C: Wow, so can you believe it’s been 17 years since the first season of Degrassi TNG aired? What are some of your favorite off camera memories from set?
S: No, I can’t believe it! Someone told me recently that the cast of Degrassi: Next Class weren’t even born when we started. Way to make me feel ancient!
I think my favorite memories were from our big ensemble episodes like prom with Natasha Bedingfield. It was those few times when the entire cast was on set and we’d all be giddy off being together, staying up late, and probably eating too much candy from craft services.
C: I used to love those epic sleepover parties we all used to have together, and cruising around the city when we all slowly started getting our licenses. At the time I really thought we were such grown ups haha!
The whole world of social media has completely changed since we were teens doing the show. What are your thoughts on how the cast now is influenced by social media and everything that follows along with it?
S: To be honest, I’m kind of happy social media wasn’t much of a thing when we were on the show. It can be hard enough to grow up and live your most awkward, puberty years on television without having to live in public with constant commentary. That said, it’s amazing to see the community that has built around Degrassi. I am constantly in awe of the support I receive from my followers every day – you know how to make a girl feel special! So many awesome throwback photos and inspiring DMs, I read them all! I guess it’s really just about awareness of how social media can affect you IRL – remembering what’s truly important beyond followers, likes and comments, and protecting your privacy and sense of self that doesn’t belong or isn’t influenced by an audience.
S: So people always ask what we’ve been up to since the show. How’s life treated you? What are you most proud of?
C: Well as soon as I finished the show I transitioned into the fashion world pretty naturally. Fashion and style is definitely a huge passion of mine. I’ve been modelling ever since, lived in NYC for a few years, and now I’m back in Toronto. I’m 30 now, have a 5 year old son, I travel often, and I am doing what I love everyday. I feel like all of those are pretty great accomplishments. Life is great.
What about you?
S: That’s awesome. It was such a joy to reconnect with you and see you’ve blossomed as a mother and so much more! I left the show to go to university since academics are a big part of who I am. I graduated as Valedictorian, speaking in front of my professors, my peers and my mom, who never got a chance to go to university, so that was really special. Since then, I’ve been working in marketing for 10 years, helping to build and grow brands worldwide. And in 2016, I decided to pursue my passion for dance music and start DJing as me time.
I know you have been obsessed with Hayley Elsaesser for a long time. How did that all start?
C: I fell in love with Hayley’s clothing the moment I put it on. I walked for her at Fashion Week and up until this day it’s still one of my favorite moments of my career. It’s like a fantasy world of colors and prints…it really pushes you to have fun and not care what anyone thinks and never take fashion or yourself too seriously. I would have never picked up a pair of bright pink overalls with a cherry print but I instantly feel happy and have this sense of freedom wearing her cloths. If I could translate one thing to some of my followers and even to myself is to always be true to yourself. Something I think both our Degrassi characters dealt with, as well as in our real lives, don’t you agree? I thought collaborating with Hayley was so perfect for this shoot.
S: Yeah! I’d walked past her store on Queen St many times and always drooled at the window display. Her clothes are so unique and yet, they have this universal appeal. Most of us spend our lives in shades of black, so I think we can all identify with this desire to not take life so seriously and express ourselves in technicolor! I love a good pattern and I usually find them hunting through thrift stores – Hayley is a breath of fresh air in an industry that takes itself way too seriously. And I love what she stands for – representing all folks in and through her designs.
C: What are some projects you’re working on now?
S: Right now, I continue to work as a marketing consultant and freelance project manager by day. By night, I’m bringing me time from the couch to the club to promote self-love, inclusivity and safe spaces in dance music culture. I also have a couple other secret projects on the go, including some exciting collabs, that I can’t wait to release into the world – so stay tuned! How about you??
C: Modeling and working with new clients is always ongoing project of mine. A big project for 2018 is finally launching my Blog and YouTube Channel “Christina Loves This City” which is all about happiness, travel, and feel good everything!
Toronto based actresses Christina Schmidt and Sarah Barrable-Tishauer have come a long way since starring in Degrassi: The Next Generation. The now international modeling + DJ duo have teamed up with brilliant designer Hayley Elsaesser to create a bold fashion story and catch up in a conversation where they wax nostalgic about the trajectory of their careers, reflect upon the evolution of social media, and discuss transitioning into the fashion world.