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20 Nickelodeon Starlets Who Grew Up Better Than We Anticipated

20 Nickelodeon Starlets Who Grew Up Better Than We Anticipated

Nickelodeon has been around for years now, and its family-friendly/kid-friendly programming has become a standard for many networks to follow. Some shows have created stars that are killing it in the TV and movie or music industry, while others may have faded out into oblivion. Whatever went down with them, it is not as if Nick did not give them a platform to show what they could do.

Being on the network has become a big deal for child stars over the years, and for good reason. A great performance here can catapult someone into a bigger opportunity. This has created stars, but one thing has stood out in this world that some overlook.

Ultimately, what stood out to most is that many of the girls we saw on these shows have grown up and become absolutely gorgeous. While some may have started out beautiful, they eventually become knockouts. Meanwhile, others who may not have impressed on the looks front early on would go on to become stunners. There are very few of us who anticipated that these girls would turn out as gorgeous as they are now.

That is where this list came in. We found twenty such women from Nick who turned out hotter than we anticipated. Some were stars of a show while others had recurring roles or co-starring ones. Despite what role they had, they made the list. No current Nick star is on the list for obvious reasons.

20. Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor

[Images by Zimbio and Pop Sugar]

You may recognize Christine Taylor from her late teen or adult roles in the Brandy Bunch movies as Marcia, or perhaps you remember her from something else. She has some memorable parts in the Wedding Singer, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder, and the Zoolander films. You might even remember her from her several appearances on television shows and TV movies.

Before all of this, however, she was a pretty big star for Nickelodeon. She appeared in the series Hey Dude from 1989-1991. Her role was large in the series and it got her noticed in a big way. While she stood out as a pretty girl there, she has considerably stood out years after as a stunning woman. She has had an excellent career that continues to this day. The more we see of her, the better.

19. Erin Sanders

Erin Sanders

[Images by Pinterest and Nickelodeon.wikia]

You may best know Erin Sanders from her time in Zoey 101 as the nerdy and brainy Quinn Pensky, where she worked in a main role from 2005-2008. Meanwhile, she would later appear as popular recurring character named Camille on another Nick show, Big Time Rush, from 2009-2013. Her time in these popular Nick shows would ultimately get her noticed by other casting directors. She would appear in the soap opera The Young and the Restless in a recurring role and another recurring role in Melissa and Joey. This among several other shows.

Erin has not really spent time in the movie world, but her TV time continues to do her well. The ultimate question people will have is if she’ll get a main role one day. So many Nick stars have gone on to have major success in the acting and music industry that it seems Sanders is just an opportunity away. She’s nearly 27 years old, so it is unlikely that Hollywood is passing her by just yet. She’s certainly catching our eye lately.

18. Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes

[Images by E Online and]

When you think about Mrs. Nickelodeon, the honor could go to many people. However, there are few more deserving than Amanda Bynes, who was probably the biggest female star that Nickelodeon ever produced at one point. She made her acting debut in the popular Nick series All That. The show was a kid-friendly version of Saturday Night Live and it involved some of the biggest heavy hitters Nick ever had, both male and female. Amanda was in a lead role for the show from Season 3 to Season 6. She would go on to be on the original Figure it Out for the first four seasons of the show.

At the same time, she would have her own show called The Amanda Show where she was host and lead actor from 1999-2002. She also had a recurring role in Nick animated series Rugrats. She would also appear in Nickelodeon/Universal Studios produced movie Big Fat Liar. She would then go on to play in memorable movies of the time like What a Girl Wants and She’s the Man. She would go on to have big roles in the movie Hairspray and Easy A. Bynes had been killing as a top young actress in Hollywood until she decided to move on into fashion and ultimately had a DUI and eventual mental breakdown. She has not had a notable acting credit since 2010. There’s hope she can get things together and back out there, as she’s clearly one of the most talented Nick starlets they have ever had.

17. Keke Palmer

Keke P

[Images by Gimmio and Pinterest]

Keke Palmer has been all over both Nick and Disney in her time. She actually started her career in Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion. However, she had some appearances before that got her noticed by Perry. These early roles for her ended up leading to a huge opportunity for Keke. She would appear on a slew of TV shows, eventually leading to a main role on the Nick show True Jackson, V.P. from 2008-2011.

Palmer would stand out so much in the role that it led to others popping up for her. She appeared in yet another slew of TV shows, including a main voice role in the Winx Club. Eventually, she landed a lead in Scream Queens from 2015-2016. She now has main roles in Berlin Station and Scream, in their current and upcoming seasons respectively. Overall it appears Keke is just getting started, and it’s been amazing how we’ve all grown up with her and seeing her succeed from child to adult star. She also did it without going crazy or being over the top. Pay attention, starlets.

16. Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts

[Image by Pinterest and]

Emma Roberts is known for her role on the Nick series Unfabulous, which ran from 2004-2007. She is also known for being the niece of big movie star Julia Roberts, which ultimately people feel got her a chance in Hollywood. Emma has tried to erase that belief by her great performances. She’s done well by proving she belongs. She would go on to be the star of the Nancy Drew movie. She would eventually land in some big movies, where she surprised many people.

She would take on roles in Scream 4, Valentine’s Day, Empire State, We’re the Millers, and Nerve. However, she would come back to television, for the American Horror Story series. She would play three different characters in the different seasons. She also appeared as a main star on Scream Queens. Emma has continued to have a great career in Hollywood throughout the industry in both TV and film. Her next role may be bigger than the last, as Roberts seems to consistently find roles that just work.

15. Daniella Monet

Daniella Monet

[Images by Pinterest and IGN]

Daniella Monet sticks out a lot today for Nick fans because she has pretty much been there for a decade. Her roles on Nick are quite numerous. First, she would appear on Zoey 101 in a recurring role for a few years. From there she would have a small role on iCarly before landing a big role in Victorious. She then became a regular fixture in the Fred movies and series, as well as the Fairly OddParents live-action movies. She appeared on and hosted Nickelodeon’s AwesomnessTV and appeared as a regular panelist on the reincarnation of Figure it Out.

She now hosts another Nickelodeon show called Paradise Run. Due to her singing ability, she has been in some Nick tracks from her time in the Fairly Odd movies to the Victorious show. Daniella has appeared on other things since her main role in Victorious like Baby Daddy on Freeform. However, it is likely this 28-year-old actress is going to be used in more things in the future. Every time she is seen, she appears more gorgeous than the last time we saw her. If that trend continues, only good can happen.

14. Denyse Tontz

Denyse Tontz

[Images by Pinterest and IMDb]

Denyse Tontz most likely stands out to you pretty easily. You know her face because you know you’ve seen her before, but it’s just “where” that might be the problem at times. She had recurring roles in Pair of Kings and Dog with a Blog that were recurring. However, before her time with Disney, she actually had a significant role in Nickelodeon series, Big Time Rush. She was one of the “Jennifers” on the show.

This was a huge role for her that recurred quite often through 2009-2013. Her role with Disney as a recurring star even crossed over with her time on Nick. Eventually she would go on to more teen to adult roles, like in the Freeform series, The Fosters. She also became a series regular on the TV show Incorporated from 2016 to this year.

She’s also an award winning singer, having won a Daytime Emmy Award for an original song called Parachute that she wrote and performed for the soap opera All My Children. She’s certainly one to keep an eye on. She’s only 23!

13. Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice pics

[Images by Kode Magazine and Twist Magazine]

Victoria Justice is one of the girls whom Nickelodeon loved from the beginning and knew they would not be done with for some time. She would originally appear as a recurring main character on Zoey 101 until the show’s end. She would go on to appear in iCarly, True Jackson VP, and Big Time Rush all for Nick. However, her breakout role was a show centered around her called Victorious. The show ran for a long time and still has reruns on the network and Teen Nick.

Her role did not go unnoticed, as she would go on to have a main role in the TV show Eye Candy. She would also guest star on a number of TV shows. Her movie credits are not vast, but she did have a movie called Outcasts that had some relatively good reviews. Many think Justice is just a role away from being one of the top young actresses in Hollywood, and they’re probably right. She has only gotten more and more beautiful.

12. Jessica Alba

[Images by Reddit and Pinterest]

What may surprise a lot of people is that Jessica Alba truly got her start on Nickelodeon with a little show called the Secret World of Alex Mack. The Alex Mack series was a huge hit in the early days of Nick, and it had a tough role to fill. It was replacing Clarissa Explains it All in programming. It stood up just fine and had several major guest stars. However, one of those stood out, especially due to what they became.

Jessica Alba is able to make the list because of one reason, she was a recurring character on the program. She only performed in three episodes of Alex Mack, but three appearances count. Jessica Alba would go on to have a huge career in Hollywood. She would continue on TV until she took on the lead role in Dark Angel, then movies were her real highlight point afterward. From her roles in Fantastic Four and Sin City franchises to other movies like Valentine’s Day, The Love Guru, Good Luck Chuck, and Into the Blue. She remains as one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood to this day.

11. Amber Frank

Amber Frank

[Images by Pinterest and Amber Montana-Twitter]

Amber Frank may also be recognized today as Amber Montana. She was part of the Nickelodeon show The Haunted Hathaways. The show ran from 2013-2015 on the network to okay reviews. It’s never going to go down as one of the most important or popular shows on the network, but some felt it could have gone longer. While the show was not technically all about her, Amber Frank stood out among her cast-mates.

