A lot of these women are still prominent names in the movie industry today. They’ve had successful careers, had their time in the limelight, but it can be mighty tough getting a taste of stardom during teenage years. That’s not even taking into account the fact that a lot of the women on this list started out really young – they were child stars and have been in front of cameras pretty much for their entire lives. Teenage life is tough enough without having to contend with acting and being known to the masses, but these resilient babes made it work.
The women on this list can count themselves a tad unfortunate – unlucky they weren’t teenagers in a different era. With the megabucks earned by some of today’s teenage stars and all the fame and fortune that comes their way, a few of these women must be thinking what it’d be like to have been a teenager in front of the cameras in this generation, in the generation of social media and all this innovative technology, making you more accessible than ever to fans worldwide.
But to be popular, of course you’ve got to have something about you, acting-wise, but looks are also up there with acting ability if you want to make it big. Some, like Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus had that cute and innocent childlike demeanor about them as teenagers, and had the personality – the sass – to match. These women may have had that personality and screen presence, but they were certainly lacking in the looks department – that’s not to say a few haven’t blossomed into beautiful women since their teenage days.
15 Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald was last a teenager 29 years ago, so her teenage acting days may have been before a lot you knew what films were.
She made her debut at the age of 14 in an independent film called Tempest and she and the film were instant hits. Molly earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the movie – that’s no mean feat for a teenager in her debut movie – and went on to star in several other successful films over the course of her career, which is still ongoing. But as a 14 year old teenage star, Molly was eager to ride the wave of success and kept wowing audiences with her acting ability, namely in the films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Molly was propelled into stardom and became a teen icon – part of the "Brat Pack" of teenage stars who rose to prominence in the 1980s.
Molly may have been a teenage star, but that’s a testimony to her on-screen ability, because hot she was certainly not. She wasn’t classically beautiful as a teen; she had a kind of tomboyish look, but that didn’t stop her from gaining a whole heap of fans and becoming one of the biggest teen movie stars of the 80s.
14 Rachael Leigh Cook
Rachael Leigh Cook has always been a cutie, although that doesn’t mean she was hot. But since she first appeared on the big screen back in 1995, she’s had a steady stream of successes, not only as an actress, but as a model, voice artist, and producer too – certainly a multi-talented woman.
As her career has progressed, she’s blossomed into a sultry woman, and she knows it. Rachael loves nothing more than to flaunt her assets and pose for the camera and regularly shows off her stunning figure, taking part in modelling shoots. As her movie career was steadily gaining momentum, Rachael appeared in a new light and her fan following increased tenfold; she appeared on the cover of lads’ mag FHM in 2000, still at the relatively tender age of 21, and subsequently she became known as one of the hottest movie stars around. As a teen star, she picked up a few awards too, including an award for the Sexiest Love Scene – lucky co-star Freddie Prinze Jr!
13 Anna Kendrick
Ann Kendrick only had the one film to her name during her teenage years – the 2003 movie, Camp – but it was enough to propel her into the limelight and make her known to masses. She earned a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance, but it’d be another four years before Anna appeared on our screens again. It wasn’t like she was sitting about twiddling her thumbs during this time. Despite her initial success, her movie career may have been stagnant, but Anna was all about the stage, acting live in theatre productions. The theatre’s where it all started for Anna – she first appeared on Broadway at the age of 12, but then eventually transitioned to become an on-screen actress full time.
Looking at pictures of Anna around the time of her debut movie, it’s safe to say she wouldn’t have been turning heads. Today that’s all changed and she’s now regarded to be one of the hottest stars in Hollywood.
12 Julia Stiles
Most of the women on this list started out in the movie industry not being that hot, but eventually blossomed into stunning women. But some may say that Julia Stiles isn’t one of these women – but hey, that’s open to interpretation and your own preferences.
Julia isn’t one of the hottest women in the movie industry, but that’s okay, it hasn’t meant she’s had any less success. Like Anna, she started out acting in theatre before getting movie roles. The 1998 film Wicked was her first prominent movie role, which she appeared in at the age of 17. She showed a lot of promise during those initial performances and critics began to talk about her being the next big thing in the movie industry. In a way, their praise was vindicated as Julia’s gone on to star in some massive hit films, namely Save The Last Dance, 10 Things I Hate About You, A Little Trip to Heaven, Out of the Dark, and most recently, Blackway.
11 Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer starred in a couple of films as a teenager, but her breakthrough film came a year later with a terrific performance in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Over the next few years her acting career gained momentum and by 1992, her rise to stardom was complete after her role in the psychological erotic thriller film, Single White Female. Since then, she’s continued on her merry way to becoming one of the best actresses in the business.
