Time sure does fly! It feels like it was just yesterday we were sitting down to watch Hilary Duff navigate life as a preteen on Disney Channel‘s Lizzie McGuire or Ashley Tisdale and Brenda Song get into hilarious situations on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Whether you want to believe it or not, these shows were on our television screens over 15 years ago, and the actors have transformed right before our eyes.
Since her time on Disney Channel, Hilary Duff has appeared on tons of shows and movies, including Gossip Girl, Younger and is slated to star in a new How I Met Your Mother spinoff called How I Met Your Father. However, she admitted it was difficult to find work in the years that followed Lizzie McGuire because she was typecast as the spunky teen.
“I definitely went through big frustrations of being like, ‘Why can I not get a shot at being someone else?'” the Cinderella Story actress previously told Cosmopolitan UK in September 2020.
She continued, “From age 21 to 25 — before I became a mom — there was a lot of frustration. I would get to producer callback and they’d be like, ‘She’s so great and she gave us the best reading and blah blah blah, but she’s Hilary Duff …'”
While many former child stars have spoken negatively about their experience with Disney Channel, Ashley Tisdale expressed that she’s “grateful” for the big roles she landed as a young teen.
“I’m so grateful for that experience. I’m so grateful for those roles. I was doing The Suite Life and High School Musical and recording an album and also doing Phineas and Ferb at the same time, which is a lot,” the Picture This actress said to BUILD. “At that time in my life, that was what I wanted to do, I was like, ‘I need to be on Disney’ so I was so down … And the places we got to go and tour with High School Musical was so awesome, so I’m very grateful for that and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without that.”
That being said, Ashley corroborated Hilary’s statements about being typecast after playing such popular roles. “It definitely has been hard coming out of it and people think of me as that character and so it’s hard with acting, I have to work extra hard to get the jobs that I get, but I still don’t resent it,” she added. “I love what I did back then and I’m very proud of it.”
Click through the gallery to see what these Disney Channel stars look like then and now!
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