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Ever get nostalgic and start thinking about those after-school Nickelodeon binge-watching sessions you used to indulge in when you were a kid? We just know every millenial mom definitely compares what her kids are watching on Nickelodeon now to the shows she used to enjoy on the network themselves. It’s impossible not to! Sometimes, that makes us fall down the internet rabbit hole, trying to find out exactly where all those actors we loved so much back in the day are now — and of course, what they look like all these years later.
The curiosity is real, so we took the time to dig in and gather some intel on these former child stars. Although some have disappeared into relatively average lives, others are actually doing pretty well in the entertainment world. Of course, we’re not talking about the likes of Ariana Grande and Drake here. Instead, we’re going to focus on lower-profile stars who our lovely readers may not have been able to keep up with over the years.
From disturbing legal troubles like those of Drake Bell to interesting career paths like Nate Richert’s gig in an indie rock band, here’s what 10 popular Nickelodeon child stars are doing now that they’re all grown up and no longer subjected to outrageous wardrobes, glitter eye shadow, and frosted tips.
Then: Victoria Justice
Once upon a time, Victoria Justice took the lead to Ariana Grande’s supporting role in the popular Nickelodeon series Victorious. The show, which was about an aspiring singer, went on for four seasons before it was canceled, but Victoria’s Hollywood ambitions didn’t end there.
Now: Victoria Justice
Now in her late 20s, Victoria worked hard to shed her child star image. Though she doesn’t get a ton of radio play, she has a solid music career, and since Victorious ended she has appeared in a slew of TV shows and movies and is set to star in a Netflix original called Afterlife of the Party.
Then: Jamie Lynn Spears
The younger sister of pop star Britney Spears, Jamie Lynn managed to launch a successful career of her own at quite a young age as the star of the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101, which was on the air for four seasons in the mid-2000s. She seemed to handle fame quite a bit easier than her iconic sister, though she never really reached the same level of stardom.
Now: Jamie Lynn Spears
Still riding the wave of her earlier fame, Jamie Lynn made a short based on Zoey 101 in 2020, but she also nabbed herself a role on the Netflix original series Sweet Magnolias, which will turn into a recurring spot during the show’s upcoming second season. Jamie also is a mom to two kids.
Then: Drake Bell
Drake Bell basically grew up on Nickelodeon. He started out on the Amanda Show and made guest appearances on various other series throughout the years, before starring in his own hit show Drake & Josh with Josh Peck, about two teens with completely different personalities who became stepbrothers.
Now: Drake Bell
Drake actually launched a pretty successful career as a singer and musician. He tours smaller venues and does a lot of TV work. That said, he’s in a bit of hot water right now after being charged with child endangerment involving a 15-year-old girl who attended one of his concerts. He pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.
Then: Kenan Thompson
Having starred in All That and the spin-off, Kenan & Kel, as well as the film Good Burger, Kenan Thompson is a Nickelodeon legend, and that fame has served him well. He was always one of the funniest and most lovable of the stars of the network’s early live-action series, and he really thrived in the variety show format.
Now: Kenan Thompson
Kenan has been incredibly successful over the past few years after disappearing from the public eye for what felt like a very long time. He resurfaced in 2003 as a regular on Saturday Night Live and in 2020, he nabbed his very own self-titled sitcom. He quickly became a favorite on SNL and still works with Nickelodeon regularly.
Then: Josh Peck
Josh Peck was the other, nerdier half of the Drake & Josh duo. He also got his start on the Amanda Show. He worked on various other TV shows and did a lot of voiceover work for animated series and films before and while he was working on Drake & Josh, so he definitely cemented his place in the entertainment world.
Now: Josh Peck
He knows it, everybody knows it: Josh Peck had a serious glow-up after Drake & Josh ended. He’s worked steadily doing more voice work for animated films and specials, and he’s had recurring roles on shows including the Mindy Project and Grandfathered. Now, he’s set to star in the Disney reboot of Turner & Hooch. He also recently became a first-time dad!
Then: Kel Mitchell
Funnyman Kel Mitchell was the other half of the dynamic duo that captured all of our hearts. Just like Kenan, he starred in All That, Kenan & Kel, and Good Burger, but his path took a different turn once he left the world of Nickelodeon. He too left the public eye for quite some time.
Now: Kel Mitchell
Although he was actually doing some voice work on animated shows, Kel seemed to go MIA for a while, to the point that a rumor surfaced that he had died. Thankfully though, Kel is very much alive and just as hilarious as ever.
He’s now a married dad of four who works as a pastor and a panelist on MTV’s Deliciousness. And with more than 1 million followers on Instagram, you can add influencer to his resume as well.
Then: Lori Beth Denberg
Lori Beth Denberg’s "Vital Information" skit on the Nickelodeon series All That was required viewing for 1990s kids. Lori Beth was everybody’s favorite character on the long-running sketch comedy show. As one of the oldest cast members, Lori Beth ended up leaving the series early, and she was definitely missed.
Now: Lori Beth Denberg
Lori Beth has resurrected her career in entertainment as a podcaster. She hosts Bad Advice, where she answers listener-submitted questions on topics that cover everything from divorce to body image. She also does regular guest appearances on radio and TV shows.
Then: Nate Richert
No matter how much we love the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix, Nate Richert (who starred on the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch series) will always be the real Harvey Kinkle. That charming smile and floppy ‘do will have our hearts forever. But we honestly had no idea what had happened to him since the show ended.
Now: Nate Richert
Well, it turns out that like many former child stars, he ended up doing quite a bit of voice acting. But just like Harvey, Nate actually wanted to be a musician all along. He fronts an indie rock band and has acted in various small roles as well as directed several small projects. He’s also happily married.
Then: Larisa Oleynik
Was anybody else absolutely obsessed with Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack? Larisa Oleynik was so much fun as the super-powered teenager who glowed when she got nervous. The show was hilarious and fun, and it definitely sparked a sense of adventure. But what happened to its star?
Now: Larisa Oleynik
Larisa is an actress through and through. She has had recurring roles on series including 3rd Rock From the Sun, Pretty Little Liars, Winx Club, and most recently Trinkets. She’s also appeared in a number of movies — most notably, 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You, but primarily TV movies.
Then: Keke Palmer
True Jackson, VP was such a fun and empowering series. It starred Keke Palmer as an aspiring businesswoman, who lands herself a gig as vice president of a youth apparel line while still in high school. Keke was charming and inspiring in the show, especially for young girls with big ambitions.
Now: Keke Palmer
Keke is honestly still just as funny, entertaining, and inspiring as ever. She has more than 10 million followers on Instagram and is still very active in the entertainment world, though her career did have a bit of a dry period. Keke is also a spokesperson for Olay beauty.
She does have a tendency to get herself in hot water on occasion, though, simply because she’s not afraid to speak her mind on any number of topics.