Some may say that Jennifer was never that hot and still isn’t amongst the hottest female actresses going around. That didn’t really hamper her during those teenage years because the roles she had were pretty "ugly" roles, such as her portrayal of Tracy Harris in the slasher film Eyes of a Stranger – her debut movie. Over recent years, she’s started to transition into more off-screen roles – writing, producing and directing - and she’s approaching her sixtieth birthday, so perhaps she’s in the wind down phase of her career, or getting there after over three decades in front of the cameras.
10 Tatum O'Neal
Tatum has led a very colorful life to say the least. She first got into acting at the tender age of ten and was an instant success, winning a Golden Globe and Academy Award for her role in her debut film. Unsurprisingly after that, movies offers kept coming her way and she certainly made the most of the opportunities, rising to stardom during her teenage years.
I’m talking about the 70s here, so that style, that whole persona which she brought to the screen would’ve been lost if it would’ve occurred in today’s day and age. But Tatum is certainly one woman who’s gotten better looking with age. She’s in her 50s now and looks absolutely stunning, and she's still rolling out the films.
Over the years, her film fans haven’t been the only people who’ve admired her on-screen presence and beauty. She’s actually just as – if not more famous – for her relationship history; she was involved in a volatile marriage with tennis star John McEnroe, but before that she even dated the legend that was Michael Jackson. Tatum’s known for being Jacko’s first girlfriend. She caught the eyes of some of the world’s most famous people – you don’t do that without being a stunner.
9 Drew Barrymore
Today, Drew Barrymore’s considered to be a sex symbol. She grew out of that awkward phase during her teens and 20s, to become one of the hottest actresses on our screens.
A lot of people really began to sit up and take notice of Drew when she they saw her kicking ass as a Charlie’s Angel, but her movie career started way before that. She was a child star, and when I say child, I mean child. Drew began appearing on the big screen at the ridiculously young age of five; the movie industry is all she’s known, so luckily for her sake – and the sake of her fans – she made it work and has risen to become one of the industry’s biggest stars.
Drew was always quite chubby and battled with weight issues as a teenager and young woman. Looking at her now, that’s one battle she’s overcome, but it wasn’t her only battle. From the age of 12 and throughout her teens, she was battling drug and alcohol addictions. Thankfully she got it all sorted out and eradicated those mental demons from her head after two spells and around two years in rehab during her teens. That’s what fame at such a young age can do to a person, but today she seems to be in a good place, mentally and physically.
8 Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart never intended to get into acting, although it was clear that, from a young age, she was always going to be involved in the movie industry in one way or another. Hers is a film family - both her parents work behind the camera in the entertainment industry and initially she wanted to follow suit. But she got spotted at the age of eight in her school’s Christmas play, and from that moment on, her acting career took off.
As a teenager, Kristen wasn’t the beauty we see today. She may have also suffered from self-confidence issues, judging by the fact that she said she hated being the centre of attention, hence a career behind the camera was always her preferred route. She didn’t want to be famous, but evidently, she began getting opportunities and soon got the acting bug which led to her churning out success after success, including the Twilight films.
7 Keri Russell
Keri Russell was a teen TV star before gaining recognition as a teen movie star. She started out appearing in three seasons of the All-New Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel, and this was enough to get her her first movie role in the iconic 1992 movie, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. She was 16 at the time of that movie, and despite it being a success, it was her one and only movie as a teenager, as Keri put all her focus into her TV career.
But her role as the cute babysitter in that initial movie made people – particularly adolescent boys! – sit up and take notice. Keri wasn’t stunningly beautiful, I wouldn’t say she looked hot at that age, but she was super cute and perhaps her look could be attributed to the times. Today she’s lean, beautiful, has an amazing figure, and is at the top of her game – she really has the whole package.
6 Linda Blair
Linda Blair may not be known to a lot of you movie buffs who probably weren’t even around when she began taking the movie industry by storm. She started out at the age of 11, and from that moment on she began rolling out the films on a yearly basis; Linda has consequently got a vast and varied filmography, but her notable successes would have to be the films she starred in in the 1980s, continuing the horror films which made her a household name a matter of years previously as a teenager - her first major film was the horror hit The Exorcist.
During her teenage years, she wasn’t exactly the hottest new teenage star on the block. But that suited casting directors because it meant that she was the perfect fit for the horror films which went on to make her famous.
