You used to remember them as fresh faced teens. They would appear on the covers of magazines like Teen Vogue and Seventeen, smiling radiantly and with a sense of childlike innocence about them. Their eyes were wide and bright, their skin somehow pimple-free.
If you’re a woman, these were the girls you wanted to be when you were younger. You’d pick up a copy of a magazine, sigh and think it simply wasn’t fair. If you’re a man, these girls were maybe your ideal mate. When you kissed your first girlfriend, maybe they were who you thought of behind your eyelids. Their smiling faces spoke to you in ways you always had to imagine, but you wished it was real. Or, maybe you’re older now and you saw them on TV a few years back. They used to have rounded faces, squeaking voices. Either they grated your nerves or they reminded you of your own childhood, watching kid sitcoms and laughing – boy, how your sense of humor has changed over the years.
No matter how old you are now, they’ve grown – in more ways than one. The faces of the teenage queens you used to see gracing pink and white gloss covers are now wearing sultry eyes, barely any clothing and they’ve moved on to Maxim and Cosmopolitan. They aren’t girls anymore, they’re 100% women – and boy is that a good thing.
15 Ashley Tisdale
One of the blonde and perky Disney kids from the early 2000s, you probably first remember seeing Ashley Tisdale on the hit sitcom The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. She played Maddie Fitzpatrick, an average girl-next-door type working behind the hotel’s candy counter. From there she moved on to star in all three films in the High School Musical trilogy and Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, cementing her place in the Disney hall of fame.
14 Selena Gomez
You probably didn’t first see Selena Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place, even though that was how she got her start. The actress and singer actually got her start on Barney & Friends in the early 2000s. She’s now best known as a singer and the off-and-on ex of Justin Bieber.
13 Demi Lovato
Another Barney & Friends alum who rose to popularity on the Disney Channel, Demi Lovato got her start in the network's original film Camp Rock. From there she signed a contract with Hollywood Records and has become more known for her singing skills, and history of mental illness and eating disorders, than being an ex-Disney kid.
12 Jennifer Love Hewitt
Did you know Jennifer Love Hewitt used to be a child star? Maybe if you were a kid in the late 80s and early 90s you remember – the star got her start on the television series Kids Incorporated, alongside other future celebs like Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson and Eric Balfour. You might also recognize her from her inclusion in the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise and the television series Party of Five.
11 Danielle Fishel
If you were a young boy in the 90s, Topanga Lawrence-Matthews from Boy Meets World was probably on your list of crushes, meaning that Danielle Fishel was also there by osmosis. Since the series has ended, Fishel has kept a lower profile than a lot of celebrities, but recently she’s come back to the small screen on her TV alma mater’s spin-off Girl Meets World.
10 Hilary Duff
Preteen and teen girls fell in love with the television series Lizzie McGuire in the early 2000s, mostly because of Hilary Duff’s sparkling performance as the titular tween. Not only was the show publicly popular, it was also critically acclaimed, leading to both a spin-off movie and a boost in Duff’s career overall. From that show, Duff moved on to star in the Disney film Cadet Kelly and launched a music career.
9 Danica McKellar
The Wonder Years was a television hit that ran from 1988 to 1993. It brought television star Fred Savage notoriety, leading to a long and prolific career on the small screen for the child lead. Another child star on the show was Danica McKellar, best known for playing the lead character Kevin Arnold’s love interest Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper.
8 Alexa PenaVega
Alexa PenaVega is best known for her roles as both Carmen Cortez in the Spy Kids film series and Shilo Wallace in the cult classic movie Repo! The Genetic Opera. All of these films saw her as a child – she was only 13 during the filming of the first Spy Kids movie.
7 Alyson Stoner
Alyson Stoner probably isn’t a name you recognize. Google a picture of her from her youth, though, and her face is instantly recognizable – she was the little girl breakdancing with Missy Elliot in her Work It music video. The child actress also starred in Cheaper by the Dozen and was Sally on the Disney Channel original Mike’s Super Short Show. If you simply look at her old stills and headshots, you might have guessed this kid would grow up to be awkward.
6 Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali is best known for her role on the sitcom and pop culture classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Ashley Banks, Will Smith’s character’s rebellious younger cousin. Now she’s 37 and still acting on television. She recently had a recurring role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, as well as a sitcom on TV One called Love That Girl!
5 Soleil Moon Frye
Who would have thought Punky Brewster would grow up to be a MILF? The star of the old sitcom and titular character’s actress Soleil Moon Frye started acting at the age of two and started acting on the sitcom Punky Brewster when she was only five years older. After bouncing from part to part, she found a home on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as the title character’s roommate Roxie King.
4 Lindsay Lohan
You probably know a lot about Lindsay Lohan, and for good reason. Over the course of her life, the star became famous for her roles on the soap opera Another World, the Disney remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday. However, her star didn’t shine bright for long as fame turned into infamy for her party-filled lifestyle and multiple arrests.
3 Tania Raymonde
Do you remember the awkward friend of titular character Malcolm from the early 90s sitcom Malcolm in the Middle? If you wondered which one, you’d be well within your right – the main character had a litany of quirky and unpopular friends. One such member of his ragtag bunch was Cynthia Sanders, played by Tania Raymonde. If you don’t remember her, it’s alright. She only showed up in four episodes.
2 Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande forwent the cliché of starting out on the Disney Channel to instead find success on the Nickelodeon network as Cat Valentine of the kid sitcom Victorious. Her role was so well-received that Grande then went on to snag her own spin-off series entitled Sam & Cat with fellow Nickelodeon sitcom alum Jennette McCurdy, of iCarly fame.
1 Taylor Swift
It seems like only yesterday that the new and young country starlet on the scene, Taylor Swift, was just starting to receive traction for her music. Now it’s impossible to escape her – she’s on television, winning awards, constantly releasing hit songs and appearing on the public radar. The singer is now 25, but her first album was only released when she was 16. Since then the country-turned-pop musician has branded herself a superstar, sharing the same A-list ranking as Beyonce or Katy Perry.
As Swift released album after album, the world got to watch her grow from a teen hopeful to the incredible gorgeous and elegant woman she is today. It’s hard to deny that Taylor Swift has the body of a model, only made hotter when she wears that iconic red lipstick.
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