Debby Ryan on Her Hit Show and Upcoming Debut Album

Even if she wasn’t famous, Debby Ryan would be a cool girl. You know the type: Smart (see her charming Tumblr), funny (see her hilariously witty tweets), and she can rock ball gowns and band tees with the same aplomb. The actress-slash-singer is totally BFF-worthy, and she just so happens to be real-life besties with half of youngHollywood.

But Debby is famous, and deservedly so—the Disney star has acted on loads of hit series (remember The Suite Life?), the latest beingJessie, which kicks off its third season this summer.

We stole a few minutes with the 20-year-old to chat about movies, music, and making it big on the small-screen.

What can we expect from season three of Jessie?
Disney has never done a show with someone who starts out so grown-up̬Jessie’s 18! She’s still trying to figure out what kind of career she wants, so she’s trying different things and attempting to move forward and really advance as an actor. More than anything, it’s about watching her grow.

You’re going through a lot of the same things are your character. Do you influence the storylines at all?
I think that’s where we get half the inspiration for the show, just saying, “Okay, Debby, what’s going on with you right now?” I’m doing what Jessie’s doing. She’s moving forward, and life is changing and shifting around her. All the stories about her family and her relationships—all of those personal things—are totally typical of someone that age.

You’ve been on TV for years now. Are movies next for you?
It’s funny—for a lot of people, features are the dream, and they’re like, “When life settles down, maybe I’ll go to TV.” For me, it’s the opposite. I’ve really fallen in love with television. TV acting is a great skill to have, and it’s nice to have that stability.

But you’re into movies and music too, right?
I can do a little bit of everything, which is such a blessing. I have an amazing team of people around me. They don’t come to me and say “You should really do this, or you should reallyconsider that.” It’s, “Do you care about this project? Do you really want to do this? If not, don’t push it.” Acting and the industry of making movies is beautiful, but it’s so exhausting and suchhard work, if you don’t absolutely 100% want to do something, it defeats the purpose. You haveto want to do it and choose things that are worth fighting for. A career is not as much defined by things you say “yes” to as much as things you say “no” to.

You’re also recording an album! What should we expect from that?
I wouldn’t do the music thing if it weren’t for my brother, who’s a producer. He understands me and helps my vision come to life. I want to tell stories, and I want to tell them in the right way. He helps me do that. For the longest time, I was afraid to be a Disney girl who does music. It’s like, I love those girls. Those girls are my favorite. But it didn’t feel like me! Music is such an intensely personal thing for me, and I knew if I was going to do it, it would be in my own way.

What does it sound like?
There’s a little bit of everything. There are ukeleles and screaming guitars and loud drums and fun piano. It really is a fun record that’s about experiencing every shade of life.

You also manage to do a lot of charity work, too! What are you doing right now?
I’m an ambassador for Disney’s Friends for Change, and I asked them if there’s anything we can do to help little girls in India get education and a better quality of life, because that’s important to me. A few months later they introduced me to an incredible charity called Free the Children, which helps young people empower other young people. They recently partnered with Amwayto look for changemakers who are positively affecting their communities and, therefore, the world.

You always look awesome on the red carpet. Are you into fashion?
It’s such an exciting subplot of what I do. I’m blessed because get to tell stories and help people, but I also get to step out and wear cool things and tell people who I am. I’m inspired by street style and Teen Vogue. I love band tees and pearl earrings!


Making Masterpieces with Instagram + #PhotoADay Tips

# PhotoADay

I started noticing #febphotoaday hashtags on IG and Twitter last month, and was intrigued, but I didn’t jump in, because I couldn’t be saddled with one. More. Commitment. But over the course of the month, I found myself drawn to the photos others were posting. I decided to click over to Fat Mum Slim to check it out and discovered—HEY—she’s an Aussie!

Six Degrees
Had a six degrees of separation moment when I realized that that Chantelle (of Fat Mum Slim, who is in Sydney), knows Carly (of Smaggle), whom I met at IFB Con through Wendy Brandes (of Wendy Brandes Jewelry) last September. And of course there’s myfavorite person in the blogosphere, Aussie blogger, Lee Oliveira, also in Sydney, and my Hubby, whom I imported from Sydney. OK, I’m definitely digressing. But you get my point. I’m an Aussie magnet. So I felt obligated to be supportive based on the mere fact that the children I’ll never have would be half-Australian, so that practically makes us family. That’s how Southerners (and Greeks) work. Hmph.

