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Adam, Degrassi's female-to-male transgender student, is played by Jordan Todosey, who's a girl in real life -- that's her in her lady gear in the pic! I caught up with her on-set and we talked about the challenges of her role, and life in general.
So, how do you get into guy mode? How do you psych up to be Adam?
Well, I obviously get changed, and they style my hair and take off any existing make-up on my face -- it's kind of like a whole rundown that happens. And then, I just get on the guy swag you know? Just get into his mindset.
Did you spend a lot of time studying how guys move? Yeah, looking at some of my guy friends and the fact that they look a girl up and down every time she walks by, and just all the silly little things that they do.
Do you have to stay in your Adam mindset the whole time you're on set or can you go in and out of it pretty easily? When the cast chills for lunch or goes off set, I do tend to turn into a bit of a girl, complimenting on girls' outfits like "Oh that skirt's so cute!" or whatever. But really, just being in the clothes keeps me in the guy thing.
So do you have to wear a full-on binder on your chest the whole time you're in wardrobe? Yeah, I'm wearing it right now... It's not the comfiest thing, I will admit. But it's there just to, well, flatten the boobs! I'm getting used to it, but I definitely wouldn't choose it over something else.
Do you consider yourself a girly girl in real life?
You know, I've always grown up hanging with the guys and stuff. So because I have a history of being such a tomboy, I can kind of incorporate some of that into Adam. But off set now... I'm kinda girly. I'll admit I love pink things.
And since you had to cut off all your hair, I'm sure it makes you want to wear more make-up.
Yeah, exactly that! With my hair shorter, I feel like I have to accent the make-up and the heels and stuff more so.
So, like a lot of the audience, I'm sure you didn't know much about what it means to be transgender before you saw these scripts, right? No. I was vaguely aware, but I didn't know too much about it. But I did some research. And the writers did most of the research, so it's good to be able to trust them.
What are the top one or two things you've learned about transgender people since playing Adam? You know, they're like anybody else. They're regular people who just feel in the head like they're a guy or a girl and they were just born in the wrong body. And they're awesome people to hang with from what I hear! I like Adam... I mean, he's great, right?
Totally! I'd be friends with him!
So would I!
Were you scared at all to take on this role?
Of course, joining a pre-established cast was a bit intimidating, and having such an important role to portray was also really intimidating. But I just go out there and do what I can, and hopefully I portray Adam with authenticity.
What are your favorite movies and music and books?
Right now I'm reading Annabelle, and music-wise I'm really enjoying Ex Ex and Keys N Krates lately.
I love the relationship between Adam and Drew and the way Drew is such a supportive brother. What's your family like? I actually have a younger brother who's 10 years old now, and although he can be a pain in the butt sometimes, I love him to death and he's really sweet. He makes people laugh all the time, he's definitely a jokester. My family's really tight -- yes, we get in each other's way a bit but at the end of the day we all love each other.
First of all, you must get this a lot but... your name is amazing. Are you named after the Dolly Parton song?
No, I don't know why my mom picked it! And actually she picked it as we were trying to leave [the hospital when I was born], 'cause she had to make a decision. I think it was a friend of hers growing up? They were trying to fill out the birth certificate and she hadn't picked a name.
Piper's kind of my favorite... do you love playing her?
She's kind of awesome. Because she does a lot of things I would like to do in real life, but I just hide behind my character and do it that way. That first day when we had to shoot the paparazzi-flashing scene -- I'm kind of a timid, shy person in real life, so it was kind of cool to just step out of that and just... let it all out there!
Wait that was your first day on set, and you had to film that scene?
That was my first day on set. Yeah. And we had to take still photos, so literally the first day I even met the cast, the first day of everything, we had to take still photos of that. And then the first day of shooting, we shot that scene. Yeah, they really wanted to make sure I was ready for all of it.
OK, so, I read that your beagle can sing.
Yes! One day I was rehearsing a song and she sat right in front of me and started to sing. And any time I held out a note, she would hold out a note with me. So now if I go up to her and I hit a certain note she'll know exactly what I'm doing and she'll tilt her head back and howl along too. And if I hit a note and then kind of slide up the note higher, she'll go up higher, and if I go lower she'll go lower.
Can I ask some Donnie Darko questions? Did you have an insane crush on Jake Gyllenhaal when you did that?
You know, I had no idea who he was! He had done October Sky and Bubble Boy and people were starting to know who he is, but I had no idea. Donnie Darko was my first audition for TV, film, everything. And the second day that I was on set, I was shooting the locker scene with him, where he has to be in my face with his beautiful blue eyes, and it was really really scary. But it was fun.
How do you feel about Chut Up being such a catchphrase?
