When meeting Taylor Swift, it’s hard to avoid going full-on fan-girl—even for one of her peers, Debby Ryan. The star of the Disney Channel show Jessie and loyal Swiftie recently stopped by InStyle’s offices to discuss her role as the face of Mary Kay's "Don’t Look Away" campaign to prevent dating abuse, and she told us about meeting the singer at Elton John’s Oscar party two years ago. "I was so excited that she was there, because I love her," said Ryan, whose mutual pal with Swift, Sarah Hyland, introduced the two.
While in Swift's presence, Ryan tried to play it cool. But even still, "I was panicking," she said. Luckily, her outfit did the talking for her. "I was wearing this menswear-inspired dress, and Taylor was like, 'This is such a good look—everything is working for you.'"
After receiving the ultimate T-Swift stamp of approval, Ryan needed to take a minute and reflect. "I went home to eat mac and cheese out of the pot, and I cried happy tears," she said. And ever since the encounter, Ryan hasn't been able to shake it off. "Those ten seconds of Taylor saying something really nice to a little star-struck fan-girl she just met really changed me," she said. "She's this powerful boss-woman, but it was just so humble and gracious of her."
The gesture had long-lasting effects on Ryan, who has been inspired to compliment strangers every day since. "Supporting other women is so cool to me," she said. "I try to pay it forward now, just like Taylor Swift."
One way she's doing that is through her role in Mary Kay's "Don't Look Away" campaign to prevent dating abuse, a cause that's close to Ryan's heart. "The second that someone lays their hand on you, you know that it's wrong," she said. "But I don't want that to be the warning sign anymore---I want it to be sooner." For more information about the campaign, visit marykay.com/dontlookaway.