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From "Canada's Teen Style Guide"

Deanna Casaluce (Alex)

FASHION18: How did you begin acting?
Deanna Casaluce: Since I could talk, I’ve been acting putting on little shows for my parents and my family. It wasn’t till I was a little older that I realized that I could actually act for a living. When I was about twelve I asked my mother for my birthday to put me into an agency.

F18: What do you enjoy most about it?
Deanna: Well, acting is my passion and if you ask anyone about their passion and what they enjoy most about it, everyone would tell you that it gives you a feeling that nothing else gives them. It’s sort of a feeling of excitement and of satisfaction.

F18: What would you advise teens who want to get into acting as a career?
Deanna: You’ll need a layer of tough skin because you’re gonna get a lot of no’s before you get a yes. Dabble into many different things: don’t just look into television and film. Check out what theatre is like because it’s very different than television or film and vice versa. And also: practice! Acting is a skill that always has room for improvement: you can never perfect it.

F18: How do you prepare for one of the more difficult scenes?
Deanna: If the character is going through a really sad time, I sort of take myself back to a really sad time and think about how I can project those feelings through Alex. It involves a lot of work for me and when I don’t get it (because I feel when I don’t get the scene) I can’t be hard on myself. I just have to try to get closer and closer to it and just practice.

F18: How much do you identify with Alex?
Deanna: I identify quite a bit with Alex because she is a very independent person and so am I. She’s tough and kind of marches to the beat of her own drum. I think Alex and I share that quality.

F18: What do you think are the most challenging aspects of acting?
Deanna: The biggest challenge would probably be the fact that you can’t perfect the art of acting, but the challenge in itself is what makes art so great for me. There is always room for improvement.

F18: Since you are on TV you must have people, especially your fans, recognizing you. What has been your most bizarre fan experience?
Deanna: I’m going to university and I need spending money, so I’m working a part-time job on the weekends too. I got recognized at my part-time job. This girl, she was probably about 13 or 14, from the States, visiting Toronto, and she was just stunned when she was asking me for help. I was just assisting her and she was stunned the whole time and finally she said, “You look exactly like this girl from Degrassi.”

F18: And you said, “I am the girl from Degrassi!”
Deanna: No, I didn’t. I was just smiling and then she said, “Oh my god, you are the girl from Degrassi!” She was like, “Why are you working here?” It was funny.

F18: Which character from the original Degrassi do you feel Alex most identifies with?
Deanna: I’m gonna go with Spike. She did her own thing, she went through a lot and Alex sort of goes through a lot of really tough issues, more adult issues, than a lot of the other kids on Degrassi go through. She handles it in her own way. It makes her stronger.

F18: How do you find a balance between your professional life as a rising teen star and your personal life?
Deanna: I come from a huge family and we are very close. My cousins are my best friends. I think because I’m so close with people that I’ve known for my whole life it really keeps me grounded. It’s hard sometimes… going on mall tours and stuff, going away for weekends. My boyfriend’s actually leaving for New York and I think I’m gonna be going away on his last day. When that sort of thing happens, that’s tough, but I mean I can’t even let myself get down on it because the opportunity to go on mall tours and visit places that I have never been to before [is amazing].



Adamo Ruggiero (Marco)

FASHION18: Tell me how you started acting.
Adamo Ruggiero: I started doing theatre when I was small. There was this company called Stage Coach and it worked with elementary school kids and did these little performances. I thought I’d just jump in there and try something and I just really loved it. I thought it was the greatest feeling in the entire world. My parents saw me and were like, oh, he’s not that bad. I started doing a lot of theatre around Mississauga. I did a bunch of stuff at Meadowvale Theatre and then I started at an art school. At about the same time I was auditioning for a concert at the art school, I “said to my parents, I want to get an agent, I think I can do this professionally.” My parents said, “Well, you do the research and then we’ll drive you where need to go.” So I did, and I grabbed an agent and I started going on TV auditions. I landed some little things that but my biggest gig was Degrassi.

F18: What do you enjoy most about it?
Adamo: I’m very expressive and kind of animated, so acting provides a great opportunity for me to use those qualities. And to try different experiences. What I mean is, I’m simple. I live in Mississauga and I just kind of do simple things, so to play a character who’s in a different mind frame I feel like I have a chance to explore the absurd without being ridiculed, you know?

F18: What would you advise teens who want to get into acting?
Adamo: I think the most important thing when it comes to starting up is to treat it like a hobby. It’s important to have confidence in yourself but not to have some sort of great expectations. Have fun with it and do it as a pastime and things will progress forward. It will definitely happen if it’s in your heart and you really want to do it, but it’s a process. I mean, I work on Degrassi and I still kind of treat it like a hobby. It’s something that I love to do and I’m fortunate that I’m doing it.

F18: How do you prepare for a difficult scene?
Adamo: Everyone’s got little techniques. You know when you watch a movie for the first time and then you watch it for the second time, you kind of notice new things. That’s how I approach my scripts: I spend a week really just working at that scene and I just practice it over and over again in different ways. The way I tackle a scene on a Monday is really different than the way I tackle that same scene on Thursday because of all the different emotions I go through in a week. I give myself that time to adapt that scene based on what the experiences in my life at the time are and how I’m feeling, instead of just taking it instinctively.

