Q&A: 'Degrassi:TNG's' Nina Dobrev Talks Mia
Posted: 01/07/08 2:01PM
By Chris Jancelewicz
Nina Dobrev returns for the seventh season of 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' as Mia, the high school's resident teenaged mom. Mia's boyfriend was killed at the end of season six, and now she's back at Degrassi to face a series of new hurdles. AOL sat down with 19-year-old Dobrev to talk about life at Degrassi, and what it's like to play Mia.
What's it like to be a part of the Degrassi legacy?
It's cool. It's changed my life a lot, in many different ways. I came into it really new to the business, didn't really know much. I learned everything on set here, made some really good friends. Everyone's really positive - I love it.
Have you watched the old 'Degrassi'?
I'll be honest, I didn't watch it, no. I wasn't part of that generation. I know the concept, I've seen a couple of episodes now, being on the show. We have a library of all the episodes, past and new.
Spike was the teen mom back in the day, and now you're the teen mom. Times have changed!
Yeah, I'm the new Spike in some ways. It's definitely a challenge, but it's really cool, I've never done this before.
It really shows the difference a few decades can make. Spike was almost kicked out of school for being pregnant.
I know that it was a really big ordeal, in terms of even airing the episodes. It was a big controversy. But the thing is, whether people deny it or not, it's something that happens. Kids my age do get pregnant, even girls younger than me. Well, Mia got pregnant at 13, and had the baby at 14 - and that's really early.
Lots of people try to hide it, like Danielle on 'Desperate Housewives.' She gets pregnant and they try to keep it secret, like it's an embarrassment. This is one of the first times (I think) on TV where there's this girl, Mia, she has a baby, she's not ashamed of it, and she goes out there and says, "Deal with it," or "Get out of my life, because I have this baby whether you like it or not." It's showing the viewers, or anyone who's in this situation that you can get through it, there's the possibility to move on with life.
Do you see yourself as a role model for young girls?
I haven't actually met anyone who's had a child as a teen. But I've been on the internet, I've been to the chat rooms, I've read the blogs. There's quite a few pregnant teens and teen moms, and I realize that it's difficult. I hope they can see [through Mia] that there's a type of person that can stay strong and continue to have a life. It's not the end of the road.
Does that sort of thing ever blend over into your own life? Do you look to Mia for inspiration?
I'm sort of going through a tougher time in my personal life right now, in terms of acting. I love what I'm doing, and I couldn't wish for anything better, but I'm also trying to go to university, in my first year, and I'm never there. People go to university to learn how to be what they want to be in life. I'm already doing it, so I'm conflicted.
What's in store for Mia in season 7?
Up until now, we don't know who Mia's baby daddy is. He comes on the scene in this season. She has a few different love interests, actually. For one reason or another, these relationships may not work out. Basically, she deals with the trials, tribulations and hardships that come along with trying to balance a social life, a boyfriend, being active in school, having a kid. One big thing with this season is Mia is trying to reform herself.
By not making the 'teen mom' thing her defining characteristic?
Yeah, she's trying to change her image. She came to Degrassi from this school, and now the school's come to her [a fire at rival school Lakehurst sends many of its students to Degrassi]. She has a really dark and scandalous past. She's trying, but whenever she tries to do something, it seems to knock her down and it never works out. It never works out for Mia, pretty much.
Welcome to Degrassi, where nothing really works out for anybody. Does Mia try to inject herself into the female social scene?
Not really. She wants to be class president, she wants to be head cheerleader. She wants to do it all, but she can't. Even somebody without a baby can't do it.
Do you have a favourite episode? Even if you're not in it.
My first episode was pretty fun, but I was so scared it's kind of a blur. I really like Shanae's [Shanae Grimes, Darcy] performance in the internet chat room one. Also the episode - and it's horrible to say this - but the one where J.T. dies. It's not a happy episode, but it's really well done.
I read that you didn't know he was going to die.
I didn't. I thought they were writing me off. My friend Cassie [Steele] called me after a read-through, and she said "J.T. died!" At first, I thought she was joking, but then she's like, "No, no. J.T.'s dead. He's dying in the next episode." I was like, "Oh, God, is this a subtle way of writing me off Degrassi?" But then it turned out that it's all part of a grand scheme. I'm still here now, so it's all good.
'Degrassi' premieres January 14 at 7:30 pm EST on CTV