OG Degrassi actor now making Toronto's most intricate pies
Some of Toronto's most intricate pies are being made by someone who used to not-so-secretly act on Degrassi back in the day.
Arlene Lott played Nancy Kramer on Degrassi High from 1987 to 1991, which everyone knows was filmed in Toronto.
While her work still involves television, she now often takes more of a behind-the-scenes role, though the pies she's become known for on social media are as in-your-face as it gets.
Scroll through her Instagram page and you'll find a "cranberry autopsy pie" created in tribute to her work on Coroner, another show set in Toronto, in a bit of a full-circle moment.
She may have been performing from a young age, but she's been baking since childhood as well.
"I grew into my love of pie as a kid," Lott tells blogTO. "I was always at my mum's side when she was baking. She passed away about 20 years ago now, but June was a pretty typical 1950s homemaker type of lady, and a great home baker. If there was dessert, it was pie."
Lott creates pies themed around a lot more then just Toronto-based TV shows, though she's made lots of other pies themed around Toronto, featuring imagery of, say, the skyline.
So have the worlds of pie and Degrassi ever collided for Lott?
"While I wasn't baking at this level back in the OG Degrassi days, I was quite fortunate to be able to bake for Degrassipalooza when I appeared alongside fellow cast members a few years ago," says Lott. "I did a series of pies-in-a-jar, all with themes based on Degrassi characters or vibes."
That's just the tip of the iceberg, though: Lott's subjects for pies range from haunted houses to skeletons, Mardi Gras masks and beads, nature, the seasons and the ingredients in the pies themselves.
She says she gets her inspiration from things like "vintage signs, anatomical illustrations, or other ephemera."
She's also not afraid to get outspoken with her pies, using her knack for creating lettering out of the crust to voice her opinion on topics like feminism, Indigenous rights, pride and anti-Asian hate.
Her passion for creating lettering out of pie crust was actually something that resulted from her twin passions for performing and baking, finding a love of art and design history while going to school for theatre production and design.
"The idea to start implementing typography and illustrative styles to pies came to me through some truly creative pie artists on Instagram," says Lott. "Coupled with my current gig as a graphic designer for film, when I'm playing with pastry it can be about art, type, activism, and on the odd occasion, simply just eating."
Lott feels that baking is the perfect side hustle for her as she can fit it in between TV/film gigs, and can take comissions when her schedule allows.
Her pies don't just talk the talk, though: they've actually helped Lott get even more involved in causes she feels strongly about.
"I like to take time to do some fundraising projects every year, so I do a pop-up from time to time to raise awareness and money for charities that have importance to me," says Lott.
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