A lot of people look towards Disney to discover the next big Hollywood actress. The Disney Channel has a penchant for grooming actresses into multi-million dollar stars, thanks to their impressive collection of kids-based entertainment and live-action shows. But those who focus solely on the House of Mouse are missing out on a goldmine of up-and-coming stars.
Nickelodeon has just as many big names rolling through their popular series each year. The live-action boom of the 90s paved the way for some huge names, adding to the already impressive lineup of young Hollywood stars. Many of those stars found additional fans once Nickelodeon moved their popular original programs (and syndicated television shows) to TeenNick. The network has been running strong since 2002 and has acted as a gateway between the live-action shows of Nick's past and the current hits of the future.
We grew up watching a lot of these young stars (and developing crushes on them) so it only seems right to revisit them now that they're all grown-up like us! So sit back, relax, and take a look through these 30 TeenNick Girls Who Are Jaw-Dropping As Adults!
Although it wasn't as popular as iCarly, the Teen Comedy Victorious still managed to rack up views during its 2010 to 2013 run. The premise was smart, following a cast of teenage hopefuls as they made their way through the specialized Hollywood Arts High School (a place dedicated to teaching aspiring actors, artists, and musicians, how to make it big). The show featured solid writing and interesting adventures, but the cast made it a truly entertaining experience.
Victoria Justice played the lead, Tori Vega, who discovered her talents for acting and singing. In real-life, Victoria is very much the same. She's an amazing (and beautiful) actress with some serious vocal talents. After the show ended, she spent time singing, pursuing a medical career (on the side) and has continued to find work throughout the entertainment industry. Aside from all that, Victoria is incredibly active in the charity scene, giving back as much as she possibly can to those in need.
TeenNick featured a lot of teenage-themed shows throughout the years but it occasionally aired a few "adult worthy" series. Reruns of That 70s Show saw great success on the channel, with a brand of humor catering to the "curious minds" of puberty-stricken teens.
When we started compiling this list we knew we had to include Mila Kunis. The USSR-born actress has been a prominent part of the entertainment scene, thanks to her jaw-dropping good looks (and acting skills)! For those unfamiliar, this bombshell played Jackie on That 70s Show during its 8 season run. From there, she secured work voice acting for the wildly popular animated show Family Guy (Meg) and has been active in a variety of feature films. She's currently married to Ashton Kutcher and has two children.
Anyone who spent time watching Nickelodeon in the early 90s will definitely recognize this beauty. Christine Taylor has been a powerhouse performer throughout recent years, landing major roles in insanely popular films and television shows, but she got her start thanks to an entertaining Nickelodeon live-action show called Hey Dude. She played lifeguard and employee Melody Hanson for 62 episodes before moving on to bigger and better things.
Her resume includes impressive accolades, with appearances in films like The Brady Bunch Movie, The Wedding Singer, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder. She's also spent time on many television series, gaining credits for Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Search Party, and even voice-over work for Phineas and Ferb. She's still working in entertainment and has two children. She was married to Ben Stiller since 2000, but sadly, the couple has filed for divorce.
An unfortunate side effect of Hollywood is the sometimes negative grip it can have on kids and teens. Jamie Lynn Spears (younger sister to the iconic Britney Spears) knows this all too well. Jamie found herself in a great position, starring as the lead role in a popular Nickelodeon teen sitcom called Zoey 101. Unfortunately, the show ran into troubles when it was discovered that Jamie Lynn was pregnant at 16. It was an unfortunate time for the star, but she didn't let that one moment define her life.
Since the cancellation of the show, Jamie Lynn has moved on to bigger and better things. She's now 26-years-old and dabbling more in music than anything acting-related. She became a bride in 2014 and has since then given birth to her second child.
Most people will recognize this beautiful actress from the Gossip Girl series, where she played Georgina Sparks. She may have never received that role were it not for her time on Nickelodeon. Michelle started her Nick-based stint on The Adventures of Pete & Pete. She was cast as Nona Mecklenburg, the best friend of "Little Pete" and a rather eccentric little girl. The character would wear a cast, not because she had broken her arm, but because she enjoyed the itchy feeling it left on her skin. After the series ended, Michelle starred in the Nickelodeon television movie, Harriet the Spy.
Since her younger years, she's found steady work across the entertainment scene. She featured as Buffy's sister Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and starred in Mercy and Weeds. She even did voice-overs for Robot Chicken. Most recently, Michelle was cast in a 2016 made-for-television movie called Sister Cities.
