Yan Moore and Linda Schuyler are the creators of the Canadian teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, which was rebranded to Degrassi for seasons 10 through 14. It is a revival of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High and the fourth installment in the Degrassi franchise. It began airing on CTV on October 14, 2001, and it ended on MTV Canada on August 2, 2015.
A new ensemble cast of students at the fictional Degrassi Community School, who deal with problems like sex, teen pregnancy, bullying, date rape, drug abuse, body image, homosexuality, domestic violence, gang violence, self-injury, suicide, abortion, mental disorders, and many other issues, are the focus of the show. Also, several characters from the first two seasons made adult cameos or recurrent appearances.
Producers conducted over 600 school-age child auditions for the next generation of students to create relatable characters for the target audience of teenagers. To distinguish the series from other shows of the same era, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, which portrayed performers in their twenties as teenagers, the decision to cast actors of similar ages was deliberate.
Drake (Jimmy Brooks)
Drake was only Aubrey Graham, the Canadian adolescent who played Jimmy Brooks before he became well-known as a rapper. A student shot Jimmy, a renowned basketball player, in season 4. Jimmy, who is paralyzed from the waist down, remains on Degrassi until season 7 when he graduates.
Drake’s flourishing music career began after his stint on Degrassi ended. He has many studio albums that have all peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and Take Care earned the Best Rap Album Grammy. Also, he helped spread the phrase “YOLO” and has frequently appeared in Internet memes. Many of Drake’s Degrassi cast mates came together for his “I’m Upset” music video in 2018 and in 2022, he released his seventh studio album titled Honestly Nevermind.
Nina Dobrev (Mia Jones)
Season 6 saw Nina Dobrev join the cast as a regular, portraying Mia Jones, a young mother by herself who starts a modeling career. Dobrev quickly transitioned from Degrassi to her most well-known role as Elena Gilbert on the popular CW series The Vampire Diaries.
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She played the character for six years until leaving the series in 2015 and then returned for the season finale in 2017. The TV star has appeared in films like Let’s Be Cops (2014), The Roommate (2011), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Love Hard (2021), and Redeeming Love (2022).
Shenae Grimes (Darcy Edwards)
Darcy Edwards, a traditional Christian girl who was initially presented in season 4, was portrayed by Shenae Grimes. When she is sexually attacked at a party in season 7, her plotline takes a dramatic turn. She experiences depression and attempts suicide before recovering and relocating to Kenya to assist in the construction of schools.
Here is a tweet about Drake will be bringing out the cast of Degrassi
Drake is gonna bring out the cast of Degrassi at this rate #DreamvilleFest pic.twitter.com/oqplCcY4v5
— lindsey … (@leholmes52) April 3, 2023
After being hired for the CW’s 90210, where she played Annie Wilson, a role partially based on Brenda Walsh from the original Beverly Hills, 90210, Grimes left Degrassi. After five seasons of the show, Grimes married musician Josh Beech not long after the series finale was filmed. She additionally made appearances in Scream 4 (2011) and Empire State (2013) while she was still on 90210, and she later secured parts in a handful of TV movies and starred in the short-lived police procedural The Detail.
Miriam McDonald (Emma Nelson)
The “next generation” of Degrassi Junior High’s Spike (Amanda Stepto) and Shane McKay (Bill Parrott) was represented by Miriam McDonald as Emma Nelson. She is referred to as the “cause girl” since she spearheads numerous social causes and plans demonstrations. She tackles topics including internet risk, STDs, and eating disorders as the series progresses.
McDonald made a brief appearance on Orphan Black in 2013 and in the horror film Wolves in 2014. In addition to appearing in the television holiday films A Veteran’s Christmas (2018) and Letters to Devil Santa, she made a comeback as Emma Nelson on Degrassi: Next Class for an episode in 2016. (2020).
Daniel Clark (Sean Cameron)
Daniel Clark was cast as bad kid Sean Cameron after making appearances on shows like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? in the 1990s and portrays the younger brother in Model Behavior (2000). During many seasons, Sean and Emma (McDonald) had an on-again, off-again romance. But, Sean quits the show when he enlists in the army and is sent to Afghanistan.
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After Degrassi, Clark’s most prominent performance was as Steve in the 2007 film Juno. He soon stopped acting and enrolled in NYU. At the Toronto premiere of We Are Disorderly in 2015, he once again crossed paths with Drake, Lauren Collins, and Adamo Ruggiero. Clark has experience working in the media and is active on Instagram.
Cassie Steele (Manny Santos)
Manny Santos, who was best friends with Emma Nelson, was portrayed by Cassie Steele for ten seasons. In a major two-part Manny episode from season 3, she finds out she’s pregnant at age 14 and decides to undergo an abortion.
After Degrassi, Steele’s next significant endeavor was the CTV program The L.A. Complex, which was briefly broadcast on the CW in 2012. She has voiced Tammy on Rick & Morty for several seasons and acted in a few TV movies. In addition, Steele has pursued a music career, releasing her EP Shifty in 2012 and Patterns in 2014.
You can dig. below to meet other characters in Degrassi:
- Jake Epstein (Craig Manning)
- Lauren Collins (Paige Michalchuk)
- Adamo Ruggiero (Marco Del Rossi)
- Shane Kippel (Spinner Mason)
- Stacey Farber (Ellie Nash)
- Ryan Cooley (J.T. Yorke)
- Christina Schmidt (Terri McGregor)
- Jake Goldsbie (Toby Isaacs)
- Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (Liberty Van Zandt)
- Melissa McIntyre (Ashley Kerwin)
- Stefan Brogren (Archie “Snake” Simpson)
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