From Puny To Pin-up: 9 Child Stars Who’ve Grown Up To Be Gorgeous Over The Years

January 31, 2013  |  
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The future of a kid star or teen actor is an unsure one. We learned this fact from the entire cast of Different Strokes… and, actually the stars of MOST eighties sitcoms, including Jaimee Foxworth, who played the youngest daughter, Judy, on Family Matters for the first few seasons before her character was suddenly dissolved and wound up doing adult films. So, for a star to not only survive the kid star to adult role transition–continuing to have a thriving career, but to also transition into a stunningly attractive adult, that is an amazing feat. Actresses and actors such as Hilary Duff, Dakota Fanning and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are looking better than ever, so let’s check out who’s looking better with time in our community.


Raven-Symone was practically born famous, beginning her career on The Cosby Show at the tender age of four. Her music career always persisting in the background, Raven went on to join the cast of Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and then appeared on the Disney Channel favorite, That’s So Raven. Since those days, she’s had a variety of movies and songs released, had a short-lived show, State of Georgia, and was on Broadway performing the lead role in Sister Act: The Musical. Throughout her career, the beautiful and talented actress struggled with her weight, but by 2012, she has shed quite a few pounds and is looking sleeker than ever.


Regina King began her career on the beloved television sitcom, 227. On that show she played the daughter of lead character Mary Jenkins (Marla Gibbs), a teenage girl by the name of Brenda Jenkins. Since, she’s been on and in everything from Jerry Maguire to Poetic Justice and The Boondocks to Southland. Her look has evolved almost as much as she has: short hair and short dress, long hair and long dress, and short hair and suits–one thing that hasn’t changed over recent years are her toned Michelle Obama-like arms and gorgeous brown eyes.

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Jurnee Smollett was featured on every show from Full House to Martin as child, and had the lead role in the critically acclaimed film, Eve’s Bayou. Smollett was an adorable child, usually seen with her full head of curly hair lopped up in a ponytail, braid or in a poof. As an adult, she’s starred on the show Friday Night Lights and in the movie, The Great Debaters; and she has made over a dozen other television appearances. The attractive young actress has opted to tame her hair in most cases, wearing waves, soft curls or well-managed coils, and is often seem in neat form-fitting dresses.


Bryton James was best known for his role as Richie on Family Matters, wearing a mullet for the duration of the show. For years he played Devon on The Young and the Restless, and currently is a regular guest star on the teen drama The Vampire Diaries, where he plays a warlock. Since his years as the adorable, yet misguided Richie, he’s chopped the locks, grown a few feet and has morphed into the handsome man that we see before us today.


Brandy Norwood changed her micro-braids more often during the early 90’s than Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj change colorful wigs…combined. As a young star, Norwood made her first television appearance on Thea, but won America over with her lead role on Moesha, and with her soulful yet unseasoned vocals. Nowadays, Brandy has been seen sporting long, silky tresses while reprising her singing career, and making television appearances on shows like The Game and Dancing with the Stars.


Dang! Who else forgot Keshia had all this hair back in the day??? Keshia Knight Pulliam began her career as the curious and sassy Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She sported two full pigtails and an adorable grin for a majority of that time, often overshadowed by more featured characters on the show. But she wasn’t too overshadowed, because she was one of the youngest actresses ever to be nominated for an Emmy for her work on the show when she got a nod at the age of six. More recently, she appeared in Madea Goes to Jail, and as Miranda Payne in the sitcom, House of Payne. She’s headed to NBC to act alongside Tempesst Bledsoe once again on Guys With Kids. She’s adopted a sleeker look, usually wearing long locks.


Keke Palmer, at just the age of 19, has accomplished quite a bit in her career. She began her career with a minor role in Barbershop 2, but quickly began acquiring lead and supporting roles, in movies such as The Wool Cap, Akeelah and the Bee, and Madea’s Family Reunion. As a kid, she was often seen wearing overalls, shorts or light colored jeans, and her hair routinely was in pig tails, braids or loose ponytails. Within the past few years as Palmer morphed into a young adult, she has opted for a more polished and sassy look, wearing trendy dresses during her lead as True on True Jackson, VP and during her other ventures. And, the long hair that she wears has recently been blonde as she’s pushed her music career.


Lee Thompson Young is best remembered for his role as Jett Jackson on the Disney channel series, The Famous Jett Jackson. Since the young star was on that show, he’s appeared on shows such as South Beach, FlashForward and has a recurring role on the hit TNT drama, Rizzoli and Isles. While he was always a “cute” kid, Young is now a bonafide handsome man.


Janet Jackson was born into a family of professional musicians, beginning her career with her appearance on her family’s variety show, The Jacksons. She became an actress in her own right when appearing in televisions shows such as Good Times, Different Strokes and Fame, and in moves such as Poetic Justice. Her successful singing career has done a great job to capture Jackson’s forever changing looks. From music videos to movies, she has gone from long hair to short, hair pinned up to flowing, and everything in between.

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