Gumdrop Lane

The Best of Adults Playing Teens

It might be one of my secret goals in life to play a teenager on a high school drama on TV or in a movie. Some would say my time has passed, as I am well beyond my teen years. But to those nay-sayers, I say nay to you! Some of our most beloved and best teens on TV and film were full-grown adults who happened to capture the spirit of the American teen far better than an actual and authentic teenager ever could. Please enjoy this selection of some of the best adults playing teens in the business.

Stacey Dash in Clueless


I saw this movie as a child and when you’re a kid, teenagers look so old and sophisticated – and that’s because some of them actually are so old. Stacey was able to express her teen queen pizzaz so well because she was 28 years old at the time of playing a 16-year-old Dione “Dee” Davenport. Yes, apparently her character had a last name. I would’ve felt so much better about my 16-year-old awkward frizzy self had I known Dee was really a fully-formed adult at the time of her portrayal.

What was Stacey doing when she was really a teenager?


Being on The Cosby Show, duh. Well, at least for one episode.

Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls


When Rachel McAdams portrayed the ultimate teen queen of mean, Regina George, she was actually 25 years old. That’s how she was really able to do car commercials in Japan without flunking out of school.


In reality, during her real teenage years Rachel was livin‘ it up in Canada, figure skating and directing children’s theatre.


But she started playing a teen right when she hit 20, with a gig on The Famous Jett Jackson. The perfect training ground to work up to the honor of playing Regina George.

Keiko Agena in Gilmore Girls


Keiko played Lane Kim, the best friend we all wanted to have, who was Rory Gilmore’s BFF on Gilmore Girls. The only thing is, we would’ve been one of the few 15 year olds around with a 27-year-old best gal pal. Although I still kind of want her as my best friend these days, because everyone needs a bestie who got married in a freakin‘ helicopter over a freakin‘ volcano. Yeah.

When she was really a high school student she was living in Hawaii, attending high school like a regular girl.


She started acting when she was 10 and made her TV debut at 20 playing, of course, a teenager.

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