When it comes to becoming famous in Hollywood, there are many different paths that celebrities have taken. One of the most common, especially for females, tends to be landing a television show when you are younger, and then using those connections to continue to bolster your career as you become an adult.
With shows like Barney, Are you Afraid of the Dark? and The Mickey Mouse Club, among others, there is no shortage of fantastic outlets where the superstars of today first got their big break. That being said, making it in the business may become all the easier if the company you work for is Disney!
Perhaps some of your favorite actresses got started at a much younger age than you thought. You love Kaley Cuoco as Penny, but do you remember her bowling days? You may have known Selena Gomez started out on Barney, but did you know she isn't the only famous person who did?
These 15 women are not only some of the better actors that have come out of kid shows but there are also some fantastic musicians as well. There are even a few examples of these stars letting loose once they got older (...Oh, Miley Cyrus).
Below you'll find 15 then-and-now photos, showing some of the most beautiful women at a young age and a photo that shows just why they are considered to be so gorgeous.
One thing is clear, the talent scouts definitely knew what they were doing when they hired these actresses as kids.
15 Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba got her feet wet with acting way back in 1994 when she was cast in the TV series The Secret Life of Alex Mack in the role of Jessica. She appeared in 3 episodes before becoming a regular on the TV show Flipper from 1995-1997.
As Alba got older, she started to advance into more movies, and by the time 2005 had rolled around she had gone from child actor to Nancy Callahan, the seductive pole dancer in the hit film Sin City.
While she’s had more flops than successes at the box office, she’s still been able to have a career for over two decades. She’s definitely less active in the industry now, but that could also be because she is the mother of two children and has been married to Cash Warren since 2008.
14 Britney Spears
There aren’t many fans of Britney Spears that didn’t know she got one of her first big breaks due to her role on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. Spears was cast on the show in 1993 and was a series regular for the 6th and 7th season.
While she definitely has some acting talent and has appeared in several films (such as Longshot, Crossroads and Fahrenheit 9/11), you definitely know her more for her music than anything else. Her first album debuted back in 1999, and while the star has had some struggles in her personal life, she is still one of the most recognized and inspirational celebrities out there.
It was announced earlier this year that Spears is actively working on her next studio album and hopes it will be released later this year.
13 Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt made her break into the industry in 1989 when she was cast in the series Kids Incorporated. The show aired on the Disney Channel and also featured many opportunities for the cast to break out into song and dance. It is clear that Hewitt enjoyed the acting part more than the singing and dancing, and in 1995 she landed one of the main roles in the series Party of Five. She joined the series in season 2 and appeared in 99 episodes.
Hewitt also got cast as the lead in the series Ghost Whisperer which ran for 107 episodes from 2005-2010. While she is definitely less prominent in the industry in comparison to when she was "in her prime," there is a good reason. She got married to one of her former co-stars Brian Hallisay in 2013 and they have two children together.
12 Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette made her debut as an actress in 1986. She appeared in 5 episodes of the Canadian sketch comedy show You Can’t Do That On Television. By the next time Morissette had made a significant mark in the cinematic world, with the 1999 film Dogma, she had already made a name for herself as a musician. Her first album, Alanis, came out in 1991, and she had a 2nd album released the following year. One of her more successful albums, Jagged Little Pill which came out in 1995, is said to have helped inspire Shakira, Avril Lavigne, Pink and many other influential female vocalists.
Morissette last released an album in 2012, but that could also be because she’s busy building a family! She got married to rapper Mario Treadway in 2010 and the two gave birth to their first child later that year. It was also announced in February of 2016 that she was pregnant again. Perhaps being home with the baby will give her time to jot down some new lyrics, but nobody would blame her if she continued with her extended hiatus.
11 Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera owes a lot of her success to Disney. She first auditioned to join The Mickey Mouse Club in 1991 but was turned away because she did not meet the age requirements. Two years later, she was cast on the show and was on it until it got canceled in 1994.
