A group of people that find themselves in the spotlight at a very early age, child stars are not always equipped to deal with that pressure and some even find themselves buckling under it. On the other hand, there is another group that seems to flourish under the microscope and grows into good-looking people that look well-adjusted to the eye. When it comes to that latter group, it is even more remarkable when they started out their lives looking awkward in one way or another, for obvious reasons. Realizing all of this is what inspired us to put together this list of twenty formerly awkward child stars that grew up to look great.
In order for someone to be up for consideration for inclusion on this list, he/she first and foremost needs to have been a child star at one point. For the purposes of this list, it does not matter what made him/her famous at the time, which means you may find people from popular music, TV, or films listed here. Additionally, when it comes to those that we think qualify as being child stars, we looked at all actors under the age of eighteen but especially those that took on less mature roles or looked young for their age at the time. Next, they need to have been somewhat awkward-looking when they first rose to prominence but have since matured into people that are far more attractive than we would have expected. Finally, we want to make it clear that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we’ve chosen people we believe most would include in both categories.
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20 Aaron Schwartz
An actor that started out his career regularly being cast as characters that were at least partially defined by their weight, Aaron Schwartz was a large child. A part of beloved family films from the nineties, if you were around at that time, there is a good chance that you’ll remember him from movies like The Mighty Ducks or Heavyweights. Also memorable for popping up on television, he was a part of The Cosby Show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, as well as Gossip Girl, at one time. Thirty-six years old today, it is very safe to say that he looks little like he once did. Clearly someone who puts a lot of effort into working out his body these days, he is now in very good shape.
19 Kristen Stewart
Able to land her first role in 1999, the same year she would have turned nine, for several years after that, Kristen Stewart’s career seemed to be on a steady incline. Memorably cast in movies like Panic Room, Catch That Kid, Zathura, The Messengers, and Into the Wild all before she turned eighteen, she clearly had some quality that casting directors were entranced by. Able to rise even further when she landed the lead role in the Twilight franchise of films, as a young adult, she also appears in other movies like Adventureland, The Runaways, as well as Snow White & The Huntsman. A rather plain-looking child with an emotive face, as an adult, her face seems less expressive but far more classically beautiful.
18 Taylor Lautner
From one actor in the Twilight movies to another, this time around, we’re looking at Taylor Lautner who is best known for playing Jacob Black in that series. However, it seems like these days, people forget that is far from his first starring role since he landed some major roles as a child. First really coming to prominence when he was one of the two main actors in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, he would also appear in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 that same year. Known for his impressive physique and good looks today, there are lots of people that see him as one of the most desirable actors in Hollywood. However, it is a blessing that his face got bigger as he aged since it made his nose fit him a great deal better.
17 Danielle Harris
Someone who is predominantly known for her work in the horror genre, Danielle Harris has had a dedicated following throughout much of her life. Best known for her contributions to the Halloween series, she began her time in it as a child when she played one of the main characters of the fourth and fifth films. Returning to films branded with that name and featuring Michael Myers, she played a role in Rob Zombie’s remake of the original film as well as the sequel that it spawned. A child actor that was quite good at making an audience root for her in the most extreme of circumstances, she had a great deal of charm but her looks weren’t exactly conventional. These days one of the hottest actresses around in our view, she is far more of a stunner than we expected when we first became aware of her.
16 Jerry O’Connell
An actor that has proven that he has a lot of staying power, Jerry O’Connell has been making a living playing characters on our screens for decades at this point. Able to make his film debut in a movie that is now seen as a seminal classic, he was one of the four actors that were at the core of the coming-of-age flick Stand by Me while he was still a youngster. Subsequently cast in a slew of other roles including playing the lead role in the show Sliders as well as movies like Scream 2, Jerry Maguire, and Veronica Mars, he almost always brings a smile to our face. A chubby young man who didn’t exactly have masses of fellow kids crushing on him, since then, he has become quite the stud and has a winning personality too.
15 Keisha Knight Pulliam
A pivotal part of a sitcom that was immensely popular in its time, Keisha Knight Pulliam played Rudy Huxtable, the youngest of the kids that were included in the original cast of The Cosby Show. A series that is no longer remembered as fondly today as it was then, for something outside her control, there were still millions of people that tuned in week after week and got to watch her grow up. Truly adorable when the series commenced, as it continued to air and she matured, she became a little bit more gangly just like most of us do. Now a gorgeous woman with a body that won’t quit, our view of her has been altered significantly to say the very least.
14 Freddie Highmore
Like most child actors, it seemed like Freddie Highmore popped up out of nowhere when he was cast in the movie Finding Neverland, but his skills were apparent from the start. Given a number of parts that were highly coveted in the child acting world at the time, audiences saw him in films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Compass, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Continuing acting to this day, he is now finding his greatest success as a part of the television scene with his starring roles in Bates Motel and The Good Doctor. A child that was infinitely lovable but whose teeth did not match his face and his hair was less-than-becoming, these days, he has matured into a very dapper-looking dude.
13 Bonnie Wright
Like most actors that appeared in the Harry Potter movies, so far, it has defined the career and the public perception of Bonnie Wright. Seen as Ginny Weasley briefly in the original movie in the series, up until the final film, her role only seemed to grow in importance with each new release. Ultimately revealed to be the person that Harry Potter ends up with, that fact alone made her take on a grander spot in the franchise. Initially someone who was easy to forget the moment she was no longer on the screen, Bonnie wasn’t an ugly child by any means but she did seem unremarkable. Growing into a radiant redhead with a vibrant look we can’t get enough of, she only seems to become more attractive as the years go on.
12 Daniel Curtis Lee
At one time a mainstay of television that was produced in order to entertain children of all ages, Daniel Curtis Lee earned a place in the hearts of many in the mid to late 2000’s. Notable since he crossed the divide between Nickelodeon and Disney XD, he played one of the main characters in both Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide as well as Zeke & Luther. Also able to be a part of more adult shows like The Shield and Glee briefly, as well as the movie Friday After Next, Daniel has had quite the career. A child that looked quite nebbish and goofy during the early days of his career, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him cast as a heartthrob today since he is so handsome.
11 Michelle Trachtenberg
Someone who seemed to have been born with a presence that pulled the camera’s attention to her, even at a young age, it seemed like Michelle Trachtenberg was destined for big things. The star of a film that is pretty unforgettable for those who saw it when they were kids too, she played the titular character in the fun children’s film, Harriet the Spy. Since then seen in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as memorable movies including EuroTrip, Ice Princess, and 17 Again, projects like these have helped people bond with her as a performer. Somebody who had a very distinctive face when she was young, it helped make her a star but gave the world no way to know that she would grow into a sultry woman who is impossible to ignore.
Some people may not realize it now that he is an international star but Drake started out his time in the spotlight as an actor on the show Degrassi: The Next Generation during the early 2000’s. No longer focused on his acting career these days, instead, he has managed to become one of the most respected and highest-selling rappers in the game. Best known for songs like “One Dance,” “Work,” “Hotline Bling,” and “What’s My Name?” among others, when he releases a new single, it is a big deal. Looking like someone that people his age would see as their buddy instead of anyone they’d be interested in when he was younger, these days, he has the looks to have lots of people lusting after him.
9 Emma Roberts
The daughter of Eric Roberts and niece of Julia Roberts, the fact that Emma Roberts is related to such Hollywood Heavyweights most likely helped her get a foot in the door. The star of the Nickelodeon show Unfabulous when she was a kid, she also played a vastly important role in the movie Blow, as well as showing up in Aquamarine and Nancy Drew, among others. Now a much bigger deal, she has made a name for herself due to parts in shows like American Horror Story and Scream Queens as well as films including Scream 4, We’re the Millers, and Nerve. Formerly a kid whose look was far more relatable than anything else, now that she is an adult, she has matured into someone whose face is likely to blow a lot of people away.
8 Jonathan Lipnicki
Someone who underwent quite the transformation, Jonathan Lipnicki first rose to prominence as the adorable kid in Jerry Maguire who told Tom Cruise’s character how much the human head weighs. Moving on to the Stuart Little franchise of films and Like Mike, he also provided his voice to Doctor Dolittle which made him a part of several beloved family films of the era. No longer showing up in anything of note these days, it is a fact that it has been many years since he appeared in a movie or show whose title people are likely to recognize. Someone whose head looked huge as a kid, in his teen years, he looked like the definition of a dude that people would look past. Then he began to work out which added a lot of muscle to his frame as well as craft his hair into a more suiting style, now, things have turned around for him.
