Sophisticated, well-spoken and humble are just a few words that describe Debby Ryan. Rising to become one of Disney Channel’s biggest powerhouse talents, Debby has graced the small screen on hit shows like The Suite Life on Deck and Jessie – in which she currently stars – proving that she has what it takes to continue a successful career within the industry. College Lifestyles had the opportunity to chat with the 19-year-old starlet about her success, future plans and exciting new projects in the works!
College Lifestyles: Congratulations on all of your success! You have quickly become one of the biggest stars in television amongst a young teen demographic. Since your success on shows like The Suite Life on Deck and Jessie, in which you star, do you see yourself as a celebrity?
Debby Ryan: No. I don’t see myself as a celebrity. I see myself as a worker. I see myself as getting to make the opportunity to begin doing what I love to do and trying to grow those into bigger and better dreams. More than anything, I see myself as a worker and a builder of my career – a player and a strategizer. But celebrity is a weird thing.
CL: Disney Channel has played a huge role in your life in terms of jumpstarting your career and making you a household name. We’ve seen with stars like Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez that there comes a time when you have to move on and venture off. At this point in your life – you’re 19-years-old – are you ready for that? Or do you still enjoy the ride and see yourself sticking around for years to come?
DR: I see myself sticking around with Disney. I’m intrinsically on brand with what they believe. Family, growing and education are all part of what I believe as a human being. I would love to be a part of them – their company – for a really long time but behind-the-scenes. I would love to produce for them and maybe work at the actual network one day. I know that every show has an expiration date. But it’s incredibly motivational because it makes me realize that I have time to narrow down exactly what it is that I want to do.
CL: Let’s talk about your starring role on the hit show Jessie. In a lot of ways, you are similar to the main character in which you play. You both grew up in Texas, and you both moved across the country to pursue a dream. In what ways do you relate to Jessie’s personality and in what ways do you differ?
DR: We relate because we both moved around. I was from a military family. So I definitely know that lifestyle. I feel like when you grow up having to move around a lot, you become a different person than having been raised in one town your whole life. My last character had never traveled, and Jessie’s a bit more cultured and has seen the world. [But] she’s a bit more idealistic than I am.
CL: In addition to your experience on a television series, you’ve also done a few movies – The Suite Life Movie, 16 Wishes, and the independent film What if… in 2010. Which process do you enjoy more – television series or feature film?
DR: There’s something immediately fulfilling about a feature film, in that, in a month or a couple it’s over. It’s done. That said, I feel like my life is better paved for TV. Watching your character grow over several seasons and watching story lines arch – not knowing what’s going to happen next in the script – is very intriguing.
CL: Besides filming new episodes for Jessie, do you have any exciting projects coming up?
DR: I’ve got a lot of new music coming out on YouTube. I’m really excited about that. We have a Jessie movie coming up. I’m also producing a fashion, education web series. I hope everyone digs it!
CL: Switching gears a bit – If you could describe your personal style in three words, what would they be?
DR: Timeless. Creative. Wearable. I’m a really big fan of vintage stuff. I like mixing things up and definitely in the winter you have more time to create layers and play with those things. But there’s something about an old vintage shirt and some high-waisted shorts. That’s a really staple look for me – for sure.