Hard work. Perseverance. Determination. These are words usually associated with those stalwart individuals who’ve ice-picked their way up the sheer peaks of success – not terms normally linked with those lucky few who were born into a celebrity family or a hefty trust fund. It’s usually believed these kids are raised by a mom or dad who can buy them a helicopter and fly them up to the summit, bypassing all the blood, sweat, and tears of the common folk diligently carving out names for themselves.
Of course, we can’t say that all the teens with famous parents who are now making their own waves in the celebrity world are self-entitled brats riding the nepotism wave to stardom. Surely there are some who’ve struggled; learning the ropes of trial and error, tasting failure and still pushing on through the badlands of casting calls, bar gigs, door slams and unimpressed critics to come out on the other side of Hollywood? Maybe not. But talent, wit and strong wills do play a factor in the success of those teens who’ve carved their own careers outside the shadow of their parents. Of course, a Black Card and a cell phone full of A-List contacts probably helps in a pinch.
10. Reginae Carter
15-year-old singing sensation Reginae Carter is the daughter of Lil’ Wayne and reality star Antonia “Toya” Carter, who was one half of the seriously popular TV duo “Tiny and Toya”. Reginae guest starred on her mother’s show and forayed into the world of girl groups as a founding member of OMG Girlz, which was the creation of her mother’s BFF Tiny. You may be familiar with some of the group’s more poignant and insightful hits, such as “Pretty Girl Bag” and “Gucci This (Gucci That)”. But this superstar in the making soon realized no one puts Regi in a corner and Beyonce’d it the hell out of rehearsal hall to sign a solo contract with Young Money, which just happens to be her dad’s label – OMG coincidence! Work life aside, Reginae is “just having fun” and living life on social media, where you can find “Reginae on YouTube”, “Reginae goes to Homecoming”, and more Reginae selfies than you could ever dream possible.
9. Noah Cyrus
The New Beverly Hillbillies, also known as the Cyrus Clan, is seeing another offspring flourish in the spotlight. Under the erudite tutelage of dad Billy Ray, Miley has established herself as a ladylike presence and all-round girl next door (!) while her older brother Trace remains in the world of music since his successful group Metro Station disbanded in 2010. Now, 13-year-old Noah Cyrus is taking a stab at notoriety. In fact, at this point she’s practically a veteran, having appeared on her dad’s show “Doc” (yes, apparently this was a thing) from 2003 to 2004. Once Miley’s star eclipsed that of her father’s, the younger Cyrus jumped ship to guest star on her big sister’s “Hannah Montana” until 2010. Noah, knowing no limits to her talent, then took a turn as hitmaker by recording the theme song for her 2008 movie “Ponyo” with the fourth and lesser-known Jonas, Frankie. Last year this teeny star seemed to be striving for the ever elusive celebrity mug-shot with her illegal spin behind a fiat 500.
8. Christopher “CJ” Wallace, Jr.
CJ Wallace, born 1996, is 17-years wise and the son of the late Notorious B.I.G. and R&B singer Faith Evans. CJ was only a tot when his dad was tragically killed in an as yet unsolved drive-by shooting. Little Wallace filled his B.I.G. father’s shoes by debuting on the silver screen playing his dad as a teenager in 2009’s “Notorious.” CJ followed this up with a pretty adorable turn as Will Ferrell’s only friend in “Everything Must Go”; the kid has begun to prove he has some real chops in the acting biz. But, as with most teenagers, more is more and he is hinting at breaking into the rap industry as well, dropping a little freestyle on Vimeo – as the kids do these days – under the pseudonym CEE JAY. Whether he continues with acting or breaks into the music business the world is this little B.I.G man’s oyster.
7. Zoey Deutch
19-year-old Zoey Francis Thompson Deutch is the daughter of actress Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch. The young actress has done her best not to let these (relatively obscure) celebrity credentials cramp her style, and by 2013 she was best known for roles in the Cartoon Network’s short-lived “Ringer”, Disney’s series “The Suite Life on Deck”, and 2013’s “Beautiful Creatures.” In 2014 she scored a lead role in the movie “Vampire Academy” and through an association with the ever-popular undead has managed to evoke her own increasingly bright limelight.
6. Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin is a 16-year-old safari phenom. The daughter of the late, great crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, Bindi – who is named after her father’s favourite croc – has persevered through genuinely tough times, after the loss of her father to a stingray stab in the heart. The Aussie teen, whose own heart is demonstrably full of animal love, has stepped up and carried on the family tradition of wildlife education. Bindi has developed serious cred with a resume that includes everything from starring in a Free Willy movie to a fitness DVD to a hip hop album, aptly titled “Trouble in the Jungle”. In rarely evidenced teenage philanthropy, Bindi donates regularly to her family charity Wildlife Warriors. 2014 is brewing up a hater-storm for Bindi, however, as her decision to partner with notoriously sketchy SeaWorld is being attacked by both her father’s family members and animal rights groups. Surely this kid knows what she’s doing, though, as her father’s legacy is at stake? Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, she is Bindi the Jungle Girl!
5. Lourdes Leon
Lourdes is the daughter of Madonna and fitness trainer Carlos Leon and was hitting up designer fashion shows by the age of three. At seven, she was tossing flower petals on stage at the MTV music awards while mom was kissing Britney. At 12, she was taking acting lessons at the Manhattan Professional Children’s School, that boasts alumni including Macaulay Culkin, and by 13 she was the official blogger for her mother/daughter Material Girl fashion line. Phew, does this girl take holidays? Last year she began expanding the fashion line with a beauty division of products that didn’t make her “want to vomit.” The truthspeaker is now conquering 2014 in true Ciccone vigour, hitting spin classes with Madge and likely thinking up yet more ways to take over the world.
4. Connor Cruise, aka: DJ C-Squared
The adopted child of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Connor has followed the example of his parents having amassed both acting and music credits to his name. In the first category, he’s enjoyed roles with Will Smith in “Seven Pounds” and Chris Hemsworth in “Red Dawn.” In the latter category his DJ experience includes the HALO awards in L.A., which honoured teens for their outstanding community and charity work. He also featured in a photo shoot for former step-mom Katie Holmes. C-Squared earns at least $10,000 a gig with his skills on the decks.
3. Daniel Dwayne “Diggy” Simmons III
The 19-year-old rapper and son of Rev. Run Simmons, Run-D.M.C., is arguably the most talented kid on this list – although the jury is out on how much Pops lends a helping hand. Suffice to say, really good rap probably runs in the bloodline. While Diggy got his first taste of fame on the reality show “Run’s House” it wasn’t until he started stuntin’ like the old-timer and parlayed a series of 2009 mixtapes, downloadable on dad’s blog, into a record deal with Atlantic that he began to attract real attention. After his debut “Unexpected Arrival” he was named one of Billboard’s “Artists to Watch” in 2011, and his video “Do It Like You,” has three million YouTube views and counting. As of 2014, Diggy has released “Mama Said” featuring B.o.B & Key Wane, which is rumoured to be one of the tracks on an upcoming sophomore album.
2. Kendall Jenner
18-year-old Kendall is the oldest of the two younger Kardashian/Jenner girls. Her father Bruce Jenner is a former Olympic gold medal Olympic decathlete. Kendall got her start in the world of the fashion elite starring alongside her sisters in the reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” As such she grew up in front of the camera and in the last few years has branched out into the world of modeling. Both she and her sister are Seventeen spokesmodels, and Kendall is currently signed to a few agencies including Elite Model Management, Paris. She’s walked the runways of fashion week in New York, London and Paris, graced the covers of Vogue and Marie Claire and as of 2014 rumour has it she is following in the footsteps of the world’s surname-less elite. Kendall’s dropping the “Jenner,” useless and outdated as it is, while continuing to conquer the designer world one wardrobe change at a time.
1. Willow and Jaden Smith
Although certainly over-exposed in the tabloids, Willow and Jaden have some actual talent – albeit talent that probably comes from paying for the talent of other people until that talent rubs off on the young pedigrees. But for arguments sake we’ll highlight what makes these two little stars shimmer uniquely, aside from the coaching most likely offered through the parental entourage of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. As well as having an official website at 14-years-old, Willow is a singer, performer, dancer, actress, and rapper. She is quite possibly the world’s first pentacle threat.
Willow’s oeuvre includes voicing a cartoon character in Madagascar 2, starring alongside dad in “I Am Legend” and signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Not too bad for a kid in Grade 8. Big brother Jaden is also a rapper and dancer and likely secretly fuming that at the ripe old age of 16 he is merely a triple threat. His big box office movie credits, however, include “The Karate Kid” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”, the second of which he stars alongside dad. It’s worth noting these two kids also have an obligation to give back and are Youth Ambassadors for Project Zambia, which helps orphaned kids living with AIDS in Africa. Jaden’s other obligation, it seems, is to wear very weird clothing and mismatching shoes on red carpets. As of 2014, he is rumoured to be involved with Kylie Jenner, who is clearly not one to let her older sister Kendall get all the attention.