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Exclusive: Chicago Med's Torrey DeVitto reveals best advice she received from Stevie Nicks

The One Tree Hill star's work with sexual consent advocates is changing her life

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
March 8, 2023
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Chicago Med actress Torrey DeVitto grew up on tour with Billy Joel (her father, Liberty, was his drummer), and Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks (her mom, Mary, is Stevie's best friend), so it's no wonder the 38-year-old has learned the importance of being your own person.

"What I admire most about someone like Stevie is that she completely embodies their craft," Torrey told HELLO! as part of our International Women's Day issue, "Stevie is someone who just eats, sleeps and drinks who she is, what she is for music." By contrast, Torrey says, "I'm a jack of all trades," noting that the older she gets, the more she realizes that lacking that one true passion is okay.

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Torrey has, however, found fulfillment in the non-profit space, working with Planned Parenthood and SafeBae, a survivor-founded, student-led national organization whose mission is to end sexual assault among middle and high school students.

Here, she speaks to HELLO! about being inspired by the youth of today, how friends keep her grounded, and why she'd love to build a project around her relationships with actress Arielle Kebbel and Chicago PD's Marina Squerciati...

You've dedicated much of your life to non-profit work in spaces for women such as Planned Parenthood and Safe Bae. When did this start for you and why?

It's something even subconsciously as a child that was always really important to me, because I always had a lot of really strong women in my life that I looked up to. I grew up with a lot of women; I have about 17 cousins and only three of them are boys, and I always had really great friends.

Did you always know you'd want to use your fame as a way to impact change in these spaces?

When you're starting off as an actor - let me just speak for me - you have dreams and goals but you never really imagine, 'I will have this platform and I'm going to be able to do this.' Sometimes I sit back and realize younger Torrey would say, 'Whoa, we go where?'

torrey med

In the TV and film industry when you're sitting on set and you're not going outside, you're not seeing morning change to night and night change to morning, and it can get a little depressing no matter how much you love what you do.

I quickly realized early on in my career that if I don't have something that takes me out of my head that it was just going to eat me up, that I needed to have that balance. Once I started volunteering, that's when I realized I can use my platform to do this. It made me more excited and it made me push through the parts that were a little challenging for me in this business, because I felt like it was for something bigger than me.

How did your experiences on shows like One Tree Hill and Chicago Med change you?

It's public that on One Tree Hill there was a big explosion of things going on behind closed doors, and I definitely suffered from the effects of that. I had showrunner Mark Schwahn, in particular, text me some really inappropriate things. Beyond that, I don't know how in the last 20 years I haven't had something even more traumatic happen, and I feel very lucky and very fortunate.

But I think the things that impacted me the most was feeling like I wasn't as heard as my male co-stars and I was ignored, pushed to the side. I'd go home and kick myself for not speaking up or not saying, 'Hey, I need to be a part of this conversation just as much as he does.' Those things definitely changed me for the better and made me more vocal.

Where it's changed me and not for the better - but turns out to be for the better because I get to grow from it - is when I get frustrated or feel bitter. You harden over time and build calluses, and I've made it very clear to myself that I don't want that to affect me. I want to stay soft, I want to stay open, I want to stay loving.

What advice would you give younger actresses who are coming up through the same system and feel they can't vocalize their feelings?

Really listen to yourself, have conversations with yourself, and understand why you don't feel comfortable. If it's because of the environment, find that person that you do feel safe with where you can say, 'I would like this conversation to stay between you and I right now, can you help me find my voice?'

torrey onetreehill

But don't force yourself to be in a position you're not ready to be in yet. I know there's a lot of pressure to be very vocal these days - and I love how loud everybody is - but sometimes that doesn't suit where everyone else is in their life.

It's okay to process it before you speak. It's okay to know that you did the best that you can, and maybe tomorrow you will do try a different approach.

How do your friendships with women who are also in the industry help you?

My friendship with Arielle [Kebbel] - well, we've been friends since we were 12. We grew up together and it was so special because we both started acting at the same time, and we both had shows on NBC at the same time together. I'm so grateful for that friendship, because there's so many times where it feels like she is the one person I can call and complain to, when somebody else would say, 'Oh get over it.'

