To break free from the inevitable squeaky-clean image of a Disney star is a difficult task. It seems that the only options for child stars are to either get stuck with the same corny roles like the once adorbs Raven-Symone or have a total crackhead breakdown like LiLo or Amanda Bynes.
There are few Disney actresses who actually managed to hold on to their sanity and continue on to find success, mostly in the world of music. Not only did these ladies keep acting and singing but they also ditched their good-girl personaes to build actual career paths.
No longer are the following actresses innocent jits; they're edgy, versatile, young women who evaded the Disney curse to take over and rule pop music.
Demi Lovato - Sonny with a Chance
While Demi Lovato may have had her short period of instability while recovering in rehab from personal issues like bulimia and cutting, she made a commendable recovery.
The 21-year-old's Disney past is far behind her, and her struggles actually worked in her favor. Before her "dark" period and before officially leaving Disney, she established a singing career with hard-edged pop-rock songs like "Don't Forget." After recovering from rehab, the album, Unbroken, peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.
Nowadays, it's hard to believe that Lovato was ever associated with Disney. She's a judge on X-Factor, and her single "Heart Attack" went platinum in ten weeks. She also just announced a partnership with Cast Recover, a mental health org, in honor of her late father, who also suffered from psychological afflictions. Not too bad for a girl who appeared on Barney & Friends.
Selena Gomez - Wizards of Waverly Place
With her baby face and teen-beauty-queen looks, Selena Gomez made it her primary goal to experiment with different roles to transform her good-girl identity into something with an edge.
What she did with her raunchy role in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers was definitely not Disney-friendly. Wearing the tiniest bikini and smooching on a creepy, drug-pushing, gun- and Britney-loving James Franco, Gomez's new image made pants tent instead of hearts melt.
The 20-year-old is also making waves in pop music, and not just for sitting beside Justin Bieber. Her recent hit "Come and Get It" made the Top 10 on the Hot 100 chart. In the video, she flaunts a bustier, gets her mack on with a random guy, and sings the more-than-suggestive lyrics: "When you're ready come and get it." Get what, exactly? You can guess, you pervs.
Miley Cyrus - Hannah Montana
Even though Amanda Bynes randomly tweeted the simple sentiment "ur ugly" to Miley Cyrus, every other sane person is glad Miley moved beyond her Hannah Montana past to twerk all the livelong day.
She had a period of rebellion and controversy too, on a smaller scale, with photographic evidence of smoking weed (which she so cleverly claimed was Salvia). This along with several other scandalous photos in the shower and revealing her midriff whirled Cyrus right out of the clean-cut image.
Her acting career still hung in there after Disney with films such as The Last Song and Bolt. Miley's musical career continues to get dirtier, appearing on Borgore's "Decisions" and with her new single "We Can't Stop," an all-out girl anthem about party time and doing whatever she damned well pleases.
By Ashley Koobir
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism