Hi Gen Z Next Step Cast! We’re thrilled to learn what it’s really like to be a Gen-Zer and to have such inspiring young influencers lay it all out for us! We as Millennials feel a little out of the loop and are excited to ask you about all the things we’re dying to know.
1. Before we get into the juicy stuff…introduce yourself and your character
2. Season five of The Next Step is to bring about a lot of changes for the studio. Since losing at Regionals, A-Troupe is once again the underdog, but that won’t deter them from getting back to the top. As in real life as well, it’s hard to get back on top after a big loss – especially in high school. Keeping this in mind, how do you stay true to yourself in high school and what advice can you give to your audience to help them persevere and keep going?
Dylan: High school can be a place where you feel like you have to be somebody else in order to get other people’s approval. Something that has helped me is knowing who I am and having confidence in myself. I often would doubt myself and think I wasn’t capable of doing something. If someone tries to put you down, the best thing you can do is to keep going and have confidence in who you are. It is important to have goals so that you have a focus and can block out negativity. Always persevere, have confidence in yourself and always look forward.
Jessica: High School can be tough. I went to two different schools. Although high school can be cliquey, you should ALWAYS respect your peers and try to get along with everyone. While meeting lifelong friends at school, it is important to focus on yourself and what you want to achieve. Don’t be so concerned about what everyone else thinks.
Julian: Staying true to yourself is one of THE most important things to try and maintain throughout high school. I’m in University and this is still something that people continue to struggle with, and that’s okay! Do your best -YOU are the only one that can be YOU and nothing is cooler than that!
3. What do you wish older generations knew about being a Gen-Zer?
Dylan: I believe that some people think that our generation is not hard working or lazy. I would like older generations to know that since we are in a different era with new technologies, we have different challenges and we are still hard working. We are very dedicated and we constantly make goals for ourselves.
Milaina: I feel like something that is very misjudged is how we use technology and how we are always on our phones. However, it’s a completely different world and it’s one of the many ways we can interact and share our lives. However, of course everything has pros and cons. Especially for TV shows and other entertainment, this is how we interact with the fans and get to know what they are feeling and that is just so unique.
Hanna: I wish they knew about all the pressures that social media has brought into our lives. It seems everything we do ends up on social media, and if you’re not careful, that can be a bad thing. Things posted on social media can follow you forever, so you need to use good judgement.
4. What’s the dating scene like at your school? Back in our day (not to seem like old grandparents here..) we didn’t have access to all of these dating apps like Tinder, Bumble or even ‘Sliding into someone’s DM’s’. What’s it like?
Noah: Haha, I think dating is really hard for our generation right now, to be honest. Everyone on social media and over the phone can act a certain way, but real relationships are made through a special connection which can only be experienced in person. However, social media definitely makes it easier to meet new people.
Jessica: Social media has certainly changed the dating scene. It’s pretty common for our generation to start “talking” through social media. It’s easier to connect with people that we may not see on a daily basis. I also think that social media puts pressure on us. We think we have to look and act a certain way that fits in with the trends of today. I actually feel that some people portray themselves differently on Instagram/Twitter than they would in person. But perhaps it’s a way for them to easily express themselves.
Milaina: To be honest, I wouldn’t actually know what the dating scene is like. I am not really in the game, I guess you could say. I don’t use those apps and I am sort of old fashion in the sense of meeting people in real life and going on an actual date. I have had a few people slide into my DM’s… however it was people I knew. I can totally understand how with technology, people don’t seem to do the face to face approach anymore and that’s something I think we are missing with hiding behind a screen.
5. Can you explain Teen Instagram etiquette to me – especially with being well known and having many fans following you. Comments, liking — are those activities mandatory?
Noah: Only post 1 picture a day – MAXIMUM 2, Never post before 8 am or after 10 pm, Comment with an emoji
Milaina: Instagram etiquette really depends on the user and your following. For myself, now that I have joined The Next Step and have gained a larger audience, I try to keep up on social media as best as I can. I try to see all my fan edits and comments and try to reply as often as possible. For me, etiquette is pretty standard: no hate and nothing you wouldn’t want your mom to see. I am pretty good with keeping in the loop and staying very positive on social media and I try to ignore negativity.
Hanna: It’s important to post often and when lots of people are online. Liking and commenting are also crucial!
6. How do you/your friends/teens in general feel about the fact that in 10 years you’ll have this digital diary to look back on that doesn’t just chronicle your photos and thoughts, but also shares them with anyone who follows?
