Disney Channel Stars All Grown Up

February 14, 2018

Feeling nostalgic? One of the easiest ways to conjure up comforting memories of the past is to remember TV shows that set the scene on most days in elementary and middle school. Hannah Montana, Kim Possible, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, That’s So Raven, and Lizzie McGuire are some of the currently considered “old Disney shows” that bring back memories of laughter and simpler times. Sometimes, we are abruptly reminded of our childhood after seeing an ex- Disney star’s face in the news or watching a video on the Snapchat explore page. Whether the actor booked a promising film or made wrong decisions that lead to an awful headline, the stories encompass a part of childhood that is impossible to recreate.

Following their Disney Channel careers, teen actors and actresses all face a familiar problem. Fans expect them to either find prominent work or fall off the face of the Earth. They can follow the footsteps of superstars like Miley Cyrus and Zendaya or travel down the path of the nearly forgotten stars like Jason Earles, David Henrie, and Debby Ryan. Junior Mary Gilden had an opinion on the topic. “I never liked Debby Ryan (her show, Jessie, premiered in 2011),” she said. “I always thought she was super annoying. I liked Ashley Tisdale, though. I hope she’s doing okay.” The likeability of the star also played a role in whether they succeeded outside of their show or movie.

Zac Efron, Ross Lynch, and Selena Gomez are examples of talented Disney stars that expanded their horizons and found success. Both Efron and Lynch have found completely different roles from their former DCOMs and comedies. Efron, famous for his work in dramas and comedies like Charlie St. Cloud, Baywatch, and 17 Again, completely erased the word “Disney” from his memory. Lynch landed the part of Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer, receiving much attention from critics. His role differs infinitely from his part in Austin & Ally. Selena Gomez made a name for herself as a successful musician, actress, and producer. On the other hand, Bella Thorne has caught public attention from less promising activities. Among a group of wild Disney graduates, Thorne is often trending for all the wrong reasons. To see Thorne go from Shake it Up to shaken up was heartbreaking, but it just goes to show that Disney Channel, like any other television network, has created both success stories and major misfortunes.

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