INTERVIEW: Debby Ryan: "Wishes" and Crushes
You may know her as sweet Southern gal Bailey Pickett on Disney's "The Suite Life: On Deck" but cute Debby Ryan gets a solo spotlight as unhappy teen Abby who wants to just grow up and skip all the teen drama in a new Disney Channel film called "16 Wishes", starting this Friday.
We cornered Debby recently at the ABC Building in L.A. and learned that she writes songs and has a music blog, lived in Germany and has a kind of showbiz (wanna act with) crush on both cute Gregg Sulkin on "Wizards" and hot Logan Lerman who starred in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.
What would Debby do if she were granted16 wishes? You might be surprised. Check it out...
TeenTelevision: So '16 Wishes' is about a 16th birthday?
Debby: It is. It's about a girl on her 16th birthday who has this wish list of these 16 wishes she wants and her birthday fairy appears and gives her 16 candles that correspond to her wishes so basically she has the power to make all of her wishes come true. So, it's 'be careful what you wish for' based on her very 16-year-old priorities.
Things are taken out of context and she ends up basically losing everything she ever had and has to scramble to try to get it back and realizes that everything she is wishing for doesn't compare to everything she wishes away.
TeenTelevision: Did it make you think about what you would wish for if you were granted these wishes?
Debby: It did. It's funny because when I looked at my list, half of them were selfish things and half them of made me realize that I do have such a big heart for other people because I made a wish list of 'what would I want?' One of them was a house for my family where my brother could have a music studio. That's more of a selfish property type thing and the list ranged from kids in Uganda who are barefoot and don't have shoes. Everyone deserves a place to sleep and safety, food and a shoulder to cry on. It ranged but I did have my 16-year-old things like really wanting a fish-eye lens for my camera and a lifetime membership to i-tunes and Borders. (we laugh)
TeenTelevision: Can you contrast the '16 Wishes' character Abby with your character Bailey on 'The Suite Life on Deck'? Bailey is like a sweet Southern thing.
Debby: The two characters aren't super different. I feel like Abby can be a little bit cynical. She is ever the optimist, trying to figure out ways to stall things and not give up but she's more blunt where Bailey tries to sugarcoat things a lot because things are great in her world! She wants things to be as great for everyone else.
Of course Bailey is growing so it's different. She grew up on a farm and milks cows and Abby, her best friend is a guy and she's kind of an 'everygirl'. She's a small town girl but not Southern. She's more of a suburban princess. She's not either preppy or tomboyish. They both have a balance.
TeenTelevision: You do music as well. Is this just something that comes out of being part of the Disney world?
Debby: I was always really big into music; always listening to it. My brother is a guitar player and singer/songwriter (Chase Ryan). I'm always writing with Chase and I write a music blog. Actually, what's funny about the whole Disney situation is never, at any point, did they walk up to me and say 'Now listen. You're gonna be in a TV show, then you're gonna sing for us'. You work to be on a TV show and then they hear that you like to sing. If they hear you sing, then they'll call (your) people to see if you want to do that. It's definitely a big process. Someone isn't just "made" as it seems to be.
I don't necessarily know if I want a music career but I'm into the production side of it. I write my music blog and just wrote this song. I wrote all the lyrics and my brother did the music and looks like it's going to be in '16 Wishes" which is cool because it was kind of inspired by something Abby, my character, was going through; I was watching her lose everything and it was like I know this person and I was like 'Just push on through'. There's strength in you. Storms are coming but push on through because there is a light at the end. So, it'll be on the soundtrack which will be great.
TeenTelevision: Did you get to sing it?
Debby: Yeah. I sang it too. That's the way I think I'd do a music career. If I wrote a song that was in my key....I have a very weird, specific range and quality to my voice. So, if I wrote a song that I think would sound good by me or was something I wanted to communicate, then I would love to sing it for sure.
TeenTelevision: How do we get to your music blog?
Debby: It's linked on debbyryan.com
TeenTelevision: Is there another actor you would love to have as a co-star? Or maybe have a crush on?
Debby: One of my good friends Gregg Sulkin on "Wizards" and doing another thing for Disney is from England and I lived in Germany and traveled around Europe so we're very aware of each other's culture which is fun. We're really good friends and I've love to work with Gregg.
As far as girls go, Chelsea Staub and Nicole Anderson from "Jonas" are some of my favorite people. I just saw them at a Young Hollywood party and we just crack each other up. Chelsea was putting all of my quotes on her Twitter. We're talking about guys and crazy things. I just love those girls.
And I like Logan Lerman (of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) a lot. When he got Percy Jackson, I had read the books and the screenplay and I was so stoked for him. I was like 'I really like this actor and hope he gets a really good fanbase'. I heard he was interested in music and directing and the technical part of things and I am too.
Listen up Logan and reach out to Debby!