Most who watched Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide probably found themselves crushing on Christian Serratos. The actress played Suzie Crabgrass, a nicer-than-most-thought character who found herself best friends with the school "mean girl." She was the apple of Ned's eye for much of the series and even gave the leading character his first kiss (in the episode The New Semester). Her snarky attitude and cold exterior hid a rather sweet girl, which we came to know in later seasons.
Now Christian Serratos is all grown up and on to bigger and better things. Most of you will recognize her as Rosita Espinosa on the hit show The Walking Dead. She's been a part of the zombie-fest since Season 4, showcasing her tenacious attitude and beauty in the post-apocalyptic setting.
Fans tuned in to watch Kenan & Kel specifically to see the duo make each and every hair-brained scheme into an absolute disaster. The show was adored by many and had quite the dedicated following when it originally aired between 1996 and 2000. Reruns aired successfully on TeenNick, thanks in part to the stellar acting between Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchel. However, they weren't the only powerhouse performers on the show. Vanessa Baden carved out a popular niche for herself, thanks to her stint as Kyra (Kenan's little sister). She was like an earlier version of Megan from Drake and Josh (with less attitude and more smiles).
Since the show's ending, Vanessa found work on Franchise, Fail, and The Magic City. In 2013 she married. She and her spouse have a son named Ryder.
We'd be completely in the wrong if we didn't include at least one person from a Dan Schneider creation on this list. We've covered a lot of older Nickelodeon and TeenNick shows, primarily due to their popularity, but that doesn't mean there weren't hilarious gems sprinkled throughout the 2000s and today. iCarly was a comedic romp, following everyone's favorite mean sister (Megan from Drake and Josh), Miranda Cosgrove, as she transitioned from an aspiring background character into the star of her very own Nickelodeon smash hit.
The show ran for an impressive seven seasons (97-episodes) before the cast went their separate ways. After the show ended, Miranda took some time to pursue musical aspirations, putting out her own EPs and appearing on albums with other prominent singers. Nowadays she's still heavily involved in acting, with a recent voice role in Despicable Me 3 (Margo) and credits on the television show Crowded.
Those who live and breathe television will likely recognize a young Lisa Foiles as Carla, a character who stuck around for only two episodes on the hit Disney Channel show Even Stevens (2001). A year later, she struck it big on a popular Nickelodeon sketch comedy show called All That. She was a recurring cast member for 33 episodes before moving on to other projects including Leverage and Game Shakers. She's also done voice-over work for video games like Ms. Splosion Man and LocoCycle.
She's currently working as a Video Game Journalist (her own website SavePoint, as well as columns for Kotaku) and has done work on The Angry Joe Show. She remains part of the video game entertainment scene. She's married and in 2016 gave birth to a baby girl named Chloe.
If the name rings a bell, it's because Shanica is actually a cousin to the entertainment icons Beyonce and Solange Knowles. Famous pedigree aside, Shanica is very much her own person and a rather talented actress to boot. She got her big start as Vanessa on the Nickelodeon Teen Drama, Unfabulous. Her acting skills, beauty, and never-quit attitude have cemented her a place in the movie/television industry. Since Unfabulous, she's had small parts in shows like Harry's Law, Suburgatory, and Melissa & Joey. She had longer roles on Hannah Montana and MTV's Awkward.
She's recently been featured in two made-for-television movies; Surviving Compton (2016) and The Time Capsule (2017, post-production). She also starred in the upcoming thriller Kill the Babysitter which is in post-production for 2018.
We love when characters feature on lesser-known shows because it allows us to feature them on lists like this! Ashley Argota is probably better known for her role as Lulu on True Jackson, VP, but we thought we'd look at her time on a strange Nickelodeon show titled Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures. The series followed a duo of surfers that get into all types of crazy shenanigans. Ashley played Kelly Peckinpaugh, a surfer and the main love interest of Bucket.
Since spending time on Nickelodeon, Ashley has appeared on television shows like Lab Rats, The Fosters, Adopted, and Liberty Crossing (post-production). She's rather active on Twitter, where she interacts with fans while pursuing her acting aspirations.
