These Actors Play High Schoolers On Screen But IRL Are Way Older

We all love to get our daily fix of TV shows set in high school but a truth we’ve realized after years of watching Gossip Girl and Riverdale is that the actors aren’t the same age as their characters. They’re not the junior or senior counterparts they play but rather, adults. We get it though, it’s not always easy to find suitable candidates who are of high school age, especially when many actors look younger than they actually are. While it can be assumed that many of us wouldn’t want to re-live our high school days, these actors remind us that our personal experiences were probably better than being stalked in Rosewood or a part of murder sprees in Mystic Falls.

Netflix recently poked fun at the topic, tweeting out their thoughts with a meme.

These are the shows you might not have known cast actors and actresses who didn’t match their character’s high school age.



Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, Naya Rivera and Heather Morris were all in their early 20’s when the show debut as they played students of McKinley High School. Lea’s been no stranger to playing younger roles as after Glee wrapped, she began playing college student Hester Ulrich in Scream Queens.

Gossip Girl


Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were just 20 and 21 when they began playing 16-year-olds in the first season of the hit teen show. It wasn’t until the season finale’s time jump that the characters began to catch up to the actors’ ages. Blake has played women of ages across the spectrum as in the Age of Adaline, she played a character over 100.

Pretty Little Liars


One of the things the mystery show was known for was the fashion-forward wardrobe of its characters who definitely did NOT dress like they were in high school, especially if you remember all the pumps and stilettos worn to English class. While the characters were of high school age, the actresses who played them were not. Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario were about 23 and 24, respectively, when the show first premiered. Meanwhile, Bianca Lawson, who played Maya, was 31 when the show first debut.



Cole Sprouse‘s role as Jughead proves that he’s grown from his Zack and Cody days on Disney. While the group of Riverdale may play high schoolers, they’re all in their early to mid-20’s.

Vampire Diaries


Though the cast of Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley played ageless vampires, the actors continued to grow into their own. You’d think that returning to high school would be the last thing one would want after achieving immortality, but that didn’t stop these characters from reliving their adolescence.

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