Netflix's new teen drama, Grand Army, premieres on October 16.
The young, up-and-coming cast is the standout of the series. Below, we've found fun facts about each of the stars and their Instagram accounts.
Will we ever get tired of angsty teen dramas? The answer is definitely not, and Netflix's Grand Army is a testament to that.
The new series adapted from showrunner Katie Cappiello's 2013 play Slut was immediately met with controversy following the September trailer premiere, when a former writer tweeted that Cappiello was a "Karen" and that she and two other writers "quit due to racist exploitation and abuse." Her claims have since gone unanswered by Netflix (and as of publish time of this story, Netflix hadn't responded to our request for comment). If the tweets have you reluctant to give Grand Army a try, that's understandable. However, in my opinion, there's one reason to consider the compelling show: the cast.
Though the show centers around five teens at the fictional Grand Army High School in Brooklyn, the breakout ensemble cast brings the show together. It's not as fantastical and stylish as Euphoria, or as melodramatic as 13 Reasons Why, but Grand Army tackles issues of race, sexuality, and anxiety in a way that actually seems realistic. And the diverse cast is full of Gen-Zers and millennial up-and-comers who offer raw, authentic portrayals of the 2020 teenage experience.
The cast also has a great deal of chemistry. If you take one look at their Instagram accounts—which are listed below—you'll see that's likely, because it seems they are actually close in real life.
A post shared by odessa a’zion (@odessaazion) on Aug 31, 2020 at 12:17am PDT
"We really did become like a small family, which is amazing," Ashley Ganger, who plays Meera, told Hollywood Life. "We all still talk all the time. We have a group chat. The vibe on set, honestly, just felt so open, and it felt like a very safe space. You had a collection of people who haven’t worked as much, such as myself, and some people who have worked a lot, and everybody came together, gave good advice, and supported each other. It was just really amazing."
Below, we did our best sleuthing and found a few fun facts about the actors.
Odley Jean as Dominique
Wardrobe put together by the amazing @jareddepriest !!! Face beat to the gawdz by @jessicasmalls !! Rocking the great @pyermoss !! Beautiful photos taken by the dope, the one and only @stephaniedianiphoto !! Thank you @thefacemagazine !!! Thank you @jenziet for making sure I popped out with an AMAZING TEAM! And I felt beautiful and comfortable rocking and representing 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾 Love you guys beyond words! Don’t forget to check out @amaliayoo and I on The Face Mag! 4 MORE DAYS TILL GRAND ARMY!! (I know I’m missing a few tags and credits! Want to formally thank you! Put me on and I’ll come correct)
A post shared by Odley Jean (@odley.jean) on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:13am PDT
The 24-year-old Haitian American's role as Dominique is one of Grand Army's standouts, as Jean portrays a passionate teen who attempts to fight for her future, while also tasked with providing for her family and balancing life as a high school student—academically and romantically.
Before Jean made her small screen debut on Grand Army, she was a student at Cappiello's GoodCapp Arts theater program in New York City.
Odessa A'zion as Joey
A post shared by odessa a’zion (@odessaazion) on Oct 7, 2020 at 12:55pm PDT
A'zion gives another powerful and raw performance as the outspoken Joey, the school's popular girl who is incredibly loyal and devoted to her friends...until a tragic night turns her world upside down.
A'zion, 19, last starred in CBS' Fam, which was cancelled after one season. Her mother is actress Pamela Adlon (Better Things, King of the Hill) and her sister Gideon Adlon is also an actress. She starred in Netflix's Society and the 2018 comedy Blockers.
Amalia Yoo as Leila
A post shared by Amalia♥️ (@amaliayoo) on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:09pm PDT
Yoo plays Leila, the 14-year-old high school freshman we all knew (or were) at some point in our lives. She's desperate to be cool—but not too cool—boy crazy, talkative, a little self-centered, and deeply insecure about her roots.
The 18-year-old is a Korean and Puerto Rican American, and Grand Army is her first TV show, but she starred in Cappielo's original production of Slut. Yoo also attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, whose alumni include Jennifer Aniston, Timothée Chalamet, and Ansel Elgort.
Maliq Johnson as Jason
A post shared by Maliq Akil Johnson (@maliqjohnson) on Oct 12, 2020 at 2:21pm PDT
Johnson is Jason, a carefree teen who is faced with the realities of his life as Black man when he and his best friend get into trouble that leads them on two vastly different paths. Like many of his cast mates, Grand Army is Johnson's first major role, but he did make an appearance is Ava DuVernay's When They See Us in 2019.
Amir Bageria as Siddhartha
Sorry guys, but we could not track down an Insta for Bageria, who plays Sid, a high school senior and champion swimmer who's applying to Harvard while also coming to terms with his sexuality.
You may recognize Bageria from another angsty teen show. He played Baaz Nahir for four seasons on Degrassi: Next Class.
