- Canadian franchise “Degrassi” spawned the careers of stars like Nina Dobrev and Drake.
- Since leaving the show, cast members have gone on to appear in other movies and shows, while others have fallen off the radar.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The “Degrassi” franchise is one that has been popular among teens for decades.
There are several iterations of the hit Canadian show, from “Degrassi High” to the most recent version, “Degrassi: Next Class.”
Some cast members have gone on to become big names in Hollywood, most notably Drake and Nina Dobrev. Others have fallen off the radar and it’s unclear what they have done since leaving the show. Many of the actors also appeared in Drake’s 2018 music video for “I’m Upset,” which was the ultimate high school reunion.
Here’s what the stars of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” have been up to since you last saw them on the teen drama.
Before becoming known as Drake, the rapper went by his real name — Aubrey Graham — and played Jimmy Brooks on “Degrassi.”
He was the school’s basketball star, but also a talented artist. On the infamous season four episode, Jimmy got paralysed from the waist down and ended up in a wheelchair after Rick shot him.
Nowadays, Drake is more focused on his career as a musician.
He has released five studio albums and the most recent one, titled “Scorpion,” came out in June 2018. The album featured hits like “In My Feelings,” “Nice for What,” and “I’m Upset.” The popularity of “In My Feelings,” led to a viral dance challenge called “#InMyFeelingsChallenge” or “#KiKiChallenge.”
Drake is also a four-time Grammy winner and 44-time nominee. He also proved that he hadn’t lost his acting skills when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2014 and 2016.
Drake released two EPs in 2018 and 2019, titled “Scary Hours” and “The Best in the World Pack.”
In 2020, the musician dropped a mixtape called “Dark Lane Demo Tapes,” which included the hit song “Toosie Slide.”
Shane Kippel played Spinner Mason.
When Spinner was introduced on season one, he started out as a bit of a bully, but redeemed himself.
After overcoming testicular cancer, he graduated from Degrassi, landed a job at the popular hangout called The Dot, and later married Emma Nelson.
Kippel is a musician and has been in a few different bands.
The last time “Degrassi” fans saw Kippel as Spinner was on season 2 of “Degrassi: Next Class.” In real life, Kippel kept busy as a drummer in the band Dear Love, which has since broken up.
His Instagram is filled with selfies, sweet photos with his girlfriend, snaps with his furry friend, and the occasional throwback with his “Degrassi” costars.
Kippel teamed up with “Degrassi” costars Raymond Ablack and Dalmar Abuzeid for a short released in 2020 called “The Beacons of Gondor.”
Ellie Nash was portrayed by Stacey Farber
The redhead was first seen on season 2. Upon graduating, she attended Toronto University and wrote for the campus paper, “The Core.”
Farber stars on a CBC drama called “Diggstown.”
In July 2020, the show got renewed for a third season.
In addition, she appeared on two episodes of TNT’s “Animal Kingdom.”
She occasionally posts old photos from her “Degrassi” days, too.
In a post congratulating Levy on the show’s 2020 Emmy nominations, Farber said that they were roommates years ago and she actually auditioned for Alexis Rose (played by Annie Murphy) and screen-tested for Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire), meaning she came close to the latter role.
Farber will reportedly appear on The CW’s upcoming Arrowverse show “Superman and Lois.”
Adamo Ruggiero played Marco Del Rossi.
Marco was introduced on season 2 and went on to become the valedictorian of his graduating class. He landed a job as a teacher and returned to his alma mater as a member of the faculty.
Ruggiero continues to act, mainly in shorts and the occasional TV role.
Ruggiero is still good friends with his “Degrassi” costars, especially Lauren Collins – who played his on-screen best friend Paige.
Paige Michalchuk was played by Lauren Collins.
After graduating, she briefly attended Banting University and left after suffering from frequent panic attacks. She went on to star in a movie and become an assistant.
Collins continues to act, and has starred on TV series and movies.
She reprised her “Degrassi” role on an episode of “Degrassi: Next Class” and appeared in the 2018 Netflix holiday movie “The Christmas Chronicles.”
She also starred on the YouTube original series “Impulse,” which lasted for two seasons.
Jake Epstein played Craig Manning, one of Degrassi’s aspiring musicians.
He was part of the school’s drama club, became a signed artist, and moved to Vancouver to pursue a career as a solo artist. Craig returned to Degrassi years later to perform for the younger generation of students.
Epstein is now a Broadway star.
Epstein left “Degrassi” to attend acting school, then went on to star in theatre productions. Aside from tours for “Spring Awakening” and “American Idiot,” he starred in Broadway shows.
He made his debut in “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” and has since starred in the Tony-winning show “Beautiful.” He was also in the 2016 off-Broadway show “Straight.”
You may have seen Epstein on “Designated Survivor” and “Suits,” too.
Ashley Kerwin was portrayed by Melissa McIntyre.
She often showcased her musical skills by singing and playing the piano. Ashley and Craig sometimes disagreed over music, but they ended up touring Europe together.