Everyone on set would be saying it all the time. Actually I gave wrap gifts to everyone when we wrapped -- I made a shirt that said Chut Up. And when we went to the directors' re-release, Jake's dad was wearing it.
Four big ol' pics of the boy you (and Clare) love to love. Happy fall finale night -- Degrassi's at 9p et, and there's a full hour of Gigantic starting at 9:30p et!
Some tweeterers were asking for us to put this commercial online -- the one where Aislinn's holding an umbrella and it's a mish-mosh-morph of pictures of our beautiful wonderful TeenNick stars. Found it!
Regardless of how mixed your feelings about Drew are... we suspect your feelings about these Luke Bilyk pics will be much less complicated.
So, I know you just saw that photo shoot interview last week, but as it happens, I caught up with Annie on her almost-last day on set for Season 10 and we got to have a nice leisurely chat:
So at the end of a season, does it feel sort of like summer vacation now?
Yeah! Despite the fact that it's freezing here. But yeah, it's definitely weird, everyone's saying bye. And it's like cleaning out our lockers -- we're getting our various things from wardrobe. And the things we've left in our dressing rooms this whole season, we finally have to take home -- I keep leaving this travel mug of tea here and not wanting to deal with it and now I finally have to bring it home. But we'll be back in a few months.
I read on the twitters that you just graduated high school! Congratulations!
Yes, I just went to my commencement ceremony; it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. And it was nice that Epitome gave me the whole day off, too, so I could go see my old high school friends and everything.
Why is your high school commencement in October?
The universities here do their commencements in the fall, so I think my school is just trying to be more collegiate? It's always been a tradition. Which is nice, because it's kind of like our five-month reunion -- we get to see what everyone's been up to since they went off to university.
So it was a normal graduation -- you got to wear a cap and gown and everything.
I did, and I threw it up in the air... it was such a classic, TV graduation.! And then I get to graduate on Degrassi too so I can have a real TV graduation!
Since Fiona has one of the best wardrobes on Degrassi, was moving over to the uniforms difficult for you?
You know what, it was, but Fiona jazzes up the uniforms. With headbands, and -- everyone always complains because Fiona's skirt is the only one that's soo much shorter than the other girls'. And she's bending the rules a bit -- everyone has these black flats and Fiona's have these little heels attached. She's trying to add her own flair to it. But for me as an actor, I actually love the uniforms because, as I'm sure people notice, Fiona has so many "things"! She has so many accessories; it gets exhausting to take on and off sometimes. So with the uniform I only have to change like, my pants or my skirt.
I also saw on the twitters that you actually sit down and watch Degrassi on Friday nights, right?
Yeah, out of the cast I'm the one who's the biggest Degrassi fan. I've seen every one multiple times, of all the seasons. I love to see how they turn out -- because we only read through them once in the readthroughs and I don't read them again after that. And even though it's hard watching myself, I love it.
Do you have certain people you want to watch with, or like rules about whether you can talk during the show?
I definitely don't want interruptions, and everyone has to sing along with the theme song with me. My parents are obsessed with it, too; they'll watch it even when I'm not there. Even if I'm not in the episode, they DVR it and watch it together. But as for who I watch with, I'm not picky, the more the merrier.
So, it's been so long since we talked, and so much has happened. I mean... going back to Fiona and Bobby... what was it like to film the violent scenes? Did you do any stunts?
We had a stunt double for the stairs scene, because I mean... pretty brutal. But I did have to get into the position she landed in, and then flip out of it, but also be crying like I had just been thrown down the stairs. Those episodes were actually my favorite to shoot; those four were the most amazing experience. And Ben Lewis, who played Bobby is the nicest guy I've ever met. I can't believe what a great actor he is because when I watch those episodes I'm like, "You're terrible!" Such a great guy. But I was excited about being in those episodes because, me being a Degrassi fan, it was great to get to tackle one of the main teen issues.
How do you feel about Finn's wardrobe?
That's one thing about Finn's character that I love, is that he's not shy about his clothes. His fashion sense is like -- he's all in his own world. Whatever he sees that catches his eye he'll go get it and wear it. And he can pull it off! I couldn't go out in half of the things he wears.
Could you pull off the red plaid windbreaker in real life?
Oh yeah, I could pull off the windbreaker! That's the one thing I had to make sure to take home, 'cause I really like that windbreaker. That's in my closet right now!
So, when Walt was at that party and was trying to neg on girls... please tell me that that doesn't actually happen as much as I worry that it happens.
(Laughs) No, that doesn't happen that much. That was such a fun thing to shoot, Tony and I were dying the whole time. 'Cause Finn was just crashing and burning talking to those girls.