She's such a safe space for me and I'm so grateful for it, and the same with Marina [Squerciati, from Chicago PD]. Marina and I really get each other, I find her to be so smart and both of them are nurturing friends in my life.

We all understand what we're going through, and those friendships are so invaluable to me.

torrey marina

You grew up touring with Billy Joel and your mom was best friends with Stevie Nicks, how did those years shape you?

It's so interesting, because I didn't know any difference and I always look at people whose parents were doctors or lawyers and I think, 'What is that like?' But I feel really grateful for how I grew up because I got to see what to do and what not to do very early on, and I grew up in a family where we traveled a lot and were adaptable, which is very important in my line of work.

It also allowed me to artistically express myself, however I wanted to, which was very very helpful in me cultivating who I wanted to be and the career I wanted to ultimately have as an adult.

Is there any advice you remember being given by Stevie that has really stuck with you?

Every time I'm around my mom and Stevie, they always give great advice, but I think what I admire most about someone like Stevie is that she completely embodies their craft.

torrey stevie

Stevie is someone who just eats, sleeps and drinks who she is, what she is for music - and I feel like I'm a jack of all trades. I love dabbling in this class or picking that up. I love music, I love acting, I love painting, I love drawing. I'm taking an astrology class and I'm taking a tap class!

I bounced all over and for a long time it intimidated me, feeling like I don't have anything that's my first love, but then I figured out every person is their own person. Stevie, and my dad, definitely planted a really good work ethic seed in my head.

You work closely with Planned Parenthood. Why is this organization one that has been important for you to be a voice for?

Planned Parenthood is so important to me - and the reason I like talking about them so much is - because there's so many misconceptions. A lot of people think about abortion and that's it.

But it's trying to get somebody to understand that, regardless of your beliefs, look at the important work they do with birth control, and post-natal care, being able to get a check up, cancer screenings, pelvic screenings. There's so many different things that they do, and I think that's been lost in the conversation.

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Can you share more about SafeBae and how did you connect with them?

I found them because I watched this documentary on Netflix called Audrie and Daisy and it really affected me. It's about sexual assault, and after the film I felt so passionate about the subject that I reached out and asked, 'What can I do? I'll do whatever you guys want me to do, I want to be involved.'

They have a curriculum, and students can reach out from any school if they want the curriculum, and that counts for them as community service hours. They can then build groups in their schools to work through the curriculum, and it teaches kids about sexual consent, assault, and bystander intervention all the way to information on Title IX and how to change policies in schools.

A lot of times as a child you feel like the adults are going to do the work for you, especially when it comes to your own safety. But sometimes you really have to be empowered with the knowledge yourself. Adults, especially in schools, do not want to have this conversation about sexual assault and sexual consent, or even talking to kids about pleasure.

The work SafeBae is doing to be so important and I love it. They really took me up on my offer and now at least once a year we do a high school tour, normally in Rhode island, because that's where they're based and we'll go to over 500 schools and it's not mandatory but kids show up, and we talk about safety and then sit with them afterwards to answer questions.

It's so cool getting to connect with kids like that, they are so inspiring and every time I leave them I feel more inspired, more vocal in my life and empowered myself.

You're 38, what is giving you confidence today?

The feeling I get when I'm living in a way that lights me up in my full authentic self, of going home at the end of the day and knowing that I've honored who I am and didn't make myself small to fit in somewhere. That gives me the confidence to go out and continue.

arielle torrey

I like who I am. I like what I have to say and I'm just going to live in my truth. Everyone's coming with their own triggers and traumas and thoughts and perceptions. None of that has anything to do with you, and if they don't like you, who cares?

What do you want to do next?

SafeBae doesn't have a lot of funding. I think because, unlike bigger organizations that work with adult women, the teen aspect freaks a lot of people out, and so we do struggle getting funding. My goal is to keep getting it out there and help them get the funding that we need.

Then there's two work projects I'm producing at the moment; one I wrote the concept for, and we got a writer in. So we're in early stages of that; that would be for TV.

Would you ever bring all your friends together for a project?

Absolutely. I think that would be incredible. Arielle and I were talking about this one idea that we thought would be amazing for a film together that we wanted to do. When the time is right, that will come to fruition.


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For more information about SafeBae please visit where you can find details on student activist engagement programs.

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