Charlotte Arnold Interview: “People change…she’s grown up”

Image via MuchMusic

THE STAR SCOOP:
One of the most interesting things about your character is that Holly J was the enemy character. People really didn’t like her! You’ve really transitioned into one of the more likable characters. What are your thoughts?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
First of all, it never bothered me being the character that people liked to hate. That was kind of a welcome change actually, coming from the show that I was on before, Naturally Sadie. I was playing a character that was pretty sunny and bright and cheerful all the time. I kind of relished being that hated character for a little while.

In terms of how she’s transitioned, you’re not the same person in grade 9 that you’re going to be in grade 12. People change. I think with Holly J, she went through that really hard time with the bullying and coming to terms with the fact that people didn’t like who she was.

She’s still got the same drive and energy and spunk that she always had, but she’s found a way to channel that. Her priorities have changed. Her interests have changed. It’s not about what other people think about her. It’s about her fulfilling her own goals and being the best student she can be and setting up for her future.

She just found a more productive way of channeling her A-type personality. With maturity comes a little bit of self-awareness and realizing that you can’t go around treating people like that, because you’re going to have no friends. I’ve really enjoyed how she’s grown up.

THE STAR SCOOP:
You have one of the best love triangles going on this season that fans are really invested in. What are your thoughts on how you want to see that turn out?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
I know how it turns out! I’ll keep my mouth shut on that one. Holly J was just looking for something new. Things with Declan got intense really, really quickly and I can definitely relate to just wanting to switch things up and see what it’s like being with another person, seeing what that can bring out of you.

For whatever reason, her and Sav clicked and she’s happy with where that relationship is right now, because it’s not intense [or] overly dramatic or up until recently it hasn’t been like that. They’ve just been able to enjoy each others company.

I totally thank Jessica [Tyler] in that the Jenna character was so amazing during that block. How can you not love and sympathize with Jenna falling for Sav, because he’s such a great guy?

I can say that that was a complete blast to film with her. Especially the scene that ended with Holly J and Jenna facing off.  That scene was a bit of a return to old form for Holly J, which was really fun for me to film and go back to, okay, she’s getting territorial and this girl is all up in her face. So Holly J obviously is not going to just let that go over quietly.

Jessica and I in real life are pretty close friends so for the two of us to actually get to film some scenes together was a great time.

THE STAR SCOOP:
In terms of the Degrassi legacy, people will remember the Heather Sinclair story line. So you come in off of that, and you also have the fact that you still have the connection to some of the older, more loved characters like Spinner. Your character is really bridging all of these aspects of the show.

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
Yeah! For me, I was a fan before I was on the show. I actually auditioned way back in season 1 and again in season 4. I’ve followed the show all the way along. For me to be part of that transition year, where it was me, Anya, Riley, Sav, Jane, we all came in at the same time.

We got to be around as they sort of passed the torch a little bit onto a new generation of cast. It was so exciting to see your character’s name in print alongside people that you have grown up with, like Spinner. When our two characters became friends, I thought that was just one of the coolest things!

THE STAR SCOOP:
Do you have any favorite scenes that you’ve filmed so far?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
What always stands out in my mind was the trip to New York to film Degrassi Takes Manhattan because some of it we shot in Toronto as New York, but even that was fun to go on location. Most of it we shoot out of studio, even things that might look like they are in a different place, they find a place on our back lot and just make it look like that location.

So any time we get to take the road and either shoot in downtown Toronto or in New York City, like in Times Square is really exciting because you get that instant feedback from fans walking by!

THE STAR SCOOP:
Why did you choose to study journalism and why did you choose to continue with your school?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
I looked at my interests, which are: traveling, I love to go places and find out new things and be out of my comfort zone, I’m a very curious person by nature, like I’ll spend forever on Wikipedia just looking stuff up [laughs] and politics. When I listed all the stuff I was interested in, I just decided that journalism would be the best fit because it feels like it’s an area where I could get into a whole bunch of different careers if I were to choose so.

In a general sense, school: Through our work with Free The Children, we’ve been lucky enough to go around the world and meet kids who would literally give anything to just go to school, something that in North America we take so for granted. I think if you have that opportunity, and all of us do in the developed world, how could you not seize it? I realize that university and post-secondary isn’t really for everyone necessarily, and I don’t think you should feel pressured into doing it if your passion lies elsewhere. I think you should follow whatever dreams you have.

My mom always made it important to me to get a university degree. School can be a bit of a drag, especially when you’re younger, but the older you get, you can choose what you want to be learning. It’s not like you’re being forced into subjects that you hate. I haven’t taken a math or science course in university, because that just wasn’t my favorite thing to do. The stuff that I have taken has been world religion and art and literature. You can pick what you want to learn, and that’s why I think it’s useful to go and try and pursue your studies. You’re just going to end up being a more well-rounded person in the end. It’s been hard for me to do both, but I’m really, really happy that I did.

THE STAR SCOOP:
Do you have time to be involved in anything else? Any other projects, shows, charities?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
We finished filming about three weeks ago now. That was season 10. We start filming up again in March, probably. I’ve got a couple months off and I’ve just been auditioning. I’m planning on going back to school, hopefully in the new year to try and wrap  up university because I’ve got like one year left.

We have a very strong partnership with Free The Children. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to Kenya, Ecuador and India. Our documentary that we made in India should be airing sometime in the winter. Fans can look out for that. Other than that, just excited to see what season 11 has in store for all of us.

THE STAR SCOOP:
What do you want to say directly to the fans who are going to read this?

CHARLOTTE ARNOLD:
Guys, thank you so, so much for making season 10 the most popular yet, I would say!  It’s good for everyone to know that I think we are all constantly online and looking at different fan sites and reading forums and stuff. We take all of that to heart.

It helps make every day on set all the better because we know that there are so many people out there excited to see what we’re doing. It’s fun on its own, just hanging out with your friends all day, but knowing that it’s going to touch someone’s life or brighten up their Friday afternoon or if they’re going to get together with their friends and watch the episode…all of that just sweetens the pot for us. So thank you so much for your unwavering support and we’re trying to make the best show possible. We hope it comes across.

Note: Charlotte confirms to us that she does not have an official Twitter. She says, “I’ve gotten a lot, a lot of flack about it and I apologize. It just isn’t for me. If you ever want to send messages along to me, most of my friends on the cast let me know if people are sending messages my way, and I really appreciate every little message that I hear. I definitely take it to heart.”

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