It’s been almost 30 years since DEGRASSI HIGH first hit our TV screens and since then, the show has evolved, moving with the times and has included story lines that has addressed the social, emotional and educational issues endured by every kid who ever went through high school. Commonsensemedia.com states: this Canadian series tackles big issues like sex, teen pregnancy, sexual identity, drug use, school violence, hate crimes, and mental disorders in a frank, thoughtful way. It presents these subjects as everyday factors in teens’ lives and explores their repercussions through the students’ eyes. This uncensored honesty gives the show credibility beyond that of many of the soapier series available to teens, but at the same time, it creates a classic know-your-kid situation for parents. Some episodes have a far heavier tone than others do, and the amount and type of controversial material varies widely from story to story, so previewing each episode is your best bet. Ultimately, though, this series manages a moral tone without coming off as preachy, which goes a long way in maintaining teens’ interest and earns it a spot among the best, most responsible series out there for teens. The content is edgy but both relevant and appropriate for the target audience.
The latest 21st century incarnation of the show, DEGRASSI, features a talented cast of young actors, one of whom is SARAH FISHER, and I’m please to share this interview I recently undertook with this multi-talented young lady who plays “Becky Baker”.
How old were you when you first performed in front of an audience?
I was twelve when I did my first singing performance. It was actually at my babysitter’s wedding in front of about two hundred and fifty people. I’m surprised she trusted me to be the flower girl as well considering all I put her through (laughs).
Once you realized how much you enjoyed performing, did you want to focus on singing or acting?
Acting actually came as quite a surprise for me, so music was always the focus. I have two vocal coaches: Kim Briggs, who focuses on classical training and Elaine Overholt, who works with me on my pop sound. They are both incredible teachers and I’m very lucky to have them both work so closely with me. Lately I’ve also focused on acting, too. I go to Armstrong Acting Studio in Toronto, and they have taken great care of me and they have helped me grow as an actress. They have incredible teachers and I would recommend the school to anyone interested in going into the business.
How did your parents react when they learnt that you wanted a career in showbiz?
Words cannot express how incredible my parents are. They have believed in me more than anyone, they have always supported me and let me be who I have always been, an artist. I could not have done it without them, and I really mean that. They are the reason I am so happy every day because I get to do what I love to do and have them with me every step of the way. I love my parents so much.
Do you play any instruments, and if so which ones?
I play piano, it took a while because of scales, but I’ve really fallen in love with the instrument. I played flute in grade 8 and got way too light headed to continue, then I played drums in grade 12.
You took classical voice training, yes? Tell us about your choice to focus on pop music for now?
I have been trained classically since I started voice lessons at the age of 11. I have been exploring my pop sound because I wanted to feel more comfortable singing pop songs and I never wanted to strain my voice. I wanted to be able to sing pop songs in a way that’s healthy for me while adding my classical sound to it as well. Plus the music I write has a pop sound to it.
Do you maintain a vocal training regime or classes?
I have classical training once a week and pop training every other week. I think it is so important to always continue working on your craft (I know that sounds cheesy) but I believe everyone should always continue growing and learning.
Apart from Degrassi, have we seen you in any other TV shows or films?
You will see me shortly (I believe) in a film called Lost After Dark. I had so much fun! Even though in one of my scenes before we were shooting, I was in a patch of long grass and couldn’t see my feet, and I felt something bite me. So I tried to tough it out and be professional but I’ve never run faster in my entire life…I was standing in a wasp nest!
How do you relate to “Becky” and what parts of Sarah do you bring to the role?
I think one of the main things I’m always asked is, “how are you so happy all the time?” (laughs). Becky is known on the show as ‘little miss sunshine’ and I can definitely say the smiles are all real. I love what I do and I am so thankful for that. I wouldn’t say I’m as stubborn as Becky, but because that’s not reality for me, it’s really fun to play.
How many more seasons do you see Becky being on Degrassi – when does she graduate?
I’m not sure! I wish the actors knew first but we don’t – she is technically in grade 12 this year, Season 14, but I would definitely not be upset if she failed school and stayed another year (grins).
You are currently recording some great pop singles and filming a music video – can you share anything about those or are they all super secret right now?
They are SUPER SECRET! But I will say the studio is one of my favourite places to be, I really could live there. Making music is such an amazing experience and I can’t WAIT to share it with you guys!
Anything you’d like to share with your fans?
You guys are so incredible! You are always so sweet and supportive and I love talking with you guys and getting to know you all. I respond to as many emails, tweets, Facebook posts as I can and I really appreciate all of your support. You guys are all fantastic – follow your dreams, I really mean that because every single one of you is special and brilliant and creative!
Sarah is the national spokesperson for the KIDS HELP PHONE and frequently participates in fundraising events for kids and teen-focused charities and causes – she will be appearing at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday July 20th for YOUTH DAY.
If you’d like to meet Sarah, she will be making a special personal appearance at the TORONTO HORSE DAY on Saturday June 7th, down at Toronto’s Exhibition Place (at the Horse Palace). She’s be there between 11am and 1:30pm and at approx. 1:15pm she’ll be leading the kids in a “stick pony” parade in the main ring. Should be fun and if you love horses, like Sarah, this is the place to be. And it’s FREE!
Follow Sarah at: Facebook.com/Sarah-Fisher or @SarahFisher28