We’ve all heard the phrase “sex sells” a million times. The entertainment industry makes billions this way because we love looking at attractive people! From bikini babes to motorcycle-jumping hunks, sex symbols are a main stay of Hollywood. What happens, though, when someone under the age of 18 is suddenly considered a sex symbol?
Between child actors, teen pop sensations, and the hybrids that come from the Disney Channel, Hollywood produces a lot of major talent under 18 years of age. So, what happens when those stars become international icons all too quickly? After childhood success, many teen stars begin to develop a more mature image in order to appeal to wider audiences. The scary part? It works! Sexiness included.
Whether they’re the seductress from a jeans ad, music video vixen, or curvy bikini bombshell, these ten celebrities were way too young to be sex symbols.
10. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez shot to fame at the age of fifteen on The Disney Channel show, Wizards of Waverly Place. In the two years that followed, Selena worked on acting projects, her clothing line, and the release of two studio albums. Selena’s fame reached new heights and she began dating other teen stars. Adding Twilight’s Taylor Lautner and The Jonas Brothers’ Nick Jonas to her dating history by her eighteenth birthday, Selena was a paparazzi princess.
Selena was soon considered one of the most coveted young starlets by fashion lines and magazines alike. In 2010, social media users began counting down the days until the beautiful Selena became “legal,” solidifying her spot as #10 on our too-young sex symbol list.
9. Kendall Jenner
Thanks to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kendall Jenner has been famous most of her life. The second youngest of the huge Kardashian-Jenner brood, Kendall never had a chance to avoidi the spotlight. Once she hit puberty, it was blatantly obvious to everyone that Kendall had hit the jackpot of the Kardashian-Jenner gene pool. Kendall was (and is) certifiably gorgeous.
At age 14, and to no one’s surprise, Kendall signed her first major modeling contract. The rest is pretty much history! Kendall has been landing contract after contract, appearing in everything from cosmetic campaigns to Milan runway shows. By the time she was seventeen, Kendall was considered one of the most in-demand models in the industry. Her long legs, doe-like eyes, and dazzling smile resulted in worldwide admiration way before her eighteenth birthday.
8. Kate Upton
What would a sex symbol list be without a blonde bombshell? Enter Kate Upton.
Kate Upton is perhaps the one whose real age is most surprising on this list. Many people think this bodacious blonde is well over her actual age (23) because Miss Upton got her start as a sexy model way earlier than most. When she was sixteen, Kate signed a modeling contract which soon led to her bona fide sex symbol status. Kate landed campaigns for swimwear and lingerie brands and the seventeen year old’s generous curves soon made headlines everywhere.
Kate’s success continued as she turned eighteen and a video of her strutting her (voluptuous) stuff in a bikini went viral that year. Soon, Kate became the new face of Guess and it wasn’t long until she landed her most famous role as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Now, at 23, Kate Upton has been a sex symbol for six years!
7. Justin Bieber
Welcome to the only male who made our list! Not long before his drug and public urination scandals, Justin Bieber was just a young teen heartthrob. Bieber’s rise to fame as a crooning YouTube cutie led to his superstar status faster than most people can get a good haircut. Discovered by his current manager in 2007, Justin Bieber has been on the music scene since he was thirteen. In 2010, Justin released his first full-length studio album and he and his hairstyle immediately became internationally known.
When he was sixteen, Justin cut his famous shaggy ‘do resulting in instant heartthrob classification. Before his eighteenth birthday, Justin continued evolving his style and remained a constant in the public eye. His relationship with the older Selena Gomez was highly criticized and Justins’ followers, The Beliebers, even sent death threats to Selena. Justin is known for having some of the most loyal, crazed fans in the music business and this held true when it came to his legal status: several websites posted accurate hour and minute countdowns to the time Justin turned eighteen.
6. Lindsay Lohan
No stranger to public scandals, Lindsay Lohan was just a teen when she became one of the most lusted after stars in Hollywood. Lindsay has been in the entertainment industry since toddlerhood and, unlike many, enjoyed continual success through her teen years. In 2004, Lindsay became an international sensation as the star of the blockbuster hit Mean Girls. Suddenly, Lindsay Lohan was a frequent flyer in tabloids, at awards shows, and on Magazine covers. Following her success, Lindsay Lohan became the youngest person to ever host the MTV Movie Awards at age 17.