Today at the age of 58, she appears not to be taking things too seriously; she seems to be a bit of a hipster, revelling in the successes of her past. Linda’s also evidently no stranger to the cosmetic surgeon’s chair – it sounds bad but perhaps she’s aware she wasn’t one of the hottest actresses around and wanted to do something about it.
5 Christina Ricci
Today Christina Ricci’s a sultry, foxy woman, who has a quarter of a century’s acting under her belt. She’s also one of the hottest stars around, but that wasn’t always the case, especially during those initial teenage years.
Christina embarked on an acting career at the age of ten – another child star. But she soon became a teen star due to her notable performances in the mid to late 90s, such as her lead role as Kat Harvey in the fantasy comedy film, Casper. That iconic ghost film propelled Christina to a new level of stardom, and she’s continued on her merry way to ruling the film industry and becoming one of the biggest stars around.
As a teenager, Christina has acknowledged that she wasn’t perfect, looks-wise or acting-wise. She has said she was awkward, wasn’t one of the best-looking teenagers around, but didn’t care at that age, and rightfully so – in the years that followed, she blossomed into a beautiful young woman and her acting career reached new heights.
4 Melissa Gilbert
Melissa who? A lot of you may be thinking just that, but for you movie aficionados, cast your minds back to the 70s and 80s and you’ll be able to recollect a fierce-looking brunette appearing on the movie screens from time to time.
Melissa was involved in the movie industry as a youngster way back in the 1960s, but surprisingly, unlike most child and teenage actresses, she’s only appeared in a handful of movies since. She was in the movie industry as a teenager, and she wasn’t the hottest around at the time, hence she makes this list. But her real stardom came about because of her television roles. Although she’s done both, Melissa can be regarded as more of a TV actress; she’s been consistently appearing on our TV screens from when she was just four years old, and keeps churning out TV movies to this day.
3 Tori Spelling
Tori became a teenage star at the age of 16 after appearing in the movie Troop Beverly Hills. She wasn’t seen on our movie screens for the next seven years, but was in the meantime keeping busy with the various TV roles that came her way.
Tori’s not really a looker now, nor was she as a teenage star. She was probably aware of this then as she began getting on in age, fears of her body changing – all of which were exacerbated due to the pressures of her work – meant that she turned to the plastic surgeon’s chair. But it certainly didn’t work. She ruined not really a good thing to begin with, but ruined it all the same. She’s been open about her plastic surgery mishaps, and some may say that despite all the work she’s had done, there’s no real change or improvement looks-wise from her teenage years to now – she certainly looks different, but she hasn’t become a stunner by getting older or going under the knife.
2 Shannen Doherty
Shannen’s amassed a pretty impressive filmography since her debut role as a ten-year-old. She’s probably best known for her roles in Beverly Hills, 90210, and Charmed – but she became a teenage star on the big screen too.
Shannen’s not really – nor has she ever been – renowned for being one of the hottest actresses around. But she’s known for her sultry eyes – eyes that when looking into them, would make even the strongest man melt into a puddle of goo. Those eyes haven’t changed over the years, but Shannen certainly has.
Unfortunately for her, her health has begun to seriously decline. In the late 90s she was diagnosed with having Crohn's disease, for which there’s no real cure. As if she wasn’t contending with enough, as recently as a couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and things got serious very quickly as the cancer spread to her lymphatic system. She’s on the mend now and I’m sure we all wish her a speedy recovery.
1 Reese Witherspoon
A lot of you might be thinking, why the hell is Reese Witherspoon on this list, she’s an absolute stunner?! She is now but that wasn’t always the case. Reese wasn’t exactly ugly as a teenage movie star, but then she wasn’t actually a looker either. As all people do, she was going through that awkward teenage phase trying to find herself, which she certainly did – she came out of those teenager years a beautiful woman and found the big time.
Her acting abilities were always evident for everyone to see and she certainly wasn’t lacking in confidence. She began dating and smooching at the tender age of 12, and had a pretty wild and eventful time as a teenager. The stardom that came her way didn’t really affect her, although she admits she was a tad overawed by it all, which is of course to be expected at that age.
In the movie industry, and in regards to celebrities, people tend to fixate on one thing – one characteristic or what they deem to be a cosmetic flaw. Reese Witherspoon’s so-called flaw was her chin, which was very prominent and stuck out below her luscious blonde locks. She’s now had that taken care of and has a chin that fits her facial structure perfectly. Try and pinpoint any of her weaknesses now! Inevitably the tabloid columnist will find something – they always do, but Reese doesn’t have to bear them any attention this time around.