Debby Ryan Joins Mary Kay's 'Don't Look Away' Initiative & Speaks Out Against Dating Violence with JJJ (Exclusive Interview)

Debby Ryan Joins Mary Kay's 'Don't Look Away' Initiative & Speaks Out Against Dating Violence with JJJ (Exclusive Interview)

Debby Ryan is using her voice and star power for more good again, this time with Mary Kay and their Don’t Look Away program.

Don’t Look Away is the company’s initiative which brings awareness to dating violence, an epidemic that impacts one in three young people today.

Debby will be traveling across the country to help educate teens and young adults on healthy relationships, how to recognize the signs of dating abuse and raise awareness of support services.

JJJ caught up with Debby, 22, about the program and found out just why it’s super important to be a part of. Check it:

JJJ: Why have you partnered up with Mary Kay for Don’t Look Away
Debby Ryan:
I personally know and have heard about how alone you feel when you’re a part of a bad relationship and how unfortunate it really is, especially when you’re silent about it. I believe in Mary Kay and the program where it teaches that every one deserves a safe and healthy relationship, which makes you stronger and better, which makes you the best version of yourself and feel loved and taken care of and empowered. I just want everyone to know about the women’s side of a healthy relationship.

JJJ: Tell us more about the program
What’s cool about this program is that not only does it have shelter programs, education and prevention efforts, but they also power the nations’s first and only text for help service. This is my favorite part of the program where hundreds of young people can text questions, urgency and more.

Debby Ryan: Mary Kay Don’t Look Away Dating Abuse Prevention Campaign

(Click inside for more of JJJ‘s interview with Debby Ryan about Don’t Look Away…)

JJJ: How many young people experience dating abuse?
One in three young adults experience some sort of dating abuse. One in three…is me hanging out in a group with two other people. The idea that one of us would be experiencing some sort of dating violence or abuse is…and people talk about this like it’s normal and they think that that is what love is. This is why I’ve partnered up with Mary Kay, because I want to help to bring awareness to it but also share how to get help because this isn’t normal, this isn’t healthy, this is not okay, and the program provides young people a environment where they can ask and get answers about their next steps.

JJJ: How can people get help?
That text service…I’ve actually texted into it about relationships my friends have been in. It’s a service that’s with people my age who I would already be talking to about this. This is a person who wants you to be okay and to help. If you are experience dating abuse or have concerns about any unhealthy behavior, you should text “loveis” to 22522. From there, they’re going to connect you with a peer advocate. In my experience calling in, they ask you questions about yourself and they ask you ‘how does that make you feel?’ and ‘what does that do to you?’ — and they come back with these positive messages saying, ‘I think you deserve to be loved’. Another thing that is cool is that if you go to, you can learn about all the signs of an unhealthy relationship, about what it is, how to connect and more.

There’s a thing that I’ve learned through this campaign that is so real called digital abuse. I’ve been in relationships before where your partner is demanding about your phone use and online use. They’ll be like ‘Who are you texting?’ and ‘Gimme your phone’. Usually it’s very casual where they will say ‘I should have your phone password’ for little messages and selfies or something and they’ll say ‘If you love me, you’ll give it to me’…and now they have access to your entire life. You have to remember that you were an entire person before them and you don’t owe them an explanation on who you are texting or anything. Digital dating abuse is totally real.

JJJ: What can you tell us about Mary Kay’s Global Day of Beauty
I get to go to both of the days in New York and Los Angeles and I’m so excited. These are basically helping survivors to feel beautiful inside and out and it’s women in New York, LA, D.C. and Miami receiving beauty pampering treatments from Mary Kay and it’s a small step towards a major confidence boost and a fresh start after experiencing unspeakable abuse. Breaking yourself out and learning how valuable you truly are after being told with words or actions that you aren’t…getting yourself out of this and fighting this and starting over and starting anew…that takes so much strength and these women are my heroes for doing that. If there’s one thing that Mary Kay and I can do, to give them a little bit of loving, here’s letting them know that they are worth feeling beautiful and you are absolutely beautiful; we’re going to pamper you a little bit and then they’re going to have this new outlook and strength in life.

For me, on sets, I have very long days and it’s exhausting to me. I’ve worked a 14-hour day and then there’s things and relationships and more work stuff, whether it’s directing or just daily things that just get you worn down and then I sit in a makeup chair and have this beautiful women paint my face and pamper me and make me feel not only beautiful with makeup but that I’m worth pampering…and that is enough to get me into gear and tell myself that ‘I can handle today’.

Now, if we can make these women feel that kind of beautiful and give them a little bit of loving to move forward, that’s what I’m really excited about.

JJJ: What else is Mary Kay doing to help women facing abuse?
I remember being younger and hearing about Mary Kay and the people inside this company really do care about making you feel beautiful inside and out and taking care of them. They have this long standing commitment to prevent and end domestic violence. Preventing is the ideal and ending it is what we’re trying to do altogether. Ending the normalization of it and we need to make these women realize they are worth it and the people who are doing the dating abuse make them see it is not okay. Over the last 15 years, Mary Kay has given over $50 million dollars to prevention and run programs at shelters all across the U.S. in it’s effort. Plus, we’re doing these Mary Day Global Days of Beauty.

JJJ: Do you have any inspirational quotes that you always keep in your mind?
There’s a good one from St. Francis of Assisi and it’s ‘All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle’ and it’s so true. Even if you’re in the darkest, darkest room and a little tiny candle is lit, you still can’t put out the light. It’s so dark, but still I can’t hide this thing in me, it needs to be lit and I need that. It’s a beautiful saying and these women are such light and to know that some people are trying to snuff that out makes me so angry. I’m heartbroken about that and to come in with Mary Kay, I’m going to be trying to relight all these candles everywhere. It makes me happy that I’ve partnered up with Mary Kay for this because it’s time people started fighting for them.

JJJ: Do you have any favorite Mary Kay beauty products?
This sounds really basic, but I really don’t go anywhere without their lip balm. It’s a really great balm and has SPF in it. I also love their powder and they have this scrub brush which is the best and anything, really with SPF in it because I mean, I live in Southern California and you’re supposed to wear it and I always forget to. They’re blushes are really good too. It’s always hard to find a good blush and they have a great line.

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Photos: Logan Cole Photography
Posted to: Debby Ryan, Exclusive
  • Joolz

    I love Debby! she’s so beautiful, talented, and just a great person. I’d love to meet her. She’s a great role model. I wish there were more people like her in the world. This sounds like a great program. I just wish it wasn’t for my competition. She’s part of Mary Kay & I sell Avon LOL. Just kidding. Seriously though great program & I’m glad she’s helping others. :o)

  • joe

    Dating violence seems to be a problem at all ages. You really have to use common sense and always keep your guard up. As a single dad that dates online, I only join sites like which does criminal background checks on everyone that joins, which at least helps make dating a little safer.

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