Soon, Lindsay Lohan transitioned from her teen queen roles into a much darker, sexier image. Lindsay traded in her Disney roots for racy, independent films and the public became all the more infatuated. Eventually, Lindsay became a paparazzi-target for very different reasons, but at seventeen, it’s safe to say Lohan was much too young for her sexy image.
5. Britney Spears
Not unlike some other starlets on this list, Britney Spears got her start through Disney. One of the members of the Mickey Mouse Club (along with her future boy toy Justin Timberlake), Britney was basking in the limelight from a young age.
Then, as a young teen, Britney re-emerged as a much more mature personality with the release of her (super successful) first studio album in 1999. At the age of seventeen, the video for Brit’s first single, …Baby One More Time, led to Britney’s international recognition as a sex symbol. The iconic sexy-school-girl look that made Britney famous as a young teen is still often mimicked in pop culture today. The world will never be able to look at pigtails and pleated skirts the same way again…
4. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus rose to fame via Disney success (are we sensing a trend here?) and then took a path all her own. Miley has been in the public spotlight for more than a decade, which says a lot for someone who’s only twenty-two years old. While Miley first made her mark as the equally loved and loathed Hannah Montana, she went full-on sex symbol status once she began her solo singing career. Her previous good girl, clean image seemed to motivate her into ultimate raunchiness.
At 17, Miley recorded the now-infamous “Can’t Be Tamed” and solidified her young bad-girl image. Miley was open in the press about not wanting to be a role model for children and wanting to fully express her sexuality from a young age. She cut her hair and wore ripped clothing, like any rebellious teenage daughter wanting to upset their mother. While Miley became a sex symbol much too soon, she broke the mold on her punk teenager stereotype by continuing it more than five years later. Miley still stuns crowds with her barely-there outfits and outrageous exclamations. But hey, she’s just being Miley.
3. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
These ladies are the OGs of the eighteenth birthday countdown. Men admired them (and posted some very disturbing things about them), while girls wanted to be them. The year was 2004. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, just seventeen years old, were arguably the most recognizable faces in the world. Having grown up on camera via their sitcoms and movies, the twins had solidified an empire by the time they could drive a car.
After all, who else gets to miss prom to host SNL?
In 2004, the world took notice of America’s reigning sweethearts being near legal age. The world also took notice of the beautiful young ladies they had morphed into after their sassy, thumbs-upping days on Full House. Then, the world thought about the twins’ bank account and all birthday-countdown hell broke loose. That is why June 13, 2004 went down as the day the two lusted after twins became billionaires while all the world was watching.
2. Kylie Jenner
The most recently legalized contestant on our list, Kylie Jenner seems to be in a league all her own. The youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie was bound to be a paparazzi darling. At first, Kylie’s image on Keeping Up with the Kardashians was one of levity and fun. Kylie was often seen making her family members laugh or lightening the melodramatic mood with her silliness. Then, puberty hit, the media storm ensued, and Kylie is now unrecognizable.
Part of the media’s fascination with the youngest Jenner’s legal age comes from the plastic surgery rumors circling her for years. Infamously, at 17, Kylie emerged on the red carpet with plump lips, full breasts, a tiny waist, and large bum. Minds were blown. Where was the old Kylie and how old was this version? Kylie remains one of the most shocking young sex symbols of all time.
1. Brooke Shields
It would be impossible to talk about too-young sex symbols without referencing Brooke Shields. Shields, now 50, is still asked in interviews about her sexy image as a young teen- that’s saying something! Shields made her film debut in 1978 in Pretty Baby at the age of thirteen. Shields played a child prostitute. Next, at fourteen, Shields starred in Blue Lagoon in which she was depicted as topless and in sex scenes. It’s safe to say that the words “sex” and “Brooke Shields” were not mutually exclusive.
Following the controversial film roles, Shields shot to stardom. Soon, her and her eyebrows, were American treasures. At fourteen, Shields starred in the omni-famous Calvin Klein ads with the tagline: “You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” The ads catapulted Shields into an even more controversial, grown-up image and by fifteen she was wanted for magazines everywhere. With her uber-sexualized image four years shy of her eighteenth birthday, Shields earns the (unfortunate) top spot on this list.