HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
THE CANADIAN DANCER/ACTOR HAS BEEN PERFORMING SINCE SHE WAS FOUR AND FOUND FAME IN A TEEN DANCE DRAMA. NOW 21, SHE TALKS ABOUT THE PERKS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A CHILD STAR
Dancer Brittany Raymond reveals how she coped with growing up in the public eye.
I’ve always loved to dance, but I was hesitant to pursue a career in it because I didn’t know if I would make it. When I auditioned for The Next Step in 2013, I was 16. Booking that role has completely changed the direction of my life. I was so young at the time and it opened up a lot of doors for me.
One of the biggest challenges of growing up on the show was not being able to go to university with all of my friends from high school. I feel like I did miss out on some of those experiences. I had to grow up really fast in order to take the job seriously. In saying that, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
The filming schedule can be crazy, because we only have a small period of time to shoot a series. Last season I was at the studio at 6am every day and left at 8pm or 9pm every night. We would rehearse on the weekends, too. Working all week was pretty exhausting.
In season four my storylines were very emotional. That was conflicting for me because I am very much a method actor, so I started feeling those emotions in my everyday life as well. It was difficult, but I had support from the other cast members who have had the same experience.
As a young cast, we’re all in it together; we know what it’s like to grow up in the spotlight. If I’m having a bad day, they help me get through it. And if I need a moment alone they respect that, too.
When people call me a celebrity, I laugh. I don’t see myself like that at all. It’s strange to think of myself as a role model because I never expected to be in this position. You have to be careful of the things you say and what you post on social media. You don’t ever want fans to get the wrong idea or feel insecure. It’s pretty incredible, though, that I get to speak to the next generation. My advice to them is to just let go and not be too stressed about the little things.
One day when I was shopping, two girls came up for a picture. I was signing an autograph for them when they screamed to a group of kids about me. I was swarmed by an entire class and the teacher said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to do. I love the show by the way.” Those encounters can be overwhelming, but it’s still pretty cool because all of them knew the show and were fans.