Degrassi's Melinda Shankar (Alli Bhandari) and Sam Earle (K.C. Guthrie) stopped by J-14 offices to talk all about the upcoming 9th season of Degrassi, which premieres this Friday, October 9, on TeenNick! Melinda and Sam let J-14 in on a few secrets and their fave story lines, plus Melinda told us all about the crazy trauma she had to deal with at her real life school!
J-14: Can you let J-14 in on a few secrets from Degrassi's new season?
Melinda Shankar: Alli wears a lot more clothes at home then when she goes out -- she goes to the bus shuttle or bathroom every morning and takes them off. She has mini skirts, tank tops, and high heels -- I don't even know how she brings them all -- I'm impressed by this girl! So believe it or not, you see even less clothes on Alli this season. And sexting is a big part -- I never heard about it until this episode. After we had the read through and I found out that Alli is having the sexting storyline, I knew that this is an issue. [In real life,] this girl sent her boyfriend a lovely present. Then they broke up and he sent them to everyone. He got fined, but it's more then just that -- her reputation is ruined. She's never going to be the same. So I think it's important that Alli is going to get to help out other girls and tell them they're not alone.
Sam Earle: Fortunately, K.C. is not stripping down this season. He has a tough past and doesn't have any parents in his life, but he's doing very well -- he's in the gifted program and has a very smart, kind girlfriend now. In season nine, he's trying to climb up even higher and branch out, starting with the basketball team. He's really trying to grasp on to all these things to find a place in the school and find himself as a person. But this season he starts to loose control and slip, so we'll see if there's someone that can help him out with that or if he just realizes there are very few people he can depend on.
J-14: What are your favorite episodes in season nine?
Melinda: I like the storyline that Alli gets, but I can't watch because I'm in it! But K.C. has this really intense, disturbing storyline coming up. It's so crazy! He has a father figure and it's going to backfire on him. That's all I can say!
Sam: Sometimes I'll record the episode, wait a day or two, read what people are saying about it, and then go watch it. My favorite episode to film was probably that episode too.
J-14: Is there anything you hope your character will get to do in the future?
Melinda: I know that Alli's parents have found her scandalous clothes, but it wasn't really touched on. But don't you think it'd be crazy if the dad found Johnny and Alli together? She's not allowed to show her arms -- I don't know if she's allowed to have a boyfriend in grade nine, let alone someone whose not of the same cultural background. There's the whole Sav [Alli's brother] and Anya thing where Sav and Alli's parents like Anya as a person, but in the end they know he won't marry her because he's not of the same background. So if they know that their younger daughter is seeing someone, I think that could get really messy. I would love to see that.
Sam: K.C. is such a mysterious guy -- he's always hinting about his past and kind of repressing all these secrets. I would really love to see where he's coming from and get in to that background, maybe meet one of his parents.
J-14: How do you guys bond with new cast members coming in frequently?
Melinda: The season eight cast isn't necessarily as close with the seasons one to five casts because we never really got to know them as well. I remember when the new kids in the season nine cast got there, we were asked to make sure they got around alright and to make sure they were comfortable and welcome. When we have our hang outs and birthday parties and events, we all hang out and get to mingle and really get to know each other. I think we're all so close that it's hard to just pick one or two people we're close to. It's a big family.
Sam: I remember coming out of the first day and being wowed and lost and overwhelmed that when I saw the newer kids coming this year, I could totally relate. I was anxious to get to know them and hang out.
J-14: Who's your favorite cast member from before you were on Degrassi?
Melinda: Probably Cassie Steele, who played Manny. It's funny because when I first read the script, I was kind of the Manny, Version 2.0!
J-14: Have you ever had to deal with Degrassi-type issues in real life?
Melinda: Unfortunately, I only got to go to a year and a half of actual high school, but there was one thing that Alli got to do that was actually done in my real life. There was a Facebook group made about a certain person, and everyone joined it, even if you didn't hate that person. My friends and I were friends with the girl who it was made about, and we tried to get it down. We had to be the ones to tell the principal -- I know that it sounds awful that we had to be tattletales. There wasn't even a reason for the group; I guess people just didn't like her, and even if they were friends with her, they still joined the group. The girl that posted the group got suspended. There were no scandalous pictures of her, no one made death threats, but it was still bad enough that it won't be a fun story for the girl to tell her kids or anything.