Josh Heuston wasn’t even born when Heartbreak High hit television screens in 1994. But the model-turned-actor who plays resident hot boy Dusty in the rebooted show reveals his mother was a fan.
“My mum watched the OG series … I think she had a crush on [the actor who played Nick] Alex Dimitriades.”
Fans of the original might think they know what they’re in for—after all, it had a reputation for being much grittier than the other high school dramas of the time. But while 2022’s Heartbreak High isn’t exactly Euphoria, you’ll be shocked by what the kids are getting up to at Hartley High these days.
It’s the reason Ayesha Madon, who plays the sassy but somewhat misguided Amerie, is feeling a little uneasy.
“Knowing that my grandma is going to watch me is making me nervous,” she explains. “I would say, teenagers … don’t watch it with your parents. It would be the most awkward thing ever.”
Heuston’s more game. “I would say go for it. You’ll get the birds and the bees talk after, though,” he warns.
Madon and Heuston lead the fresh-faced cast as they navigate the ups and downs of teen life in 2022, and while the actors are in their 20s, they all had that “first day of school” feeling when they showed up on set. Madon recalls, “We were all able to grow together and learn from each other and also develop genuine friendships.”
As for their own high school experiences, Madon says, “Everyone goes through a period of trying to be cool, but I’ve always been cringe.”
Heuston in turn reveals, “I wasn’t unpopular, but I also wasn’t popular. I wasn’t a cool dude, like Dusty.”
“Oh, come on!” Madon laughs. “With a face like that, I refuse to believe Josh wasn’t popular – at least with the girls!”
No doubt both will be very popular now.
Our features editor Bree Player recalls watching the OG series
Ah, the bad boys. The leather-jacket-wearing IDGAF boys. In the ’90s, Heartbreak High’s Drazic was the stuff of teenage girls’ dreams and their parents’ nightmares. I mean, he had an eyebrow ring! In high school! He told teachers to “rack-off” (swearing was strictly not permitted on ’90s television). He was the reason I took my school bag to the last class of the day and ran to catch the early bus home.
In the ’90s, virtually every Aussie teenage girl had the hots for [Callan Mulvey’s] Drazic, and wanted to be his on- and off-screen girlfriend, [Lara Cox’s] Anita. But it wasn’t just the lure of a bad boy that drew an audience to the series. With frequent references to sex and illicit drugs, many parents banned their kids from watching it, which only made it all the more cool to view.
The series was soundtracked by Aussie music artists including The Screaming Jets, Frente!, Chocolate Starfish and Baby Animals, and the actors’ shopping mall appearances saw crowds turn up in their thousands. Although the after-school snacks I devoured while watching Heartbreak High (YoGos, Roll-ups, Space Food Sticks) are best left in the ’90s, I’m ready to go back to the hallowed halls of Hartley High.
Heartbreak High hits Netflix on September 14.