It's My Life PBS Kids Go!
Celeb Scoop: Ryan Newman

By It's My Life on February 7, 2011 1:45 PM | No TrackBacks

ryannewman.jpgMost of the performers who are popular with tweens are a little older, maybe in their teens or even early twenties. Not Ryan Newman, who you may know as Ginger, the conniving little sister from Disney XD's hit show "Zeke and Luther." Ryan is 12, and although her life is very different from most other kids her age -- she goes to school "on set" and connects with fans online -- she's trying to balance a promising career with the day-to-day experiences of being a normal tween.

Ryan got her start in the biz doing commercials, then at age 7 starred in the films "Zoom," where she got to play a young superhero, and "Monster House," where she became the youngest actor to ever be motion-captured. She went on to play the young Miley on "Hannah Montana" before starring in "Zeke and Luther." Her first musical endeavor, the single "Happy Universal Holidays" on which she collaborated with co-star Adam Hicks, will be followed by more songs to be released soon.

Ryan recently talked to IML about her acting and music, her crazy busy schedule, and how she deals with friendship challenges.

IML: How are things on the set of "Zeke and Luther" this season?

Ryan: They're really great. Coming back from hiatus after the last season, everyone's all grown up. All the boys are driving, they're all over 18. It's so weird because I'm the only one in the classroom now!

IML: What's been your favorite episode so far?

Ryan: I really loved the episode "Old Nasty," where Ginger takes skateboard lessons from Luther. It was so much fun to film because I got to skateboard and work with the skate coordinator, learning those things. It was a really fun episode with a big group of us, and that's always lots of fun. And lots of stunts too!

IML: What can viewers expect this season? Anything special?

Ryan: Well...there's a little change in Zeke's living situation, but I can't tell you what! You'll have to wait and see! A lot of guest stars from the second season are coming back, and lots of amazing stunts. Be prepared to laugh!

Thumbnail image for Zeke_and_luther_cast.jpgIML: We're sure people will! So how and you and Ginger alike, and how are you different?

Ryan: We're alike in that we're both perfectionists. Ginger is the best at whatever she does; I may not be the best at whatever I do, but I definitely try for it. We're very different because Ginger is always playing pranks on her brother...she's very conniving and mischievous, trying to outwit Zeke. And I'm not like that at all!

IML: You have an older sister. You don't torment her the way Ginger torments Zeke?

Ryan: No! I don't play pranks at all. Me and my sister get along really well.

IML: What kind of comments do you get from fans?

Ryan: They're so sweet, I love all the fans around the world. I have a Twitter so when people Tweet me, it's crazy to hear them say Ginger's catchphrase "Oh yeah, baby." I'll get Tweets in other languages, which is really cool. Some people tell me that they play the same pranks that Ginger plays!

IML: You've been acting since you were 3 and you've already had quite a career. What would be your dream role?

Ryan: Probably to do something like "Glee" because I'd get to sing, dance, and act...everything I love to do. It would be great to have a role that combines it all.

IML: So now people will get to know you as a singer too. Tell us a little more about the singles you've been working on.

Ryan: I have three original songs that I co-wrote. I did "Happy Universal Holidays" with Adam Hicks for Disney for our "Bro Ho Ho" Christmas episode. That was so much fun, to work with Adam. It was amazing. I've always been so inspired by his work and I sat right next to him when he wrote "In the Summertime," and I was just blown away. I never knew how much work it was to rap! Or even to write a rap. He makes it look so easy.

IML: You've co-written the other two songs. How did you come up with ideas for the songs?

Ryan: They're just things that happen in my life, things I want to tell people, lessons learned that I want to make sure people hear about. They'll be released soon but I'm not sure when. People can check out my Twitter page, @ryrynewman.

IML: How is singing different from acting? Does one experience help with the other?

Ryan: It definitely helps to have the acting experience going into singing, because when you're singing you have to portray the emotion you were feeling when you wrote the song. They're the same thing in a way, it's expressing your emotions through words.

IML: What's a typical day like for you when you're on set?

Ryan: Pretty hectic! It kind of varies a little bit, but normally I have to get up really early and go to set and get hair and makeup, and wardrobe. Then sometimes I'll go to school or straight on set. Then whenever I have a chance throughout the day, I'll go and do school.

IML: When you're not shooting, what are you doing?

Ryan: I am singing and dancing -- I'm a dancer so I do four hours of dance a week of ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary. I also play the piano and I just started learning the guitar.

IML: Whoa! How do you balance all of that? Do you ever feel stressed out about how to get it all done?

Ryan: Yes, definitely. I stress out a lot. Being a perfectionist doesn't help with that! It's hard but you've got to make a schedule, deciding "I'll get this done then and this done now, and whatever happens happens." The people I surround myself with are very supportive and helpful with everything.

IML: What's your favorite way to just hang out and have fun, when you do get the chance?

Ryan: Either hanging with my friends, my old school friends, or watching TV or playing music. It helps relax me.

IML: How do you keep up your friendships with such a crazy schedule?

Ryan: My best friend from school lives right next door, so that makes it a lot easier. I go to a dance class with one of my other best friends. And I have them over and we go swimming, or go to the movies. I work really hard to make sure to see them as much as I can.

IML: So you have time to be a normal 12-year-old?

Ryan: Yes!

IML: Do people recognize you when you go out?

Ryan: Yes! It's funny because I've known these girls for a long time so they're used to it, but it is weird because I'm just Ryan to them but to other people I'm Ryan Newman. I love when fans recognize me. Most of the time they don't have the guts to come up so I'm like, come here, say hi! I don't bite!

IML: Do you have any role models, in life and in your career?

Ryan: Probably my parents. I couldn't do this without them, and I don't know how they do it because they're working so much harder than me. In my career, I'd say Taylor Swift or even Lea Michele. I love that Lea is a singer and an actor.

IML: What do you think it means for a girl to be "strong"?

Ryan: I think strong is being who you are without any influence from anyone else. Being in this industry, it's really hard to do because you're getting criticism form everyone and everywhere. You have to hold true to your values. There are people who like me because of what I do, and there are people who don't like me because of what I do! It's really hard because people judge you without knowing you.

IML: So you have to find the people who like you for who you are?

Ryan: It was really hard for me to find friends in school, like actual real friends, when I first started out in the industry. I wouldn't tell anyone. Then once they were my really close friends and I knew they were hanging out with me because of who I am, not what I've done, then I'd tell them. Then they'd be totally cool with it because they already knew me for me.

IML: Thanks for chatting. We're sure everyone will love hearing about what you're doing. Good luck with everything and we can't wait to hear your new singles!

Ryan: Thank you so much!

Main Index