Exclusive: Singer Ryan Destiny Talks ‘A Girl Like Grace’Posted by Wilson Morales
June 19, 2015
Making its World Premiere recently at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival was Ty Hodges‘ coming-of-age film, “A Girl Like Grace,” starring singer/songwriter Ryan Destiny in her film debut, Meagan Good, Garcelle Beauvais, Raven-Symone, Romeo Miller, Blair Redford, Marcus Lyle Brown, Leticia Jimenez and Paige Hurd.
A Girl Like Grace, follows seventeen-year-old “Grace” (Ryan Destiny), who grows up in a dysfunctional home raised by her single mother “Lisa” (Garcelle Beauvais). Entering her senior year of high school, Grace fights for acceptance in the world while being bullied at school by “Mary” (Raven Symone). Grace looks for guidance from her best friend “Andrea” (Paige Hurd) and becomes heavily influenced by Andrea’s older sister “Share” (Meagan Good).
Grace spirals into a dark world of sex, rebellion and her idea of womanhood. Faced with life’s cruelty, Grace must find a way to make peace with herself and claim her own beauty in this gritty yet relatable coming-of-age story.
For Destiny, it’s a breakout role for the Detriot native. Best known as a member of Russell Simmons and Steve Rifkind’s girl group Love Dollhouse, Destiny had a recurring role on AMC’s Low Winter Sun prior to landing the lead role for ‘Grace.’
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Destiny about her film debut and getting into character.
How was the premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival?
Ryan Destiny: It was amazing. I got great feedback from so many people, so I’m glad.
What attracted you to the film?
RD: I think it found me. I was in Detroit and my acting manager sends me on auditions, but on this one I sent in a tape and I got it a week later. I found out on my birthday, which was a pretty awesome birthday gift. I was super, super excited.
How would you best describe Grace?
RD: Grace is a very smart, but lost girl. She’s still dealing with her best friend committing suicide. She’s just trying to find her way and find her beauty, but she still has her head on her shoulders. I just think she’s trying to find her way back.
There’s so many issues Grace is going through, was that the way it was supposed to be presented?
RD: I think so. She went through a lot to find herself. She was also confused as well with her being a lesbian or not being a lesbian. It was all in the outcome of finding herself at the end and figuring out who she was and who she wanted to be.
Can you talk about being in lead role for your first film?
RD: It was surreal. It was crazy. I have watched these people growing up, pretty much every single person in the cast. It was crazy that I’m the lead and they were helping me carry it. I couldn’t have done any of it without them. I think every single person shines in this film, which is amazing. That was another thing. I learned so much coming in. This is my very first film. There were so challenges for me, I definitely learned a lot as an actor, and what to do and what not to do. Just being comfortable. It was crazy. I’m so thankful.
How much did you learn from Ty Hodges as a director and as an actor?
RD: Ty is an amazing person period. He made me feel super comfortable. One thing off the bat is that he didn’t make me do anything that I didn’t to do. At the same time, I wanted to push myself. It was just a great team and we worked together so well.
And working with the rest of the cast?
RD: That was crazy. I found myself not realizing what’s going on until after we were done filming. Going over lines with Meagan and others, I learned so much from them and that’s a blessing.
How did you get into character? Was there any part of Grace that you could relate to?
RD: Yes. She’s an introverted person and I definitely can be introverted at times and I think that’s were our similarities lies. How I got into character? I had to go to a deep place and I found myself being on set not getting out of character. She was always down (emotionally) a lot and was very into herself. It didn’t take too much but I definitely went to a deep place a lot.
What makes ‘A Girl Like Grace’ different from other coming-of-age films? What’s the draw to see this film?
RD: We need this film to be heard and seen because of how relevant it is to our era. It being about suicide and it being about bullying, that’s happening so much right now. I think people need to see it and see the message and for them to know that they are not alone in all of this. I know I haven’t seen a movie like this in a while so it’s definitely needed.
What do you do when not acting or singing?
RD: I hang out with my friends and with my family. I live in Detroit, MI right now. I don’t live in LA but I’m out in LA. Detroit is very, very chill and being there around the people makes me keep my feet on the ground. I still have to do everything like a kid such as chores and all that stuff so everything is still the same for me. I don’t think that ever will change. My mom is my manager, so she will always keep me grounded. My family and friends definitely help that.
What’s next for you?
RD: There are things that I can’t say right, but since I sing too, and I’m on Capitol Records, I’m recording all the time. Check out for my music soon, and as per acting, you guys will know soon.