Degrassi was one of those cult classics, much like Beverly Hills 90210, or even Happy Days, that holds a special place in everyone’s heart. But unlike those other shows, Degrassi seemed more realistic. When our favorite characters weren’t battling drugs and homosexuality, they were dealing with racism, divorce and getting knocked up.
Angelique Picanco: Canadians and Americans know you best from the teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation. You played an angsty teen named Liberty. Can you explain to us how you got the role and what it was like working on such an iconic TV Show.
Sarah Barrable-Tishauer: I started acting when I was 11 years old after my grandma saw an ad in the newspaper for the Lion King stage production. I ended up getting the part and playing Young Nala for a year in Toronto.
From there I got an agent and booked the next two jobs I auditioned for – a TV movie directed by the late Gregory Hines and Degrassi. Being on Degrassi has been an incredible ride – I’ve met so many inspirational people who have been touched by Degrassi’s courage to show what needs to be shown.
AP: The original version of Degrassi was very meaningful to older generations, how did you approach preparing for your character while still holding true to the original series?
SBT: Degrassi has been a Canadian institution for over 25 years. Creating a sequel series is a difficult balance of nostalgia and originality. Our producers straddled the two perfectly, staying true to their values of hiring real kids to tell real stories – not glamorizing or sugar-coating the issues like most Hollywood shows. It’s an all-Canadian show reflecting all-Canadian values and I think our viewers appreciate us for telling it how it really is.
AP: You’ve worked alongside Nina Dobrev, Shanae Grimes, and Drake. Dobrev went on to star in the oh-so sexy Vampire Diaries, Shanae is on another well-known show, 90210, and well… Drake… is Drake. You yourself have a place in teen’s hearts. Can you tell us in your opinion why Canada breeds such awesomeness?
SBT: In the shadow of the entertainment machine to the south, we [Canada] have been able to carve out a unique style that isn’t based on fitting into stereotype cookie-cutter molds. As a visible minority, I’m proud that Canada is open to hiring people of all backgrounds. I truly believe Canada’s biggest and most valuable export is artistic talent and we are proving again and again that we may be small, but our entertainment industry is a force to be reckoned with.
AP: There is a stereotype that many actors and actresses in Hollywood skip education. Recently, some actors have gone back to school, much like youself. Talk to us about why you decided to do this and how you think it will shape your future.
SBT: I’ve always been very realistic about the acting business. Besides the fact that I love being a student, I understand that work will not always come when you want it and when actresses reach a certain age, their work drops significantly. There are so many things I want to accomplish and I know that without education to fall back on, it would be impossible to achieve my goals. Right now, I’m studying Communications and Computation Arts and hope to start my own Graphic Design/Branding/Social Media company when I graduate.
AP: Do you plan to continue acting when you graduate? Or are you taking your life in a new direction?
SBT: I know my passion for acting and for digital media can be combined into a profession that I love – I’m not sure what shape it’ll take but I’m excited for what the future has in store for me and the impact I can make on the world around me. I’ve been a social activist all my life, so I know that is something I will continue to dedicate my energy to. Just this past August, I traveled to India for a month with a group of youth under 17 to build a school through the non-profit Free the Children – I feel like we’re sowing the seeds for a better future.
AP: It’s time for Bitchin’ Lifestyle’s Fire Round. First Answer that pops in your head… go!
Favorite food: Roast salmon with sweet potato fries.
Favorite actress/actor: Kathy Bates/ Edward Norton.
Favorite resto: Qing Hua Dumplings, Downtown Montreal.
Favorite movie: Office Space, Oldboy, Funny Face.
What you’re listening to right now: The phenomenal new releases by my two favorite bands Caribou and Bonobo.
Something people don’t know about you: I LOVE to cook, I’ve been the personal chef for my parents since I was 15.
Photography by Stephan Jahanshahi
Makeup by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer
Styling by Sarah Alison Barchichat
Photo Editing by Carly Fridhandler