Let’s face it, if you lived in America and had parents who allowed you access to a TV you probably watched Nickelodeon. You probably considered it a pretty large part of your childhood, in fact. But what happened to those kids on the other side of the screen? Well, these 20 Nickelodeon girls are all now grown adult women – and women whose appearances may very well surprise you…
20. Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack)
The Secret World of Alex Mack and The Baby-Sitters Club made Larisa Oleynik into a teen idol during the ’90s. But, unlike many others of her ilk, Oleynik has successfully transitioned into an adult actress with roles in shows like Hawaii Five-0 and Mad Men. What’s more, she’s kept her winning smile in the process.
19. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All)
Ready to feel old? Melissa Joan Hart is 40 now. And in the intervening years since her titular role in Clarissa Explains It All, she’s gotten a few more acting roles under her belt, gained a husband and three kids and published a memoir called Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life. “Abnormally normal” sounds about right: despite still being recognizable as Clarissa, she now leads a pretty much regular, if still somewhat starry, life.
18. Michelle Trachtenberg (The Adventures of Pete and Pete)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans know Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers, but before that she was Nona F. Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete and Pete. That career-making Nickelodeon role was now 20 years ago, however; and these days she’s just as likely to be recognized for her turn as Gossip Girl’s vicious Georgina Sparks.
17. Christine Taylor (Hey Dude)
Christine Taylor’s screen career kicked off in 1989, when she debuted as Melody Hanson in Nickelodeon’s Hey Dude. And the roles have, well, rolled in for Taylor since. Plus, many of them have seen her co-star with her husband of 16 years Ben Stiller, with the couple appearing alongside each other in the likes of Tropic Thunder and Zoolander 2.
16. Emma Roberts (Unfabulous)
Julia Roberts’ niece was practically destined to be a screen star, and Nickelodeon got her off to an excellent start when it cast her in the 2004 show Unfabulous. Emma Roberts built on that success with more adult performances as she got older, culminating in her starring role as mean girl Chanel Oberlin in Fox’s Scream Queens and a lead actress billing in 2016 big-screen thriller Nerve.
15. Meagan Good (Cousin Skeeter)
Meagan Good had already received critical acclaim as a young actress for Eve’s Bayou when she was cast in Nickelodeon’s Cousin Skeeter. And she continued to do well after the show finished, bagging roles in hit movies like Think Like a Man and Anchorman 2. As someone of faith, meanwhile, she’s blazing her own trail as a self-pronounced “sexy” Christian who rightly denounces those who try to police what she wears.
14. Victoria Justice (Victorious)
Victoria Justice appeared in Zoey 101 when she was just 12, but it was Victorious that made her famous. Once the show ended, then, Justice parlayed her visibility and voice into a pop career that has since faltered. No matter, though, as undoubtedly she’ll soon be hogging the spotlight again as Janet Weiss in the 2016 remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
13. Nathalia Ramos (House of Anubis)
In 2011 Nathalia Ramos was all set for stardom upon landing the plum role of Nina Martin in Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis. Before taping even began on its third season, however, the Spanish-Australian actress ditched the show in favor of a college education. That’s not to say, though, that she hasn’t kept her hand in on screen: Ramos has since appeared in ABC Family drama Switched at Birth and 2013 indie horror The Damned.
12. Lisa Foiles (All That)
Lisa Foiles underwent an incredible transformation as she grew older, gracefully turning from the gangly All That kid to a very attractive web show host and occasional model. These days, she’s big in the gaming community and has her own YouTube channel with in excess of 16,000 subscribers, on which she sometimes ventures down memory lane to show fans geeky pictures from her Nickelodeon days.
11. Amanda Bynes (All That/The Amanda Show)
In recent years, Amanda Bynes has become better known for her erratic behavior than her acting. When the former child star announced that she was quitting acting back in 2012, it seemed to be the end of a promising career. Indeed, after shining as a kid in Nickelodeon’s All That, she had even been given her own sketch comedy series. But in 2014 the actress revealed that she’d been told she had bipolar disorder. By 2015, though, an apparently healthier Bynes was taking classes at California’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, reportedly with an eye to creating her own fashion line.
