Degrassi: The Next Generation defined, well, a generation. With its intense, real storylines (that did, to be fair, border on extreme exaggeration at times), the show was able to resonate with kids across the world. It was one of the first show brave enough to televise some of the tough issues that kids face, taking them seriously and not trivializing their experiences just because they are young.
It was rewarded for its boldness, running for fourteen seasons on a variety of different networks in Canada and the United States before moving to Netflix for another Degrassi iteration, Degrassi: Next Class. The show has been a critical and commercial success, and has made an impact on millions of people across the world.
The show’s popularity and reach has propelled many of its stars to the big leagues, with former Degrassi alumni doing great things in film, television, theater, music and more. Here are the 17 most famous alumni of Degrassi High School.
17. Stephen Amell
Stephen Amell is best known for his starring role as the titular superhero on Arrow, but the Canadian actor got his start on a very different teen show. That’s right, Stephen Amell had a very, very small appearance on Degrassi before he made it big, playing a frat bro responsible for guarding the door at a party. After a very brief interaction with Paige (Lauren Collins), he lets her into the party before disappearing from the Degrassi universe forever. Although we’ll never even know his name (he is just credited as “doorman”), Amell’s appearance will live on in our hearts forever.
The star has gone on to bigger and better things now, though. Outside of his starring role on the first of Greg Berlanti’s CW superhero shows, Amell has also appeared on Hung, Private Practice, and starred in a Canadian series called Rent-a-Goalie that we probably all need to go watch immediately. He also recently starred in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
16. Devon Bostick
Before being very angsty on The 100, Devon Bostick was very angsty on Degrassi. Bostick played the ex-boyfriend on Nina Dobrev’s Mia, who dated the beautiful cheerleader before she got pregnant with Lucas’ baby at age 13. Bostick’s Nic was an angry, violent high school-er from Degrassi’s rival school Lakehurst, who some believe was responsible for igniting the flames of the rivalry between the two overly dramatic high schools.
Bostick only appeared in three episodes of the series before landing the role of Rodrick, older brother of the titular wimpy kid in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. He even got to star in a sequel named after his character, called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. He has also appeared on Being Erica and Aim High before landing his most famous role as Jasper on The 100. He is also set to appear in the upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton film Okja, set to be released in 2017.
15. Shay Mitchell
Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell made a blink and you’ll miss it appearance on Degrassi before moving to the ABC Family/Freeform drama. She starred in the episode “Up Where You Belong,” which features Dobrev’s Mia deciding whether or not she is going to stay in school or quit to further pursue her modeling career. Mitchell’s character (just credited as “model”) chose to drop out of school to go after her career and is able to give Mia advice on what to do decide.
Mitchell has since moved on to bigger, actually named roles, appearing on Rookie Blue and Aaron Stone and in films like Dreamland and Mother’s Day. Mitchell is best known, though, for her role as Emily Fields on the probably too-long-running Pretty Little Liars. The role has made her famous with teen girls everywhere, with Mitchell covering magazines like Cosmo, Glamour, Nylon, Maxim, and Seventeen and frequently publishing updates for her 14 million Instagram followers and 3.38 million Twitter followers.
14. Christina Schmidt
Christina Schmidt won two Young Artist Awards for her portrayal of the insecure Terri on Degrassi‘s first three seasons, one for the ensemble and another for her individual performance, in addition to two more ensemble nominations. Terri, a plus-size model, is best remembered by fans as the character who struggled in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend Rick (Ephraim Ellis), who ended up putting her in a coma at the end of the third season. She was a great friend to everyone at Degrassi High, and her struggles were felt strongly by the viewers and the cast. Terri’s tragic fate was partly due to Schmidt’s burgeoning real-life modeling career, with the actress starting to take off internationally.
Schmidt has appeared in modeling campaigns for B&M Models, Torrid, Nygard and more. According to her Instagram, she is currently working for Plutino Models and Mega Models Miami. She most recently appeared in Live Better Magazine. She also has a young son who she frequently posts cute pictures of on her social media pages.
