This stud’s got a slew of haters but it just isn’t fair!  Fans of the hit series Degrassi: The Next Generation on The-N Network know Jake Epstein as Craig – the guy who cheats on his girlfriend and does all sort of un-savory stuff on the show.  But when I chatted with this 17-year-old Canadian the other day, he totally won me over:  He’s a bashful John Lennon fan who adores his fam and used to run around the house in the buff (seriously!).  Oh, and he wanted me to leak the word:  He’s “currently single and looking.”  So girls, read up, then go knocking….he asked for it!  By Sara Stillman

Lunch Launch
Life can get complicated when you act in a TV show that’s set in a realistic high school and in reality you’re also in high school.  Especially if the character you play makes some pretty ugly decisions – just ask Jake.  “A girl actually threw her juice box at me in the school’s cafeteria!”  Jake says.  “She was in the ninth grade and totally into Degrassi and she just thought I was this terrible person.”  But Jake’s so sweet that instead of getting P.O’d about being doused in Hi-C, he actually became friends with her!  You’d think he’d hate being associated with his character, but he doesn’t.  “It’s really fun,” he says.  “I get to be someone I’m not.  I mean [in real life] I’d be way too scared to cheat on my girlfriend!”  And we love ya for it, Jake!

What  A Boy Wants
Of course, being recognized has its upsides, too.  “One of the main perks about being on Degrassi is that a lot people I don’t know come up to me,” says Jake.  What we wanna know is who wouldn’t wanna have a convo with a cutie like Jake – especially since we know he’s looking for a girlfriend!  “one girl I went out with was really into hip-hop and very main-stream Britney Spears-loving.  But she was gorgeous,” Jake says.  “Another girl I went out with was a total punk.  She had blue hair and piercing everywhere.”  So, as long as you’re smart and optimistic, the two things that Jake cares about above everything else – we’d say you’ve got a good chance!  Oh…and if you look and act anything like Gwen Stefani that might help too, since Jake admits he has a thing for her!

Little John
It’s “no doubt” Jake loves the stunning rocker, since one of his favorite pastimes is jamming with his band.  “I really become myself when I’m holding my guitar,” says Jake.  His character on Degrassi is also in a band.  (One of the few things he has in common with Craig.)  Jake’s entire family is musical and he admits he was a total hippie child.  “My dad used to blast Beatles records and I’d run around my house writing songs about peace and playing them naked,” he confessed.  Now that’s one home movie we’d love to see!

Reality Check
The truth is, Jake’s so busy filming and doing schoolwork that he barely has time to date.  His ideal weekend would start off with a big family dinner on Friday night, then he’d spend the rest of his free time hanging out with friends.  “We’d go down to Toronto and find a cool place and we’d keep it very chill,” he says.  “I really savor my days off.”  Like most high school seniors, Jake is trying to decide where he wants to go to college.  He’s hoping to get into some theater schools in Canada.  “I’m excited to see what’s gonna happen in ten years,” he says.  “Life’s been a total journey.”  Hey Jake, we’re sure it’s going to continue to be a good one for you!

Source: (September 28, 2004)