7 Anna Paquin
The star of a movie that is unlike the ones that the other people listed here appeared in as kids, Anna Paquin won an Oscar for her work in The Piano at only the age of eleven. Going on to star in another movie when she was still a kid, Fly Away Home, she was also seen in other films like Amistad and She’s All That before she turned eighteen. Still a star today, she became a big deal when she was cast as Rogue in the X-Men series of films which gave her the notoriety needed to play the main character in the show True Blood. A kid whose teeth seemed too big for her mouth and whose face looked permanently furrowed, as an adult, she has become the type of woman that millions would love to have in their life.
6 Josh Peck
First rising to real prominence as one of the stars of the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh, which began airing the year he turned eight, you’d be forgiven if you thought nobody would know Josh Peck today. Also a part of movies like Ice Age: The Meltdown, Drillbit Taylor, Mean Creek, and Snow Day as well as series like The Amanda Show while he was still young, they revealed that he had a lot of range. Going strong to this day, in 2017 alone, he was a part of three different films, and it is very safe to say that he isn’t going away anytime soon. Formerly a chubby kid to say the least, by the time he’d become an adult, he’d totally transformed his look in a way that made him a very good-looking person.
5 Elle Fanning
Acting from an extremely young age, Elle Fanning’s first movie came out in 2001, the same year in which she turned three. Going on to play several other small roles in movies like Daddy Day Car, Déjà Vu, and Babel while she was still a child, the first time where people really seemed to take note of her was when she starred in Super 8. Able to capitalize on that momentum, she has since starred in movies like Maleficent, The Boxtrolls, Trumbo, The Neon Demon, and 20th Century Women to name only a sampling. A very slender person who looked like a sweetheart as a kid but who seemed quite lanky, as an adult, her face is so beautiful that we could easily see her being a model of some sort.
4 Dakota Fanning
From one sister to another, this time around, we are looking at Dakota Fanning. Able to blow the world away with her acting ability as a kid, her work in the movie I Am Sam alone is enough to make her one of the best child actors of all time. Subsequently seen in other films like Sweet Home Alabama, Man on Fire, War of the Worlds, and The Secret Life of Bees before she turned fifteen, that was only the start of her career. After all, since then, she has appeared in movies including the Twilight series, Night Moves and The Benefactor, on top of being set to appear in Ocean’s Eight. A kid whose look was defined by her large eyes, they were somewhat oversized for her face but now fit her to perfection which is great since she is gorgeous.
3 Matthew Lewis
The second and last person that played a memorable part in the Harry Potter films to appear on this list, Matthew Lewis landed the role of Neville Longbottom and appeared in every film in that series. Bringing a character to life that was often seen in the background but who had a compelling character arc nevertheless, he did a marvelous job of making him someone the audience is still gravitated to. Not overly accomplished in the years since that franchise came to an end, he was a part of shows like BBC production Bluestone 42 as well as films like The Sweet Shop and Me Before You. At one time a chubby kid with teeth that were pretty uneven to put it kindly, it seems hard to believe that the stylish fella he has become as an adult is the same person.
2 Abigail Breslin
Making her film debut in the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs, Abigail Breslin stole the spotlight from famous actors like Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. Late cast in movies like Air Buddies and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, her biggest role as a kid was still to come, which is impressive. Given one of the lead roles in Little Miss Sunshine, a movie that would change her career forever, she was so good in it that she was able to land a long list of other roles based in large part on it. Still, part of the reason why she fit the role is because her looks were awkward enough at the time that the type of people that would be at a child beauty pageant would react to her with stunned expressions. A buxom blonde today whose chest is hard to ignore and carries herself with a great deal of confidence, she sure has changed.
1 Nicholas Hoult
An English actor who has exuded charm throughout his career, Nicholas Hoult got his debut film role at only the age of seven. Six years later cast in the movie About A Boy, the relationship that he and Hugh Grant created on screen as a pair of friends was fantastic. And if you haven’t seen that movie, we suggest that you do it pronto. Becoming an actor of note due to that part, he would go on to appear in a slew of movies including The Weather Man, Clash of the Titans, the X-Men franchise of films, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Someone who started out his life as a kid that looked dorky but lovable, he made the world want to protect him. However, now that he is an adult that has grown into his looks and seems to have had his teeth fixed, it seems like any list of the most attractive celebrities wouldn’t be complete without him.
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