Back to the 80s: Female Child Stars of the 80s that grew up to be HOT adults – Kickin’ it Old School

This is part two of a two-part issue on Child Stars of the 80s. If you missed part one, click on the link to read about Child Stars of the 80s who grew up to have success later in their careers as adults. Part two is much more superficial and will be Female Child Stars of the 80s who grew up to be HOT adults.

Back when I did my Hottest Female Characters from 80’s TV Shows list, I specifically mentioned that I was not including Child Stars on that list and that it would be a topic for another issue. Well here is that issue.

Many of the women on this list are not surprises. Most were very cute as little girls and it was not difficult to predict they would grow up to be beautiful women. Some are a little surprising. There are a few Child Stars from the early 90’s which would have qualified for this list, but since this was strictly an 80’s topic they are not included.

There are two from the early 90’s (just missing the criteria) that I want to at least mention since I doubt I will ever do an issue like this on that decade. The first is Tatyana Ali who played little “Ashley Banks” on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1990-1996. She was just 11 years old when that series began and is now 29. Here is a picture then & now of Tatyana Ali:

Tatyana Ali then & now

The other from the 90’s is Danielle Fishel who played “Topanga” on the TV show Boy Meets World from 1993-2000. She was just 12 years old when that series began and is now 27. Here is a picture then & now of Fishel:

Danielle Fishel then & now


It really is not shocking that cute kids grow up to be beautiful adults especially in Hollywood. Now I will move on to my favorite decade, the 80’s. I decided to give you them in the form of a top 10 list, so here is OLD SCHOOL’S TOP 10 FEMALE CHILD STARS OF THE 80s THAT GREW UP TO BE HOT ADULTS:

10. Debbie Gibson – She was just 17 years old back in 1987 when her smash hit debut album Out of the Blue was released. The album featured four singles which reached the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 including “Foolish Beat” which hit #1. Gibson was the youngest female (17) to write, produce and perform a Billboard Hot 100 #1 single. At the age of 38 she now goes by Deborah instead of Debbie and she is still performing. Here is a picture then & now of Gibson:

Debbie Gibson thenDeborah Gibson now

9. Keshia Knight Pulliam – She was only 5 years old back in 1984 when she became “Rudy Huxtable” on The Cosby Show. Even before that, at the age of 3, she played Keshia on Sesame Street. She became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Emmy (at age 6 for best supporting actress) and remained a character on The Cosby Show the entire run from 1984-92. Here is a link to a video from The Cosby Show which is one of my favorite “Rudy” moments on the show. Now at the age of 29, Pulliam is all grown up and still acting (Tyler Perry’s House of Payne). Here is a picture then & now of Pulliam:

Keshia Knight Pulliam then & now

8. Staci Keanan – She was 12 years old back in 1987 when she starred as “Nicole Bradford” on the TV series My Two Dads (1987-90). She then went on to be on the series Step By Step from 1991-98. Keanan is 33 now and still acting in films, but not any titles that I recognized. Here is a picture of Keanan then & now:

Staci Keanan then & now

7. Danica McKellar – She was “Winnie Cooper” on The Wonder Years (1988-93) when she was just 13 years old. The Wonder Years is one of my favorite shows of all time and also ranks on my Top TV Theme Songs list. After that show ended, she went on to become a math genius at UCLA. Now at the age of 33, McKellar is still acting, but also is an author of two New York Times bestsellers that encourage and empower middle-school girls with mathematics know-how. Here are pictures of McKellar then & now:

Danica McKellar then Danica McKellar now

6. Soleil Moon Frye – She was just 8 years old when she became the unforgettable character “Punky Brewster” in the series of the same name (1984-86). During the 90’s, she guest starred on many TV shows and then appeared on the show Sabrina, the Teenage Witch from 2000-03. Now 32 years old, she continues to act and do voice-over work and also has directed a few films. Here is a picture of Frey now & then:

Soleil Moon Frye now & then

5.(tie) Candace Cameron & Jodie Sweetin – Since both girls starred together as sisters on the TV series Full House (1987-95), I decided to put them together on this list, too. Cameron was 11 years old when she began the role as “D.J. Tanner” and Sweetin just 5 years old when she became “Stephanie Tanner.” Both were cute girls on the show, but tended to be overshadowed by little “Michelle” who was played by the Olsen twins. Sweetin is 26 now and has publicly admitted battling years of drug (meth) addiction, though she is clean now. Cameron is 32 now and goes by Candace Cameron Bure after marrying former Russian hockey player Valeri Bure. Here is a picture of Cameron/Sweetin then & now:

