Generation Z Actors Then And Now

Jun 26, 2020Hayden

Among all of the talk about "boomers," "millennials" and "GenXers," one group seems to be left out of all of the discussions: Generation Z. That's the generation born between 1995 and 2015. A lot of actors are members of Generation Z, and we're now at a point where we can begin to look back at some of their careers. What did they look like back then compared to now? Let's find out!

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown is best known for playing Elle (Eleven) on Netflix's series Stranger Things. She had a few roles before she played the enigmatic Elle, but it's the one that she's most identified with. When she began the series in 2016, she was only 12 years old.

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Now, at 16, she's beginning to branch out in her career. She had a role in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and its sequel, Godzilla Vs Kong. She's also been a goodwill ambassador for the UEFA's #weplaystrong campaign.

Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner first appeared as Sansa Stark on the HBO show Game Of Thrones way back in 2011. She was 15 when that show first began. She was one of the few characters on that show who wasn't constantly trying to (literally) stab anyone in the back!

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Now at 24 years old, Sophie is all grown up and married to Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. She's also pregnant with their first child. Sophie has gone on to play Jean Grey in the X-Men reboot series and several other roles.

Finn Wolfhard

Another alumnus of Stranger Things is Finn Wolfhard. Wolfhard played Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things and started on that show at the tender age of 13. He played that part in all three seasons and will reprise it in the fourth and final season in 2021.

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Finn Wolfhard is now 17, and he's played in the movie adaptation of Stephen Kings It and will be in the new Ghostbusters film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 2021. He's become a highly sought after actor, and he looks to have a long career ahead.

Kiernan Shipka

If you watched Mad Men, you saw the evolution of Kiernan Shipka. She played Don and Betty Draper's daughter Polly in all seven seasons of the show. She was initially a minor character, but as she got older, her behavior became one of the show's major plot points.

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Kiernan Shipka began playing Polly when she was eight years old. Now at 20, she's had a multi-faceted career, including playing the titular character on Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. She's been very active in taking new roles as well.

Lana Condor

Unlike some of the other actors on this list, Lana Condor was not a child actress. Her first role was in X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, when she was already 18.  She was one of the few bright spots in a movie that was regularly panned by critics. 

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Today, Lana is 23 years old and has had roles in such diverse films as To All The Boys I've Loved Before and Alita: Battle Angel. She's also done some voice work, providing the voice for Casey McGarry in two episodes of BoJack Horseman.

Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz started out her career at age 5 in movies like The Amityville Horror, but it wasn't until she played the role of Hit-Girl in the 2010 film Kick-Ass that she really hit her stride as an actress. It was an amazingly violent role for a then-13-year-old. 

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She reprised the role of Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass 2 and has had a very successful career so far. Now at age 23, Moretz has entered into more mature roles. She also has a long career ahead of her, and several new projects in the works.

Hailee Steinfeld

Beginning her career at the age of 10, Hailee Steinfeld came to the attention of most movie fans at the age of 13. That's when she took the role of Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers' version of True Grit. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that part, one of the youngest actors to ever receive such a nod.

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Hailee Steinfeld went on to have success in both movies and music. She appeared in both Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3, as well as numerous other acting roles, and she has released two EPs of other solo music work.

Ariel Winter

Ariel Winter was in commercials and guest roles when she was only four years old. However, it was when she was 11 years old as the younger Dunphy sister, Alex, on the ABC show Modern Family. Her voice is also instantly recognizable for her work at the title character on the Disney animated show Sofia The First!

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Ariel Winter is now 22 years old. Modern Family just finished up its run on ABC, but Winter has kept herself busy with more voice roles. She also has a very active Instagram account with 4.5 million followers as of 2020!

Gaten Matarazzo

You probably know Gaten Matarazzo from his portrayal of the lisping Dustin on Stranger Things. He was 13 when that show started, but it wasn't his first appearance as an actor. He had a career on the stage playing in Les Miserables on Broadway before Stranger Things.

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This certainly explains his rather awkward duet with his girlfriend at the end of season three of Stranger Things! Anyway, he's now 18 years old and hosting his own show, Prank Encounters. He's still playing onstage in Into The Woods in Los Angeles and will be back in season 4 of Stranger Things.


Zendaya started her career as a model before she joined the cast of Disney's Shake It Up in 2010. She was 14 when she started on that show, and it was in the part of Rocky Blue that she first made her mark. It's safe to say that her career has grown a bit since then!

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Now 24, Zendaya has had a multi-faceted career so far. Her biggest onscreen role is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where she played "MJ," the love interest in the MCU Spider-Man movies. She'll also be playing Chani in the upcoming adaptation of Dune. She has her own fashion line, and a new show on HBO called Euphoria.

Kylie Jenner

OK, so this is cheating just a little bit. Kylie Jenner isn't really an actor, but she was born in 1997, and she did first appear on Keeping Up With The Kardashians in 2007 when she was only ten years old. Of course, a lot has happened since then!

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Kylie is now the youngest self-made billionaire of all-time, thanks to her Kylie Cosmetics line. She's still only 23 years old and has already become a fashion icon. Who would have thought that the little kid sister would grow up to do all of that?

Nolan Gould

Nolan Gould was a child actor who first found success in a series of small guest-starring roles. Of course, when he turned 11 years old, he got his big break playing Luke on Modern Family. As the youngest child (and only boy) in the Dunphy family, he was often paired with his dad in onscreen hijinx.

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Today, Nolan is 22 years old. Modern Family has ended its run, and Nolan has a new show called What's Up, North? He's also just wrapped a new film called Camp, which will be released in 2021.

Dafne Keen

One of the most terrifying aspects of the 2017 film Logan was Laura, played by Dafne Keen. Laura turned out to be the character X-23, a young female clone of Wolverine. She was every bit as fierce as her so-called father! Laura was only 11 years old in the film.

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Dafne Keen played Laura. She is only 15 years old now but is now heading up her own show, an adaptation of the His Dark Materials books on HBO. She's won numerous awards and should be another actor with a bright career!

Miley Cyrus

This might seem impossible because it feels like she's been around forever, but Miley Cyrus is still only 27 years old. It seems like it's been forever because she starred on Hannah Montana when she was only 11 years old in 2003. That show was a genuine phenomenon, and her career has only gone up from there.

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Miley, of course, might be the biggest star of this generation already. She's found success as a child actor, as a country singer, a hip hop artist, a pop singer, and even as a philanthropist. She's already had a massive career! All of this from someone who was once thought of as "The Achy Breaky Heart Guy's Daughter"!

These actors are all still very young and have long, long careers ahead of them. They might be the next big thing, and you can say that you saw them on their first job! If you enjoyed reading this story, please share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!

Sources: InstagramIMDBNY Times

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