Degrassi TNG: Where Are They Now

Yes, I was too old to watch Degrassi, probably. I really don’t care. First of all, we all know I love age-inappropriate television. Second, Degrassi got away with stuff in a teen series that network TV wasn’t at the time, so it wasn’t entirely awful.

So, yes, I watched it, and now I wonder where the actors are. Not those actors from the later seasons when it got all weird and none of the original crew was there. And NOT the first 80s-90s incarnation of Degrassi. Since I watch stuff for people younger than me, and I was like 5 when that was on, by my calculations that means I was probably watching whatever babies are into. I don’t know. Those fish things that clip onto a crib, or the inside of a uterus, probably.

Anyway. Degrassi. Names link to twitter account, where available. Here we go:

Aubrey Graham – Jimmy

Then.

Now.

It took like a year for me to refer to Aubrey Graham as “Drake” instead of “Wheelchair Jimmy.” It took another two for me to stop telling people that I liked him as far back as when he was “Walking Jimmy.” At that point, I’d realized that probably wasn’t anything to be proud of.

So, where is Jimmy now? Drake. He’s Drake. We all know who Drake is, presumably. Let’s move on.

Cassie Steele – Manny Santos

Then.

Now.

Remember when Manny got all “badass” a few seasons in? She was like 13… in Canada… in the early 2000s… so badass basically meant hoop earrings and Juicy sweatsuits. Remember when Manny got an abortion that one time and The N didn’t air the episode at first? In like 2004? I do. Since Degrassi, Cassie has appeared in My Babysitter’s a Vampire (a TV movie that was a parody of Twilight)  and The L.A. Complex. I never saw that, but wish I had because Jewel Staite was in it. That will be significant to the two of you who remember Space Cases from ‘90s Nickelodeon. Cassie released an e.p. in 2012.

Alex Steele – Angie Jeremiah

Then.

Now.

OK, during season like 22 of Degrassi: TNG, little Angie showed up as an entirely new character. Apparently Degrassi is like the Law & Order of Toronto, that way.

Ryan Cooley – J.T. Yorke

Then. RIP, those stupid button-up shirts with flames on the bottom.

Now.

I just learned that the character of J.T. was stabbed to death at one point since I stopped watching the show. So, R.I.P James Tiberius, I guess. That baby he had during that stupid plotline with Liberty will never know him. Well, not that he would have, anyway.

Ryan has appeared in a few tv series since Degrassi, all probably Canadian.  Per twitter, he has some kind of job where he works in an office. He bills himself as a tech enthusiast, so I’m guessing something with computers or, like, robots. He apparently studied theater in college, and was on a YouTube series last year.

Miriam McDonald – Emma Nelson

Then.

Now.

Miriam has appeared on a few TV series since leaving Degrassi, including Orphan Black, which is one of our favs! Wikipedia calls her an “occasional dancer,” which presumably means something a little more than dancing around her kitchen, and a little less than appearing on the now-defunct SYTYCD: Canada. She put a yoga vid on Twitter lately, if you like yoga, Twitter, or Miriam McDonald.

Jake Epstein – Craig

Then.

Now.

So Craig is like… kiiiiind of a smokeshow now, right? Just getting that out of the way. He was in My Babysitter’s A Vampire with Cassie Steele, as well as Paradise Falls, which you’re more likely to have seen. Jake appeared in the national tour of American Idiot – national meaning United States ( in Canada, touring — like burying the dead and collecting maple syrup — has to occur after things start to thaw, which is why there aren’t so many tours there). Jake has had an active theater career in Ontario, and hit Broadway for the first time last year as an understudy for the title character in Spider-man. In an upcoming Broadway musical, he’ll be playing Carole King’s husband. Like, Carole King as a character, not Carole King as an actress.

Sarah Barrable-Tishaur – Liberty VanZandt

Then.

Now.

Sarah’s linkdin page is crazy. Good crazy. She has done a lot of legit stuff since DeGrassi, don’t get me wrong. She went to Concordia university and did stuff during her college career other than watching a lot of daytime TV, which is already impressive to me. She worked as a media consultant for a school, and as a Senior Graphic Designer at Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East. Right now she’s a freelance Communications Consultant and Media Content Developer. And there, in the middle of all of that good stuff, is “Lead Actor, Liberty Van Zandt at Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Coolest employment history footnote ever. I mean I think my most interesting one is “hostess in a bird costume.”

Don’t even get me started on Liberty’s pregnancy.

Shane Kippel – Spinner Mason

Then.

Now??

Shane was on Degrassi for nine years. Nine. YEARS. So, he hasn’t done too much since then, bcause he’s only been off of the show for like 2 years. Evidently Shane was on Combat Hopsital, and plays drums for a Toronto-based band called Dear Love.

Lauren Collins – Paige Mikalchuk

Then.

Now. Y’all can just scroll up to this picture for the Adamo Ruggiero “now,” too. Sorry, spoiler.

