I am cuckoo bananas for Cassie Steele.

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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.

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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:

Spoilers ahead!

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.

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Well, except for the blonde hair phase — but we don’t talk about that!

2. The Manny/Craig/Ashley saga is one of the greatest love triangles in teen drama history.

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And this is coming from someone who usually hates love triangles.

3. As messy as it was, there’s no denying that Manny and Craig’s relationship was also iconic.

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I know, I know — but it’s impossible for me to watch this scene without smiling a little.

4. Her pregnancy storyline was one of the first times I remember seeing abortion depicted as a valid option on a teen show.

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This episode, a two-parter called “Accidents Will Happen,” was actually banned in the US when it first aired in Canada.

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.

Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out?! It’s kinda long but full of suspense

01:58 AM – 14 Apr 2021

I absolutely LOVE both characters, but you gotta admit it was entertaining to watch them butt heads sometimes.

8. Jay really transformed from being the local bad boy into total husband material just for Manny. Her impact, though!! 🙌

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Plus, the writers confirmed that they probably have kids together now!

9. She always delivered the best comebacks — you did not wanna get into it with her.

10. And she had the best catchphrases.

Honorable mention goes to “you’re just jealous.”

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.

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Manny is the only character whose Filipino ethnicity was specifically stated in the show — Cassie Steele’s younger sister, Alex, initially played Angela Jeremiah on the show and later returned as Tori Santamaria, but Tori’s background was never explicitly stated. Chelsea Clark, who plays Esme in Next Class, is also Filipino, but her character was stated to be Korean.

13. We simply can’t forget her famous (or infamous, tbh) transformation in Season 3.

Manny Santos, we stan you forever!!!

BuzzFeed / Kathy Hoang

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