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Top 9 Oldest Actors to Play Teenagers on TV


Turns out not all actors who play teens are actual teenagers. Who would’ve thought, right? That’s all because it’s so damn hard to find talented, experienced teen actors for big Hollywood movies (*cough* Spider-Man *cough*) and due to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to tell someone’s age in all that makeup, we get 20- and even 30-something actors trying to fit in as high-schoolers. Of course, there are people like Keanu Reeves and Patrick Stewart, who look today the same as when they were 18, but cloning is still illegal and immoral, so we have to improvise.
Let’s see if you can guess the age of the following actors and actresses, who played carefree teenagers on the small screen!



James Van Der Beek, born March 8, 1977
“Dawson’s Creek”

James, of course, played Dawson himself, who was supposed to be 16, yet in 1998, when the show premiered, he was already 21. That may not seem like much, compared to the other, but 5 years is a huge difference when you’re a teen.

Emilia Clarke, born October 26, 1986
“Game of Thrones”

If you haven’t read the books, this may come as a surprise to you, but our beloved Mother of Dragons is supposedly only 15 years old in the first season/book of “Game of Thrones.” Clarke may’ve appeared to be in her late teens when the pilot episode aired, but in reality she was actually 24 at the time. To be honest, I’d give her a hard 30. That show does not convey the “age” too well.

Paul Wesley, born July 23, 1982
“The Vampire Diaries”

This is a weird one, because, technically, Paul plays a 162-year-old bloodsucking vampire, who is supposed to look 17. In reality, though, when the pilot aired, Wesley already turned 27. Couldn’t they find a 160-year-old or something? Geez, Hollywood, get it together!

Bianca Lawson, born March 20, 1979
“Pretty Little Liars”

Does this girl even know what aging is? From what I’ve seen she very well may be an immortal, always-hot-looking being from another planet. Would you believe that Bianca’s been playing a teenager on TV for the past 20-something years? When Lawson joined the “Pretty Little Liars” in 2010, she was already 31 years old. Holy balls.

Charisma Carpenter, born July 23, 1970
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is one of my favorite shows of all time, yet I’ve never even wondered how old the actors were. So it hit me like a truck when I found out that Charisma Carpenter, who played the always bitchy cheerleader-type, Cordelia Chase, was 27 when the show started! She’s managed to stay beautiful even after 7 seasons of “Buffy” and 5 seasons of “Angel”. Good for you, Charisma!

Minka Kelly, born June 24, 1980
“Friday Night Lights”

Remember when you first saw an episode of “Friday Night Lights”, and this cute Lyla girl, played by Minka Kelly, who instantly stole your heart? Yeah, well, she was 26 back then. BOOM! What kind of sorcery is this?

Jason Earles, born April 26, 1977
“Hannah Montana”

Isn’t that Hanna Montana’s 16-year-old brother, Jackson? It’s definitely him! But wait, Jason Earles was TWENTY-NINE when he appeared in ‘Hannah Montana” for the first time! By the end of the season five, nobody really seemed to notice that he didn’t age one bit. That’s Hollywood for you.

Emily Kinney, born August 15, 1985
“The Walking Dead”

Emily’s character, Beth, has been around for two seasons, and is a devout Christian teenager, who actually got promoted to “series regular” in the fourth season. Beth is an original character created for the show, and she’s supposed to be 16 years old when she’s introduced, yet Kinney was already 25. However, everyone loved her performance, so, naturally, they took her in.

Gabrielle Carteris, born January 2, 1961
“Beverly Hills, 90210”

Do you remember the good old 90210? All those relatable characters made the show amazing for the teenage audience. Among the pile of characters, Gabrielle’s Andrea Zuckerman, is probably the least popular of the bunch, but what did you expect from an almost 30-year-old woman, playing a teen? She didn’t even look the part!