Young Once creator Jon Oleksiuk (Top, Center) poses for a candid photo with the cast of Young Once Season 2 featuring Cassie Randolph and Caelan Tiongson
Young Once is a docuseries following the lives of Christians in Southern California as they attend college and navigate life as young adults. It’s unlike any other show in the faith-based genre. WATCH IT HERE.
Young Once show creator Jon Oleksiuk met Cassie Randolph in the fall of 2015 while casting students for a faith-inspired docuseries set at Biola University. Cassie didn’t formally audition for the show.
“Instead of featuring the typical drunk, rowdy frat life that’s common in media portrayals of college, this series intended to showcase a different type of college student, one who finds adventure, builds relationships and encounters drama in the most unlikely of ways because of the seriousness of their faith. There are millions of students who have attended private schools like Biola with strict codes of conduct, yet there is little to no representation in media of them.”
Oleksiuk received applications from over 800 students and then auditioned close to 400 in-person for roles on the series. Biola is considered one of the more conservative schools in America, where premarital sex and alcohol are off-limits.
The cast was nearly in place when Oleksiuk met Cassie Randolph at her then-boyfriend Caelan Tiongson’s basketball game. Caelan was the star of Biola’s basketball team, and is now playing professionally overseas.
“Cassie was sweet and relatable,” says Oleksiuk after meeting her. “The next day we went for coffee, I gave her the vision for the show, and then put her in front of cameras in the middle of campus. Hundreds of students walked by during this impromptu interview audition, and later Cassie admitted that she was waiting for the perfect time to run away. We’re glad she didn’t. We ended up casting her as our lead.”
“I think it’s really sad that young people aren’t as involved in their faith,” shares Cassie Randolph in an interview featured in Young Once. “A lot of people just say they’ll worry about it later, but in the grand scheme of things, really the only thing that matters is your faith…I grew up going to church and I’m a Christian. I grew up really immersed in Christianity, for me it’s always been there. Sometimes I feel close to God, sometimes a little distant, but at the end of the day it’s been a gradual learning and growing process for me.”
Cassie joined four other cast members from Season 1 of Young Once, including her sister Michelle Randolph and ex-boyfriend Caelan Tiongson, to film a second season of the show this past summer.
Oleksiuk says that Season 2 of Young Once will have a more serious tone.
“Now the cast are graduates and struggling with issues like crushing student debt, unemployment, marriage, and heartbreak. Cassie and Caelan’s story is particularly interesting to follow, as they discover if they can truly be friends after a long-term relationship, and some of the challenges that come with trying to move on.”
While in post-production of Young Once, producers learned that Cassie was going to be a contestant on The Bachelor. Oleksiuk wouldn’t comment specifically on Cassie’s decision to go on the popular dating reality show, but suggests, “I suppose we accidently just filmed the prequel to this season of The Bachelor. I can tell you that Young Once will provide some important context for her journey on The Bachelor.”
We’ll be watching Young Once this February to see how the story plays out.
Season 1 is available to watch free at youngonce.ca.