Aguilera then put together a demo tape of her singing “Run to You” by Whitney Houston and sent it to Disney in hopes of convincing them to cast her as one of the musical artists on their upcoming film, Mulan. They were impressed, and Aguilera performed the song “Reflection” which was the prominent theme for the beloved film. In fact, it was even nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song.
Aguilera has been putting out albums since 1999, with her most recent one coming out in 2012. There is no doubting that she is busy with her job as a judge on the television reality show, The Voice.
If you were a fan of the television series Kids Incorporated, you probably recognize the young Fergie. If you didn’t, then you may be surprised to learn that Fergie was the longest running cast member of the series, appearing in the first 6 seasons of the show. She then helped create the musical group Wild Orchid, which contained another star from the television series.
When talking about it in an interview, Fergie explained that it was “a variety show similar to the Mickey Mouse Club. It was a great music and entertainment school for kid actors, but I was embarrassed about it [by the time] I was 14, because it was uncool.”
As you probably do know, she then joined the band The Black Eyed Peas which is where she found commercial and critical success.
Fergie, now working as a solo artist, is planning to release an upcoming album Double Dutchess that’s scheduled to come out in 2016.
9 Michelle Trachtenberg
Michelle Trachtenberg appeared in the show The Adventures of Pete & Pete which was produced by Nickelodeon. The series ran from 1994-1996 and she appeared in 21 episodes. Clearly a fan of being in sitcoms, Trachtenberg followed that up by appearing in the TV series Meego. While she would have been one of the leads, the series was canceled after only 7 episodes.
As she got older, she was able to start taking on more dramatic roles, such as the role of Dawn Summers in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which she did for 66 episodes. Following that, Trachtenberg appeared as the host of the television show, Truth or Scare.
While she did not appear in any movies in 2015, she is scheduled to appear in an upcoming indie-drama film, Sister Cities.
8 Miley Cyrus
Let’s be honest, when you think of former Disney stars that may have gone a little off the rails, does any name come to your mind quicker than Miley Cyrus? The often naked and controversial star got her start way back as a young girl in the hit series Hannah Montana. The show became incredibly popular and by the time the series wrapped in 2011, Miley had released musical albums both as Hannah and under her own moniker, including Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus in 2007.
Cyrus also reprised the character in the spin-off film, Hannah Montana: The Movie.
Cyrus has continued to find musical success, and as of now has sold over 15 million albums worldwide and has been nominated for over 200 awards.
She recently had a tour, The Milky Milky Milk Tour, which ran in 2015 for one month. There is no telling what the singer/actress has coming for us next, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was something controversial!
7 Selena Gomez
There is no doubt that growing up most kids had a pretty strong connection with Barney at one point in time. Now just imagine how cool it would have been to actually be on the show! As you're going to find out, not only did Gomez appear on Barney, but she isn't the only star on this list who had that honor.
Gomez was a main cast member for the 7th and 8th season of the series, starting when she was only 9 years old. She then transitioned that success to being the lead of the Disney series, Wizards of Waverly Place. The series ran from 2007 to 2012, and 106 episodes total. Gomez, as I am sure you are aware, also has a tremendous music career and is currently on tour for her latest album Revival which came out in 2015. She's also dated Bieber...but let's try not to hold that against her too much.
While it's clear that she's also comfortable in front of a camera, nobody will blame her for continuing to pick up the microphone at this point in her career.
6 Hilary Duff
When it comes to shows that were huge for Disney, Hannah Montana comes to mind for sure, but you also cannot ignore the success of Lizzie McGuire which ran from 2001 to 2004. The series led its way into a movie, and Hilary Duff also worked on the film Cadet Kelly which was a Disney Original Film.
Like Miley, Duff put out a musical album, releasing Santa Clause Lane in 2002 under the brand Walt Disney Records. Both Gomez and Cyrus have opened up in the past about the impact that Duff’s career has had on them and how she’s been an incredible inspiration.