Back to # PhotoADay
Interestingly, I found myself cognizant of the challenge on February 29th, so I looked at the assignments and decided I wasn’t just going to participate in the #MarchPhotoADay challenge, I was going to take it seriously!

And you know what? It’s been fun challenging myself not to just participate, but to create beautiful photos of everyday things. What’s also interesting about the challenge is that some of the assignments aren’t as easy as you might think. Attempting to capture non-tangible things—like emotions—takes some thought.

After a year on Instagram, and a month doing a # PhotoADay challenge, I wanted to share some tips for making your Instagram shots into masterpieces, and how to get the most out of photo challenges on Instagram.

Some of my favorite March photo a day shots:

Make Every Shot an Insta Masterpiece

  1. Use filters or # nofilter. That’s the fun part! Add a little blur, pick a filter ( and you can transform the whole mood of a photo. Of course, if your photo is totally gorge all on its own, let people know it is un-retouched by using #nofilter. My faves are Nashville and Lo-fi.
  2. Ditch the frame if you want consistently-sized shots. This is especially helpful if you want to add them to your blog or create a collage. (In the shots below, that’s the square icon, top left of the screen.)
  3. Play with light. Lighting is a huge aspect of what makes a photo beautiful. Sometimes tilting your phone a certain way overexposes the subject or catches a little sparkle or sunbeam. It can mean the difference between pretty and ethereal.
  4. Take photos with your phone’s camera, then import to Instagram. Can’t tell you how important this is if you’re trying to capture a shot while you or the subject are moving, or the light is changing. Just snap, snap, snap, then decide which photo makes the cut. This also gives you the chance to do some pre-IG editing if needed. When you use the camera in IG, the dimensions are perfect, yes. But if the photo isn’t good, you have to abandon it to take a new one, and that new one may or may not be the money shot. Take it from someone who’s lost a lot of great shots doing that.

Don’t inundate your IG feed with sexy photos and gratuitous cleavage shots (ladies). It’s pretty obvs when someone’s come-hither shot was only because they’re feeling too sexy for their shirt that day, versus a shot intended to show their hair, makeup, or accessories. There are a couple IGers I’ve seen with shot after shot of I’m too sexy… Please. Just. Don’t. You might be sexy, but if that’s all you got, I’m already bored

Tips for Participating in #PhotoADay Challenges

  1. You don’t have to participate every day. The challenge should never feel like a chore—it’s meant to be fun! Better to skip a day when the assigned subject doesn’t appeal to you. No one enjoys humdrum shots. It’s no biggie if you miss a day.
  2. Change your perspective. I mean this literally and figuratively. If you really want some interesting shots, change your view, the level/angle of your camera. And think outside the box. If the assignment is “trash,” you could be very literal and snap your trash can. Or you can shoot gossip magazines as “trash,” like this shot by@hairromance. Unexpected. Brilliant.
  3. Share what’s unique to you, show your personality.Every day’s assignment is an opportunity to share a little of you. For the “key” assignment this month, I saw lots of shots of key rings. I chose to shoot my car key in my hand because it highlights my love of the BMW brand, and all things nail polish. Still a key. But again, perspective.
  4. Remember your hashtags. Without a hashtag like#MarchPhotoADay, no one knows you are participating, and other participants can’t see your photo in the list when they tap the hashtag in Instagram. Hashtags are important across the board. Not only do they become searchable in IG, but Twitter too. So if you’re sharing your shots on Twitter, your reach is exponential. Not bad for growing your connections in several social spaces. If you do a lot of mani shots (like me), you might add #nails or#gelish to your shot. Maybe you’re into architecture or travel…you might add a hashtag for the city, country, or place you’re sharing. If it’s your pet, some use #petstagram or breed-specific tags like #Frenchie:)
  5. Share! And ♥ like! Sync your IG account with Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr and get even more exposure for your photo of the day. And the most important part is the ♥ like. It’s as easy a double-tap on your phone screen. When you see another shot you like, let that person know. IG is another social medium, after all. Connect with others and they will connect with you.