F18: How much do you identify with your character?
Adamo: I think I identify a lot. My character is close to my age. He’s just finishing high school and I just finished high school not too long ago. He’s really just a happy go lucky guy who is just friends with everybody. So it’s kind of like me in my high school. But I wasn’t really like this crazy social butterfly, but at the same time I never really had any enemies. You know, he’s just kind of like the Oprah, everyone goes to him for advice and I’m kind of like that in my group of friends.

F18: And what do you think the most challenging aspects about acting are?
Adamo: I think that every single person has a different challenge when it comes to it. Acting on a show like Degrassi is a very emotionally multi-faceted experience. One day, feelings are blowing up and bubbling out and it’ll be really intense. But then there will be a day where my character seems to be saying a few little things that are witty and funny and I think that the most challenging aspect is not only delivering the very intense and dramatic scenes properly but the little ones. When you’re used to acting in the big teen angst situations, sometimes it’s hard to just tackle the little things and just sell it with its true simplicity. Sometimes doing a scene where all the characters are just talking about what they are going to do that week can actually be really hard.

F18: What has been your most bizarre fan experience up until this point?
Adamo: We go on these mall tours and we kind of travel the States and we meet a lot of fans. I think that the most bizarre but overwhelming fan experience that I had was actually when I went to LA. We were doing this mall tour and it was far beyond any of our imaginations. There were 5000 kids there and some of them were trying to climb the walls. From my standpoint, it was just this chaotic jungle of teenagers. It helped us to put into perspective how I’m affecting people with the type of work that I’m doing.

F18: What character from the original Degrassi do you feel that your character identifies with?
Adamo: Well, it’s funny because someone recently told me I remind them of Joey Jerimiah. I guess I can see the connection; Pat Mastroianni, who played Joey, is Italian and he’s small and I’m Italian and I’m small; I rock out fedoras and Joey Jeremiah always had these crazy fedoras too. My character is very sarcastic, witty and a little bit mischievous. But yet he’s lovable and I think that that was what was so charming about the Joey Jeremiah character. He was mischievous and he was a little off the wall but no matter what he did you couldn’t help but love him so much. His character had that kind of sincerity. In terms of our look and how my character unfolds, I think a lot of people see a connection between my character and Joey’s character.



Cassie Steele (Manny)

FASHION18: How did you start acting?
Cassie Steele: I really loved doing improv in school and from there I started doing commercials. The first real job that I got was Degrassi.

F18: What do you enjoy most about it?
Cassie: I really enjoy meeting new people. And also, acting is like an out of body experience in a way. Through acting, you get to live a life that’s not your own.

F18: How do you prepare for a difficult scene?

Cassie: I actually try not to dwell on it too much because I want the scene to feel as natural as possible. Usually what ends up happening is that actors feed off of one another’s performance.

F18: What would you advise teens who want to get into acting?
Cassie: Take drama classes. If you like doing improv, ask to be recommended to an agent.

F18: How much do you identify with your character?
Cassie: I think every girl going through high school can identify with Manny in some way. She was trailing along after everyone else in season one, and very shy. But then, in season three, she becomes really bold. She’s passionate and she cares about people. She’s trying out different looks and styles.

F18: What are the most challenging aspects about acting?
Cassie: Probably the long hours and doing the emotional scenes. It’s mentally trying because you have to be alert and get into character in a snap. Basically, the battery is going to get tired at some point.

F18: What was your most bizarre fan experience?
Cassie: Probably when this lady named her baby after me!



Melissa McIntyre (Ashley)

FASHION18: How did you begin acting?
Melissa McIntyre I began acting kind of by accident. Acting grew on me. It started off as an accident but a very good one.

F18: What do you like most about it?
Melissa: Probably the challenge. Acting isn’t second nature to me. Every time I do a scene, I find it difficult. I like working with other actors though.

F18: What would you advise teens who want to get into acting?
Melissa: For me, doing community theatre was the best experience. I met a lot of people and tried many different roles. It leads to bigger and better things. It can give you a sense of discipline and understanding.

F18: How do you prepare for a difficult scene?
Melissa: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! I go over the scene again and again by myself. For longer scenes, we usually have a discussion with the director. But we try and keep it fresh so it doesn’t sound rehearsed.

F18: How do you relate with your character?
Melissa: In the first season Ashley was more academic and then she started to get along with everyone. I’ve changed too since I’ve started working on Degrassi; I’ve become more bubbly. We have similarities in that we are both close to family and friends.

F18: What are the most challenging aspects of acting?
Melissa: Keeping it really natural and believable. It’s a challenge to keep each character as relatable as possible since they are going through dramatic situations.

F18: What has been your most bizarre fan experience so far?
Melissa: I find it all bizarre! I’ve had some people cry: it’s insane. There are people screaming…I felt like I was part of the Backstreet Boys!


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