From BEVERLY HILLS 90210′s Brandon or Dylan to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ Stefan or Damon, television has a penchant for sticking its small screen heroines between a [really good looking] rock and an [equally good looking] hard place. Which is precisely where Clare Edwards can be found during the sizzling summer season of DEGRASSI. But just who is her portrayer, Aislinn Paul, hoping her character chooses in the continued struggle to separate her feelings for her first love [Eli] and her potential next one [Jake]? We recently had the chance to catch up with the well-spoken and self-professed tumblr-addict on the set of DEGRASSI to find out just that. See for yourself, after the jump.
How surprised have you been with the fandom’s reaction to Clare and Eli’s relationship?
Aislinn Paul: I was incredibly surprised but I was also so pleased. Both Munro [Eli] and myself really felt strongly about “eClare” at the beginning when it was still happy and sweet. We really thought it was something beautiful that had sort of come to be and I always appreciated how much people liked it. It made us happier to come to work and portray it.
Do you pay attention to what the fans are saying online?
I’m very very guilty of tumblr-stalking myself, I’m very guilty of it, I will admit it! But it’s really just because I want to see a moving gif of myself so that I can use it as a reaction. They’re awesome and I do like seeing what people write. But I find that I have to stop myself from getting obsessed, because I will. I’m a perfectionist and as a member of this business I’ve always been someone who wants everybody to like them and I’ve learned slowly that that’s not possible. Art is just a medium where no one will agree, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like you and that’s something I have to get over and I’m starting to get over.
For those firmly planted on Team “eClare,” is there any reason for optimism this season?
Well, that really depends on where you stood on the breakup. Yes, there are a lot of fans of “eClare,” but there are also some people who can recognize how unhealthy Clare and Eli’s relationship was at the end. And so depending on where you stand with that I think you may be happy with the way things turn out. Plus, even though Clare and Eli aren’t together anymore, there is still a lot of interaction between the two of them because they think that it’s important to be in contact with one another as they try to figure out what’s going on with their own selves. It plays out interestingly.
Aside from Clare’s relationship with Eli, what are some of the other issues she’s going to be dealing with this season?
She’s dealing with a lot, mainly dealing with herself. She’s just trying to get over the whole break up with Eli because it was an intense relationship for her. In terms of the new characters, she meets all of them, but mainly Jake [Click here for our exclusive interview with Justin Kelly] is who she is in most scenes with. As you’ve seen from the previews there is a little “Cake” action, a little more dessert in my life. But it’s been really fun, because Justin [Jake] and I have been having a great time on set together and we’ve noticed our favorite part of “Cake” is the fact that we laugh together in the scenes. Yes, Munro [Eli] and I laughed together all the time but in the scenes it’s always a very dramatic, intense and a draining relationship on the show. But with Justin we’ve notice that the characters really laugh together and have a lightness in their relationship which is a really nice change for Clare.
Putting on your writer’s cap for a moment, where would you like to see Clare go this year?
As much as I love working with Justin and Munro I think I would like to see Clare just a little bit less boy crazy. In season 8 one of her first lines is “I’m glad I came to school to learn and not for boys,” and what a liar she’s become! Recently she’s gotten very absorbed with relationships and what I’d like to see is for her to take a step back and learn about her self more. Because she’s trying to do that but then getting distracted by the relationship factor and getting really sucked into that and I just want her to continue growing up, learning who she is, get confident and move on independently.
The summer season of DEGRASSI airs Monday thru Thursdays at 9PM on TeenNick (MuchMusic in Canada) Catch up on past episodes for free at clicktowatch.tv