DEGRASSI’s Stacey Farber Grows Up

Stacey Farber and Michael Seater

As any fan of DEGRASSI will tell you, Ellie Nash didn’t have an easy time of it. During her time walking the hallowed halls of Canada’s most infamous high school, Ellie dealt with an alcoholic mother, her own proclivity for cutting and one failed relationship after another. Perhaps wisely, Ellie never actually walked down the aisle… although tonight, her portrayer, Stacey Farber, will take that gigantic step thanks to her new role in the CBC sitcom 18 TO LIFE.

This time around, Farber is playing Jessie Hill, who throws her tree-hugging folks into a tizzy by deciding that at 18, she’s more-than-ready to wed her longtime best bud/neighbor, Tom (played by LIFE WITH DERK’s Michael Seater). And despite her character’s age, Farber wants people to know this “is a comedy for adults, not a kid’s show!” And don’t expect to see endless “should-they-or-shouldn’t-they” discussions about the nuptials. “We get married in the first episode,” she previews.

Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

“It’s a very different kind of show,” Farber admits of the inevitable comparisons that will be drawn between Ellie and Jessie. “My parents on the show are very laid back, while Tom’s parents are very conservative Jews. Neighbors argue, families clash, but in the end, everyone is forced to become one family against their will because of our marriage.” 

Certainly Faber knows a thing or two about how decisions made at a young age can impact the rest of your life. Now 22-years-old, she says it was almost impossible to imagine how much Ellie — a role she took on at 14 — would shape not only her own life, but that of many others.

“I had no idea! I still get such an incredible response to it all,” she says of the phenomenon that is DEGRASSI. “I signed up for twitter like three days ago  — Yes, I know, I’m way behind the times! —  and already people are finding out it is me, adding me, and sending messages that they love my character.” 

So what is it about DEGRASSI that turns not only teens but Hollywood execs into fans, as proven by their decision to turn former faux students Shenae Grimes (90210) and Nina Dobrev (THE VAMPIRE DIARIES) into CW sensations? “I don’t know!” says Farber with a laugh. “DEGRASSI didn’t feed us anything in particular or give us water to drink that turned people into celebrities!” But the answer, she believes, might have something to do with the quality of material given to the DEGRASSI actors.  “I go to auditions now and nothing compares to the stuff I had to do on that show. Really heavy, emotional and challenging material which they would just throw at us and we would figure it out as we went along. DEGRASSI was the ultimate boot camp.”

18 TO LIFE premieres Monday January 4 on CBC at 8PM (est).