I know there have got to be guys who take it seriously... do you have any guy friends who actually believe in it?
No, none of my friends believe that negging works. But when we were shooting it, the writer Marti Noxon gave me a negging book, and it's some funny stuff in there! People really take that stuff serious!
While Finn is not awesome at talking to girls yet... when you were his age, were you any good at it?
No, I was pretty much almost the same. Trying to figure out where to start the conversation or what to talk about. That awkward stage. I know all males, when they go back to like 16, 17 -- they're gonna remember that. They're gonna know how that feels. I remember that phase.
What's your dream role?
Hmm. I really want to do an action movie. That's been in the back of my head for a minute now.
Would you want to do your own stunts?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah ,I love doing my own stunts. 'Cause I might get to do something I would never be able to do again -- just to say that I'd done it! I wouldn't do the extreme things, I'd let the pros do what they're supposed to do. But I like it; one time when we were doing LOST I was supposed to be getting carried from one boat to another. And I was scared, 'cause we were way deep in the ocean, but it was fun.
So, when you were on LOST, did they send you to like, media training boot camp with cattle prods? Because it seems like every interview you did, people were trying to get you to tell secrets.
Almost every interview, I swear! But I held my ground. I didn't go through any boot camp or anything; I just kept it real under wraps.
OK, I hope you're not sick of talking about this, but there's so much online about how you had a growth spurt while you were on LOST. And like... as a teen guy, I'm sure you were psyched that you were growing, like "Yes, I'm getting taller!" But as an actor... was there any weird pressure or did you ever just feel bad that you were growing?
I mean, especially being young... I really didn't know what was going on. You know, my character's being kidnapped and I didn't really know the whole reason behind everything. And I was hearing different stuff, like it was my growth spurt, and my voice -- which I understand. But just at the time, it was like, "I hope I wasn't doing anything wrong." I definitely get it now, but at the time... no one ever wants to leave a show like that. I wasn't mad, but I was definitely kind of sad that I left. But hey, it also led me to Gigantic!
Behold! The first scene of the last episode this fall... and Jenna's pregnancy has given her magical powers of mind-reading! Orrr it's made her a little cray-cray.
Click here to watch! (Sorry, something went weird with the embedded player. I know clicking is a lot of work, but I believe in you!)
- Posted on 11/17/2010 by Mary
On top of playing Nicest Dude On Degrassi right now... maybe he deserves the Nicest Eyes title, too? Best Skinny Jeans Wearer? Here's yr pics, load up.
- Posted on 11/17/2010 by Mary
Has your experience been anything like Maggie's? Do you relate to her struggle to make it in Hollywood?
Definitely. I've been doing the acting thing since I was 10; I'm 19 now. It's definitely tough. And Maggie has this need to do it. Which made it easy to play her, because I have this love for the acting business and could never imagine myself doing anything else. And when you love something so much, it pulls you through. Even though it's hard sometimes because there's so much rejection that goes along with it. There's more rejection than success.
Yeah, and when you're at such a tender age and you're so sensitive -- did your parents try to protect you from the pain of that rejection and have to give you pep talks?
Yeah, there would be times when I would come home crying because a casting director was just flat out like, "I don't like you." And I'd let it get to me for a while. It's disheartening... there are the few that want to help and the few that just don't care and don't take into account what you're feeling. And we'd be driving home and my mom would say, "That's just some people. You can't let that determine how the rest of your acting career is going to go." My parents have definitely been those people who are constantly pepping me up. Same with my brother.
I read in your bio that your whole family moved out to LA with you so you could act.
Yes! I lived in Atlanta, GA -- well, a small town outside of it, no one ever knows what Cumming, GA is. And I made a deal with my family that said, if I book the lead in a movie by the time I'm 11, then we have to move out to California. It was a joke that I had with my parents, "I'm gonna book something before my birthday!" And I booked The Adventures of Ociee Nash two weeks after my birthday and I remember going, "Well, it still counts!"
It took us a little while, but it was my 13th birthday when we crossed the border into California. Me and my twin brother and my sister and my mom and dad. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies with our dog and our lizards and everything we owned in our van. It was an amazing spontaneous thing that my family did with me.
How did your brother and sister feel about this deal?
I mean, it was just a joke! And then when I did book something I was like, "Well, actually... this could work." My sister was all for it, my brother not so much at first. But now he's a surfer and a musician and he loves California.
So, do you think it would bother you if paparazzi showed up and accosted you somewhere or would you find it kind of exciting?
I think I would find it kind of exciting -- at first. I'm sure it gets old. But I think it would be interesting -- you never get lonely! You always have company, which would be nice if you ever need an extra quarter in the meter.
Yeah, "Does anyone have a band-aid?"