On Monday, Jan. 19 ABC Family's hit series Chasing Life returns with a brand new episode titled "Next April." Of course, that also means we're finally reunited with the amazingly talented Italia Ricci. Seriously, if you're not already watching this show that provides insight into a young woman's cancer battle, then I recommend binge watching it as soon as possible so you can catch up. It's so much more than cancer. Yes, that's a huge part of the show, obviously, but it also follows Ricci's character, April Carver, as she's making her way as a journalist and living with everyday issues we all encounter at some point in our lives. With that said, I recently chatted with Ricci, where we discussed Season 1B, the different April fans will soon see (we'll see a different April trying to be the same April), Leo's fate (yes, we will find out if he lives or dies), and Chasing Life's feminist elements.
But Ricci knows the word "feminist" has been through the ringer, and continues to be treated poorly, noting that she thinks others use the word "feminism" as something negative and unfortunately, she's not wrong: there are still plenty of people who have a negative connotation associated with feminism (lest we forget the "Women Against Feminism" movement this summer), but there is a way to combat that. Ricci says she doesn't let that sad misunderstanding influence her or prohibit her from embracing the feminist tendencies she sees in herself. As she told me,
I feel like people are afraid of that word, because of the extremes, but I think April is for sure, because it’s been said in the show. I feel like I am. You know, I’m not active and I’m not going to be picketing or doing the extreme end of it, but I believe in a lot of the things that feminism stands for. I am very independent and I like to think that I’m a very strong woman and I don’t think that… I don’t know how to describe it properly, but I definitely think that I’ve got feminist in me.
Like Ricci states, she wholeheartedly believes that her character April is a feminist, and I can't argue with that at all. As we've seen on the show, April has not only been fighting for her life, but she's also fighting for her career and to become a top journalist in Boston. Even before she was diagnosed, and despite being a rookie, April didn't let that stop her from going after stories or weaseling her way into certain situations to get an interview. She never once let her bosses, her co-workers, and her competition ever stand in her way. If you ever wanted to be a journalist, look to April Carver for some inspiration.
With that said, once she found out she had cancer, April still didn't let that deter her from her dream or life goals. However, this is also raises the question: Will she be treated differently as a woman and a journalist now that everybody knows she has cancer? Will people treat her like a fragile piece of glass and walk all over her? Ricci doesn't think that will be a major issue, nor has it really ever been. She says,
Her co-workers are very supportive. There are some new characters that you’re gonna meet that give her a little more trouble. She’s already been fighting, even before she got diagnosed. She wants to be the best. I don’t feel like being a woman has really been a problem in the workplace for her, so much as it is just being young and new and eager. Now it’s going to be harder for her, because of the physical toll chemo took on her body. Her memory sucks, and she’s just exhausted, and she can’t pull all nighters like Danny [her co-worker] can anymore.
She also added,
The people you’ve already met at the office don’t make her feel like she’s wearing cancer on her forehead, but there are some new people who make it very, very hard for her to forget.
As Ricci says, hopefully we will continue to see this and that April won't be handled with care or walked all over because she is battling cancer. I'm not saying that April wants people to overlook the fact that she is sick, because I'm sure she wants others to be sensitive and kind about her situation, but that doesn't mean she or her work should be discredited or not be critiqued. She wants to be treated like everyone else. Overall, cancer doesn't define April, because she is so much more than her disease. She's still a person with dreams, goals, family, friends, and a career that she loves immensely. That's what should be taken into account, and hopefully it will be.
Images: Tony Rivetti/ABC Family (2)