We interviewed actress Debby Ryan, star of the brand-new Disney show “Jessie,” at the ABC offices in Manhattan recently. Debby also starred as Bailey Pickett on Disney’s “The Suite Life on Deck.”
In “Jessie,” Debby plays a nanny to four energetic kids. It premieres Sept. 30 at 9 p.m.
How do you feel about your new show, “Jessie”?
"I’m so jazzed. I’m very, very excited. You know when I walked into the room and all you guys clapped? That is how I feel every minute of every day working on the show. I’m like, “Yes, it’s happening.” I’ve been working hard on this for nine months. It’s like, last fall, winter, and working to collaborate on the characters and wardrobe and working with the writers, giving them my ideas and imput, and watching the sets be completed, and film the show, and cast awesome kids in it... and now we are finally putting it on your TVs.
How did you get ready for your new show?
I watched a lot of nanny things, I watched “Mary Poppins,” “The Sound of Music”; I watched a lot of the show “The Nanny.” It’s about a nanny. It’s good stuff — that kind of thing, and I hung out with the kids a lot. I mean, ultimately, it’s all about Jessie hanging out with these kids and helping them and kind of being a mentor and a guide to them and making sure that they don’t completely wreck the house. Kind of doing that and hanging out with them.
There are so many young girls who look up to you as an idol. How do you feel about being a role model to them?
Good! It’s a lot, because I’m 18, and I don’t have myself figured out. But I also know what I stand for, and I know what I stand against. I feel like the second you know those things, no matter what life throws at you, and no matter what people kind of introduce to you, you’re not going to make too bad mistakes. . . . I think it’s cool that I’m human, and I have an amazing family who completely understands that I’m human and how human I am, and that I’m ridiculous. . . . I have a brother who’s not afraid to be, like, “Debby, you’re being ridiculous. Clean up your room or stop going to the movies with your friends and spend a little time at home” — whatever it is — and that’s what I love about my family. So I have a great family, and they give it to me. So I’m kind of glad to pay it forward to my young girls and young boys as well.
If you could pick, would you rather have a singing career or an acting career — and why?
Acting career. I think, for my work and for my job, I would always be an actor first. I started in theater, actually, because I danced and I wanted to dance and sing. Then I started musical theater, and then it went from musicals to just regular plays, and I did sing and dance. And I loved the acting part of it and becoming another character and telling a different story, and I really enjoyed it. I would love to do it until the day that I die.