It’s become a bit of a cliché that as soon as Disney stars leave Disney for their own careers as adults, they’re handed a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express. Either that or they’re left on the side of road and forced to find their own way to Obscurity Town. This is often true of former child stars in general, but Disney stars in particular have become famous for it, especially since a certain lady whose name rhymes with Wily Papyrus started doing things like lighting up joints onstage at award shows.
It’s hard to emerge from the Disney bubble and enter into an adult life that has any semblance of normality or career success, let alone both. So I thought I’d take a look at a bunch of former Disney stars from the past decade or so and rank them according to how well they’re doing career-wise post-Disney, from least successful to most successful. I’ve taken a lot of factors into consideration, including how likely we are to remember them a few years down the line.
13. Hilary Duff
Poor Hilary Duff. She’s emerged from her Lizzie McGuire days pretty scandal-free, with a husband and a son and a healthy habit of being photographed going to the gym and hanging out at the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately her career hasn’t been going so well. She’s mostly been guest-starring on TV shows and appearing in the occasional TV movie, including the new one she’s rumored to be in according to her IMDb page: Girlfriend in a Coma. Oh Hilary, you poor poor thing.
I think it’s a bit of a shame that Raven’s acting career hasn’t really taken off as an adult, since she was always one of my favorites on the Disney Channel. She recently came out of the closet on her own terms after a bit of speculation, but she hasn’t really been in the news lately for her career.
11. Ashley Tisdale
This former High School Musical star keeps herself in the spotlight enough with her engagement, plus she’s still lending her voice to Phineas and Ferb. But that means she’s still got one foot in the Disney pool, which isn’t exactly a sign of much progress for a 28-year-old.
10. Dylan and Cole Sprouse
Since they left their Suite Life series, twin brothers Dylan and Cole have made headlines for how out-of-the-spotlight they are — working at restaurants, going to college, and making nerdy Tumblrs. Because they seem to be doing a great job of moving forward as non-actors, I have to put them higher on the list. You can’t fail at something you’re not even trying to achieve in the first place.
9. Jonas Brothers
What a tragedy for the ages. After canceling their tour, deleting their Twitter account, and being all-around shady, the JoBros finally called it quits. While Nick Jonas seems determined to make a name for himself as a solo artist, as a group they just didn’t cut it. Put your pom-poms down, boys.
8. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa’s an interesting specimen. She’s still starring in buzzed-about movies like Spring Breakers, but her presence there always seems to be a mistake. Add in her offscreen weirdness, whether it’s booty-popping on late night talk shows or releasing songs called “$$$ex,” and her success really doesn’t make sense. It’s like every day I wake up and think, “This is the day Vanessa Hudgens stops being famous, right?”