Interview With Lauren Collins

AE: One
thing I thought was cool about Paige being queer is that she’s into fashion,
and most people assume that lesbians have no style or fashion sense.

LC: Such
a stereotype!

AE: Do
you think Paige will date any more women or was Alex it for her?

LC: That’s the
amazing thing about Paige. I don’t think anything is really off-limits for her.
I think her relationship with Alex really opened her eyes to not worrying about
what people think and being true to what you are. I don’t think anything is out
of the question.

AE: What
I really liked about the story line was that since they had already shown Marco
coming out, it was less about Paige or Alex coming out and more about the
relationship.

LC: That’s just
it — whenever I do interviews, I say it’s not about their sexual orientation;
it was a love story, completely. That’s what the story was.

Deanna Casaluce (left) and Lauren Collins

AE: Do
you guys have any input when it comes to the script?

LC: For every
script that’s written, we do a table [read] with the whole cast and writers and
producers, and we read through it. Usually we have a 30-minute discussion, or
it can be an hour-long discussion after talking about everything from the whole
concept of the story to, "Oh this page, this line doesn’t make any sense,
can we take it out?" Obviously they [the writers] are all in their 30s and
we’re a little bit closer to the age of the characters. They’re really great
about it.

AE: So
Adamo [Ruggiero, who plays gay character Marco on the show] recently came out —
do you think anyone will be looking to you or Deanna to follow suit?

LC: [laughs] I don’t
know!

AE: Here’s
your opportunity!

LC: We’re so proud
of Adamo, and it was a huge step for him, and I was right there holding his hand
through the whole thing.

AE: It
seems like Degrassi, or maybe it’s
just Canada
itself, is really gay friendly. Do you feel it’s that way in general?

LC: I guess
compared to the States. We’re lucky to live — even though we have a
conservative government right now — in a more liberal climate. And it’s nice
and not something we take for granted. Going to the States, sometimes we
realize how lucky we are to live here.

The cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation

AE: So
what’s up with Paige in the next season?

LC: There’s always
relationship drama — there’s a really great story line coming up for Paige.
Definitely worth it to keep watching! She may be in for more than she can
handle.

AE: But
she’s already been through so much!

LC: I know,
exactly my thought.

AE: What’s
been the hardest part? I mean, Paige has been through so much crap from being
raped to having awful breakups, etc. What was the hardest part for you to film?

LC: You know, it’s
all really tough. I think probably the rape story line. Probably the hardest
was when the rape story line was brought up again, because when we shot the
rape story line I was pretty young at the time. I was definitely taking it
seriously, but I don’t know that I really understood what I was getting myself
into or what Paige was getting herself into. So I think it was around Season 4
when that was picked up again, and that was one of the toughest things for me.

AE: Are
you familiar with South of Nowhere?
Do you have that there?

LC: We don’t! We
don’t have any of The N shows here, which is really kind of crappy. We’ve
worked with some of the cast members in promotional things, but we haven’t seen
any of the shows.

AE: I
know they wouldn’t show an abortion episode here in the States that they’d show
in Canada.
Is there anything else you know they wouldn’t show here?

LC: We’ve had to
shoot different versions sometimes. One example was the rape episode. They just
had to shorten the amount of time you saw Dean and I on the bed together. In Canada you saw
a little bit more. Sometimes it just had to be alternative versions. Aubrey
[Graham], who plays Jimmy, had a line calling Ashley a slut and he had to do a
version for The N calling her a skank, so it’s little things like that.

AE: There’s
been talk about how on South of Nowhere
in love scenes, the girls will have hugs whereas straight characters will
have on full-on make-out scenes. Has there ever been anything on Degrassi that you know of with Marco and
a guy or Paige and Alex that you’ve had to shorten or edit based on that?

LC: Not that I’m
aware of. I really feel like Degrassi
has treated all relationships equally and what they’re allowed to show for a
straight relationship I assume is the same as what they’re allowed to show for
a gay or lesbian relationship.

Degrassi: The Next Generation airs on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. ET on CTV in Canada, and on Friday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET on The N in the U.S.

 

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