Sudbury teens add local flavour to Degrassi

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jun 04, 2014 - 9:46 AM |
Samantha Fraser, 15, and Andrew Paris, 16, are adding a local flavour to the Degrassi. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Samantha Fraser, 15, and Andrew Paris, 16, are adding a local flavour to the Degrassi. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Generations of Canadians have grown up with the kids of Degrassi Street, a popular teen drama that has dealt with such topics as teen pregnancy, suicide, bullying and even school shootings.

Now the television show's latest incarnation, which airs on MTV, is getting a bit of Sudbury flavour in the form of Samantha Fraser, 15, and Andrew Paris, 16.

Back in March, the teens both participated in Faces of the North, a local acting, singing and modelling competition put on by Charm Plus owner Benita Dellelce. They attracted the attention of the Toronto talent agency Bookittalent.

Through the talent agency, Fraser and Paris were hired by Degrassi's producers to appear as background actors on the show.

Fraser travelled to Toronto once last month for a Degrassi shoot and Paris twice. For both teens, this was their television debut.

“We had to leave at like 3 a.m. to get there,” said Fraser, a Grade 10 Marymount student, who wants to be a model or actor when she grows up. “I didn't sleep at all, because I was just so excited.”

During the shoots, she and Paris were asked to do things familiar to high school students — opening books, walking to lockers and working on projects.
Fraser said it was cool watching the main cast acting and seeing how everything was done.

The shoot itself was actually really easy, she said.

“I didn't know how it was going to be, but when I got there, it was just like it all felt natural.”

Fraser's mom, Denise Fraser, said the day was very exciting.

“We, as parents, had to be chaperons, because they're still young,” she said. “We were in a room where we could see it on a TV screen. We just felt like it was Hollywood.”

Paris, who is in Grade 10 at Lasalle Secondary School, and also wants to be a model or actor when he grows up, said the Degrassi shoot was fun.

“I learned quite a bit,” he said, adding he chatted with other background actors between takes. “A lot of them have been doing it since they were kids. They were telling lots of stories.”

Paris said he'd never seen Degrassi before the shoot, but he's since started watching it.

“Once I started watching it, I got pretty into it.”

Paris' mom, Michelle Paris, jokes it's hard to get her son up for school, but he'll get up at 5 a.m. to work on a television shoot.

“He's ready to go and work all day on set,” she said. “He loves it.”

Even though Fraser and Paris were only background actors on Degrassi, it's a great start, said Dellelce, whose past clients who have appeared in Flare magazine, on the covers of Harlequin Romance books and on the TV show Fashion File.

“Every business you get into, you start from the beginning, and work your way up, and start understanding it, and go from there,” she said.

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Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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