INTERVIEW: Andrea Lewis of ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’
If you were a fan of Degrassi: The Next Generation growing up then you remember Andrea Lewis. She played Hazel Aden the snotty sarcastic popular girl who had a sweet side. Since ending her role in Degrassi, Andrea has taken the world by storm. From releasing her album; 5-4-3-2-1, to starring in the Nickelodeon movie Spectacular! and launching her website ThoseGirlsAreWild.com â€”this girl has done it all. We also get to hear a little bit about the pilot show she is working on based on her popular website. Through this pilot, Andrea shows us that’s it’s okay to be a fun and silly girl. You don’t have to conform to what society deems as normal behavior for a women. That is something that I think Defective Geeks and Those Girls Are Wild Ladies have in common. Were all just trying to have a good time.
Below I talk with Andrea about being on Degrassi and the plans for ThoseGirlAreWild.com.
What was it like working on Degrassi: The Next Generation?
It was amazing! I was on the show for a lot of years and I just had a lot of fun doing it. I learned a lot about being an actress, being technical and professional all at the same time. I learned the majority of my media training on the job because we had to film a lot of interviews and do a lot of traveling. It was just a really fun atmosphere to be in. At the same time it felt like real high school and all of us were actually in high school when we were on the show. So it was like a weird world! You went to high school when you didn’t have to work and you were in high school when you were working. We were just always in high school but it was fun.
What were the most fun moments you had being on set?
You know, people ask me that all the time and it’s so hard for me to pinpoint one. Honestly, we used to have a lot of jokes all the time. Â Actors are almost obnoxious like that, everything becomes a inside joke. That’s how this cast was, just like with anything and everything that happened. Like someone would trip and fall and that became a extra hour of inside jokes for us.
I used to think we had the most fun on days we had dances because it usually a really hectic shooting day. You got to dress up, we had themed school dances in the show, so it was fun to dress up like that for the day. Everybody had something with there costume. There were tons of people on set and we would just have a lot of fun. I think the dances were our most fun days.
My most fun episode was probably the Breakfast Club episode. We had a smaller cast, myself, Aubrey Graham (Jimmy), Stacy Farber (Ellie), Jake Goldsbie (Toby), and Daniel Clark (Sean), for the week. Â There was only 6 of us but we each had so much fun shooting that.
There were a lot of issues covered in the show. There seemed to be a moral at the end of every episode. How did you and the other cast members deal with those issues? Â What inspiration did you pull from to get into that role or situation?
I think it was a matter of always talking about everything, so even if we didn’t personally deal with something that would be coming up in the episode, we were at least able to discuss it and that I think that was the best part. We were all very young and a lot of us had, I don’t want to say necessarily privileged lives, but maybe sheltered. Â All of us grew up in different parts of Toronto and we had really supportive families. So some of the issues that happened on the show, some people not only never dealt with but maybe never heard of and never knew someone who experienced that. Our writers were always so open with us and so understanding. Even out producers, that when we did cover an issue like abortion or rape we would talk about it a lot. We would talk about everything amongst the cast. I remember the episode when Page was going to be liking Alex or starting a relationship with Alex. Â I remember Lauren and I had a long talk about how if we ever kissed a girl and what do you think that is like. It was just a big discussion to help us understand the parts, the characters, us and get a lot more into it. That is what I thought made it more relatable for us. We were able to get opinion and use that in our own craft.
You and Lauren played best friends in the show. Were you guys best friends in real life?
Yeah! We were very close in real life. Â We used to joke around a lot that we were the black and white versions of each other.
What have you’ve been doing since Degrassi?
I’ve been incredibly busy. I’ve done a bunch of plays, I did a Nickoledion movie, I did a guest star role on the show, Warehouse 13 and I realeased an album. I started a very popular website called ThoseGirlsAreWild.com and I also recently shot my first pilot for my website. It kind of combines both worlds: internet and TV all in one. It was my first project I produced, directed, and wrote. I was really, really excited to do that and i’ll be working on the pilot the rest of 2012. Starting it now and going into the New Year.
What is the pilot about?
My website ThoseGirlsAreWild.com, it’s not a porn website. It’s a website I created with my best friend Shannon Boodram, who is a writer and photographer. Also, with myself being an actress and a singer we kinda of combined our worlds together. We created a website that was enpowering for woman and young girls and letting them know that you can be your full self and still have a great career and be able to laugh at yourself. Be able to live your regular life without having to be able to Â succumb to the pressures of the media to be overly sexy. Were not saying that were not sexy but we realized that there wasn’t a place for girls who are just, fun. That is why we created the site. We’ve had it for a little over a year now and its just gotten a really great response. We had over a million hits and we just been doing a lot with it.
So the show is kinda a mockumentary on our lives. We are playing ourselves, its an exaggerated look on what our actual day to day life is and the craziness that comes with it. We’re both the kind of girls that do whole bunch of different stuff and it’s always exciting but at the same time, there is always an element of absurdity in our day to day lives. I feel like the girls of this generation are more silly and fun. We for just having a good time and being ourselves. You don’t find that there are that many outlets that allow you to express yourself that way. Â Its something that I think we needn’t that we created and I am really excited to share it with people.
You can follow Sailor Mizz on Twitter at @MzVolpe.