Full House girls then Candace Cameron & Jodie Sweetin now

4. Drew Barrymore – Most of the child stars on this list came from television, but Barrymore was a legitimate movie star beginning at the age of 7 when she was “Gertie” in the blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. Here is a link to a video of one of the best scenes from E.T. featuring “Gertie” screaming. She is one of two Child Stars to be mentioned in both part one (success stories) and part two (hot adults) of this issue. She battled drug and alcohol problems at a very young age, but was able to clean herself up. She is now a big-time producer (Flower Films) and actress with her films grossing over $2.3 billion worldwide. Here is a picture of Barrymore then & now:

Drew Barrymore then Drew Barrymore now

3.(tie) Nicole Eggert & Josie Davis – Like the Full House girls at #5, I decided to put these two together since they starred together as sisters on Charles in Charge from 1987-90. Eggert was 15 years old when she began the role as “Jamie Powell” and Davis was 14 when she became her sister “Sarah Powell.” Eggert, as no surprise, went on to become a lifeguard on the TV series Baywatch from 1992-94 and is now 36. It is a little more surprising to me that Davis would make this list. She is 35 now and still acting. Here is a picture of Eggert/Davis then & now:

Charles in Charge girls then

Nicole Eggert now Josie Davis now

2. Tiffani Amber Thiessen – She began her role as “Kelly Kapowski” on Saved By The Bell in 1989 when she was 15 years old, so she just sneaks in and qualifies for the 80’s. She appeared on that series from 1989-92 along with two other girls who could have been considered for this list, Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies. Like Nicole Eggert at #3, it is no surprise that Thiessen grew up to be beautiful. After Saved By The Bell, she took on a role in Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1994-99 as well as appearing in several minor films. At 34 now, Thiessen is still acting and serves on the National Advisory Council for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Here is a picture of Thiessen then & now:

Tiffani Thiessen then Tiffani Thiessen now

1. Alyssa Milano – She was just 11 years old when she started as “Samantha Micelli” on the TV series Who’s the Boss in 1984. She played Tony Danza’s daughter on that show from 1984-92 and by the end you could already see her growing into a beautiful young woman. Since then, she has worked pretty steadily (mostly in TV) with her most prominent role being on the show Charmed from 1998-2006. She is the other Child Star to be mentioned in both part one (success stories) and part two (hot adults) of this issue. Now at 35 years old, she is still acting and also involved in a few charities. Some of this philanthropic work includes the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, PETA and as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.S. She tops this list and here is a picture of Milano then & now:

Alyssa Milano then Alyssa Milano now

There’s my list. The order is up for plenty of debate, but are there any Child Stars you feel are missing all together? I am sure there are many others worthy of mentioning, but this is just my top 10. Remember, my list only includes kids from the 80’s. Please leave any and all comments below. I realize this is a very shallow list (based almost solely on physical appearance), but on the other hand, many of these are the girls I grew up watching myself. I thought it would be fun and interesting to see how they look now.

So that will wrap up this two-part issue of Kickin’ it Old School. Thanks so much for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80’s related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin’ it, please pass the word and let others know to give it a try (and of course come back often!). Peace and much love.

Check this out: Here is something very fun. Watch this video below and see how the Disney celebration is customized just for me! At the end, it should allow you Click and personalize the video to watch it yourself and send it to your friends and family. I thought this was VERY slick and hope you all enjoy it too.

Quote of the day: “Do you love me because I’m beautiful, or am I am beautiful because you love me?” -Oscar Hammerstein II from Cinderella

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  1. Shallow is good. heh. Yes, there are some definite hotties there. Good list.

  2. Danica McKellar is such a paragon – lovely *and* smart!

    I like the video at the end; it’s sweet. I’ve seen more macabre versions that feature the TV shows Dexter (where the user is named as Dexter’s next victim) and Burn Notice (where it seems like the user’s personal info has been leaked). This one was sweet!

  3. Tatyana Ali has a recurring role on The Young and the Restless as Devon’s girlfriend.

  4. My buddy Paulo from brazil is offered a half hour weekly radio slot, to talk about 80’s music, he wasn’t sure he wanted to take it, but I sent him to Old School to find endless material…He is thrilled!!! and is going to take it now!!! Glad you’re here!!!

  5. Reply to: barnabus1
    Thanks Barn!
    Glad he likes it. If he needs anything specific, let me know and I can try to help him out.
    I always appreciate anybody helping to keep the 80’s alive and relevant.

  6. Um. I notice that as most of these girls get older, they seem to develop breasts. Is this normal? I don’t mean them developing them, I mean, me noticing.

  7. Who was the girl that played the girlfriend of the tv boy Cory? Can’t remeber shows name. May have been early 90’s tv. Not family ties but similar…

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