TORONTO — Toronto actor Stacey Farber is back on weekly television. The former Degrassi: The Next Generation alumnus is starring in CBC’s newest sitcom, 18 to Life. She plays 18-year-old Jessie Hill who marries the boy next door, Tom Bellow (Michael Seater), on a dare! (video)
Stacey Farber plays Jessie Hill alongside co-star Michael Seater, playing Tom.
“I absolutely loved the script – that was the first thing that attracted me to the show,” Farber said. “The dialogue was hilarious, really original, and I loved the character. Jessie is very different from Ellie Nash, the character I played on Degrassi. I was very happy to have the opportunity to do something different and to do comedy in particular. It’s a lot harder than I expected.”
Farber grew up on the hit Canadian teen drama series, Degrassi: The Next Generation. At 14, she was cast as Ellie, a teen battling depression, and continued in the role until she turned 21 when she starred in the television movie – Degrassi Goes Hollywood.
Farber, 22, earned a Gemini nomination last year for her performance on the series, but as chance had it, she lost to Seater, her co-star on 18 to Life.
“We were actually in the same category,” she recalled. “Michael won for his role on Life with Derek, but that’s OK. We went out to celebrate together afterward and it was cool,” she recalled.
In 18 to Life, it’s not always marital bliss for the newlyweds. Once Jessie and Tom say “I do,” they transform the Bellows’ attic into a cool loft for two. But it gets crowded up there when Tom’s parents, Ben (Peter Keleghan) and Judith (Ellen David), drop in to offer advice.
To add to the humour, the Bellows disapprove of Jessie’s parents’ lifestyle. Tara (Angela Asher) and Phil (Al Goulem) Hill’s eco-friendly, hippy ways don’t sit well with Tom’s parents who are concerned with status and what other neighbours think.
“Most episodes, Tom and Jessie try to figure out how to make their marriage work at such a young age. But the show is mainly about three couples because the parents have a large role, so it’s a mix and match, [depending on] who the episode is about,” Farber explained.
In one show, Jessie has issues with her mother-in-law when she finds out that Judith has thrown away invitations to Jessie’s stagette because she’s embarrassed about the upcoming marriage. In another, Tom’s father keeps his conversion to Judaism a secret from his wife, leading to mayhem when their rabbi comes to dinner.
Growing up in Toronto, Farber attended Claude Watson School for the Arts, Branksome Hall and York University, before attending The New School, a college in New York, for three years and interning at trendy New York fashion magazines Nylon and allure, and becoming a blogger at Teen Vogue.
“It was really interesting and fun. I wanted to learn everything I could about that industry and how women’s magazines were put together,” Farber said. “It was amazing that I could intern for a credit at my school.”
Since Farber graduated in May with a BA in creative writing, her plans include travelling, interning and acting. Recently, she was cast in a television movie filmed in Hamilton for MTV, and had a small role on the Season 3 premiere of the police drama Flashpoint, airing in the fall.
“It was very cool to be surrounded by pretend cops who were pointing their guns at me and to work on one of CTV’s biggest hits.”
18 to Life airs on CBCTV Mondays at 8 p.m. Visit www.cbc.ca to view past episodes.