McIntyre appeared on season one of “Mrs. America” and Drake’s “I’m Upset” music video.
Rick Murray was played by Ephraim Ellis.
Rick will forever be known as the character who put Jimmy Brooks in a wheelchair. In the events leading up to that incident, Rick abused his girlfriend (which led to her ending up in a coma). When he returned to Degrassi, he got bullied and reached a breaking point after getting humiliated in front of the student body.
Angry, he brought a gun to school with the intention to kill students that mistreated him. Thinking that Jimmy played a role in the prank against him, he shot him.
When Sean tried to convince him to put the gun down, the two ended up in an altercation that resulted in Rick getting shot and killed.
Nowadays, Ellis has a shorter haircut and no glasses.
After “Degrassi,” Ellis continued to appear on other TV shows, like “Falcon Beach,” “Family Biz,” and “Murdoch Mysteries.”
He also appeared in Drake’s “I’m Upset” music video, which included a reference to his character’s memorable “Degrassi” scene.
Most recently, he appeared on an episode of Netflix’s vampire-centric show “V-Wars,” which starred Ian Somerhalder.
Emma Nelson was portrayed by Miriam McDonald.
She was best friends with Manny Santos, and the two knew each other since they were children.
After graduating, she went to Smithdale University with Manny and Liberty. She tied the knot with Spinner in “Degrassi Takes Manhattan.”
McDonald hasn’t done too much acting since “Degrassi.”
She was on one episode of “Orphan Black” in 2013 and the 2014 movie “Wolves.” She also reprised her role as Emma for one episode of “Degrassi: Next Class” in 2016.
In 2018, McDonald appeared in the 2018 Hallmark movie “A Veteran’s Christmas.”
Cassie Steele played Manny Santos, a popular student at Degrassi.
After high school, Manny went to Smithdale and studied acting. She later ended up in Hollywood.
Steele has voiced characters on the animated show “Rick and Morty.”
She appeared in the 2010 Disney Channel movie “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” and on a drama series called “The L.A. Complex.”
Aside from acting, Steele also sings. She has released two studio albums and two EPs.
Jake Goldsbie played Toby Isaacs, Ashley’s stepbrother.
Toby was introduced during the first season and was last seen on season 9. He was also good friends with J.T., though they had ups and downs.
Goldsbie doesn’t act much these days, but he runs podcasts.
One podcast is called Sportsfeld, which is fitting since Goldsbie is a big fan of soccer and baseball (among other sports). The other, launched in October 2019, is called Columbia House Party and he discusses music on it.
Liberty Van Zandt was played by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer.
She was a highly motivated student, and oftentimes viewed as an overachiever. Unsurprisingly, she was the valedictorian of her graduating class.
Barrable-Tishauer is now a DJ and music curator.
She graduated from Concordia University in 2012. Like her “Degrassi” character, she was named the valedictorian.
Dalmar Abuzeid played Liberty’s younger brother, Danny Van Zandt.
He started off as the stereotypical, pesky younger sibling, but changed significantly. Danny even ended up at Cornell University.
Abuzeid starred as Sebastian “Bash” Lacroix on Netflix’s “Anne With an E.”
He also starred on the Canadian sitcom “Crawford,” the AT&T original “Condor,” and WGN’s “Pure.”
Connor DeLaurier was portrayed by A.J. Saudin.
When Connor was first introduced, he was social awkward, studious, and particular about things. He was bullied by other students, but retained a core group of friends that included K.C., Claire, and Alli.
Saudin has grown up since playing a teenager.
He hasn’t starred 0n any shows or in films since “Degrassi,” but he is involved in the music world. In 2016, he released his first single, “Sunset,” and released an EP called “Before I Met You” the following year. His most recent work was an EP titled “Nocturnal Nirvana.”
Saudin also walked during runway shows.
Nina Dobrev played Mia Jones, a student originally from Degrassi’s rival school, Lakehurst
She was initially treated with hostility by some students, since she was a teen mum.
Throughout the show Mia juggled being a parent, student, and cheerleader. She eventually became a model and left Degrassi to build her career in Europe.
Dobrev is now known for her role as Elena Gilbert on the hit CW show “The Vampire Diaries.”
Dobrev’s role on “TVD” has earned her several awards, from People’s Choice Awards to Teen Choice Awards. She has also starred in movies like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Let’s Be Cops,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” and “Flatliners.”
More recently, she starred on the CBS sitcom “Fam,” which got cancelled after one season.
Paula Brancati portrayed Jane Vaughn.
As a student at Degrassi, Jane was a member of the football team and the lead singer of Janie and the Studs.
After graduating as the valedictorian of her class, Jane went to college in California.
Brancati most recently appeared on the show “Workin’ Mums” and the 2019 holiday movie “Grounded for Christmas.”
She starred on the horror anthology series “Slasher.” “Degrassi” alums Melinda Shankar and Lauren Collins also appeared on the show.
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