The reason had to do with her acting abilities more than anything else, but as she grew up in the show….boy fans came flocking. Shocking right? Since the show wrapped, Amber has been pretty much out of the acting scene. This is why her appearances since have not gone unnoticed. She went on to be an absolutely gorgeous woman who has been attempting to shed her Nick star past. We’re not complaining.

10. Lindsey Shaw

Lindsey Shaw

[Images by Viacom and]

Lindsey Shaw is most known from her work as Jennifer “Moze” Mosley in the popular Nickelodeon show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. She was a main star on that show from 2004-2007, which saw her popularity grow as the series continued. When the show wrapped, the stars went about their own thing with some going on to more acting jobs while the others went to music. Shaw was one that focused on acting and landed role after role. Right after Ned ended, she would become the lead role in Aliens in America then the lead role in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Eventually she would take on a lead role in an ABC Family movie called Teen Spirit. However, her biggest role to date might be from the Freeform/ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars, where she has been a series regular. She has not landed in a lot of big movies, but her TV time is really just getting going and she seems to continue to land nice roles. This will most likely continue without a problem.

9. Jamie Lynn Spears

Jamie Lynn Spears

[Images by Bustle and]

Jamie Lynn Spears was one of the most notable Nickelodeon stars for quite a long time. A lot was made of her when she first arrived at Nick, as she was the little sister of insanely popular pop star Britney Spears. This left her with a lot to live up to, and she did a great job of it as one of the stars of All That from Season 8 to Season 9. She would eventually get a main spot on Nick as the star of her own show, Zoey 101. Her acting career and the show could not get any bigger, and then a huge issue happened that no one could have seen coming.

Jamie announced she was pregnant at the age of 16 in 2007, a controversial thing for one of the biggest Nick stars of the time. She was also in the middle of filming Zoey, and due to everything the show would wrap up in a final season that would air in 2008. While she has acted since that role on Nick, she’s mostly been seen on reality TV or talk shows. She has not been acting significantly since the birth of her daughter, but at only 26 it makes sense to think that she’ll get back out there. She seems to be focusing on music lately, and it seems the last name Spears has done well there before. So who knows where this leads?

8. Elizabeth Gillies

Elizabeth Gillies

[Images by and Pinterest]

Elizabeth Gillies is most known for her work as Jade on Victorious, a Nick show that ran from 2010-2013. Her role was pretty popular, and many felt that Elizabeth was never going to be held back as she went on to bigger things. As a great singer, a future in music or acting made sense for her. Gillies would go on to become a main star in Sex and Drugs & Rock and Roll. She is now a main star on The CW series Dynasty, which is similar to the older show of the same name.

She has continued to try and shed her Nickelodeon image away, despite the image being that of a bad*ss chick who did not give a cr*p. Gillies routinely dresses provocatively in roles and no one is complaining. There seems to be no question that she’ll do whatever a role requires, which is something a lot of casting directors want to see. She is one of the most successful to come out of Nick since her departure. Ultimately time will tell how far she will go.

7. Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski

[Images by Pinterest and Sports Illustrated]

This may come as a shock, but Emily Ratajkowski wanted to get into acting well before her modeling days, and she was quite appealing to casting directors. The problem was that she was often not getting roles she felt she was right for, mostly because she was cast as the “b*tchy girl” or something like that. It was often in a limited capacity, but it was work either way. This actually landed her a role as Tasha on a few episodes of iCarly, the popular Nick series. She played Gibby’s girlfriend, to everyone’s shock.

This meant she was technically a recurring character on Nick, allowing her to be eligible for our list. Emily managed to get over well the moment she left Nick, but this was not due to her time with the kid-friendly corporation. She was able to land big roles in music videos like the Blurred Lines video with Robin Thicke that did very well. As well as the Love Somebody video with Maroon 5. Eventually she would end up in movies like Entourage and Gone Girl in a limited role. Overall, her modelling and commercial roles have truly gotten her noticed and she continues to be a go-to for modelling and selling products. If you see her, you’ll understand why.

6. Jennette McCurdy

Jennete McCurdy

[Images by Pinterest and MTV]

Jennette McCurdy is most known for her role as Sam on the iCarly series that ran on Nickelodeon from 2007-2012. Nick centered a new series on Jennette, using her Sam role and upcoming star, Ariana Grande, in order to do it. It would only run from 2013 to 2014 however, which made many wonder….what was wrong? Ratings were good. The issue was that McCurdy felt Nick put her into in an uncomfortable situation and even accused them of paying Grande more money. This led to her missing the Nick Choice Awards and the network put the show into hiatus.

While Jennette later made up with Ariana, the show only had one season before it was cancelled. McCurdy would go on to have other roles as she landed the lead role in Between. However, she has not really appeared on a lot of major shows since. As she has only had small appearances since. Though she has focused a lot on web-show material. Despite this, she is clearly talented and someone that we’re likely not done seeing in Hollywood. Expect McCurdy to make a big comeback sooner or later.

