In the wake of actress Stevie Ryan’s shocking death, her comedy chops and candidness about mental health are being recognized by fans.
Ryan, 33, was found dead from a suspected suicide on Saturday, July 1, the Los Angeles Coroner’s office confirmed.
The star first rose to Hollywood prominence through YouTube, before parlaying her comedy writing and performing into a television series.
Ryan’s YouTube career started after she bought her first laptop in the early 2000s, she told the website Culture Brats in 2012.
“I saw that it had Windows Movie Maker and at that time I was really obsessed with silent films,” she explained, adding that armed with the editing software and her then-boyfriend’s camcorder she made a silent film.
Ryan said that she knew about YouTube, but noted that “it was really small at the time” and that she only uploaded her silent films to the site so her parents could watch. But soon, she was getting views – and hate.
In response to the negative comments, Ryan’s sassy character “Little Loca” was born in 2006.
“Little Loca really took off on its own and for months people thought this was a real girl,” she said. “I started uploading videos every day. I was writing the video before I shot it. I would write it all out and then I would shoot it and then I would edit it and then I thought of putting music behind it.”
Ryan told Culture Brats that her parody of short-lived E! reality series Pretty Wild caught the attention of the show’s stars, who in turn sent it to their producers.
“I got together with them and we had a very obvious idea of having a female-driven sketch comedy show that is centered around pop culture because that’s what I am obsessed with,” she explained at the time.
Ryan’s VH1 series, Stevie TV premiered in 2012 and ran for two seasons until 2013.
After Stevie TV‘s conclusion, Ryan appeared on another E! News show, Brody Jenner’s Sex with Brody. Ryan co-hosted the call-in talk show, which debuted in July 2015.
Most recently, Ryan was co-hosting Mentally Ch(ill), a “podcast about depression,” according to its iTunes description.
The podcast – which premiered in April – covered mental illness and anxiety, among other things, and also featured Kristen Carney. In the premiere episode, Ryan revealed that she suffered from depression and wanted to dispel the taboos about talking openly about mental illness.
Over the course of eleven episodes, Ryan and Carney covered dating, social media bullying, low self-esteem and loneliness, among other things.
In the June 29 episode of Mentally Ch(ill), Carney revealed that she and Ryan had recently recorded a podcast about suicide that they had yet to release.
During the same sit-down, Ryan also shared that her grandfather died Thursday, and admitted, “I’m just worried that this is going to send me into a deeper depression.”
Numerous stars have taken to social media to share memories of Ryan since her death, with Teen Mom‘s Tyler Baltierra writing, “I’m so sad to hear about @StevieRyan I just talked to her about battling depression & she told me how proud she was of @CatelynnLowell.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).