13. Daniel Clark
Daniel Clark’s Sean Cameron was a fixture of Degrassi for its first seven seasons, with the actor bringing his signature mix of attitude and heart to the part. Clark was a member of the Degrassi cast when they won their Young Artist Award in 2002, and was also nominated with the cast in 2003 and 2006. Clark also had a number of other acting roles as a teen, appearing on Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Grizzly Falls. He also starred in films like I Was A Sixth Grade Alien, which earned him a Young Artist Award nomination for best performance by a young actor in a TV comedy series, and Disney Channel’s Model Behavior. His most notable non-Degrassi role was as jock Steve in 2007’s Juno. Now, Clark is still in front of the camera, but in a different way. Clark, who graduated with honors from New York University, has worked as a digital news associate for ABC News and as an associate producer for Fusion.
12. Andrea Lewis
Andrea Lewis played Hazel, a Spirit Squad member and longtime girlfriend of Jimmy Brooks (Aubrey Graham, AKA Drake), who was an integral part of the show’s early main group. Lewis has also appeared in Disney Channel’s Cadet Kelly as the best friend of Hilary Duff’s character, a role which has made her famous to basically every girl who was between 5 and 15 years old when the movie was released in 2002. Lewis has also appeared in a Nickelodeon film, 2009’s Spectacular!, showing off her pipes in the musical, which earned 3.7 million viewers in its premiere airing for the network. Lewis has also used her singing talents to appear on stage, starring in Dream Girls as Lorrell and in Hairspray as Peaches.
More recently, she appeared as the lead character Michelle in the play It takes a Village to Raise Hell in New York City and writes and stars in her own web series Black Actress, which is produced by Issa Rae and Tatyana Ali. Lewis has also ventured into music, releasing two albums, Float Away in 2005 and 54321 in 2010.
11. Jake Epstein
Epstein played Craig Manning on the series, a musician who is probably best remembered for his many affairs with the ladies of Degrassi High. Craig also struggled with mental health issues throughout the show stemming from his physically abusive father, and he was eventually diagnosed as bipolar. Like his character Craig, Epstein is also a musician and singer, who, aside from his appearance on the Canadian teen show, is best known for his roles on the stage. After leaving as a regular cast member of Degrassi, Epstein attended the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal while continuing to make guest appearances on the show. After graduating, he appeared in the starring role of Melchior Gabor in the first national tour of Spring Awakening, replacing Kyle Riabko, who had previously played the role on Broadway. He also appeared in the Toronto production of Billy Elliot: The Musical as the titular character’s older brother and later joined the national tour of American Idiot. He made his Broadway debut as the alternate for the lead role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark before leaving the show to star in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, also on Broadway.
10. Aislinn Paul
As Clare Edwards, Aislinn Paul has appeared in the second most episodes out of anyone on Degrassi: The Next Generation– second only to Stefen Brogren’s Mr. Simpson. Her role evolved from just being Darcy’s (Shenae Grimes) kid sister into an incredibly important grounding star for the series, and audiences were able to watch as she battled through a miscarriage, cancer, and sexual harassment by her boss. Paul won two Canadian Screen Awards for her performance and was nominated for best supporting young actress at the Young Artists Awards in 2010. S
ince leaving Degrassi, Paul has appeared on Reign, Rick and Morty, and Haven. Her most notable role was the recurring part of Phoebe Frady for ten episodes of Heroes Reborn. She also appeared in the six episode prequel that aired on the NBC app, Heroes Reborn: Dark Matters, with one episode focused on her character. Paul is an avid social media user and has nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter and almost 75,000 on Instagram.