Alphonso Romero Jones II as John Ellis
A post shared by Alphonso Romero Jones II (@alphonsoromero_) on Sep 23, 2020 at 11:33am PDT
Jones II is John Ellis, Grand Army's star basketball player, the leader of the school's Black Student Union, and Dom's crush.
The actor got his start on Broadway as Young Simba in The Lion King from 2009-2011. He also acted in Cappiello's play Now That We're Men, and wrote an essay on toxic masculinity for Cappiello's book of the same name.
Jaden Jordan as Owen
Happy to announce I’m working on my 4th mixtape and which will also be my first solo studio mixtape 💕 the title is “ HitBoy Playboy “ 🎶 and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it , it will be dropping on halloween 🎃 which is my birthday so stay tuned y’all 😬✨ @poetsoundofficial
A post shared by Jae Poet (@realjadenjordan) on Sep 30, 2020 at 3:29pm PDT
Like Jones II, Jordan–who plays Jason's best friend Owen—was also Young Simba on Broadway in 2013. He also starred as Young Lola in Kinky Boots from 2013-2014.
Anthony Ippolito as George
A post shared by Anthony Ippolito (@anthonyippolito_) on Dec 13, 2019 at 4:12pm PST
George is the epitome of an over-sexed, popular teenage boy who happens to be a best friend to Joey—until a drunken night results in betrayal.
Fun fact? Ippolito appeared in ABC's primetime What Would You Do? for nine years. He was also on the Baruch College baseball team as a freshman in 2019.
Thelonius Serrell-Freed as Tim
A post shared by Monk Serrell-Freed (@thelonius) on Aug 21, 2019 at 4:24pm PDT
Joey's bff's brother/crush/maybe boyfriend/adversary is played by Serrell-Freed, whose been in a handful of independent films leading up to Grand Army. And if you're wondering, his Insta feed is full of moody pics of the actor with his poet girlfriend, which we think are worth a scroll or two.
Brian Altemus as Luke
A post shared by Brian Altemus (@brianaltemus) on Sep 23, 2020 at 4:49am PDT
Another member of Joey's crew and George's right hand man, Luke is played by Altemus who's an up-and-coming actor and model. Oh, and pre-Grand Army he was a Soul Cycle instructor.
Sydney Meyer as Anna
A post shared by Sydney Meyer (@sydneymeyer48) on Oct 14, 2020 at 2:10pm PDT
Meyer plays Anna, who after tragedy, finds herself caught in the middle of her bestie Joey and brother Tim. You may have seen the 25-year-old in recurring roles on Netflix's V-Wars, Departure, and Shadowhunters.
Marcela Avelina as Flora
A post shared by Marcela (@marcelaavelina) on Apr 21, 2020 at 10:38am PDT
Sid's girlfriend Flora is played Avelina in her first major role. She's also an aspiring musician and you can find her SoundCloud here.
Ashley Ganger as Meera
A post shared by Ashley Ganger (@ashleyganger) on Sep 14, 2020 at 11:28am PDT
In her first-ever acting role, Ganger (a former competitive swimmer) is Meera, Siddhartha's younger sister and director of the school play.
Crystal Nelson as Tor
A post shared by C Nelson (@thecrystalnelson) on Sep 26, 2020 at 2:15pm PDT
Tor, one of Dom's basketball teammates and best friends, is Nelson's first-ever TV role. She also recently started a YouTube channel. ("Yeo Its Crystal", if you want to check it out).
Keara Graves as Grace
i used to be so picky with what i posted on social media because i wouldn't like how my boobs looked too small or my face didn't look perfectly symmetrical or maybe my hair was messy. lately i've been starting to just be like "Yo Lauren take a fit pic of me in front of this wall" so she snaps like 3 pics and i'm like "okay great that's what i look like! then that's what social media shall see!" 🤘🏼 FCk IT!
A post shared by Keara Graves (@kearagraves) on Oct 14, 2020 at 8:49am PDT
We give Graves all of the props for pulling off that opening scene of the series. (If you know, you know). The Toronto native has a YouTube channel with over 400,000 subscribers.
Brittany Adebumola as Tamika
We are BLACK LADIES!..... We build .... We don’t tear down other BLACK LADIES.... We have felt the pain of being torn down and we have have decided we will be deliberate about building others! If I didn’t tag you please don’t be offended. I tried to pick people I thought would do this challenge!! All too often, we LADIES find it easier to criticize each other, instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around let’s do something positive!!🌸Upload 1 picture of yourself...ONLY you. Then tag as many SISTERS to do the same. Let’s build ourselves up, instead of tearing ourselves down. 💜💜COPY AND PASTE💜💜 If I tagged you, don’t disappoint me!!
A post shared by .Brittany Adebumola. (@_lolabritt) on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:07pm PDT
Dominique's best friend Tamika is played by Adebumola, who graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor's in acting this past spring.
Naiya Ortiz as Sonia
A post shared by Nai 🇵🇷 (@naiyaortiz) on Feb 3, 2020 at 3:59pm PST
Sonia, another member of Dom's clique, was played by Ortiz. And according to IMDB, the young actress appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2017.
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