Duff was married to hockey player Mike Comrie, but they got divorced after several years of being together. They have one child together. Her most recent musical endeavor was the album Breath In. Breath Out. which came out in 2015, but Duff will not take the album on tour.
5 Keri Russell
There is no doubt that the best role that Keri Russell has even taken on was the role of Felicity Porter in the series, Felicity. The series ran from 1998-2002 and Felicity won a Golden Globe in 1999 for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series.
But none of this would have happened if she didn't get her start on the Mickey Mouse Club that she was on from 1991-1993. Russell was on the show at the same time as Aguilera, Spears, Timberlake, and Gosling, but as she pointed out to talk show host Seth Meyers, she was around 17 and could drive, whereas they were all still around the age of 12. Clearly, she realized she was the cool kid around!
Keri Russell’s most recent film, Free State of Jones, came out in June of this year. The film also stars Matthew McConaughey. The Academy has already given both of these actors their due credit in the past, so nobody should be surprised if they put together a powerhouse performance.
4 Joanna Garcia
Joanna Garcia may have gotten her start on Are You Afraid of the Dark? but there is nothing scary about her grown-up appearance. She played the role of Sam from 1994-1996, appearing in 37 episodes. While that was a great show, it wasn’t nearly as successful as her next big hit, as she appeared in 126 episodes of the series Reba. She also appeared in 5 episodes of the critically acclaimed series Once Upon a Time.
Perhaps surprisingly, Garcia has not explored the film industry in depth. As of now, she has only appeared in 5 movies, and the best one out of all of them may be The Internship (yikes!). That being said, be on the lookout for her 6th turn on the big screen. The movie Fist Fight comes out in 2017 and stars Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan.
3 Amanda Bynes
In 2016, Amanda Bynes is far from one of the biggest names in Hollywood. In fact, her last television or movie role came back in 2010. Unfortunately, in 2014, Bynes was arrested for her second DUI, so there may not be a lot of positivity coming her way in the future.
That being said, there is no doubting that back in 1996, she thought she was All That…when she was cast in the series All That. The show ran for 6 seasons and Bynes was one of the leads from seasons 3-6.
Bynes then found success with her sketch comedy/variety show, The Amanda Show, which ran for 46 episodes. Clearly content to step away from the spotlight, Bynes is currently trying to pursue a career in fashion design.
2 Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato may be known for her catchy music, but like Selena Gomez, Lovato got her start out on Barney and Friends. She was cast in the role of Angela and played a main role on the show for seasons 7 and 8. When you see her dorky looking glasses, it’s hard to believe she grew into the incredibly beautiful woman that she did.
Gomez also appeared on the Disney Channel short show As The Bell Rings, as well as the Disney sitcom Sonny with a Chance which debuted In 2009.
In 2015, Lovato released her 5th musical album, Confident. Clearly not willing to completely step away from acting, Lovato will also voice the character Smurfette in the upcoming film Smurfs: The Lost Village. The movie will have no link to the awful smurf movies that have come out in the last little while, and also features Rainn Wilson and the hilarious Jack McBrayer.
1 Kaley Cuoco
Have you ever seen the Disney Channel Original Movie, Alley Cats Strike? The story tells the tale of two towns who have a basketball game and it ends in a tie, so naturally they decide the only way to settle the score is to have a bowling competition. The movie came out in 2000 and stars a very young Kaley Cuoco. While the movie didn't get a ton of attention, it did make a nice piece to put on her resume and helped her land one of the lead roles in the series 8 Simple Rules.
But let's be honest, Cuoco may always be known for her current portrayal of Penny on the CBS series The Big Bang Theory. While the show definitely has its fair share of critics, it has also aired for over 200 episodes and that’s one heck of an impressive feat. Let’s just hope Kaley is going to be able to translate her acting ability to some great cinematic films in the near future.