Growing up, there weren't a ton of TV and movie characters I felt I could see myself in as a Filipino. It was pretty rare to see my culture actually reflected in any media.
So, when I discovered the teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, I instantly fell in love with Manuela Santos, aka Manny. She's easily the greatest Degrassi character of all time and, dare I say, the best teen drama character ever.
Here are 14 reasons Manny Santos is simply iconic:
1.First of all, her style is basically flawless. Emma may have had the dolphin pants, but Manny truly owned the runway with her hats, jumpsuits, and many hairstyles.
2.The Manny/Craig/Ashley saga is one of the greatest love triangles in teen drama history.
3.As messy as it was, there's no denying that Manny and Craig's relationship was also iconic.
4.Her pregnancy storyline was one of the first times I remember seeing abortion depicted as a valid option on a teen show.
5.This scene right here!! 👏👏
6.Even though their relationship was messy as hell at times, Manny and Emma were the blueprint for '00s girl friendships.
7.And on the flip side, Manny and Paige had one of the best TV rivalries ever.
8.Jay really transformed from being the local bad boy into total husband material just for Manny. Her impact, though!! 🙌
9.She always delivered the best comebacks — you did not wanna get into it with her.
10.And she had the best catchphrases.
11.While their brief romance definitely wasn't meant to be, Manny and J.T. had one of the most adorable friendships on the show — her reaction to his death breaks me every time I rewatch.
12.Manny was the only canonically confirmed Filipino main character in the entire Degrassi franchise.
13.We simply can't forget her famous (or infamous, tbh) transformation in Season 3.
14.And finally, this hallway scene still lives in everyone's heads rent-free: