From TV BFFs to IRL BFFs!
On Monday, former co-stars Cassie Steele and Miriam McDonald sat down on Instagram Live for Entertainment Weekly to chat all about Degrassi and what it’s like to grow up as child stars! Spoiler alert: it sounds very s**tty!
The duo, who played friends Manny and Emma respectively, opened up about the intense bullying they faced as teenagers playing some of TV’s most infamous characters at the time.
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For Cassie, she recalled the worst moments that occurred were after her character was spotted in school wearing a thong. Being the focal point of one of the series most controversial episodes about an abortion didn’t help either! On her rough adolescence because of these storylines, the actress explained:
“People couldn’t separate me from my character. I felt like I was being bullied a lot at parties growing up and even at the mall. People [would call] me a s***. And that was very difficult because I just wanted to make friends.”
While portraying a very different character, Miriam faced similar struggles. She chimed in sharing that after her character contracted an STD in Season 4, social interactions became incredibly awkward:
“I was terrified to walk through the cafeteria and mall food court at lunchtime where there were teenagers. Everyone’s pointing, everyone’s looking and throwing paper at you.”
While the off-screen experience of being on the teen drama proved more difficult than one might have anticipated, these shared experiences (though unwanted) helped the friends create their everlasting bond! The Letters to Satan Claus lead continued:
“That’s part of why we formed such a strong connection. We were each other’s number one peers.”
They also noted shared gratitude that social media didn’t exist in their primetime, though we have to admit maybe an online presence would have helped establish a clear distinction between them and their characters! As an 11-year-old when starting the show, Miriam noted:
“As a teenager, you read some of these brutal things that are written. And it’s very hard not to let that affect you.”
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Given Cassie was also just 14 when cast on the series, we can understand why the child stars are thankful they didn’t have to be scrutinized in the way young performers are today. And while a lot of this reflection sounds pretty terrible, the Rick and Morty alum concluded the livestream expressing:
“The experience of having these friendships and traveling and exposure and just being part of something that’s touched a lot of people’s lives. It’s irreplaceable.”
Watch the whole chat (below)!
Thoughts, Perezcious readers?! Are you surprised these girls faced so much criticism for their character’s decisions? Let us know in the comments (below)!
[Image via Drake/YouTube & Cassie Steele/Miriam McDonald/Instagram]