Nostalgia is a big thing nowadays. It seems to be the driving force behind much of what we search for and click through on the Internet. It’s not a new concept. People are always harkening back to the “good old days” of their youth in some way.
The things we watched, listened to, and experienced in our childhood helped to frame the people we are today, and the same can be said of the individuals who we encountered in those days. It’s interesting to recall those iconic people from our youth and to see what exactly they’re up to today.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris has come a long way from his Doogie Howser days. Today, the former child star is among the most famous faces in Hollywood and on Broadway. His role as serial womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and as the villainous Count Olaf in Netflix’s, A Series of Unfortunate Events, are just further proof of his considerable acting chops.
The breakout High School Musical star has never really fallen out of the limelight, though he has aged up quite a bit. His most recent stint as high-born playwright Philip Carlyle in the hit musical The Greatest Showman has shown that he still has the same talented pipes and dancing feet that secured him his place in Hollywood in the beginning.
Some might have thought former child star Abigail Breslin to be relegated to the same fate as the Pepsi spokesgirl or Matilda star Mara Wilson, but they’d be wrong. Abigail continues to act and even secured the starring role as Baby in the television remake of famous 80’s movie, Dirty Dancing. Not too bad for former Little Miss Sunshine.
Another adorable child star, 24-year-old Dakota Fanning, was once named the youngest actor ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. She was eight years old at the time. That should have been proof enough that Dakota was hardly a one-hit wonder. Her most recent role involves her playing Sarah Howard, the first woman employed by the NYPD in the Alienist.
The Olsen Twins
Anyone who was a kid in the 90’s remembers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. If not from their role as Michelle on Full House, then from the countless straight-to-video movies that starred their mischievous selves. Eventually, the twins left Hollywood and entered into the fashion industry – a realm that both of them have had a keen interest in since they were very young.
Cole and Dylan Sprouse
All things considered, it’s been a pretty sweet life for the Sprouse twins after leaving their hit sitcom, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Cole is currently starring as Archie’s friend Jughead Jones on the hit series Riverdale and Dylan is the brewmaster of his own All-wise Meadery in Williamsburg, New York.
Though the Jonas Brothers have long since disbanded and pulled off their purity rings, Nick has managed to maintain a presence in the music industry. His solo music career has been fairly lucrative, though nothing like the fame he and his brothers received in their heyday. Even so, he’s also expanded to roles in TV and movies like 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Many readers may not recognize Taylor Momsen today if they recognize her at all like the little girl who played Cindy Lou Who in Ron Howard’s, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A few years after that breakout role, she went on to play the easily despised Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl and eventually began touring with her own rock band, the Pretty Reckless.
Few child stars have dealt with more in the press than poor Lindsay Lohan. Both her parents and her own misbehavior have found her nothing but notoriety in the tabloids. Nevertheless, she has managed to release several studio albums, starred in a number of movies, act in London’s West End, and even run her own fashion line. Not too shabby.
Many people don’t know this, but the blonde bombshell with the perfect face actually made her film debut at the tender age of nine. Scarlett Johansson went on to star in a number of teen movies until she found her place as an action hero in Marvel’s Avengers movies and the highly debated Ghost In The Shell movie.
From commercials to his critically-acclaimed role as Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Leonardo DiCaprio has always prided himself on playing rich, layered, and incidentally handsome characters. Even today, the Hollywood heartthrob continues to push the envelope with his roles including playing slave owner Calvin Candie in Django Unchained.
Miley Cyrus is widely considered to be Disney’s brightest childhood star. Her tenure as the titular character in the Hannah Montana series impacted an entire generation of Millennials and secured her place in the industry. Today, the 25-year-old singer continues to push the envelope with her music, fashion, and bizarre behavior; but she’s just being Miley.
While we’re talking about bizarre behavior, it would be unfair not to include Shia LaBeouf on this list. The cute little kid from Even Stevens rose to prominence in Hollywood by starring in the wildly successful Transformers movies as Sam Witwicky. After that, he began engaging in a combination of performance art and protests, earning him a reputation as a bit of an eccentric.
The former spy kid-turned mom looks a bit different from her first appearance on the big screen. She and her husband Carlos Penavega (of Big Time Rush fame) currently star in their own Youtube channel, LexLovesLos and both had a brief stint as contestants on the celebrity dancing competition, Dancing With the Stars.
Once considered “one of Hollywood’s most bankable teens,” the former star of Malcolm in the Middle and Big Fat Liar fell off the radar a bit. Eventually, he put his acting career aside to pursue a racing career and drum in the band Kingsfoil. He also competed on Dancing with the Stars, finishing in third, and is currently co-hosting Dancing with the Stars Juniors.
Jamie Lynn Spears
It must have been hard for Jamie Lynn Spears to measure up to the enormous shadow of her popular sister Britney, but she did just fine. In her youth, she starred in the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 until she became pregnant at a young age. Today, she has embarked on a country music career, following in just a few of her sister’s footsteps.
English actress and Harry Potter star Emma Watson has come a long way from her days at Hogwarts. After graduating from Brown with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, Emma went into activism and was eventually appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, helping to launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.
Watson’s costar and the definitive Harry Potter himself has also made quite a place for himself in the acting world. Though some feared that Radcliffe would never break out of that Harry Potter mold, the talented actor has proven himself to be adept at the craft and has even starred in several Broadway plays since graduating Hogwarts.
Wood made his film debut by playing a minor role in Back to the Future Part II in 1989, since then, he has gone on to star as Frodo Baggins in the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings series. He has also done a number of voice-overs for cartoons and video games and runs his own horror film production company as well.
The granddaughter of film legend John Barrymore, Drew Barrymore was first introduced to audiences as a little girl in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. After years of drug and alcohol abuse, she has come out stronger than ever and is currently starring in Netflix’s dark comedy, the Santa Clarita Diet.