Cast from the Past: USA High

During the 90’s there was an influx of Teen sitcoms that involved a group of friends in an educational environment, who dealt with everyday problems that related to teenage reality, with that extra pinch of cheesey comedy. Each sitcom had it’s own version of success,  some lasted longer than others, but all captured the hearts of a vast amount of teenagers in their time. In this instance, I am focusing on one particular Teen sitcom from that era, USA High.

In case you didn’t know USA High was about a group of six friends who all went to an American Academy Boarding School in Paris, France. It ran for two seasons from 1997 to 1999, reaching a combined total of 95 episodes and was created by Peter Engel, who also created Saved by the Bell, Hang Time, City Guys and California Dreams.

The reason for writing this blog is to bring attention to the point: Where are the cast now?

What started this process off was like how most of my other ideas tend to originate from. Reminiscant chats with friends. Quite a few of us, when we younger, used to watch USA High and wondered what the cast have been in since and what they were up to now. I decided to take it to the next step, which was to find them online and ask them personally, as you do.

After a bit of searching and message sending, I got a couple of responses from Josh Holland, who played Jackson Greene,

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Elena Cardone (nee Lyons), who played Lauren Fontaine,

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and Marquita Terry, who played Winnie Barnes.

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They were willing to answer a few questions I had for them, here are their answers:

How much of an impact (professionally and personally) did the show USA High have on your life?

Josh: USA High had a big effect on me. It was the first time I was cast as a series regular. I learned a lot about the TV business while working on that show. Made great friends who I still stay in touch with. It didn’t have much effect professionally for me. When the show ended I was back to pounding the pavement looking for work like any other actor.

Elena: I didn’t realize it at the time what an impact USA HIGH would have on my life. It was a great accomplishment at a young age which gave me a tremendous sense of responsibility and work ethic. Even when times at work appeared to be difficult, I now recognize the value of work for my sense of pride, confidence, moral and financial success. 

Marquita: Okay…doing the show was the most important job I’ve done, really.  It was like getting paid to go to school.  I learned how a show operates, the entire process from the writers room, to wardrobe, to shoot days.  It was in invaluable education that I carry with me in work I do and pursue today.

Was there anything from the time at USA High would you have liked to have changed? If so, why?

Josh: The only thing I would have changed from back in that time would be to have the show last longer. After a few years working together you really do become like a family. I wasn’t ready to leave that group at the time. There was talk of spinning the group off to college together but the business end of TV had other idea’s.

Elena: I wish I would have appreciated that opportunity and experience more as I was living it. I allowed others to delegitimize the role I played on the show. Looking back, I see that others were jealous, but my own insecurity prevented me from truly relishing that awesome experience.

Marquita: If I could tell my younger self anything I think it would be just to really appreciate that time. Young actors can be so bratty, and I’d remind myself to stay in gratitude.  With an acting career there are challenges and ups and downs.  It was such an amazing rare blessing to have a job, on television, where I got to go every day.  I don’t think I always recognized it as being such.  I learned it can all be amazing, but also fleeting so it’s important to make the most of each and every opportunity in grace.

Is there anybody from the cast that you still keep in touch with regularly?

Josh: I still keep in touch with the entire cast through social media. Hopefully you’ll be able to talk to them for this piece but every one is doing really well. About a year ago I met up with Marquita Terry and Kristin Miller and we went and saw a play together. It was being directed by one of our USA high directors Mary Lou Belli. Love those ladies.

Elena: I follow the cast on social media and keep in touch that way but I live in Florida now so I don’t see them. They will always be very special to me though. 

Marquita: Kristen Miller is my very best friend.  We were Maid of Honor at each others weddings, we are Aunties to each others kids, we’re family.  She’s couldn’t be more of a sister if we were blood related.  She’s the best gift I got from the show.  We all keep in touch to some degree, though.  Thanks to social media, we get to peek in on big life changes, kids accomplishments, and so on.  Everyone seems really great, super happy and all just getting better with age.  Most of us were able to get together a couple times last year which was fantastic.

What are you up to these days? What is your latest project in life?

Josh: These days I own an entertainment website called THTerrorTime.com. It’s entertainment news about the horror film and TV genre. My father is writer/director Tom Holland. He made the films ‘Child’s Play, Fright Night, Psycho II and is considered a master of horror. The genre has exploded over the last few years on TV here in America. We’re having a lot of fun talking about zombies and vampires on the daily.

Elena: I’m married with 2 children. This role has turned out to be the best yet. I truly value being a wife and mother. I also star and produce 3 shows, which can be viewed on GrantCardoneTV.com: “The G & E Show” with my husband Grant Cardone, which promotes the business of marriage. “Women in Power” which covers a variety of topics and women in today’s modern world. “Whatever it takes” a reality based show which gives insight on what it takes to be great.

Marquita: I’m first a wife and mom to two amazing kids. I still dabble in acting, but am concentrating more writing and creating content.  Kristen and I produced a series for the web together that I wrote called Work In Progress.  It was SO much fun and so great to work with her again both in front and behind the camera.

If there were ever to be a reunion show in the future, would you be up for it? Or would you leave it as it was?

Josh: If there was ever a reunion I’d come back in a heart beat. Just to be able to spend some time with the gang and make some people laugh again would be awesome. That was probably the biggest gift of USA High. Being able to make people laugh everyday.

Elena: I would totally be up for that. I wish the show would get re-released as I think it was a great show then which holds up even today!

Marquita: I’d of course be down for a reunion,  how fun would that be?

Is there anything else you would like to add for the fans?

Josh: In closing I’d just like to add a big thank you to the fans of the show. They really were the best to us. They always came out to support us. Hopefully some day they’ll put USA High out online. All of Peter Engel’s shows for that matter. For now it’s just really bad copies on Youtube.

Elena: There were no greater fans than the fans of USA High and I loved you then and I love you now!

Marquita: Just a huge thank you to you and to those who were and still are fans of the show.  It never ceases to amaze me when people reach out to say how much they loved the show and the characters.  It makes my day every time, and I’m super grateful.

The other cast members, to this point, have yet to reply, so I will update this blog if any updates occur.

Kristen Miller (Ashley Elliot) is still acting and have recently worked on a Web series project together with Marquita Terry, which is called Work In Progess, check that out by clicking here.

Thomas Magiar (Christian Mueller) is now a Realtor and owns his own business, here is his business website.

James Madio (Bobby Lazzarini) is still acting, recently appearing in Law and Order: Special Victims unit and according to imdb.com, has been announced to star in the film “Pep”.

Nicholas Guest (Headmaster Patrick Elliot) also continues to act, do voice overs in multiple films as well as singing and playing guitar.

Angela Visser (Miss Gabrielle Dupree) is now enjoying being a full time Mother and wife.

I would like to thank both Josh, Elena and Marquita for being willing to chat to me and answering my questions, it was hugely appreciated. Please go check out Josh’s website www.THTerrorTime.com and see what great work his website is achieving, along with Elena’s website www.GrantCardoneTV.com and get watching her shows! Also check out Marquita’s web series “Work In Progress” web site here!

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