Michelle DeFraites – The Quad
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects you have been working on?
A) Right after we wrapped up the first season of “The Quad,” I was able to be a part of this fun musical called “Crazy for the Boys.” It kind of promotes anti-bullying in high schools while having a High School Musical vibe to it. That was really fun to do in my off time.
Q) What can you tease is in store this season on “The Quad” and with your character Madison?
A) If you’ve been watching the first three episodes you’ll see that Madison’s boyfriend situation has been resolved. He came to town, visited and it didn’t go so well. So, now you get to see Madison branch out and not be held back so much by her past life (you could say). So, she’s finding new friends and new relationships. She gets a little bit into activism with her fellow classmates at the school. So, you’ll get to see a lot of growth with her this season. It’s exciting.
Q) With the current political environment, it’s great to see her getting so active on campus.
A) We thought it was really important to show a lot of what is going on with the real world on our campus too because it’s so important.
Q) Why was that such an important path for her to follow?
A) I think it’s because Madison is from a small town in Georgia and she was sheltered, I guess you could say. She grew up with people who were just like her so coming to this school she has been learning new things, new ways, new cultures and new ideas. As you saw in a recent episode where they were talking about “white washing” the school, Madison was like, “I don’t understand. I don’t get it.” So, they’ve really been explaining things to her and as she has been learning she has been excited about wanting to protest and learning things that are going on. Seeing people that aren’t basically “effected” by the problem still teaming up with people and fighting for what is right I think is really exciting to see on television and we hope to see more of in the world today.
Q) Was there anyone you were looking forward to having a scene with this season?
A) Yeah, we got to have a lot more scenes with the football guys this season and I was excited about that. Jazz [Raycole], who plays Sydney, my best friend on the show – last season it was kind of like “us against the world” so I didn’t get to film with anybody else. There was just a big party at a frat house and we’re in lingerie. Everyone is there so I get to interact with everyone. Some drama goes down. So, it was really fun getting to interact with the boys this year.
Q) Was there anything you added to Madison that wasn’t initially in the character breakdown?
A) I think with my personality being as sarcastic as it is, Madison probably has more edge than they initially wrote for her. She naps back at Sydney a little bit more. She does a few more eye rolls than I think they initially wanted. [laughs] That’s just me and when you cast me, you’re naturally going to get a little bit of that. So, I think that Madison has grown into her sarcasm a little bit more this season.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable behind the scenes moments from filming the show?
A) I think it’s really fun. We always say we go to college and live in dorms on the show, but when we’re filming we all kind of have that same life because we live in the same apartment complex and we all just run to each other’s apartments and hang out just like we were living in dorms. It’s just fun being able to live your life with these people. It’s fun – whether it’s going to the movies or hanging out and having a board game night. I just enjoy living real life with my coworkers. That’s really the most fun for me.
Q) What do you think it is about “The Quad” that has made it such a fan favorite show?
A) I think there is really nothing out there like it right now. All the college themed shows that have been out are basically comedies. And this is one that is a drama that deals with real life issues. It deals with race, sex, drinking, drugs, fraternities and sororities. All of these things are a part of real life and happen in a real way. And there is a strong female lead, which we love to see. I just think it’s something people can relate to, especially people that went to HBC’s and HBU’s. They really love watching it. We live tweet every week and seeing people respond to the relationship between Junior (Miles Stroter) and BoJohn (Jake Allyn), two football players. We actually had someone send in a picture and they said, “That was me and my boy in college! I was the white guy and he was the black guy. We were roommates and best friends, and nothing could break us apart. The relationship on the show is exactly what we lived in our college years.” Seeing people relate to it in that way is cool.
Q) You mentioned being a part of social media. I can see you love getting that fan feedback to episodes.
A) I love it! We live tweet every week, but it’s hard because we live tweet with the East Coast. So, I’m having to live tweet blind, remembering and by going off of what everyone is saying. When I was throwing up in an episode, everyone was saying, “Uh oh! Is Madison pregnant?!” So, it’s funny to watch them guess what is going to happen and to hear the positives and the negatives. A lot of people have criticisms because it is the internet and social media, but I enjoy getting to reach out to them and explain why we made a certain choice or tell them not to worry because something is coming later on in the season. So, getting to interact with people in a way you don’t typically get to do is fun.
Q) You mentioned that you were recently in a musical. Would you like to pursue more musical theater or do a show on Broadway?
A) I actually grew up doing dancing since I was three years old and doing musical theater with my family. We were all in Annie and A Mid Summer Night’s Dream We did plays in the community theater my entire life. So, musicals are always something I wanted to do, but not necessarily musical theater. Camera, of course. But I do like musicals, of course. High School Musical was everybody’s everything when it came out and Grease is one of my all time favorite movies. So, getting to be a part of something that had similarities to that was the most exciting thing in the world. Then, the fact it had this anti-bullying message behind it, which is so needed right now, it was just so cool to be a part of a film like that.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) Thanks for following along and keep watching because it’s only going to get crazier from here!