Being a child star on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon used to sound like a dream come true. However, throughout the years, some of the networks' most prominent actors have spoken up about how distressing the experience truly is.
Between Disney's unrealistic expectations and countless misconduct claims from Nickelodeon's sets, childhood stardom has been exposed as a potentially harmful experience. And honestly, it's important to amplify the voices of those actors brave enough to speak up.
2.Alyson Stoner was medically undernourished and chronically stressed at the tender age of 12. It was the result of "inappropriate and hazardous" set conditions that violated child labor laws. Still, she considers herself one of the lucky ones, noting that many other terrible things "happened on all of those sets."
4.In the documentary Light Girls,Raven-Symonémentioned that she used to tan several times a week while filming That's So Raven. One day, a lighting tech on set told her she needed to stop tanning. "You're getting too dark, and we need to relight the whole entire show," Raven-Symoné recalled.
5.Victorious star Daniella Monet once contacted Nickelodeon with concerns over a scene involving lip gloss and a pickle that felt sexually suggestive. She claims the network refused to cut the scene. Monet also expressed unease over some of the outfits the young characters wore in the show.
6.Alexa Nikolas felt vulnerable as a young actor while on the set of Zoey 101. She called out the series creator by name, saying, "He played a huge role in my personal childhood trauma. I didn’t feel safe around Dan Schneider; every time he came on set, my body got extremely tense."
7.Miley Cyrus worked through a wild schedule as a Disney Channel child star, putting in 12-hour days while filming Hannah Montana. The hours were so brutal that her mother, Tish Cyrus, suggested bringing in lights for seasonal affective disorder.
Illegal work schedule aside, being on Hannah Montana also gave Miley Cyrus unrealistic beauty standards. "From the time I was 11, it was, 'You're a pop star!'" she told Marie Claire. "That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing."
8.In a 2016 video, All That's Angelique Bates opened up about being "physically, mentally, emotionally abused" by her mother on set. The Nickelodeon producers and cast members who witnessed the abuse did nothing to help, with some adults urging her to keep quiet.
9.Joe Jonas tolerated Disney Channel's "terrible" writing and strict rules in fear that it was his only chance at success. This included shaving every day because they wanted him to look like a 16-year-old on set when he was actually 20 years old.
10.Bella Thorne was forced to be a different person on- and off-set during her Disney days. The notoriously strict network allegedly almost fired her after being photographed wearing a bikini on the beach.
11.Zendaya and Bella Thorne got tossed into a bizarre competition during the whole first season of Shake It Up. The girls wanted to be friends, but their time on set was made incredibly awkward by people who insisted on fueling comparisons.
12.Tyisha Hampton appeared on Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel and was married to Kel Mitchell from 1999 to 2005. Hampton allegedly witnessed countless horrible things on set, and she was sexually harassed so much that she would hide in Kel's dressing room.
13.In 2017, Rowan Blanchard told Nylon that "working for Disney was stressful." In a different interview, she admitted that nobody directly silenced her, but that "the subtext is always there. I worked for a corporation for four years that is known for silencing and crafting your voice."
14.Cole Sprouse and his twin brother Dylan observed that "the young women on the channel we were on were so heavily sexualized." That channel was, of course, Disney.
Cole Sprouse also claimed that the long work hours as a child star ruined his perception of a normal life. Being on set for nine years with Disney felt like "an insular environment that you forget what real human experience...actually looks like.”