‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’: Lauren Collins (Paige) on Behind-the-Scenes Secrets and Kissing Drake

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been hard. But many celebrities, from Miley Cyrus to Ariana Grande, are busy creating interactive content via social media. Taking advantage of this situation is Lauren Collins, who starred in the beloved Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. Here’s what we learned from her recent live stream.

Lauren Collins starred in ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ as Paige Michalchuk

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Mood and a half

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Collins began her career as an actor in the late ’90s. Though she still acts, she’s remained most recognized as Paige Michalchuk from the long-running series Degrassi: The Next Generation. The show was praised for casting real preteens and teens to play high school students and depict realistic situations.

The series ran from 2001-2010, and was then rebranded as simply Degrassi after all of the original cast members left. Collins was one of the longest-tenured stars, ending her run as a part of the main cast in season 6 and recurring for the next two seasons.

What has she been up to since the show ended?

Collins has gone on to appear in such series as The Best Years, Kroll Show, and Impulse. She also got married in 2018 and had her first child, a son named Charlie, in March 2020. However, many might recall most recently seeing her in Drake’s “I’m Upset” video, which was a massive Degrassi reunion. (Drake starred on the show as Jimmy Brooks under his real name, Aubrey Graham.)

On an Instagram Live stream on March 27, 2020, Collins spoke about the experience, which she called “wild.” She also said that was the last time she saw Shane Kippel, who played her character’s love interest, Spinner. “I love him and we message each other on Instagram sometimes,” she added.

Collins did a live stream of Season 1 Episode 13 ‘Cabaret’

Collins delighted her fans by doing the live stream. The episode was likely filmed in 2001, she said, and first aired in 2002. “I don’t remember anything about it. It’s going to be like watching another person,” Collins said.

In the episode, Paige gets in the way of Terri and Ashley’s performance, teaming up with Terri to make their own group. In the end, they all decide to form a band together, calling themselves Paige Michalchuk and the Sex Kittens, or PMS for short.

Collins laughed along during the episode, saying, “I’m convinced the writers in season 1 were on shrooms.” She also teased her own character’s wardrobe, saying, “Everything that Paige wore in these early scenes looks highly flammable.”

On her co-stars

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#tbt Because #PMS is alive and well within me today

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As their characters were the A storyline of the episode, most of the time was spent focused on Collins, Melissa McIntyre (Ashley) and Christina Schmit (Terri). Collins called Chrissy “the prettiest person in the world.” She also remarked on McIntyre’s character. “I know Paige was a bitch, but Ashley was kind of a buzzkill,” she laughed.

Collins also recalled a memory from this time, when she was about 13 or 14 years old. “I think it was around filming this episode that we had a slumber party. I’m pretty sure we got like really drunk on Mike’s Hard Lemonade.” She was also excited that they were in the freeze frame the episode ended on, which was apparently a coveted commodity among the young cast members.

Collins on Drake

Drake (3rd from L) poses with “Degrassi” co-stars Daniel Clark, Adamo Ruggiero and Lauren Collins | George Pimentel/WireImage

Like Collins, much of the rest of the cast has continued to act in the years since it ended. But far and away the most famous is Drake. According to Collins, she did a chemistry read with him at her audition (she read for both the role she got and for Ashley, who dates Jimmy).

She spoke about him again when her performance scene came on. “I actually remember filming this. We were in a fight, Aubrey and I, when we were filming this.” Collins didn’t elaborate on what the argument was about, but did note how annoyed he looked in the scene, saying, “They [the writers] would take aspects of our personalities and imbue them into the characters.”