The Dramatic Transformation Of Amanda Bynes From 14 To 33 Years Old
Amanda Bynes was born April 3, 1986, in Thousand Oak, California. Bynes rose to fame in 1999, when she starred in the Nickelodeon show, “All That,” advertised as a “Saturday Night Live” for kids.
“My dad saw like an article that, you know, kids could do a comedy camp at the Laugh Factory. So, it was just for like six weeks or something, you know like, Arsenio Hall came on and he would critique your act,” a 12-year-old Bynes told Howie Mandel in 1999. That camp proved to be the key to the young comedian’s discovery. “And then there was like a graduation night,” Bynes explained, “and that’s where the producers of the show [‘All That’] like Brian Robinson and Dan Schneider came on the show and saw me there.”
Bynes was a regular on “All That” from 1996 until 2000, and the rest was history. She went on to act our way into our hearts for over a decade before her career and image underwent some major changes. Bynes has definitely transformed over the years — until 2012, we thought she had everything a girl wants. Despite having watched her grown up in front of the screen, if we saw her walking down the street, she’d be unrecognizable today.
Amanda Bynes could be anyone on The Amanda Show
Even before “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” there was “The Amanda Show.” Following her success on “All That,” Amanda Bynes got her own spin-off show on Nickelodeon, which ran from October 1999 — when Bynes was only 13 — until September 2002 when she was (pictured above), per E. The show centered around Bynes changing characters in front of our very eyes in back-to-back comedy sketches.
While the show centered on Bynes and the various characters she would play each episode, there were some other recognizable names who performed alongside her. Nickelodeon alums Drake Bell and Josh Peck, who went on to star in “Drake and Josh,” also got their big break on the series.
Although Bynes was merely a teen at the time, the show allowed her to express herself using various wigs and personas. The show didn’t just showcase her comedic range, but also her acting abilities and her ability to host and capture an audience’s attention.
It’s safe to say at this point, everyone wanted a piece of Bynes, including herself — a fan-favorite character was Penelope, a crazed Bynes fan, who appeared in many skits during the show’s run. Following the show, she continued to give us what we all wanted: more Amanda, on the big screen.
Amanda Bynes is the man at 20
When “The Amanda Show” finally came to an end in 2002, Amanda Bynes was 17 and ready to do hit the big screen. Following the end of the series, Bynes continued to get starring roles like in movies like “What A Girl Wants.”
In 2006, when Bynes was 20 years old (pictured above), she landed another huge role, taking the lead in “She’s The Man.” Although the soccer-playing, tomboy role proved she be both leading lady and leading man, Bynes later explained that the role took a toll on her mental health.
“When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy,” she told Paper in November 2018. “I’ve never told anyone that.” She explained that watching herself perform as a man “a super strange and out-of-body experience. It just really put me into a funk.”
Despite the toll the film took on her mental health, Bynes kept more than busy. The following year, she traded soccer balls and baseball caps for dancing shoes and lollipops when she showcased her impressive vocals in the film, “Hairspray.” Even though she experienced a struggle with depression, Bynes was at the top of her game and she stayed focused.
Bynes had a spotless image in the paparazzi age
In the years before her public struggles, the thought of racking up DUI’s, trips to rehab, or running into trouble with the law was laughable to 21-year-old Amanda Bynes, pictured here in 2007.
“It’s shocking how it’s become popular to go to rehab, right? It’s very odd,” Bynes told Showbiz Tonight while promoting “Hairspray” in 2007. “But I don’t know, I guess I would say I’m very lucky. I have a great family, and I just have my eye on the prize, which for me is a long career, and I just, I don’t want to blow what I’ve worked so hard to achieve,” she explained.
The interviewer went on to play devil’s advocate, questioning whether Bynes felt similar pressures to Lindsay Lohan, who is around the same age as Bynes and was, at the time, involved with several highly-publicized run-ins with the law. Bynes explained that she didn’t feel those pressures in the same way.
“For me, it’s actually not that hard,” Bynes said. “To me, I get that if, you know, you go to clubs, and you hang out with those people that maybe it would be easy, but I’m not interested in that. The club scene and the drinking doesn’t appeal to me, so it’s actually easier for me not to do it.”
Bynes went on to share that she had never even been offered drugs and didn’t want to take advantage of her stardom to act out. “For me, I’m just grateful,” she said.
Amanda Bynes struggled with her self image
In 2010, Bynes, pictured here at 24, made her last appearance on the big screen in “Easy A.” In the film, Bynes was still rocking the blonde hair, but later told Paper that the depression that hit her when she saw “She’s The Man” once again reared its ugly head at the “Easy A” premiere.
“I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t like my performance,” the actor recalled in 2018. “I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.” She went on to explain, “I was high on marijuana when I saw that but for some reason it really started to affect me. I don’t know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things.”
Her personal life began to spiral from there in a very public way. In April 2012, Bynes was arrested for a DUI. Over the next five months, Bynes was charged with two hit-and-runs. In September 2012, the “Hairspray” actor insisted that, despite the legal records of her crimes, it was all false.
“I am retired as an actor…” Bynes told People, which described her as “polite, respectful and upbeat” during the conversation. “I am not talking about being arrested for DUI because I don’t drink, and I don’t drink and drive. It is all false.”
2013 was a hard year for Amanda
During Amanda Bynes’ troubles with the law, her appearance went through a separate evolution. Over the next year, Bynes went on and debuted varying looks, including cheek piercings, pink hair, a disheveled blue and blonde wig, and shaving half her head. The actor took to Twitter, admitting that she had a nose job “to remove skin that was like a webbing in between my eyes.”
In May 2013, the 27 year old’s behavior continued to make headlines. At one point, she even expressed that her goal weight was to be 100 pounds, per Us Weekly.
“I have no clue [why people say I’m insane]. Every time I’ve heard it, it came from an ugly person’s mouth, so I don’t care,” she told InTouch (via Page Six). At this point, Bynes made it clear that she’d given up acting, but she had other dreams. Bynes explained that she wanted to begin working as a singer or designer. “I’ll design clothes and sing because I want to, not because I need the money,” Bynes said. “I love singing and I can’t wait to start working on an album.”
Amanda Bynes's road to "normal"
Amanda Bynes’s first interview following the turmoil in 2012 and 2013 came in 2018. Bynes debuted long blonde hair, and not a piercing insight. She also explained that it was drugs, not a mental illness to blame for her out-of-character behavior.
“It definitely isn’t fun when people diagnose you with what they think you are,” Bynes told Paper, referencing countless headlines over the years that attempted to put a psychological label to her behavior. “That was always really bothersome to me. If you deny anything and tell them what it actually is, they don’t believe you. Truly, for me, [my behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever I got off of [drugs], I was always back to normal.”
And Bynes did seem “normal.” In the interview, she expressed her desire to return to acting (which we’re still waiting on) and explained that she kept herself busy and is focusing on herself. “I have no fear of the future. I’ve been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it so I just feel like it’s only up from here,” she explained.
Since her interview, the “Easy A” star has graced us with updates on her life in the form of selfies, like this one from 2019 at 33. Despite the ups and down, we are always rooting for Bynes and hoping she gets everything a girl wants.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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