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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - as told to Al­ley Pas­coe

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.

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