Some people spend most of their 20s (or even longer) trying to figure out what they want to do for a career, but others, like child actors, are among the lucky ones because they know exactly what they are destined for from a young age. Here is a list of child stars that were once extremely popular in the entertainment industry, but now they’re all grown up, and they’ve transformed from cute kids into absolutely stunning adults.
You would be forgiven for not knowing that Daveigh Chase was gorgeous when she portrayed Samara Morgan in the 2002 horror film, The Ring, but these days it’s impossible not to notice her because she’s a real beauty.
As for her career, you may remember her from the 2001 film Donnie Darko, in which she played Samantha Darko (a role she reprised in 2009’s S. Darko), or the little-known 2002 film Silence, in which she played Rachel. She also voiced the animated character Lilo Pelekai in Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and, more recently in 2016, she lent her voice to the video game, Let It Die.
Joseph Mazzello played the role of Tim Murphy in the 1993 Steven Spielberg film Jurassic Park, and it was this film that catapulted him to stardom. Mazzello has enjoyed a long career and over the years has gone on to appear in a number of movies and series, including the role of Dustin Moskovitz in 2010 film The Social Network and Mouse in the 2013 film G.I. Joe: Retaliation. However, he reunited with the famed director Spielberg (who he has to thank for his fame) in 2010 when he appeared in the miniseries The Pacific, which Spielberg produced.
As for his looks? It appears that Mazzello has barely aged over the years, and still looks a lot like he did in his childhood. He may not be traditionally handsome, but he’s definitely cute.
Miley Cyrus rose to stardom because of her role as Hannah Montana on the TV series of the same name, but lesser-known was her on-screen friend Lilly Truscott, who was played by actress Emily Osment. Osment (the younger sister of fellow child star Haley Joel Osment) was 14 when Hannah Montana first aired in 2006, and since her time on the show she has gone on to make appearances in a number of other series, including Young & Hungry, Cleaners, and Mom.
Osment has grown up to be a lovely young woman — who, according to her Twitter feed, is apparently still figuring out how to be an adult.
Most people know Jussie Smollett for his role as Jamal Lyon on the FOX series Empire, but long before he was a household name, he was a child actor. Smollett appeared in several ’90s movies, including A Little Piece of Heaven, The Mighty Ducks, and North.
Now he is one of Hollywood’s most handsome and incredibly well-dressed men. Smollett is likely to remain in the limelight for a good few years, because not only is his career reaching new heights, he’s also breaking barriers in the industry. GQ noted that there has never been an openly gay man as the lead in an action film, however, Smollett may just change that now that he has broken into action with his role as Ricks in Ridley Scott’s 2017 film, Alien: Covenant. Time will tell if a leading action role is in his future, but he’s certainly set the stage for the possibility.
After several smaller roles on television in the ’90s, Tatyana Ali got her big break when she was 11 years old and joined comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Ashley Banks. Since her time on the show, Ali has reunited with her old cast mates, but she now has a new role: motherhood.
The beautiful Ali married Dr. Vaughn Rasberry in 2016, and together they share a son, Edward Aszard Rasberry (named after his grandfather). Ali previously gushed about the arrival of her son during an interview with Essence. She said, “He’s the sweetest. He’s so sweet, and so far, really chill. I mean obviously he cries, he’s a baby, but [when he does] I just fall more in love. Even when I’m on the other side of the house, I just think about him all the time.”
Kevin G. Schmidt
Kevin G. Schmidt was a bit of a chubby child, beloved for his role as Henry Baker in the 2003 film Cheaper by The Dozen, as well as its 2005 sequel Cheaper by The Dozen 2. Schmidt’s appearance has definitely changed a lot since childhood. He has shed the weight he once had as a preteen and his face has taken on more shape, making him an absolute looker!
As for what Schmidt is up to these days? According to his IMDb page, he will be starring as Clinton in a film called Randy’s Canvas, which is currently in post-production.
