Ryan Destiny On Joining ‘Growni-sh’, ‘Star’s’ End, And Taking On ‘Flint Strong’
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Ryan Destiny is on a roll.

The actress and singer is set to join Freeform’s Grown-ish for its upcoming third season where she will play Jillian, a student transferring from an HBCU to Cal U where she’ll study filmmaking. She recently shared the video for her late 90s-early 2000s inspired single, “The Same,” and it was just announced that she will star as Gold Medal-winning boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields in Flint Strong. Not to mention, the actress is quickly becoming a fashion and beauty inspiration to many.

Before the new year, ESSENCE spoke to Destiny, who recently teamed up with Footlocker for their latest spot, “Discover Your Air,” which showcases Nike’s trio of new footwear packs as part of Evolution of the Swoosh: Chapter 2. She dished on joining Grown-ish, Star coming to an end, and the beauty products she swears by.

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Essence: You’re joining Grown-ish, you’ve released music, and it was recently announced that you will star in Flint Strong. You’re ending 2019 on a great note and starting 2020 on a high. Is this how you imagined 2019 would end and 2020 would begin?

Ryan Destiny: Not at all. After a show [Star] you’re starring in gets canceled, you definitely get a little shook. But you’ve got to trust God’s process. The opportunity to have opportunities is a huge blessing. 

With Grown-ish, were you familiar with the show or the cast before joining the series?

Yes, thankfully some were already friends. Plus I’ve been supporting [the show] and [I’m] a genuine fan of the show since the start of it.

On the series, you’ll be playing a transfer student majoring in filmmaking. If you were to ever pursue college, what would you major in?

I want to say Architecture, but also Psychology. 

Flint Strong was just announced, and with Barry Jenkins writing the script and Rachel Morrison directing, there’s a strong team behind the film. Do you see this role as a new challenge? And how do you think it will push you as an actress?

It’s a huge challenge and that’s why it’s such a blessing to me. I want to be pushed to grow more and more in my craft. It’s the only way. This role will definitely be a side of me no one has seen, but honestly a side that I’ve always wanted to show.

Star came to an end this year with an insane finale, but Lee Daniels has hinted at the possibility of a movie to wrap up loose ends. What would you like to see happen with your character?

I always loved the idea of diving into Alex’s passion in a more organic “music business” way. Seeing her possibly write [or] produce for other artists would’ve been cool to see while still doing her own thing.

Why was it so important for you to be a part of Foot Locker’s “Discover Your Air” initiative?

It was cool to collab with Foot Locker. I’m a sneaker-head at heart, always. So it was just fun to do something in this world. I felt at home. 

You’re prepping for a night out in the clip and dancing around your room. What’s on your go-to playlist for a night out?

It depends on my mood, of course, but Burna Boy has been putting me in a good headspace for a night out, for sure.

You have become an inspiration to a lot of Black women. How does that feel and how important is it to you that Black women feel seen?

It means more than anything, honestly. I hope I can keep making people proud. I hope I can help open up doors and eyes. Us being seen is all we want. I’ll always fight for that.

A quick beauty question: You’ve become a beauty inspiration for many. Your hair, makeup, skin is always on point. What are the products you swear by?

For hair, when I’m letting it breathe, I’m always mixing Cantu products in there somewhere. Skincare, I can’t live without my Mario Badescu spot treatment. [It] saves lives. Lastly for makeup, [to] make sure I’m always fresh looking after long days, I need my Fix+ spray from Mac. 


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