Remember that talent show where Paige rewrote her song at the last minute to be about that time she got date-raped? That was some pretty heavy stuff for a tween series. Good job, Canada. Say what you will about me watching Degrassi when I was already like 17, Paige had a serious character arc. Plus, she was in a Degrassi parody video, so I’ve decided that Lauren is my dream Degrassi bestie. Lauren was in Charlie Bartlett and a Disney Channel Original about Sharpay. She hosts an MTV series called “1 Girl 5 Gays,” which I immediately disapprove of because that title reminds me of “2 Girls 1 Cup” and I’d rather not even know what that means, much less think about it.

Adamo Ruggiero – Marco Del Rossi

Then.

Marco was in a “gay-themed Christmas flick” called – wait for it – Make The Yuletide Gay. And you KNOW the producers went back and forth on that title and something with donning “gay apparel” for weeks. It was NOT gay-themed Christmas porn, which the title made me worry about a little. I guess people liked it, because a sequel is forthcoming.

Stacey Farber – Ellie Nash

Then.

Now.

You remember Elllie because she was badass, albeit in a more goth/alternative way than Manny. In early 2000s Canada, that mostly meant that she dressed like Avril Lavigne. Ellie was troubled, and in the early 2000s the big plotline for troubled youths was cutting (today it’s cyberbullying; in the 90s it was probably eating disorders, in the 80s it was getting offered drugs that looked kind of like candy,  and in the 70s, divorced parents. Nobody had problems before the 70s). After Degrassi, Stacey held a Teen Vogue internship and went to The New School to study creative writing. She appeared on 18 to Life (a CBC series) a few years ago.  In my googling, I found that circa 2008 all these kids on Yahoo answers were asking if Stacey was pregnant. I feel like she was always really tiny thought? But also I stopped watching Degrassi when I went to college in like 2004, so maybe. She DID tweet that article by that woman who doesn’t want her daughter to be nice, but I think I might have tweeted that too. Fun fact: Farber was on the shortlist to play Juno, but that other tiny Canadian actress got it instead.

Daniel Clark – Sean Cameron

Then.

Now.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that most of the Degrassi guys have coalesced into one brown-haired Canadian boy in my memory. Sean was the brown-haired Canadian boy who was the “bad boy,” according to Wikipedia, but wasn’t that Spinner?

It looks like Daniel has taken a break from professional acting since Degrassi. He started a not-for-profit called Brightline Education, which is something about teenagers and the environment. Daniel graduated with honors from NYU, majoring in Political Communications. He is now working for ABC News.

Ephraim Ellis – Rick Murray

Then.

Now.

You know what they say about homicidal teens on television: it’s always the one who seems like they’d probably do that, really. Ephraim has developed a long list of tv credits since Degrassi, notable because it is entirely made up of Canadian series I haven’t heard of before.

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8 thoughts on “Degrassi TNG: Where Are They Now

  1. Pingback: Saturday Spotlight: It’s All About Popular | cookies + sangria

  2. I am 25, and I still watch Degrassi. When I was like 12 or 13, Nickelodeon (because I’m in the US) showed an episode or two (I remember the one about Paige and Terri vying for the modeling gig), and I WAS HOOKED. And because I am insanely loyal to any show I begin to watch, I am still watching. Sad. So sad.

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      • They’re just recycling old plot-lines now. I get the feeling there is about to be a Terri/Rick situation again.

        I have season 1 on dvd, and sometimes I watch it and get the warm fuzzies. When I was in high school and the The N (now TeenNick) would show an “every episode ever” marathon I would sit in front of the tv all night catching up on episodes I missed because I didn’t get The N until I was 15.

        Ugh. That was 10 years ago. I feel so old and sad now!

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    • I love it and i still watch it. I like how when it came out in 2001 i was 11 so in my head that show was made for only me lol. I am 23 now and the day that it gets cancelled i will cry my eyes out! they have recycled some old plots but they are also doing a pretty good job of keeping it relevant with today’s issues. And even though i did not want the new characters , it has been interesting seeing who goes through what when you were least expecting it. The deaths this time around are much more hard hitting. Jt getting stabbed was major, plus rick and the gun. But Cam’s suicide and Adam’s texting and driving demise was like whoa….
      I’ve been into soaps since i was a little girl so degrassi will always be on my screen (computer since i dont have cable lol). ❤

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      • They did a texting and driving episode? Love how they keep up with the times! I swear Degrassi started so long ago that the first season had a plot about internet chatrooms. Man I feel old.

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  3. I can def. Say that degrassi is amazing, im 26 and still watch the show, i was quite partial to my old cast, but still managed to love some of the new kids. This show in a way reminds me of my so called life, has the whole high school angst feel minus the parent story lines. I will always watch this show, I don’t think you can be too old for a show to take you back to the time you were trying to find your place in the world and making epic mistakes along the way.

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    • “I don’t think you can be too old for a show to take you back to the time you were trying to find your place in the world and making epic mistakes along the way” is a really good defense for watching teen shows as an adult. As a grown-assed woman who watches Pretty Little Liars every week, I couldn’t agree more!

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