5. Meagan Good

Megan Good

[Images by and[

Meagan Good has been a major star in her time as an adult, which often times makes people forget about her older work. However, she was a Nick star well before the rest of her work. She was in a main role on the Nick show Cousin Skeeter from 1998-2001. The show was well-liked by kids, but Good was massively used after her time with the show wrapped. She was a beautiful young black actress, which Hollywood felt they could use in a ton of random roles. This ended up landing her on several– and we mean SEVERAL– TV shows.

Just to name a few, she had guest roles on Moesha, The Steve Harvey Show, House, Cold Case, The Game, and The Division. She would have recurring roles on The Famous Jet Jackson, Raising Dead, My Wife and Kids, Kevin Gill, Californication, Mr. Robinson, and Code Black. Meanwhile also have main roles in Deception and Minority Report. Her movie time has gotten even bigger for her the last few years as well. She is most known from her roles in Stomp the Yard, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Love Guru, and the Think Like a Man franchise. All this said, Meagan has carved out a pretty good career thus far and she’s only 36. Yet it all started truly with her breakout role on Nickelodeon.

4. Michelle Trachtenberg

Michelle Trachtenberg

[Images by Reddit and]

When you think about people who WERE Nickelodeon, a lot of kids come to mind from the 90s and early 2000s. If Michelle Trachtenberg doesn’t come straight to your mind, it’s probably because you were not born yet. While she did have some moments with Disney, her child star days were spent all over and mostly with the slime-time organization.

She played Harriet in the Nickelodeon movie Harriet the Spy. Toward the end of her time on Nick shows she was on a show by the name of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, where she had a main role. She would later appear on Figure it Out for Nick. While her Nick time was major, she has been a huge actress since. She has had starring roles in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Truth or Scare, Gossip Girl, and Mercy. While her TV time has been pretty large, she has not done a ton of movies. But just at 32 years of age, it is likely we’ll see Michelle in much more for years to come. She was always beautiful, but today she’s a stunner and it’s not a shock that she has landed on so many TV shows since departing from Nick.

3. Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

[Images by Imgur and ArianaGrande.wikia]

Ariana Grande has become one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and rightfully so. Her songs have gotten her noticed in a major way simply due to how amazing her singing voice is when doing them. She’s always been a talented singer, but well before she was involved in music heavily, she was a Nick star. She was originally on Victorious as a main star and eventually was the co-lead in Sam & Cat. She has not done a lot of TV since, but she has been part of a few projects.

She has been nominated for a ton of awards and even won a few. She has multiple nominations with the Billboard Music Awards and even 5 Grammy nominations. However, she won 3 out of the 4 times she was nominated at the AMAs. Not to mention she has a slew of MTV, Nick Choice, and Teen Choice Awards for her music and performances. Truly, Grande’s success is not attributed to her time on Nick, but the platform it gave her did a world of good. She’s clearly one of the most successful Nickelodeon stars to date, without question.

2. Miranda Cosgrove

Miranda Cosgrove

[Images by Pinterest and YouTube]

Now we’re on to the girl that Nickelodeon may still feel they cannot do without. Miranda Cosgrove first made waves in the movie School of Rock in 2003. This ultimately would get the attention of casting directors at Nick who would hire her to play Megan on Drake and Josh, a long-running Nickelodeon show fans still adore to this day. After this show wrapped, she would appear in all the Drake and Josh movie specials and several Nick TV shows such as Just Jordan, Unfabulous, and Zoey 101.

iCarly was a massive hit for Nick and brought in insane ratings for them. This role made Miranda one of the biggest stars on TV before the age of 18. Realizing they needed to make sure they kept her around, they planned to pay her huge sums. In May of 2010, Nick paid her $180,000 per episode of iCarly….and there were a lot of them from then on. She was the second highest paid child star around and eventually, she landed as the highest paid in 2012. Since her show wrapped, she has been a main voice in the Despicable Me franchise of animated films and she has focused on her music.

1. Lily Collins

Lily Collins

[Images by YouTube and]

You may be surprised to learn that Lily Collins was not always the movie star we know her as today. Collins actually had an interesting role before she ever took on the movie star lifestyle she has today. She actually hosted Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President back in 2008. This was a year before she would be seen in the Oscar-buzzing The Blind Side. Of course, she would also go on to appear in the returning 90210 series and the TV series The Last Tycoon from 2016-this year.

Of course she also took other movie roles after Blind Side from Mirror Mirror to Priest and Love, Rosie. However, she would be nominated for many awards for her role in Rules Don’t Apply. Collins has taken Hollywood by storm, and it all started with a little show on Nick. Oh how far she has come since. She’ll certainly be one to watch, even the Young Hollywood Awards thought so back in 2008 when she won for that actual honor.

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