9. Stacey Farber
Like her character Ellie, Farber appears to have a passion for writing, After leaving the show, she went to the Eugene Lane College at The New School in New York City, where she had an internship at Teen Vogue and published numerous posts on their blog. Since playing the Degrassi’s resident goth for seasons two through seven of the Canadian series, Farber has also appeared in guest roles on Flashpoint, Rookie Blue, and Satisfaction. She had a starring role on 18 to Life, which ran for two seasons on CBC in Canada and The CW in the US.
She’s also had a recurring role on The CW’s Cult and has appeared in a recurring role on medical drama Saving Hope. Farber had a brush with even bigger fame as she was reportedly one of the final three girls for the lead role in Juno, although that eventually went to another Canadian actress, Ellen Page. You can keep up with updates on Farber’s life on her very active Twitter page, where she has over 30,000 followers.
8. Cassie Steele
Steele played original Degrassi favorite Manny Santos for nine seasons on the show, and during that time she became a bonafide teen star. Steele also appeared in Disney Channel’s Full-Court Miracle and My Babysitter’s a Vampire, as well as MTV’s Super Sweet 16: The Movie with pop stars Aly and AJ Michalka. After graduating from her role on Degrassi, Steele moved on to more adult roles, with a starring role on the short-lived The L.A. Complex. She also starred in two college-themed TV movies, Sorority Surrogate and The Dorm, as well as TV movie Shark Zombie, and she has guest starred on multiple episodes of Rick and Morty.
Steele, who showed off her pipes while on Degrassi, has also had a career in music, releasing two albums, How Much for Happy and Destructo Doll, and two EPs, Shifty and Patterns. You can keep up with her on her Instagram, joining her nearly 175,000 followers.
7. Charlotte Arnold
Charlotte Arnold played Holly J. Sinclair, student council president, Power Squad captain, and future Yale University student. Holly J was a mean girl turned good who is an inspiration for overachievers everywhere. Her role earned her a Canadian Screen Award nomination for best performance in a children’s or youth series in 2013. Arnold’s most famous non-Degrassi role came before her appearance on the series, with the teen landing the title role on Naturally, Sadie. The Canadian series ran for three seasons on Family Channel in Canada and Disney Channel in the USA. Arnold also notably starred in 2000 TV movie Custody of the Heart, a role which earned her a Young Artist Award nomination.
Most recently, she appeared on an episode of The CW’s Beauty and the Beast and starred in the fire fighter-centric TV movie Deadly Inferno. Arnold is active on Instagram and Twitter, and, according to her social media pages, she is currently working as an editorial assistant at the CBC News Network.
6. Melissa DiMarco
DiMarco played Degrassi Principal Daphne Hatzilakos for eight seasons and two movies for the teen show, but the actress has quite a lot of other credits under her belt as well. DiMarco started her career by making appearances on a number of Canadian television series, including Riverdale, Due South, and The Hardy Boys before landing her role on Degrassi. While starring on the teen show, she also appeared in films like Danny DeVito’s Death to Smoochy, Duct Tape Forever, and Hustle.
She is best known for her OUTtv show Out There with Melissa DiMarco, a scripted comedy documenting DiMarco’s crazy life as an entertainment journalist. The show features celebrity interviews with the likes of Brad Pitt, Ludacris, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Cameron Diaz, George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan, and more. DiMarco has also taken on directing duties for episodes of the series, and she hosts a OMNI.1 five-minute informational show in Toronto called Nite Life.
5. Landon Liboiron
Landon Liboiron’s rich boy Declan was only a fixture at Degrassi High for two seasons, but his presence on the show helped to launch him to much bigger things (and earned him a Gemini Award nomination for best performance in a children’s or youth program). After leaving the show, Liboiron clocked in some guest appearances on The CW’s Life Unexpected, before landing a series regular role on Terra Nova. The Steven Spielberg-produced show was FOX’s big budget attempt at correcting years of sci-fi wrongs, but it fell flat, with mediocre ratings and even more mediocre reviews. Liboiron landed on his feet though, earning a starring role on Netflix’s horror series Hemlock Grove, which ended in 2015 after three seasons. Liboiron has also appeared in films including The Howling: Reborn, Girl in Progress and, most recently, drama Burning Bohdi. He also has a recurring guest role on the upcoming scripted Discovery series Frontier.