10. Malese Jow (Unfabulous/Big Time Rush)
Malese Jow went from child star to grown-up actress pretty seamlessly. After starring in Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous with Emma Roberts and the musical show Big Time Rush, in fact, she graduated to starring roles in the likes of The Vampire Diaries and The Flash. Not only that, but she grew up gorgeous. Jealous yet?
9. Jamie Lynn Spears (Zoey 101)
Britney’s little sister Jamie Lynn Spears was pretty much at the beginning of a fledgling acting career with her lead role in Zoey 101 when a scandal broke. Aged just 16, she revealed to a magazine that she was pregnant… and many people were duly concerned. After giving birth to a daughter, then, Spears seemingly dropped out of the public eye for a few years – that is, until 2013, when she revealed her new incarnation as an aspiring country music star.
8. Alexa Nikolas (Zoey 101)
Alexa Nikolas worked alongside Jamie Lynn Spears in Zoey 101 but ended up getting written out of the show, reportedly after the two starlets had a big falling out. Still, Nikolas has since bounced back, gaining some good – if brief – roles in shows like Heroes and The Walking Dead. According to her Instagram she still hates Spears, though…
7. Jennette McCurdy (iCarly/Sam and Cat)
Cutie-turned-beauty Jennette McCurdy starred in both iCarly and Sam and Cat, but once those shows were over she had some pretty harsh words about the teen TV industry and the pedestal on which Nickelodeon had placed her. “The knowledge you have of a celebrity is no more than a caricature drawn by media tastemakers,” she wrote on Reddit in 2014. But those words seemingly haven’t hindered her career, as she’s since nabbed the lead role in Canadian series Between.
6. Christina Vidal (Taina)
Christina Vidal played Nickelodeon’s first Puerto Rican lead character, Taina, in the show of the same name. And, given that Vidal has seemingly barely aged a day since, she could still potentially play her if the show ever picked up where it left off… Perhaps Vidal wouldn’t be able to fit it in now, though, as she’s busy starring in shows like Code Black, in which she appears alongside fellow former Nickelodeon star Meagan Good, and Limitless.
5. Miranda Cosgrove (Drake and Josh/iCarly)
A few years after entering the mainstream with Drake & Josh, Miranda Cosgrove landed the title role in Nickelodeon’s ever popular iCarly and soon became one of the biggest-earning child actors on the small screen. And while Cosgrove is well into her twenties now, she’s still got the cuteness that made her so popular. Not only that, but her acting career continues apace, too – in particular, through a main role in 2016 NBC sitcom Crowded.
4. Lindsay Felton (Caitlin’s Way)
Lindsay Felton broke the mold of Nickelodeon leading ladies when she starred as troubled teen Caitlin Seeger in the slightly-grittier-than-average Nick show Caitlin’s Way. And after that came to an end in 2009, Felton’s time on screen has been intermittent; Orange Is the New Black fans, though, will have seen her in a brief role in season one episode “Blood Donut.”
3. Lori Beth Denberg (All That)
Lori Beth Denberg starred in Nickelodeon’s All That as a variety of characters, proving that she had quite the comedic chops in the process. Indeed, that show took her to a plum part in The Steve Harvey Show, where she played the nerdy Lydia Gutman until 2002. In the intervening years, then, she’s stepped out of the limelight to become an ordained minister specializing in wedding ceremonies. Oh, and she’s not averse to rejoining her former colleagues for an All That reunion, either – as she did at New York Comic-Con in 2015.
2. Lindsey Shaw (Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide)
Lindsey Shaw started her career playing Jennifer “Moze” Mosely in Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide: a role that led her on to future parts in high-profile shows like Pretty Little Liars and Faking It. And in March this year she may have won yet more fans – and, indeed, lost quite a few – by revealing herself to be a supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential run.
1. Ariana Grande (Victorious/Sam & Cat)
Yep, Ariana Grande was a Nickelodeon kid! She was in Victorious and Sam & Cat, but once the show was over she completely remade her image. In just a couple of years, in fact, she went from a cute kid to an attractive, determinedly grown-up young woman. Given the multi-platinum music career she’s carved since, though, you can’t say that it didn’t work for her…