Most viewers will recognize Gage Golightly as Erica Reyes from the popular MTV series Teen Wolf, but she was prominent on television long before that role. In 2007, she played Thea Grant for 9 episodes of the TNT medical Drama, Heartland. In 2009 she landed on the Nickelodeon teen adventure series The Troop, where she played Haley Steele, a plucky young monster wrangler. Unfortunately, the show was canceled midway through season 2 with the remaining episodes playing on Nick Toons Network.
That didn't stop Gage Golightly from receiving more work. After her stint on Teen Wolf, she moved on to star in Red Oaks and Ten Days In The Valley. She was also cast in the 2016 remake of Eli Roth's popular horror flick Cabin Fever (2002).
Most of us had a crush on Alex Mack. There was something so engaging and free-spirited about the toxic-waste-infused hero. She was a tomboy but strikingly beautiful. Perhaps it was the adventures she went on or the secret powers she possessed. It probably didn't help hormone-riddled kids that she appeared unclothed (although hidden behind objects) in some episodes (sometimes that show wasn't as PG as it should have been. Whatever the reason for tuning in, The Secret World of Alex Mack developed a cult following.
Larisa Oleynik has been a prominent force in the entertainment industry ever since. She'shad bit parts on the television series' Mad Men and Hawaii Five-O, with larger roles in series like 3rd Rock From The Sun and Pretty Little Liars. She's been in an abundance of films and is still working as an actress.
Lindsey Shaw struck it big in the acting world thanks to her three-year stint on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. She played the wildly popular Jennifer "Moze" Mosely. Shaw was a classic example of "a girl that everyone wants to be or be with." The tomboyish frontrunner was idolized by the viewing community, thanks to her beauty, brains, and attitude. She seemed to excel at everything and was rather popular among her classmates.
Lindsey Shaw is no different. Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide may have ended in 2007 but that hasn't stopped the actress from finding consistent work since. She's had parts on 10 Things I Hate About You, Teen Spirit, Body Of Proof, Suburgatory, and Faking It. Most fans will recognize her as Paige McCullers on the widely popular show, Pretty Little Liars, where she's had a recurring role for 45 episodes so far. It doesn't seem like she'll leave the limelight anytime soon.
Those of you who were between the ages of 10 and 16 in the mid-2000s likely knew about Unfabulous. The Nickelodeon drama was well received by the teenage demographic, thanks to its depiction of middle school and the trials of everyday teen life. It's also considered one of the best dramas to come from this era of Nickelodeon programming and helped to launch many careers. Bianca Collins was the beneficiary of one such boost. She played Patti Perez for 20 episodes before moving on to another Nickelodeon show called Gigantic.
She hasn't been as active in the entertainment industry lately, but she still manages to take on bit roles from time to time. Recently she's appeared on Grey's Anatomy, Code Black, and New Girl. She also majored in Sociology (with a minor in Screenwriting) at USC.
It may have only run for two seasons, but Salute Your Shorts was easily one of the best live-action series to ever grace Nickelodeon. The 1991 comedy followed a group of campers at a summer camp called Camp Anawanna. Heidi Lucas played Dina Alexander, the designated "popular girl." After the show's abrupt end (at around 26-episodes) Heidi moved on to play in a series of small parts, including Boy Meets World, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and the Wayans Bros.
In 1998, she decided that acting just wasn't working out, and decided to pursue higher education. She graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in 2005, and she's currently working as an attorney.
Amanda Bynes is perhaps the most troubled of child stars to feature on this list. She found immense fame after appearing on Nickelodeon's All That. She was so popular that she received her own sketch-based series, appropriately titled The Amanda Show, which ran for 42 episodes from 1999 to 2002. Unfortunately, she ran into a host of legal troubles, starting in 2012 when she was arrested for DUI. A year later, in 2013, she was detained after starting a small fire in the driveway of a stranger. She was placed on a mental evaluation hold for 72 hours. In recent interviews, Amanda admitted to being under the influence of narcotics during her dark times.
Thankfully, she seems to have bounced back from the mess and has currently taken a hiatus from acting to pursue a degree in fashion design. In 2017, she revealed that she wants to come back to acting but only wants to do work for television.
The character of Lisa Zemo resonated with a lot of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide fans. A lot of 'teen drama and comedy" shows feature unrealistic characters or the forced popularity of certain students. When Lisa first appeared on-screen, viewers were taken back by her raw character flaws and unpopularity. In the beginning, she was an allergy afflicted teen that lacked style and came off as unappealing to most.
