If you attended WBHS in 2012, there’s no way you didn’t know Ryan Irons. She was a student here who was not only a talented singer, but also an actress, dancer, and a founding member of the R&B/pop girl group Love Dollhouse.
Now all of America knows her as Ryan Destiny, the girl who plays Alexandra on Empire creator Lee Daniels’ new show STAR. STAR is the story of three teenaged girls who are trying to make it big in the music world.
Before getting her big break, Ryan learned and practiced with the choirs at both Orchard Lake Middle School (OLMS) under Ms. April Tini, and at West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) under Ms. Sheryl Hauk.
Ryan Destiny has always been a performer. She was practically born with the gift, as her father Deron Irons, was a member of the Detroit R&B group Guesss who made it big in the 90s.
When she attended OLMS she met Jasmine Pore, and together they began what would later become Love Dollhouse. According to Ms. Tini, Ryan’s middle-school choir teacher, “she was very focused, and was very interested in learning music theory, vocal technique, and fundamental skills; anything that would make her a better performer.”
Throughout her high school years Ryan’s performing ability advanced, along with the success of Love Dollhouse. During her junior year, the group performed on America’s Got Talent, and soon after, a record deal followed.
As Love Dollhouse gained attention, “Ryan traveled back and forth during her senior year, but always made sure to come back for choir performances,” said her high school choir teacher Ms. Hauk. Ryan had to manage both her career and her classes to graduate on time. While she was on the road with Love Dollhouse, she always had assignments to complete for when she got back to West Bloomfield.
“We have a thing called Talent Day, and every Talent Day she would sing, and most of the time it was songs that she wrote,” Hauk continued.
Ryan’s talent for songwriting bridges into her role as Alexandra Crane on the new show STAR. Alexandra writes songs and organizes gigs for the emerging girl-group portrayed on the show.
“When I’m watching Ryan on TV, I’m seeing Ryan. If you know Ryan, that’s her character. Everything about the character that they have made, that’s Ryan. The way she acts, the way she falls in love, I think this character was written around her,” said Hauk.
In a way, her character’s experiences in the group parallel her experience in Love Dollhouse. Ryan’s character Alexandra also shows a passion for music and songwriting that Ryan developed at OLMS and WBHS.
Ryan’s blossoming career is certainly not the only success story to come out of the WBSD performing arts program. “We have a lot of huge deals out of this department. Right now we have the lead in Rent. Right now we have the winner of the Grand Rapids Opera Award,” said Ms. Hauk.
Ryan Destiny’s success just shows the limitless possibilities WBHS grads can have if they set their mind to their goals and work hard, or as Ms. Tini puts it, “put a path in place for yourself, and work tirelessly on that path.”
To see Ryan shine, tune into STAR on Fox, Wednesdays at 9:00pm EST.