Lark Voorhies started her career when she was very young. One of her first television jobs, according to her IMDb page, was in 1987 as a host on the television show It’s OK to Be a Kid. However, it was her role as Lisa Turtle on the sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss and the hugely popular spin-off series Saved by the Bell that transformed her into a superstar.
Voorhies appears to enjoy a quieter life nowadays, and has mostly removed herself from the public eye — there are very few photos of her on social media. And the thing about her that has made headlines in recent years is not so much her professional life, but her personal life. She married a man named Jimmy Green, who her mother called a “gang member.” And in 2015, the couple sat down with Entertainment Tonight to discuss the marriage, but it was incredibly hard to understand what she was saying because, as an Entertainment Tonight reporter notes, at times it was an “odd and rambling interview.”
Regardless of what’s going on in her personal life, there’s no denying that Voorhies was cute as a kid and she’s blossomed into a striking woman.
Malcolm David Kelley
Malcolm David Kelley’s most well-known childhood role was as Walter “Walt” Lloyd in the American drama series Lost. It was a role he held for five years, from 2004 to 2009, and he was 12 years old when he first signed onto the show. Since the show wrapped, he has gone on to appear in multiple TV movies and series, including recurring roles as Finn Katins in Gigantic and Benjamin Cooley in Saving Grace.
In 2014, Kelley surprised fans when he showed up at a PaleyFest event, held in honor of Lost‘s ten-year anniversary. He was among the PaleyFest panelists and was joined by cast mates Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Ian Somerhalder, Maggie Grace, Henry Ian Cusick, and Jorge Garcia.
Fans of Kelly will also be excited to learn that he made a career comeback in 2017. Kelly appeared as the character Michael in Kathryn Bigelow’s historical drama Detroit and will appear in the drama Glass Jaw, which is currently in post-production. Oh, and he’s really, really good looking.
Danica McKellar is best known for her recurring role as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years (which ran from 1988 to 1993). The popular family television show was set in the late ’60s and explored how the social changes at the time affected children growing up in that period.
McKellar has continued to work steadily in the entertainment industry. Some of her more notable roles, according to her IMDb page, include Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing from 2002-2003, Maddie Monroe in the 2006 TV movie and subsequent TV series Inspector Mom, and The Quail in TV series Project Mc² (which ran from 2015 to 2017). She has also lent her voice to several projects, including the animated TV series DC Super Hero Girls, in which she voiced the character, Frost. And Transformers: Rescue Bots where she voiced the character, Hayley.
She’s now a mother to a son, Draco Verta, who she shares with her first husband, Mike Verta — and motherhood is a role which she takes very seriously. During an interview with People magazine in 2015, McKellar gushed about her little boy and how she was homeschooling him so that she could, “get to experience all of his little improvements” in real time. Also, she’s hardly aged at all, and still looks youthful and downright beautiful.
Justin Lee is best-known for his role as Annyong Bluth in the Fox sitcom Arrested Development, which ran from 2004 to 2013. He is not one of the most successful child actors on this list, but he has continued to work in the industry well into adulthood, with some of his more recent credits including the role of a squad leader in the 2014 film The Interview and a brief appearance as the character Warren in a 2011 episode of hit Showtime’s series Shameless.
He was a very cute, sort of goofy-looking kid, but there can be no denying that Lee is now very easy on the eyes.
Abigail Breslin has already accomplished a lot in her young life and there seems to be no stopping her. Her most recent credits include the popular series Scream Queens, as well as movies Fear, Inc. and Final Girl. But she has grown up in front of the cameras, with some of her earlier roles including the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan film Signs (in which she played the role of Bo Hess) and the 2004 film Keane. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2007 film Little Miss Sunshine when she was just 11.
Breslin has previously spoken about growing up in the industry and in a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly she commented on how she has her family to thank for ensuring that she stays “normal.” She said, “My family has been really important in keeping me normal. [Growing up] when I wrapped on set and [would] go home it was always a set-free zone. We couldn’t talk about work, we just talked about real normal life things.”
She’s not just down-to-earth, but also captivating.