In season 3, she saw a complete transformation. New allergy medication and changes to her character lifestyle allowed her to ditch the thick-rimmed glasses in favor of hip new styles and design. She was proof that even those of us that felt unpopular or unattractive could go through a butterfly-like transformation, which helped make her a fan-favorite for dedicated viewers. Rachel hasn't been too active in the entertainment community aside from a part in a 2007 short-film titled Miriam. She's currently doing charitable work as a Star Ambassador for the Starlight Children's Foundation.
Here's another Unfabulous alumn that found herself starring in each of the hit series' three seasons. For those unfamiliar with her beautiful face, she played Cranberry St. Claire, the best-friend of Unfabulous' "main antagonist," Maris. Although she was second fiddle to a rather mean character on Nickelodeon, she moved on to star in a variety of roles, with a wide array of character types.
She spent some time on Just Jordan and Make It Or Break It. She even appeared in an episode of CSI: Miami. She also played Cara in the 2011 remake of Fright Night. Since then she's bounced around a lot, taking small parts in a variety of series and even lent her voice to Glory from Fallout 4. If you want to see a recent version of Chelsea, you can tune into Tycoon where she plays the character, Natalie Boyle.
Many people will remember spotting Malese Jow in Unfabulous, where she played Geena Fabiano. It's perhaps her most widely known role, considering it saw her nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the Young Artist Award. For this comparison, however, we decided to include the Big Time Rush version of Malese, when she played Lucy Stone. Even if you weren't a fan of Big Time Rush, there's no denying that Lucy looked fantastic (and beautiful) as an aspiring rocker.
Fast forward to 2017 and the impressive actress has been in an abundance of films and television series. She even featured in music videos for Lissa Lauria and All Time Low. Nowadays, she spends most of her time filming for The Shannara Chronicles, but she does have a feature film appearance, for I Wrote This For You, coming in the near future.
The Assistants was a bit of a shot in the dark. It was the second original comedy (after About a Girl) to appear on TeenNick and didn't seem to grab the attention of dedicated viewers. The show only ran for 13 episodes from July to September of 2009. Britt Irvin was cast in a lead role, appearing as Gillian Hughes, an aspiring filmmaker who finds herself in an assisting role to a popular director.
If she seems familiar, it's because Britt Irvin was already incredibly prominent in television way before landing the role on The Assistants. She can be seen in episodes of Little Men, Edgemont, and even Supernatural. Most recently, she's done work on Chesapeake Shores and a 2017 made-for-television movie called Undercover Angel.
Before she married her husband Josh Beech in 2013, Shenae Grimes (as she was known) was a prominent star on TeenNick's popular "Teenage Soap Opera," Degrassi. Dedicated fans know her as Darcy Edwards, a role she played for an impressive 60 episodes. She spent her time on Degrassi from 2004 to 2008 before leaving to pursue bigger and better projects. Grimes landed a huge role as Annie Wilson on the 2008 - 2013 remake of 90210, a show she loved watching as a kid. She stuck with the drama for a massive 114 episodes.
Since leaving 90210, the beautiful actress has found work on a variety of films, the most recent being a horror/thriller called The Rake, which is currently in post-production. She's also set to start on an upcoming television series titled, The Detail.
Caitlin's Way was a great Nickelodeon series that followed a culture-shocked teenager as she was forced to move to a quiet rural town in Montana. It's a show that resonated well with rebellious Teens, specifically those that felt like they were "prisoners" in their own rural locations. Lindsay Felton starred in the lead role (Caitlin Seeger) and stuck with the show for a total of 52 episodes. This wasn't her first rodeo, as she'd already done an extended stint (27 episodes) on the 1994 comedy series, Thunder Alley.
After leaving Caitlin's Way, Lindsay saw her first major film debut in 2003's Grind. She was recently featured in a 2014 film titled Leaving Circadia but hasn't done much acting since then (aside from a short titled Fated). According to IMDB, she's currently working as a Fine Wine Consultant at AViVA Vino and a bartender at Pinkerton.
Everyone knows Brenda Song from Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (she played London Tipton). Prior to those stellar roles, Brenda Song found herself featured on a 2000 Nickelodeon live-action series called 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. The family-friendly series had an interesting premise, which followed a bully that had been transformed into a dog. The only way to transform back was to perform 100 good deeds. The show ran for three seasons. Brend Song stuck around for season one, a total of 13-episodes, where she played the role of Sariffa Chung.
