Meet 10 Leading Celebs Who Stepped Into the Spotlight as Disney's Child Stars
Disney kids who grew up to shine
Disney has consistently identified young talent and has emerged as a powerhouse for shaping careers. From the Mickey Mouse Club to Disney Channel Original Movies and a treasure trove of kids' series, Disney has been a launchpad for stars across the entertainment industry. Here we explore 10 celebrities who got their start on Disney and achieved fame as actors or musicians.
1. Keri Russell
Keri Russell made her television debut as a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 15. While she also starred in Disney's "Honey, I Blew Up The Kid", Keri landed the lead role in "Felicity," in 1998, to win a Golden Globe and pave the way for a successful career that includes acclaimed roles in "The Americans" and a spot in the "Star Wars" universe.
2. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato's journey to stardom began as Mitchie Torres in "Camp Rock" and its sequel, "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam," alongside Joe Jonas. Demi's Disney stardom also helped her bag the lead role in "Sonny With A Chance." This early exposure served as a springboard for their music career, with hits like "Sorry Not Sorry," "Cool For The Summer," and "Confident." However, Lovato recently revealed that she was overworked and struggled with an eating disorder during her Disney days.
3. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez played Alex Russo in Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place" after guest appearances on "Hannah Montana" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." Selena's musical talents also found a platform through Disney, and she has sold over seven million albums. In addition to her music career, Selena ventured into production, with "13 Reasons Why" and the film "The Broken Hearts Gallery."
Hollywood's current sensation Zendaya started her career with Disney as Rocky Blue in the sitcom "Shake It Up" and starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie "Frenemies." Her rise continued with roles in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," The "Greatest Showman," and her Emmy-winning performance in "Euphoria." Zendaya's fashion sense and talent have made her one of the most sought-after stars in the industry.
5. Kristen Stewart
Before becoming a household name with the "Twilight" franchise, Kristen Stewart had a lesser-known role with Disney. She appeared in the Disney Channel television film "The Thirteenth Year" in a non-speaking role credited as "girl in fountain line."
6. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens was already in the entertainment world before bagging the role of Gabriella Montez in Disney's "High School Musical." But it catapulted her to global stardom, and the franchise's success also opened up a singing career for Hudgens. She now shines as the queen of festive Netflix films in "The Princess Switch" series.
7. JC Chasez
JC Chasez made a name for himself in Disney as a Mouseketeer, where he became friends with Justin Timberlake. After the cancellation of The Mickey Mouse Club, they joined forces to create NSYNC, one of the biggest boybands in history. Post-NSYNC, JC Chasez pursued a solo career, ventured into writing and producing, and became a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew."
8. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus epitomized the Disney icon of the 2000s, starring in the titular role in "Hannah Montana," the show that also spawned Billboard-topping tracks and marked the transition to her pop career. Miley's evolution from her early hits like "7 Things" to the provocative Bangerz era with "Wrecking Ball" showcased her ability to reinvent herself. Now, Miley has embraced a rock-influenced style and recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of Hannah Montana.
9. Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere started acting at a very young age, with her first feature film credit as the voice of Dot in "A Bug's Life." She also voiced Suri in the Disney film "Dinosaurs" and starred in "Remember The Titans." Her career progressed with roles in series like "Guiding Light," "Malcolm In The Middle," and standout performances as Claire Bennet in "Heroes" and Juliette Barnes in "Nashville."
10. Olivia Rodrigo
The latest Disney star to take the world by storm is Olivia Rodrigo. She began her Disney journey on "Bizaardvark" before landing a role in "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (HSMTMTS)." Olivia's debut solo single, "Drivers License," became a global sensation and broke multiple records on Spotify. Her subsequent releases, including "Good 4 U," have also topped the charts. Olivia's debut album, Sour, set a global Spotify record for the biggest opening week.
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