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.

D. Salters/


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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  • 305chick

    Lee Thompson Young committed suicide… Why does your post not mention that he is no longer living? You’re speaking of him in present tense.

    • 305chick

      Nevermind… I just saw the date. My bad.

  • Ashaunti Atkins

    RIP Lee Thompson Young he committed suicide a few years ago, he was so talented I wish they had gotten help for him. Its amazing to see how far these stars have come!

  • ♏ ®

    Wow……..if only this list had the power of hindsight. RIP Lee Thompson Young.

  • Intensity Lawz

    keke palmer pretti

  • Intensity Lawz

    the girl from eves byou omg beauty ..raven was sexi thicker hate society changin self love

  • ff

    why are they all black?

    • Nunya

      Jurnee Smollett-Bell is biracial. And they are all black, dumb@$$, because that was the purpose of the article. Clearly, you did not read the first page: “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.”

  • miznic

    Whew, LTY. That was the first time I’d heard mention of the man… and a pic. Lawd ha’mercy, I’m glad to see they still make ’em looking that good still. Eye candy, anyone!?

  • Jacquiline Perkins

    Jurnee Smollett is beautiful and she very very very talented that a big ”PLUS” to me Raven Symone play’s the same character all the time but she is funny and beautiful….

  • Jacquiline Perkins


  • BBWlover1969

    Jurnee Smollet is just plain gorgeous

  • kingjosesmith

    Theyre all black! They are all beautiful, yes, but what about ppl like Candace Cameron??

    • Astrid Faye

      The site IS for black women. It’s funny how every time there is a list with black people in it, there is always one person who complains about white people not being in it. Where are people complaining about list with all white people in it.

      • Jacquiline Perkins

        ”TELL THEM… it is

    • Really?

      I thought the same thing. If there was a site for only “white” women it’d be considered racist, but it’s alright if it’s the other way around? Hmmm…interesting. All beautiful people, just stating a funny fact!

      • Really?

        Can’t we all just get along and stop separating ourselves? <3

  • MustBeSaid

    Dear God Janet Jackson’s nose looks bad! Those Jacksons just don’t learn. One bad nose job after the other. Latoilet’s nose looks horrible too.

    • miznic

      rofl @ Latoilet…. DAYUM.

  • iReezy

    No Tatyana Ali?! Whhhhyyyy?? She’s my favorite returning child actor and I actually liked the Love That Girl! sitcom.

    • Jacquiline Perkins

      me she really funny….

      • Jacquiline Perkins

        me too…..HAHAHA

  • Devils Dad

    Y’all forgot Naya Rivera from the 90’s Show Royal Family. She is on Glee now…and she looks great (even though I don’t watch that homofabulous mess)



  • Oh Lawd! Did we have to take it all the way back to Good Times?



    • Jacquiline Perkins


  • lovely09

    BRYTON JAMES, was killed off of Vampire Diaries two years ago#favorite show !!

  • hollyw

    *whew!* Couldn’t nobody tell me Lee Thompson Young wasn’t my man! And so began my hatred of Meagan Good (she was Jett Jackson’s first girlfriend… o.O) lol…

  • JustSayin

    Why every single reference to the girls that have grown to be beautiful women… you also reference how they wear their hair? Seriously?

  • Tagirl

    Wow, I just realized Lee was Jet Jackson! I love him on R&I! He’s adorable!

  • Sagittarius81

    OMG. I had the biggest crush on Lee Thompson Young of The Famous Jett Jackson, he still is fine as heck! I watched that show “religiously” while I was still in high school.

    • Jessica Nalley

      He died 🙁