' Director Fede Alvarez". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  41. ^ Fernández, Alexia (March 12, 2021). "Spirit Untamed First Look! Hear Taylor Swift's Re-Recorded 'Wildest Dreams'". People.
  42. ^ "'Rosaline': Isabela Merced To Play Juliet In 20th Century's Revisionist 'Romeo & Juliet' Tale Starring Kaitlyn Dever". Deadline Hollywood. June 30, 2021.
  43. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 1, 2022). "'Madame Web': Isabela Merced Latest To Join Dakota Johnson In Sony's Marvel Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  44. ^ Kit, Borys (March 3, 2023). "Fede Alvarez's Alien Movie Rounds Out Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 3, 2023. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  45. ^ "Recap: The Amazing Race Canada 7, Episode 5 – "How can you live with yourself?"". July 31, 2019.
  46. ^ "2015 Imagen Awards Winners & Nominees". Imagen Foundation.
  47. ^ "2016 Imagen Awards Winners & Nominees". Imagen Foundation.
  48. ^ Berggren, Victoria (June 20, 2017). "Justin Timberlake and Kevin Hart Lead Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  49. ^ "Isabela Moner To Receive CinemaCon 2017 Rising Star Of The Year Award – Transformers News". Transformer World 2005 – TFW2005.COM. March 26, 2017.
  50. ^ "Young Entertainer Awards Submissions". Young Entertainer Awards.
  51. ^ "4th Annual Young Entertainers Awards : 2019" (PDF). Young Entertainer Awards. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  52. ^ "34th Annual Imagen Awards Winners Announced". Imagen Foundation.

External links[edit]