Changes ahead: more details on how iOS 7 will look

SUMMARY:Apple is said to be planning new looks for basic iOS apps that are mostly black and white and uniform in look. Functions like slide-to-unlock will also get a facelift.

As the calendar ticks down to Apple’s first public event since October 2012, more details are starting to emerge regarding what the company will present. It’s fairly clear WWDC 2013 will primarily be about software, for both iOS and Mac OS X. And a new report contains some hints about the coming visual overhaul to iOS.

9to5Mac, which earlier reported that iOS 7 would get a new look with “very, very flat design” and see some default iOS apps get a refresh, has a report with far more detail about the coming changes. The sources are anonymous and obviously final decisions are still yet to be made. Still, the report is a good indication that we’re not going to get the same old iOS this year.

It’s a long piece filled with many details, but a few of the more interesting slated changes include:

  • User interface functions, like the slide-to-unlock bar, the textured background of the drop-down Notifications menu, and the tappable app icons will all be subtly upgraded visually.
  • Basic Apple apps, like Calendar, Notes, GameCenter, Mail will get a unified black and white look and be differentiated mostly by a third color.
  • The Weather app is getting an upgrade with more features.
  • Over-the-top real-world animations, like the shredder that animates when a Passbook ticket is deleted, will go away.

In all, it’s about what we’ve been expecting. Nothing too drastic, but a thorough refresh that will be the first major visual upgrade to the operating system in its six years of existence.

It’s also been reported that in order to do this, the iOS team has been scrambling to finish the project and has pulled members of the OS X software team over to help it meet its deadline. It’s not clear what effect that may have on the timely release of the desktop OS, which is expected to be released later this summer or fall.

Google’s Schmidt: Teens’ mistakes will never go away

Speaking at a festival in the U.K., Google’s executive chairman offers that the things teens do now will stay with them forever, by way of the Web. He also suggested some people are sharing too much online.

When you search “teens do stupid things” on YouTube, you get a treasure trove.

(Credit: BFvsGF/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

It must be peculiar for children of the Internet age.

They are the first to have a complete record of their whole lives. They are the first who’ll be able to offer concrete proof of every one of their days, friends, and actions.

Eric Schmidt worries, however, that they’ll be the first who’ll never be allowed to forget their mistakes.

As the Telegraph reports, Schmidt spoke Saturday at the Hay Festival in the U.K. and offered some sobering thoughts for those addled by online life.

He said: “There are situations in life that it’s better that they don’t exist. Especially if there is stuff you did when you were a teenager. Teenagers are now in an adult world online.”

Some days, you could hardly describe most of what happens online as “adult.” Still, Schmidt says he believes the online world has gone too far in forcing teens to never forget.

In bygone times, he said, they were punished, but allowed to grow beyond youthful indiscretions.

Some might wonder that teenagers aren’t punished enough these days, so the online world acts as a peculiar corrective.

However, my own worry is the use of the word “mistake.”

This is a word that is always couched in certainty, but often has a highly fluctuating meaning.

A word or an act can seem like a mistake when it happens — and even shortly afterward. In years to come, though, you might look back on it and see that, though it created friction and even hurt at the time, it served a higher and more character-forming purpose in the long run.

Supposed mistakes can lead you down paths that you never would have otherwise traveled. You end up discovering things about yourself and what makes you happy that may have otherwise never been found.


Calling one’s boss “a raving buck-toothed lunatic, with the management skills of a deaf hyena and the talent of an oaf’s corpse” might get you fired — or even ostracized for a while.

Yet the courage that might have taken could serve to bolster an otherwise compliant spirit and project you to higher goals and achievements.

Similarly, a teenager who is digitally captured engaging in one of the thousands of indiscretions to which teenagers have mental and physical access — say, putting toilet cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle — might have to suffer for it in the short term.

In years to come, however, that might seem merely a fond and hearty reminder of how absurd life (and people) can be. It might also show an aspect of character that some might not immediately spot.

It’s true that, as Schmidt said in his speech, people are now sharing too much. He gave the example of future parents posting ultrasounds of their unborn babies.

But part of the problem that teens might encounter in the future comes not from their having made supposed mistakes. It’s from those who might choose to judge them for those supposed mistakes.

As ever in life, the opinions of others — especially in the sheep pen that is the Web — can be the most mistaken and most damaging distortion of all.