Former Disney Stars That Are Now Mainstream 

By Staff 

It is time to take a moment to appreciate three popular women in Hollywood who are all under thirty, who started on Disney Channel, and have now bloomed into superstar celebrities. These are the ones who we have been able to see grow from our childhood shows to our present day adolescent ones. 


Zendaya has found her way from Disney Channel to HBO and the big screen. She has been featured in movies and TV shows such as Shake It Up, The Greatest Showman, Euphoria, Malcolm & Marie, Spider-Man Homecoming, Spider-Man Far From Home, and Spider-Man No Way Home. She has also been the face of brands including Lancome and their La Vie est Belle campaign; not to mention she has over one-hundred sixty-nine million followers on Instagram. 

There seems to be no end to her stardom. She has won two Emmys for her work as Rue Bennett on the hit HBO show Euphoria and was the youngest to win the Emmy in the producing category when she was just twenty-five. Also, she always stuns on red carpets including her last appearance after styling from her stylist Law Roach at the NAACP Image Awards:

Considering the previous, it is safe to say that she is a cultural icon from her acting to projects to fashion. Since our Gen Z teens here at Benicia High School have grown up with her on our Disney Channel shows like the aforementioned Shake It Up where she played Rocky Blue, we especially have seen Zendaya grow. 

Jenna Ortega 

Another woman who has been taking the acting scene by storm lately has been, as Adidas headlined her, “actress, advocate, producer and style icon” Jenna Ortega. Ortega has starred in the Netflix series Wednesday which has been an ongoing attraction since 2022. The show catapulted her to full blown stardom. She now has over 40 million followers on Instagram.

Ortega did not start out too big. She has been in many films before her breakout role including ones on Disney Channel. For instance, she starred on their series Stuck In the Middle from 2016-2018. 

Aside from her appearance on screen, Ortega has been a part of more projects. For example, on February 2 of this year, Adidas introduced her as an ambassador for their new Adidas Sportswear line. It features pieces of athleisure clothing that consumers will be able to purchase. 

Ortega made headlines alongside actress Aubrey Plaza for the way they announced the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor at the 2023 SAG Awards. The two are known for their being deadpan in their performances. 

More recently, Ortega won Favorite Female TV Star at this year’s Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards proving that her fame is nowhere near its end. 

Dove Cameron

Dove Cameron has also been getting much more media attention with her music, and like Zendaya and Jenna, she was a Disney actress.

Cameron has starred in the Disney Channel show Liv and Maddie from 2013-2017 where she played both twins Liv and Maddie. She won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Programming for her performance in it in 2018. She has also been in Disney Channel movies such as Cloud 9 and the more recent Descendants franchise. 

Aside from her roles on Disney Channel in the 2010’s, Cameron performed alongside famous celebrities such as Ariana Grande in 2016 as Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray Live! There, she was able to showcase her acting and singing skills among many other extremely talented celebs in Hollywood. 

After her appearances on Disney, Cameron seems to be focusing on her music. Her 2022 single “Boyfriend” got over fifty-three million views in its official video on YouTube. That same year she won MTV’s Video Music Award for Best New Artist. This year, she and artist Khalid released a single called “We Go Down Together” and has over forty-eight million followers on Instagram. 

With Cameron’s new work, she is proving that her Disney days are over and that she is blooming into who she wants to be and doing the projects she wants to do. She even revealed in an interview with the LA Times that she felt like “the strange outlier who doesn’t belong” and had imposter syndrome. 

Overall, Zendaya, Jenna Ortega, and Dove Cameron have pushed past their Disney days and are becoming even more popular. What projects will they be doing next?

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