TV & Movies

These Degrassi Then Vs. Now Cast Photos Show How Much Has Changed Since 2001

The actors have gone in different directions but still keep in touch.

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Long before Euphoria existed, Degrassi: The Next Generation explored high school’s darkest moments, from gang violence to teen pregnancy. With all 14 seasons of the hit Canadian teen drama now available on HBO Max, see how the cast has evolved since the series’ 2001 premiere.

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Miriam McDonald portrayed environmentally conscious, determined student Emma Nelson for nine seasons of Degrassi. The series marked her first major onscreen role in a television series following a voice part on the early 2000s children’s show Pecola.

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Since exiting Degrassi in 2010, McDonald’s appeared on Canadian shows, including Lost Girl and Orphan Black, and reprised her role as Emma on 2016’s Degrassi: Next Class. Most recently, the actor starred in a 2018 Hallmark movie titled A Veteran’s Christmas.

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Shane Kippel (left) played school bully and drummer Gavin Mason, who was nicknamed “Spinner” due to his ADHD. Aubrey Graham (right) appeared as his best friend Jimmy Brooks, who was notably shot in the back and confined to a wheelchair from Season 4 onward.

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Other than a guest appearance on Degrassi: Next Class, Kippel has only appeared in a few short films and otherwise stepped back from acting since the series wrapped. He’s since forayed into music, however, performing with the bands Open Your Eyes and Dear Love.

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These days, you probably know Graham better as Drake. While he’s since retreated from acting, the rapper currently acts as an executive producer on Euphoria and Top Boy. In 2018, Drake recruited several of his former Degrassi co-stars to reunite for his “I’m Upset” music video.

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Shenae Grimes (left) starred as Darcy Edwards, Spirit Squad leader and dedicated Christian with a secret penchant for online sexting. Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (right) played highly ambitious student Liberty Van Zandt, who became a teen mom in Season 5.

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A 2016 guest appearance on Degrassi: Next Class marks Barrable-Tishauer’s only acting role since the series wrapped, though she’s since become a successful DJ around Canada under the stage name DJ Me Time.

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After leaving Degrassi in 2008, Grimes scored a leading role on The CW’s 90210. Since the series wrapped in 2013, the actor’s appeared on CTV’s police procedural drama The Detail and in a 2018 film titled The Rake.

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Cassie Steele portrayed Manuela “Manny” Santos, a Phillippines-born student known as sexually promiscuous by her classmates and family. Throughout her nine-season run, the character became pregnant, underwent an abortion, and later attended Smithdale University.

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Steele’s remained active since departing Degrassi, most recently acting as Tammy Guterman and Tricia Lange in Rick & Morty. She was announced to voice Raya in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon in August 2020 but ended up getting replaced by Kelly Marie Tran mid-production.

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Lauren Collins had already appeared in several TV series and films before landing the role of popular mean girl Paige Michalchuk on Degrassi, whose storyline included devastatingly losing a sexual assault trial against another student due to lack of evidence.

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Collins has continued acting since Degrassi, most recently in an episode of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows. She seems to keep in touch with her former castmates (pictured here with Adamo Ruggiero) and recently celebrated the series’ 20th anniversary on Instagram.