20 Teen Television Characters Who Were Played by Older Actors

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Teen TV shows are an entertainment staple. They provide the juiciest drama, the most ridiculous storylines, and some of our fave teen television characters. But, anyone who has ever watched a teen TV show knows the confusion over how these supposed high schoolers look so mature and beautiful when everyone you knew looked like they just left the womb. Simple answer: barely any teen television characters are actually played by teens. While they’re often close enough in age to be passable, plenty of your fave TV teens are actually full-on adults in disguise. Y’all know how many 30-year-olds have played 16-year-olds over the years?! ALOT.

Roles as teens on TV are perfect for the eternally baby-faced. Think about it — these adults have lived all the experiences that make playing a teen easy without currently going through any of the actual drama teens deal with. Sure, it makes your fave shows feel a little bit less authentic. But how else did you think every teen on TV looks like a runway model instead of a pimply, hormonal kid?! Still, we’re a little shocked by how old some of the actors playing teens actually are!

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