4. Lauren Collins
Lauren Collins’ Paige Michalchuk was the face of Degrassi High and the face of Degrassi: The Next Generation for her eight seasons on the show, one of the series’ most recognizable characters due to her emotional character arc and constant wit, which quickly endeared her to fans. Like Paige, Collins has showed an incredible amount of ambition in her acting career, and it has paid off. While on Degrassi, Collins guest starred on Life With Derek and a number of other shows, as well as appeared in dance drama Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas and TV movie Booky Makes Her Mark. She had a role in the dramedy Charlie Bartlett and appeared in Picture This with Ashley Tisdale and fellow Degrassi star Shenae Grimes. After leaving Degrassi, she moved to the Disney Channel, starring with Tisdale again in High School Musical spin-off Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.
Collins hosted three seasons of MTV Canada’s 1 Girl 5 Gays and has more recently guest starred on multiple episodes of Comedy Central’s The Kroll Show, showing off her improv comedy skills. Nowadays, Collins is co-hosting a podcast called The Oprah and Gayle Podcast.
3. Shenae Grimes
Shenae Grimes’ Darcy Edwards was everyone’s favorite Spirit Squad member during her five seasons on the show. She chose to leave the teen series to move to another teen series that would become just as iconic as Degrassi, landing a starring role on The CW’s spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210, which was aptly titled 90210. The show, which lasted five seasons, averaged two million viewers in its first season and earned Grimes a Teen Choice Award for Female Scene Stealer in 2010.
The role catapulted Grimes to teen fame, giving her the chance to have a cameo appearance in 2011’s Scream 4 and to appear in reality television series The Hills, Punk’d, and America’s Next Top Model. She also has appeared in TV movies Picture This and True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, and has ventured into music with 2010’s “Myself and I,” which she wrote and directed the music video for. Most recently, she has appeared in a number of television films, including The Hazing Secret, Christmas Incorporated, and Newlywed and Dead.
2. Nina Dobrev
Nina Dobrev became an international star when she landed the lead role on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, with her diary entries and crying face becoming instantly recognizable to millions of people around the world. Dobrev’s character of Mia Jones was one of the series’ biggest early stars, with the young cheerleader and model pulling at the heartstrings of viewers everywhere with her struggles as a single teen parent and with her relationship with JT Yorke (RIP).
Dobrev, like her character Mia, has worked as a model in the past, but she’s best known for her acting. After Degrassi, she appeared in horror-thriller The Roommate, teen drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower and comedy Let’s Be Cops all while working on her famous CW show, playing Elena Gilbert and her doppelgangers. She most recently appeared in horror-comedy The Final Girls and is set to star in romance Crash Pad, thriller xXx: Return of Xander Cage, and horror remake Flatliners in the upcoming year.
Aubrey Graham, better known as megastar Drake, is clearly Degrassi‘s biggest success story.
The Canadian rapper started out as an actor on the teen show, playing Jimmy Brooks, a basketball star tragically injured when Rick brings a gun to school to get back at his classmates for bullying him. Drake says he left the show to focus on his music career, which seems to have worked out with him. He has accumulated 27 Grammy Award nominations, with one win, as well as two MTV Video Music Awards, three Juno Awards, six BET Awards and more. All four of his albums have gone platinum, with his most recent album, Views, breaking a number of different records and spending ten weeks on top of the Billboard 200.
In addition to his ever growing musical career, Drake has also continued acting in small roles, making cameo appearances in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Think Like A Man Too. He has also hosted two episodes of Saturday Night Live. Drake still remembers his roots, though, reuniting with some of his fellow Degrassi cast mates in 2015 and basically making every fan cry.