Debby Ryan is an American actress, singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. Ryan is best known for starring as Bailey Pickett in the Disney Channel Original Series The Suite Life on Deck. In 2008, The Suite Life on Deck ranked as TV's top series among kids 6-11 and the No. 2 scripted series among tweens 9-14. Ryan started acting in professional theatres at the age of seven; in 2007 she appeared in the Barney & Friends straight-to-DVD film Barney: Let's Go to the Firehouse and then was discovered in a nationwide search by Disney. She is also known for appearing in the 2008 feature film The Longshots as Edith.
In 2009, she guest starred in an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place in Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana as Bailey Pickett along with her other cast mates from The Suite Life on Deck. Then, in 2010, she starred in the film 16 Wishes, which was the most watched cable program on the day of its premiere on the Disney Channel. 16 Wishes introduced Ryan to new audiences; the movie received high viewership in the adults demographic (18-34). Soon after that, Ryan starred in the independent theatrical film, What If..., which premiered on August 20, 2010. Ryan also starred in the new Disney Channel Original movie, Radio Rebel, where she portrays the role of Tara Adams, a shy 17-year-old girl who adopts the radio personality, Radio Rebel. Released February 17, 2012. Ryan stars in the titular role in the Disney Channel Original Series, Jessie.
Life & Career
Ryan was born in Huntsville, Alabama. She has performed in various theater performance groups, and talent competitions. Her father was in the military, so she moved to numerous places in Europe. She lived in Germany until she was 10 and can speak both English and German. She started performing in professional theaters at the age of seven on an American base in Germany.
She returned to the United States at the age of 10, in 2003, and was raised in Texas. She dreamed of acting full-time. In a 2009 People Magazine interview, she described herself as a "nerd" in school. Ryan was bullied in middle school for being a mascot and a member of the school's chess club
Ryan began appearing in various television commercials in her early teenage years. She appeared in several commercials for iDog and various board games; she was in an iDog Dance commercial in 2008. Ryan's first film role was in 2007 as a guest character in Barney: Let's Go to the Firehouse, she played the role of a teenager. Ryan also had a supporting role in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature film The Longshots, alongside teen actress Keke Palmer and Ice Cube. Ryan played Edith in the feature film.
Ryan played one of the main characters, Bailey Pickett, on the Disney Channel Original Series, The Suite Life on Deck, which is a sequel/spin-off to the hit Disney Channel series, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The series's pilot aired on September 26, 2008 in the US and drew in 5.7 million viewers, and it became the most watched series premiere in Canada on the Family channel. The series was 2008's #1 top scripted television series for children between the ages of 6 to 11 and pre-teens between the ages of 9 to 14, beating the veteran series Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place in the ratings. The series was also 2009's top rated scripted series in the children and tween demographic (6-14), outpacing Hannah Montana and several other teenage shows.
In 2009, it was announced that Ryan landed a starring role in the independent feature film, What If..., alongside Kevin Sorbo and Kristy Swanson. The film was shot in Grand Rapids and Manistee, Michigan in July 2009 and was released in theaters on August 20, 2010. The film is produced by Pure Flix Entertainment and centers on a Christian family. In October 2009, Ryan hosted the first Tween Girl Summit Music Festival. "Tween girls are drawn to talented performers who emanate the joy of life, and we are so happy to have teen favorite Debby Ryan as the first host of The Tween Summit Music Festival," said Denise Restauri, founder of The Tween Summit, AllyKatzz.com and AK Tweens. "The Tween Summit is a day of celebrating the excitement of youth and hope for the future. As my tween friends say,'This concert is going to Rock!'"
In 2010, she starred in the young adult film 16 Wishes, about a teenager named Abigail "Abby" Louise Jensen (Ryan) who has been planning for her sixteenth birthday party ever since she was a little girl with a list of secret wishes she wants to come true, and on the day of her 16th birthday, all of her wishes come true. 16 Wishes went on to become the most watched cable program on the day of its premiere on the Disney Channel and one of the most watched movies on television. In addition, the movie introduced Ryan to new audiences, such as the contemporary adult audience since the movie received high viewership in the adults demographic (18-34). Ryan noted that to prepare for her role in 16 Wishes, she watched numerous Brat Pack movies, most occasionally Sixteen Candles which she stated is very similar to 16 Wishes. When asked how she prepared for the role, she said "It's, at the end of the day it depends on the script. You can do a comedy and it's completely different than a different comedy. I watch a lot of movies. 16 Wishes, when I went up to do that I watched Sixteen Candles (rated PG) and a couple of coming-of-age films. I love Molly Ringwald. So getting into the feel of that. . .". Ryan starred in The Suite Life Movie, based on the show she had starred in. The show finished its run on May 6, 2011.
In March 2011, it was announced that Ryan landed her own Disney Channel series called Jessie, which debuted in September 2011. The show follows a girl who moves from Texas to New York to become a star but becomes a nanny instead for a family with four children. Jessie is a show she also helped create, relating that she wanted her character to relate to herself. In February 2012, she starred in another Disney Channel movie entitled Radio Rebel.