Anyone who watches television knows where Brenda went from there. She's been an entertainment firestorm, featuring in a vast array of television shows and made-for-television movies. Her recent credits include Pure Genius and Superstore. She's also planned to appear on a new project from comedic icon Seth Green, called Changeland.
In the early 90s, Cartoon Network was beginning to flood its network with all manner of animated shows and shorts. Nickelodeon took a different approach, splitting its entertainment between cartoons and live-action series. It worked well, with a lot of live-action gems stemming from that era. One golden series was The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which followed two brothers through "everyday adventures" that were often strange and alarming.
Alison Fanelli played Ellen Hickle, the best friend and sometimes love interest of "Big Pete." She stuck with the show for four years before essentially quitting acting. She had a small part in TOME: Terrain of Magical Expertise (2011), but has since then focused on life away from the small screen. She managed to obtain a Master's Degree from Dartmouth College in Healthcare Improvement.
We'd be completely remiss if we didn't include a couple stars from the Degrassi series. When it comes to TeenNick, there is no show more prominent than the "original Teenage Soap Opera." Currently, Degrassi and its counterparts are the longest-running series on the TeenNick network, starting from the moment the channel launched in 2002. Those craving Teen drama would tune in each week to see a wide array of child actors and actresses live through moments of teenage turmoil.
Christina Schmidt was part of Degrassi for 59 episodes, playing the role of Terri McGregor. Since leaving the show, Christina has seen major success as a plus-sized model, showing off clothing for MXM and Torrid. She's strikingly beautiful and currently lives in New York City with her husband and son.
Elizabeth Gillies has been acting since she was only 12-years-old, landing parts on The Black Donnellys and a small film titled Harold. Throughout the years, she would grab up any bit parts she could, adding to her acting resume and allowing her to land a massive role in Nickelodeon's Victorious series in 2010. Elizabeth was cast as Jade, a mean and overly pessimistic girl that everyone loved to hate. As the show went one, fans grew to adore Jade's tough exterior, noting moments in which the character showed a softer side (especially with her relationship between her and the lead, Tori).
After Victorious ended, Elizabeth moved on to do voice-over work for Winx Club: Beyond Believix, before landing a major role on [***]&[*****]&Rock&Roll (we're pretty sure you can guess what those first two words are). She's currently working on the reboot of Dynasty, where she plays Fallon Carrington.
Clarissa Explains It All was a defining moment for the Nickelodeon network. The show aired during the early 90s and was met with much fear and scrutiny by critics and network executives. At the time, the main demographic for Nick focused on young males and many felt that they would be completely turned off by the prospect of a show featuring a female lead. They couldn't have been more wrong. Everyone loved the show, including all the young males (many of which likely developed a crush on Melissa Joan Hart). The success of the show helped pave the way for other female-driven shows.
Not much has to be said concerning Melissa Joan Hart's place in the entertainment industry. She's been an acting firestorm, appearing in shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Melissa & Joey. She still acts from time to time and currently owns a candy shop and a clothing line.
A lot of these articles focus on child stars that have grown up to be incredibly attractive young adults. Most of these people are "living in their prime," or are seen youthful in their mid to late-20s. This next entry on our list proves that age is just a number and that beauty can extend long past the young-adult era of someone's life. While she's definitely not "old," you might find it hard to believe that Tiffani Thiessen has stayed so beautiful after 40+ years of life.
For those unfamiliar, Tiffani played Kelly Kapowski (the incredibly popular girl) on Saved by the Bell. It's been 24 years since the show ended and Tiffani looks better than ever! She's currently starring on a television series called Alexa & Katie and continues to be very active in the entertainment industry.
Of all the characters on Victorious, fans are likely to remember Cat Valentine the most. Although incredibly beautiful and talented, the teen often struggled to understand situations and scenarios. She was "air-headed," as some would say, often making quips and silly one-liners to heavy comedic effect. Fans adored her attitude and character design, so much so that a spinoff called Sam & Cat (starring Ariana Grande alongside Jeanette McCurdy from iCarly) was born.
Those who love music will tell you how prominent Ariana Grande has been since the cancellation of Victorious. The aspiring singer has produced a ton of music and appeared alongside some household names. When she's not killing it with her gorgeous vocals, she's finding steady work through acting (including a stint on Scream Queens).