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"'And I'll root, toot, shoot myself to fame
"I'll be a teenage idol, just give me a break
—Elton John, "(I'm Going To Be A) Teenage Idol", written for his friend Marc Bolan (T-Rex).
An entertainer who is idolized by teenagers.
People have been declared teen idols for as long as being a teenager has been recognized. Many, but not all, have been specifically groomed for this purpose. They generally have several things in common:
- Either they are teenaged themselves when they first become stars, or they are in their twenties and can pass for teenage with Dawson Casting (or both).
- They are attractive and photogenic, often becoming the target of the Celeb Crush (Beauty Equals Goodness, right?).
- They act, sing, or both. It tends to be both if their managers have a say in it. Their talent is irrelevant to being a Teen Idol in the first place, but it makes a difference about whether they're Vindicated by History.
- They create a Periphery Hatedom for anyone not a teenager, and of course some teenagers (Of course, Your Mileage May Vary on this one).
The most basic way to tell if a celebrity is truly a Teen Idol is by whether they wind up in magazines aimed at the teenage market (like Sassy, Tiger Beat, YM, Seventeen, and Teen People) and by whether they become a poster celebrity.
Often, if the teens of the era have a social conscience, a Teen Idol will be the way The Man Is Sticking It to the Man.
Often overlaps with the Idol Singer, although not all teen idols are singers.
- Chronicled in part in the movie The Shawshank Redemption.
- Elvis Presley.
- James Dean
- Len Whiting. Yeah, who? Romeo from Franco Zefferelli's 1968 Romeo and Juliet. He was such a major Teen Idol for a while that it wasn't uncommon for him to be the subject of 60% or more of the articles in a single issue of a teen magazine.
- Considering he looks like Zac Efron, this troper isn't suprised.
- Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who are probably regretting it.
- This is mainly because many of the fans who cannot differentiate fiction from reality and they actualy think that Pattinson is Edward and Stewart is Bella. This has led to many fans attempting to get "Edward" to bite them so they can become a vampire too, and all sorts of Squick things. Both actors have said on numerous occasions that they are less than pleased.
- All of the stars of High School Musical.
- Rudolf Valentino.
- Leonardo DiCaprio used to be one in his younger years.
Live Action TV
- Farrah Fawcett during her Charlie's Angels days.
- Nina from Just Shoot Me was said to have been this in her former days as a model. She would frequently run into men who had had a poster of her on their wall as teens.
- The Dukes of Hazzard with Daisy Duke for the boys, and Bo and Luke for the girls.
- Seven-Of-Nine in Star Trek: Voyager. While a part of the fandom hated her for being Ms. Fanservice, she still had a sizable following.
- Several Power Rangers, to most people when they think of the Pink Ranger they think of Amy Jo Johnson's Kimberly.
- Deanna Troi.
- David Cassidy of The Partridge Family. Interestingly, he's one of the few real-life Teen Idols who was also portrayed that way on the show.
- Shaun Cassidy, half-brother to David, on The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries. His singing career never quite got in the way of solving mysteries.
- His co-star, Parker Stevenson, also had a sizable teen following & teen mag status.
- The Monkees, for both their music and TV Show.
- All three of the brothers on Here Come The Brides, although Robert Brown was way up at the top end of the Teen Idol age range. Most teenaged girls were enamored of Bobby Sherman, but some preferred David Soul. Bridget Hanley (the youngest bride) was the female Teen Idol from the same show.
- Practically all of the Disney Channel's teen actors since 2002. Most of them are also Idol Singers.
- Hilary Duff, Disney's first attempt at creating a teen idol.
- Raven Symone, Disney's second attempt at creating a teen idol. Symone was also a part of The Cheetah Girls.
- Miley Cyrus, probably their most successful to date.
- Demi Lovato.
- Selena Gomez.
- Before the Disney Channel, Hayley Mills, Annette Funicello, Robert Considine and Tommy Kirk were teen idols in The Sixties.
- Later on, believe it or not, Kurt Russell and Jodie Foster were, too. They grew out of that.
- Nickelodeon's now catching up to Disney Channel too, with 2 starting ones.
- Fictional example: Robin Sparkles in How I Met Your Mother.
- Brian Austin Green
- Johnny Depp on Twenty One Jump Street
- Any Boy Band.
- Debbie Harry from Blondie.
- She was actually 30 when Blondie was formed.
- Britney Spears was the late 1990's/early 2000's version. Yes...
- The Beatles!
- Elvis Presley.
- Debbie Gibson.
- New Kids on the Block.
- T-Rex, in England.
- Ricky Nelson.
- Frank Sinatra, in the '40s and '50s.
- The Jonas Brothers, part of the Disney marketing machine.
- Allstar Weekend, their successor.
- Michael Jackson and his band, The Jackson 5.
- Miley Cyrus
- Taylor Swift
- Alanis Morissette (We do not talk about that.)
- Justin Bieber
- Leif Garrett
- Donny Osmond and the Osmonds.
- Cody Simpson
- Grayson Chance
- Wham! in The Eighties (George Michael would also be a Teen Idol at first as a solo singer).
- New Edition in the beginning.
- Shaun Cassidy
- Pin-up girls of World War Two (and onwards) fame.
- Many a Page Three Stunna, but most notably Samantha Fox, Linda Lusardi, Melinda Messenger and Keeley Hazell.