Dylan: When my parents grew up they had photo albums that they could share with people. Now everything is out in the open, including your mistakes, for everyone to see. I think it is cool that I can connect with people I have met all over the world through Instagram, but you don’t have as much privacy. It is just a little less personal.
Jessica: I think it’s SO cool. Some of my friends don’t like to think that they’ll look back and be like “omg what was I thinking” but I honestly think it’ll be fascinating to look back on the craziness.
Julian: I think the fact that we’ll have this digital diary 10 years down the road is great! It makes me sad that real life photo albums are becoming obsolete but I think it’s pretty awesome that 60 years down the road my grandkids will be able to see pictures of me when I was their age, something that we never had.
7. Do you think social media has made it easier to make friends/stay in touch or harder? (because you are always ‘connected’ but not actually ‘connecting”)
Noah: I definitely think social media has made it easier to stay in touch with friends. Especially childhood friends or close friends that move away or change schools, social media makes it easier to stay a part of their life.
Jessica: I think social media has made it easier to make friends and to stay in touch. I actually became friends with someone who initially was just a mutual friend. Through Instagram, we realized we had so much in common. Social media is great for keeping in touch and finding out what people are up to. This way, you always have something to talk about when you run into them!
Julian: I think that social media is a great way for friends to stay engaged with each other at times when they cannot connect. Social media interaction is sort of like “Hey! We are still friends even though we can’t see each other right now”. But to me it is in no way a replacement for actual interaction
8. What are the slang words right now that all Millennials and parents should know to be ‘hip’ and ‘in the know’?
Noah: LIT : Everything’s good/It’s cool/It’s a party/It’s great
-EW or NASTY : Ew and Nasty is a good thing! Like if you see a cool dance move “That was nastyyyy”
-SICK : Sick is also a good thing! “That’s sick” means like “That’s cool”
Dylan: I think the most important one right now is “lit”. My mom tries really hard to catch on to slang but we just end up laughing!
Julian: I’m not much of a slang user but an abbreviation that I use often is “AOT”. It means “All of those”. It can be used in any context when referring to a bunch of things that give you a certain feeling, reaction or emotion. For example, if my best friend Jhaleil sends me a bunch of funny videos or pictures on Instagram I might reply with “AOT haha”.
9. What’s your favourite fashion trend right now?
Jessica: My favourite fashion trend right now is T-shirt dresses and thigh-high boots. I love this look and also love that I don’t have to wear pants
Julian: My favourite fashion trend right now is refined athleisure. Think sweaters, hoodies and joggers that you can wear to almost any event. Threads that fall under this category are versatile, comfortable and fashionable! What more could you want?
Milaina: I am really into the off the shoulder trend. I have three shirts and I want more.
10. What song should we be adding to our playlist? What shows should we watching (obviously The Next Step!)? What books should we read?
Dylan: There are so many news songs out but some of my favourites are: I’m The One and Malibu. I also love anything by the artist Khalid. I would highly recommend watching Season 5 of The Next Step and I think Riverdale is great for older teens. I’m not much of a reader but I like The Giver, Paper Towns and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Jessica: Anything hip-hop, it’s all I listen to! Right now, I am watching Riverdale, which I highly recommend to anyone who likes mystery and suspense. My favourite go to book is The Secret. It’s about the law of attraction and it explores the idea that positive thinking creates life-changing results.
Milaina: I am obsessed with the song Stay by Alescia Cara and Zedd. I love Riverdale as well and I just recently got into Full House– I know that’s an older show, but I still recommend it. I am a fiction type reader and love romantic stories, so anything Nicholas Sparks. I also read the Divergent series.
What are you most excited for? (In regards to absolutely anything)
Noah: NICE WEATHER – Summer time – NO school, Family Channel’s Big Ticket Concert
Dylan: I’m excited for what this year has in store for me! I am going to live away from home in the summer so I am excited to become more independent and learn new things. I can’t wait for new opportunities and to meet new people through dance.
Jessica: I’m most excited for the future. I just can’t wait to see what life has in store for me!
Julian: I’m excited to see what this summer holds 🙂
Milaina: I am so excited to see this next year unravel and see what doors open for me. The Next Step is such an amazing show and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of that little family every day. I hope everyone like the new season and I can’t wait to share the stage with my TNS fam on August 27th in Toronto on the Budweiser Stage for Big Ticket Concert.
Hanna: I’m very excited for season five to air and to see how the fans react to it. We all worked so hard on it so I can’t wait for it to be shared with the world!
Thanks so much for connecting with us!
Be sure to catch The Next Step on Family Channel for season 5. Watch new episodes Fridays at 4:30pm!
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity