%% Image and caption selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1428042112069484900
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
%% Also, do not add "Not pictured: David Boreanaz as Angel" or any variant thereof to the caption. He wasn't a regular at the time this photo was taken, and a 27-year-old actor playing an eternally 26-year-old vampire is not this trope.
[[quoteright:350:[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2a2ae46934be1f8f4a0fd4dfdf6b7c2c.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Nobody understands the teenage mind better than an adult actor. [[note]]From left to right: Creator/NicholasBrendon as Xander, Creator/SarahMichelleGellar as Buffy, Creator/CharismaCarpenter as Cordelia, and Creator/AlysonHannigan as Willow. Not numbered, and playing his actual age: 42-year-old Creator/AnthonyStewartHead as Giles, who is definitely ''not'' a teenager.[[/note]]]]
%% Source for the age of the character Rupert Giles: "Angel & Faith" comic, issue #10

->''"This is just like ''Series/TheOC'', except without 25-year-old teenagers and 35-year-old parents."''
-->-- '''Jack''', ''Series/WillAndGrace''

High school students in television look nothing like high school students in real life ([[OlderThanTheyLook well, not always]]), for one good reason: they're often played by actors who are at least a few years older. This dates back to the earliest days of Hollywood, if not further, making it OlderThanTelevision. [[UndeadHorseTrope Despite this trope being a prime source for ridicule, mockery, and parody, there are actually a lot of legitimate reasons for why this is done]]. Among them include stricter rules for employing children[[note]]For example: A lot of US television is produced and shot in California, where children under 16 are not allowed to work before 7 AM or after 7 PM during most of the year; also, children under 14 are not allowed to work at all on any "school day"[[/note]]; in addition to these limits and limitations on what they are allowed to perform on camera, or at the very least AbilityOverAppearance. See the [[Analysis/DawsonCasting Analysis Page]] for more details.

This happens when dealing with teenage characters in the range of 14-18 years old, especially in dramatic shows. If younger, casting usually tries for children actors, and if older it is simply far less noticeable. If a show or movie carries a greater focus on the adults rather than the kids then they will usually avert this. This ought to be horribly distracting, but by and large, television audiences have learned to manage. It is so ingrained into our mindset that almost all {{aver|tedTrope}}sions end up being notable.

It can sometimes result in a paradoxical effect: teens that look more like actual teens (either with real teenage actors or in animation) are described as looking "too young" (see RealityIsUnrealistic). Conversely, actors in their early-to-mid-twenties, especially those who make their name in these kinds of shows, often have difficulty being taken seriously playing characters their own age. Very specific actors can pull it off, usually attributing it to the character being OlderThanTheyLook. In other cases, some stories work with this because a key plot point may be the character does not actually look their age and are trying to pass off as older than they really are. But with no such luck Hollywood will get by with appropriate clothing, [[GirlishPigtails hairstyles]], makeup and mannerisms.

Named for ''Series/DawsonsCreek'', which was notorious for it -- Creator/JamesVanDerBeek (20), Creator/KatieHolmes (18), and Joshua Jackson (19) playing 15-year-olds (at the time of the pilot's filming). 17-year-old Michelle Williams was the only one still high school aged. In season two, the new main character Jack was 16, and actor Kerr Smith was '''26'''. While maybe not the worst case example (Jack aside), it is a joke that has filtered into the cultural mindset regarding the show.

By and large this trope requires some research, you can't know for certain that an actor/actress is a certain age unless you scour around Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} or Website/IMDb. Also consider that production time may vary greatly from release of the movie or airing of the episode. The actors are of course younger during filming. Timeline issues sometimes make this more apparent, as [[ComicBookTime 5 seasons of a tv show may only cover one year within the context of the story]], making an actor who was an aversion become a straight example over time. Consider also that the exact age of the ''character'' may also be in question (a generic "high schooler" can be anywhere from 14 to 19). In the case of voice acting that field has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with vocal performance, as such only notable aversions are mentioned (consider what the point would be to list examples of RaceLift in voice acting). This is also part of why we have CrossdressingVoices.

Ultimately realize that there is nothing [[TropesAreTools fundamentally wrong with this trope]]; all forms of entertainment are about [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief the illusion]]. What matters is if you believe in the character. At the same time this is not about age discrepancies, just being three or four years older doesn't necessarily mean the production is "trying to pull a fast one" on the audience. If anything finding a 19 year old to play a 17 year old is well ahead of the curve.

Compare AgeLift, AgeInappropriateDress, and ThreeMonthOldNewborn. Contrast HollywoodOld, PlayingGertrude, UnderageCasting, and ChildrenVoicingChildren. See also ArtisticAge for an intentional drawn equivalent. CrossDressingVoices is more-or-less the [[AnimationTropes animated version]] of this trope, as partially explained above. Also used to {{avert|ed trope}} a StageMom situation.


* DawsonCasting/{{Film}}
* DawsonCasting/LiveActionTV

!!Straight Examples

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* While this is usually not an issue with animation, it becomes somewhat noticeable when idol series, like ''Music/MarginalNumber4'' and ''VisualNovel/UtaNoPrincesama'', have the voice actors perform concerts in-character. Though, some of them definitely look the part, like Unicorn Jr.'s Creator/ShoutaAoi and Creator/ToshiyukiSomeya (both 30 at the time of the franchise's first big concert; their characters are 15 and 16). Somewhat subverted with the third member of the trio, Alto, who's supposed to be 16, but looks so much like his voice actor that he seems older, even in the animation.
* The Esper sisters Tatsumaki and Fubuki from ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'' are both 28 years old and 23 years old respectively, but their Japanese voice actresses are not. Creator/AoiYuuki, Tautsumaki's voice actress, is a year younger than Creator/SaoriHayami, Fubuki's voice actress.
* In both ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 2003'' and ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Brotherhood'' the 15-year-old Edward Elric was voiced by 38-year-old Creator/VicMignogna, even in the {{Whole Episode Flashback}}s to when he was younger.
** Something similar happens in the Spaniard dub with male actor Ricardo Escobar (15-year-old Edward) and female actress Creator/BlancaRada (10-12 year-old Edward). Rada voices Ed in most flashbacks, but in some short ones (two-three lines tops), Escobar keeps voicing little Ed. The results are kinda jarring, since even though Escobar's voice is believable for a teenager (although a kinda deep voiced one at that), it definitely isn't for a little boy.
* When an established character remembers their childhood, a separate actress is often brought in to provide the younger voice; however, Creator/SoichiroHoshi continues to voice Goku (''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'') and Oujirou (''Anime/KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'') in flashbacks.
** The English dub actor Creator/ChrisPatton has played the younger versions of two of his characters as well: Joshua Christopher in ''Anime/ChronoCrusade'' (who was played by a woman in the Japanese version) and Fakir in ''Anime/PrincessTutu''. In the audio commentary for ''Chrono Crusade'', it's revealed that they used a mixture of Chris speaking higher and some editing to make it work.
** Similarly, in the dub of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Creator/YuriLowenthal voices Sasuke even when he was a kid and later he voiced Simon of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' both before and after the TimeSkip, though not in the DistantFinale (which happen the same in the original language as well). The same goes for Rossiu, though only in the dub (while in the Japanese version he retains a female voice actor even when we briefly see him in his ''fourties'')
* In the Spaniard dub of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' every single main male character over the age of 10 is voiced by a male actor, and most of them are believable. Javier Balas, Naruto's voice actor, explained in an interview that it was done like that because when the series arrived to Spain, in Japan the manga had already reached the TimeSkip. Hence, they casted so every character could keep their voice actors after that point.
** Which happened for all characters... except Sasuke. Before the TimeSkip he was voiced by Adolfo Moreno, a 30-something voice actor famous for voicing Ash Ketchum from ''Pokémon'', Sora from ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and ComicBook/ScottPilgrim, among many others. However, after the TimeSkip he was replaced by Eduardo Bosch, whose voice sounds way more mature... so much that some people believe they overdid it.
* It's probably worth noting that Greg Ayres (the actor of Negi from ''Negima'' mentioned above) has been cast three times in dubs for young characters voiced by Akira Ishida in the original: Kaworu Nagisa of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', Chrono of ''Anime/ChronoCrusade'' and Satoshi Hiwatari of ''Manga/DNAngel''. In fact, Greg himself tends to be a walking example--he was originally hired as a voice actor in the first place ''because'' his natural voice sounds so young
* Sixteen-year-old Tsukiyono Omi of ''Anime/WeissKreuz'' is played by Yuuki Hiro, actually the oldest of the four lead voice actors of the series; his youthful voice means that he is often cast as cute, young boys.
* Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonballZ'' was played by his male actor, Ryo Horikawa in his young appearances. Most dubs use a female actor for this role, but the Funimation English dub, like the Japanese Version, used his adult actor, Creator/ChristopherSabat as the young Vegeta.
** Christopher Sabat also voiced the child form of Piccolo in ''Manga/DragonBall'', while in most other versions including the original Japanese version cast a woman for this part.
* Shinji in the English dub of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', and most character voiced by Creator/SpikeSpencer (with a few exceptions which were old enough to be played by a male in both versions).
** This trend was followed by most of the other dubs worldwide; in fact, the Japanese version seems to be the only one in which Shinji was voiced by a woman, which some fans perceive as LostInTranslation, as his effeminacy was a major point in his character development.
** Other male teen characters were also voiced by men in the original Japanese: Touji Suzuhara, voiced by Tomokazu Seki; Kensuke Aida, voiced by Tetsuya Iwanaga; and, as mentioned above, Kaworu Nagisa, voiced by Creator/AkiraIshida.
* The 2008 ''Anime/{{Yatterman}}'' series marks the only time in the franchise's entire history (the live-action movie aside, for obvious reasons) that Gan/Yatterman-1 had a male actor (Hiroyuki Yoshino in this case); otherwise, he had a female actress.
* The ''[[Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic Adventure of Sinbad]]'' OVA has 14-year-old Sinbad and Drakon being voiced by the same actors who play their 30-year-old selves in ''Magi'', which just sounds unnatural combined with the more cartoonish art style.
* Nate, a fifth grader from ''Anime/YokaiWatch'' is voiced by 40 year old Creator/JohnnyYongBosch.
* ''Anime/PrincessPrincipal'': InUniverse - Dorothy is 20 years old, and undercover as a high schooler. Ange lampshades it by saying her class must be very kind.
* ''Anime/FlipFlappers'': Toto in the original Japanese version was played by a woman to give him the pre-adolecence voice while the dub gave him a matured male voice.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Although there's generally no actual casting involved, many fanfics involve describing teenaged characters (both existing and new) in terms that don't fit with their ages. Sometimes there actually ''is'' casting, when the author creates banners or pictures for the cast, and generally uses "teen" models or actresses in their early-mid 20s.
* Role Players tend to cast their characters into age-illogical celebrities.
* In the author's notes of ''Fanfic/MyImmortal'', Tara Gilesbie suggested that [[Music/MyChemicalRomance Gerard Way]] (!) should play {{Draco|InLeatherPants}} in the next ''Film/HarryPotter'' film. Gerard was almost 30 at the time.
* [[https://www.fimfiction.net/story/251991/butter-up Butter Up]] of the Actingverse in MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fanfiction plays Fluttershy, and is a full adult, unlike the child stars who play the other characters.

* One that didn't happen: J.D. Salinger once wrote that the only adaptation of ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' he would permit would be with himself, then well into his 30s, playing the 16-year-old lead.
* Creator/JohnGreen, perhaps as a ShoutOut to the above, Website/{{tw|itter}}eeted that he would be playing Augustus in ''Film/TheFaultInOurStars'' as an AprilFools prank.

* Music/AliceCooper, born in 1948, has been singing "I'm Eighteen" for over 30 years.
* Music/BryanAdams had a hit with "18 Till I Die" in 1997, at the age of 37.
* Music/PatBenatar, born in 1953, built an entire discography around singing about how "we are young" back in the 1980s. The video for "Love is a Battlefield" (which has the "we are young" line in question), where she plays a teen [[TheRunaway runaway]]. She was 30 at the time she made the video.
* Music/MarilynManson, born in 1969, has been singing, in a first person narrative, of being a disgruntled youth, since 1994 when he was 25.
* {{Music/Korn}} have made a career out of teenage angst and high school ostracizing; so far they've been at it since 1993, being at the time 22 years old plus.
* Music/{{Madonna}}'s early musical career centered around insinuating that she's a troubled youth, being a material "girl" who was "like a virgin" and juggling youthful crushes and youthful rebellion and wants to know "where's the party", contrasted with tougher issues such as whether or not her "daddy" would be angry that she's pregnant, and running away from home because "daddy" is abusive. She was 25 years old when she released her self-titled debut. 3 years after that, she still considered herself young enough to kiss a 13-year-old in the music video for "Open Your Heart", but her critics disagreed.
* Belinda Carlisle had a youthful-sounding voice and used it to make references about being a "kid" in "school" finding love for the first time with her band The Go-Gos. In the late 1980s, she became a solo artist at the (relatively) mature age of 29, replete with air-brushed album covers to make her look like someone born after 1958.
* Music/CyndiLauper, another 30-something in the 1980s who got famous about singing about being a "girl" instead of a woman.
* Pete Burns was 26 when he released his album "Youthquake" and the other members of British New Wave band called "Dead or Alive" were in their late 20s and early 30s.
* Music/SpiceGirls
* Music/BeastieBoys
* Music/TheBeachBoys continued to sing love songs to teenage girls even after they became middle-aged, bearded, creepy men. Not counting the unreleased track "Lazy Lizzy", in which Brian sings about stalking an underage girl, the most pedo-worthy track to appear on a Beach Boys disc was undoubtedly "Hey Little Tomboy" -- made even worse by a bootlegged outtake in which the Boys seem bent on gang-raping the title character.
* Music/NewKidsOnTheBlock
* Music/BackstreetBoys
* Indigo Girls
* At the age of 26, Music/KatyPerry played a 13-year-old high school student in the music video of her song "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".
* Several of Music/TaylorSwift's videos, such as "Fifteen", "You Belong With Me", and "The Story of Us", in which she plays high schoolers. Minor examples earlier, as she wasn't that much older than her characters, but it's started getting played more and more straight as she gets older ([[OlderThanTheyLook though to her credit, she doesn't look it]]).
* Music/VanHalen's members were in their late twenties when they came out with the song "Hot for Teacher", where David Lee Roth describes himself not as a college student, not as a high school student, but what sounds like an elementary school (an American school for pre-teens) student, lusting after his teacher. The video averts this by having scenes depicting the band as actual children, as well as being blatantly comedic in the first place.
* 20-something Music/{{Kesha}} has made an entire discography over referring to herself as a young girl who believes herself to be a rebel who is living on the wild side despite her vanilla bubblegum antics, especially her song ''"Die Young"'' (which has endless references to her youth) or the video for ''"[=TiK ToK=]"'' (which has her living with her parents and riding a bike because she's too young to drive). Her debut album, Animal, was released in 2010 when she was 23.
* In the Music Video for "Stupid Girls" by Music/{{Pink}}, she rather convincingly portrays a 16-year-old girl (purging in the bathroom during a school dance), as well as other characters covering a wide age range. She herself was 27.
* In the music video for "Sixteen Military Wives" by Music/TheDecemberists, the band members portray a high school Model UN. They all look at least ten years too old for the role. However, most of the actors in the video who aren't band members look plausibly teenage, and one of them is clearly in fact too young.
* The music video for ''Fancy'', featuring 24-year-old Music/IggyAzalea, 22-year-old Charli XCX, and their equally adult friends portraying teen characters from the high school film ''Film/{{Clueless}}''.
* The song and video for Music/GwenStefani's "Hollaback Girl", which depicts Gwen as a high-schooler. She was 36.
* In her video for "Mickey", Toni Basil portrays a high school cheerleader. She was 39 at the time.
* Rob Halford of Music/JudasPriest mixed this with BoomerangBigot on the group's 1986 [[HairMetal synth-metal]] album ''Turbo'', which included songs about how teenagers are "wild", "hot" and crazy" and adults are uncool. Most blatantly, there's the line "We don't need no, no, no, no parental guidance here!" Halford was in his mid-thirties when he wrote and sang that line, making him more like a cool young uncle than a hip teen.
* In the music video for "Bad", Music/MichaelJackson, who was 29 at the time, plays a high school student.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{Hustle}}'s Monster Bono was only six years younger than his "father", Wrestling/TheGreatMuta, and was seven years older than his mother, Yinling The Erotic Terrorist.
* Wrestling/{{TNA}} did a storyline where "Father" James Mitchell claimed to be the father of Abyss...except taking into account their relative ages meant that Mitchell was only 9 when Abyss would have been born.
* ''Bull Nakano Produce Empress'' featured a [[GimmickMatches 50s & 40s & 30s & 20s & 10s]] five on five TagTeam match with a wrestler on each side for each age group, except for one of the 10s was Wrestling/DramaticDreamTeam's Cherry, who had claimed to be 18 eight years ago and [[RuleOfFunny would logically would be 26]].
* Wrestling/KellyKelly evoked this, even though her character was intentionally written to subvert it. When hired to appear as an [[UnusualEuphemism "exhibitionist"]] on ''ECW on [=SciFi=]'' in the late spring of 2006, Barbara Jean Blank, born in 1986, was not yet 20 (her birthday is in December) and looked even younger than that. The commentators and other performers frequently called attention to the fact that Kelly was "underage", even though 20 is comfortably ''over'' the age of consent in the United States and most European countries; they were merely trying to emphasize that she was the youngest person on the entire roster. As if those innuendoes weren't enough, Kelly was also paired romantically with Mike Knox, a man [[DumbMuscle so gargantuan]] that he looked more like her ''father'' than her boyfriend - and who acted like her father, too.

[[folder: Puppet Shows]]
* Quite common with shows involving puppetry that have characters who represent children. The most notable example is ''Series/SesameStreet'', which has several characters who are supposed to be children, but sound like adults.

* In ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', the characters are pre-teens. The actors... aren't. Kind of inevitable, really.
* In the original run[[note]]although the third actor in the role[[/note]] and film version of ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'', 26-year-old Edward Rutledge was played by then-forties John Cullum. There's even a line in the play about how Rutledge is the youngest man in Congress. But who cares about that when you've got Cullum's beautiful soaring baritone?
* Done for artistic reasons in ''Theatre/TheGoldenTicket'', an opera based on ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' -- to emphasize Charlie's innocence and kindness compared to the other kids in the story, he's the only character ''played'' by a kid. The four brats and several jealous tots who are at hand for the factory opening are all played by adults.
* In ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' the age range of the leads Elphaba and Glinda is about 18-23 years, and sometimes there are actresses those ages that play them; but more often than not the roles are given to women in their late-20's to mid-30's, and sometimes even older.
* The 2015 Broadway production of ''Film/{{Gigi}}'' has 26-year-old Music/VanessaHudgens playing 18-year-old Gigi. Coincidentally, Leslie Caron was the same age when the original film was made. On the other hand, the role of Gaston, who was played by 36-year-old actor in the film, is being performed on Broadway by Corey Cott, who's only 24!
* In the novel of ''Literature/LesMiserables'', Fantine only reaches her mid 20s, while grown-up Cosette and Éponine are only about 16 or 17. In the [[Theatre/LesMiserables musical]], Cosette and Éponine tend to be played by actresses in their 20s, while Fantine's actresses tend to be in their 30s or older. This is even the case in the 2012 film version, with 30-year-old Anne Hathaway as Fantine, 27-year-old Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and 22-year-old Samantha Barks as Éponine.
* Due to the fact that ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'' covers such a long period of time--1776 to 1804 not including the prologue covering the first 19 years of Alexander Hamilton's life--this was pretty much a necessity. However, by far the most blatant example occurs with Alexander's eldest son Phillip. He's the only one of the Hamiltons' eight children with a role in the play (the other kids are mentioned but he's the only one who appears), and the same adult actor plays him at both 9 years old and 19. It helps that his original actor, Anthony Ramos, has a smaller frame, boyish face, and higher vocal range, making it much less distracting than, say, having the hulking baritone Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan in the first act, James Madison in the second) in that role.
* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' is a tough call. According to the play, he just interrupted his studies at Wittenberg, so he's not even graduated college. But elsewhere, the play mentions him as being in his thirties. Maybe Shakespeare [[WritersCannotDoMath couldn't do maths very well]]. Plus, the role of "Hamlet" has acquired a reputation as being sort of the "crown jewel" of an actor's career, so [[PlayingHamlet you'll find men cast as Hamlet when they're in their thirties or older]], usually at the height of their fame. It may be an aversion, though, as plenty of older men went to study at university later in their lives and still do today.
* It's very rare that you'll see a production of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' where Romeo is seventeen, much less one where Juliet is barely fourteen. Leaving aside the challenges of mastering Shakespeare's language and characters, the subject matter (including a rushed marriage, murder, and suicide) is dark and bracing enough as it is. Sometimes the production will just AgeLift Juliet by a few years, even if the actors are still out of their teens.
* Likewise, Cio-Cio San in ''Theatre/MadameButterfly'' is supposed to be fifteen in Act I and eighteen in the later acts. But considering the difficulty of her role, she requires a master performer with a fully developed voice, so she (and many other opera ingenues) are Dawson Casted.
* ''Puny Humans'' has Emma, a pre-teen, played by a mid-20s actress, albeit a short one OlderThanTheyLook.
* ''Theatre/SpringAwakening'' is about early high-school-aged students (fourteen or fifteen years old) having sex. The script calls for simulated masturbation, a light BDSM scene, and a sex scene in which the original Broadway choreography calls for the female and male lead to briefly appear topless and bare-butted, respectively. Even if individual productions choose to omit the nudity (as colleges often will if appearing in plays is a requirement to graduate from certain majors), the subject matter and language still make Dawson Casting a safe bet.
* Most productions of ''Theatre/TheKingAndI'', including the film, apply this trope to Anna Leonowens and {{Playing Gertrude}} to the King, presumably to make their battle of wills feel more evenly matched and to enhance their {{Unresolved Sexual Tension}}. The real Anna was in her late 20s or early 30s (though she most likely claimed to be younger than she was) when she came to Siam, while King Mongkut was nearly 60, but they're usually both played by performers in their mid to late 30s or 40s.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The teenagers in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' look to be in their early to mid-20s. Since the game is supposed to be like an American-style high school drama and was made at the height of Squaresoft's period of trying to be 'cinematic', it comes across as an intentional stab at creating the look of a Dawson-Cast movie. This is especially apparent with Squall, who was [[ComicBookFantasyCasting modelled after]] a musician who had been in his 30s at the time of development.
* Angela from ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' is intended to be a teenager, but was played by an actress in her 40's. This was done on purpose to emphasize how damaged she was after her DarkAndTroubledPast.
* ''Videogame/TheLastOfUs'' 14-year old Ellie is voiced by 30-year old Creator/AshleyJohnson. Additionally, 16-year old Riley is voiced by 32-year old Yaani King (and they both sound it, especially the latter).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Tedd from ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' invokes this in an [[BSideComics EGS:NP strip]] by claiming to be twenty-one outside of continuity due to ComicBookTime. Grace counters the gap ''might'' be up to a year, making Tedd eighteen. She then goes on to say that it doesn't matter anyways since none of them are likely to look any different before they turn 30.[[note]]Though the revelation that he may be under the drinking age causes Tedd to excuse himself so that he can dispose of a keg in the fridge before his dad finds it.[[/note]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This was the initial reason that some viewers suspected ''WebVideo/{{lonelygirl15}}'' to be a hoax. The RealLife implications of this are apparent in an episode of ''[=MaxterBexter=]'', in which former ''[=lonelygirl15=]'' actors Becki Gregoski and Maxwell Glick complain about needing to show ID before they would be served alcohol, even though Maxwell Glick was 29 at the time.
* On the website hosting the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, the stories centering on Chau Lee (Bladedancer) are often illustrated with pictures of Zhang Ziyi. The character is fifteen, the actress at least twelve years older...
* Mocked in ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical'' with CLEARLY College aged Darren Criss stating "I'm just a 12-year-old kid".
* Lucas Cruikshank was 14 when he started playing six-year-old WebVideo/{{Fred}} Figglehorn. {{Justified|Trope}} in that he created the character to be performed by himself.
* Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses
** 20-something Bhargav playing [[WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers Ma-Ti]], who is somewhere around 14. He said he was fourteen when he woke up to see WebVideo/MarzGurl and WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick [[{{Ephebophile}} in bed with him.]]
** Lindsay and Doug both play teenage versions of their characters in videos, respectively 27 and 30 as of writing.
** Because she's short and they have clothes that will hide her bust, Tamara often plays kids in Critic skits.
* Roleplay/BehindTheVeil is an interesting case of this, with the "actors" being limited to celebrity representations of what the character's appearance would be. However several characters ages are either older or younger than the celebrities portraying them, for example the 32-year-old Jack Raven being represented by the 45-year-old Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
* ''WebVideo/StarWarsUncut'': In this FanFilm remake of ''Star Wars: A New Hope'' during the scene on the Death Star bridge Leia (circa 20 years old) is played by a woman who has got to be pushing 80.
* ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'' -- "Romeo & Juliet vs. Bonnie & Clyde": In the original play by Shakespeare, Juliet is only 13 years old, while Romeo is probably not much older. This was lampshaded by their opponents, where Bonnie called Juliet a "prebuscent vixen", and Clyde referred to Romeo as a "boy". In real life, Grace Helbig (Juliet's actress) is a year older than Bonnie's actress, Hannah Heart (they're 30 and 29, respectively). While [=NicePeter=], who portrayed Romeo, is 36.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' couldn't help but use this trope when they did the [[ArtShift live action reenactment]] in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" by casting guys in their mid 20s to play the ten year old boys. Cue the narrator emphasizing "These four 4th graders" throughout.
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', in which the "older kid" on ''Series/DawsonsCreek'' is an old lady who behaves in a stereotypically grandmotherly way (fixing Dylan's sock for him, and reminiscing about how things used to be).
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' averts this in the show itself, but the ShowWithinAShow The Ember Island Players play it straight. All of the adolescent characters are played by very obviously adult actors.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] InUniverse in a third season episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' called, "And the Mole Rat Will Be [=CGI=]," where a famous action movie director about Kim, Ron and Rufus, and the director decides to cast an actress named Heather to play Kim and an actor named Quinn to play Ron--Ron points out that Heather and Quinn are in their late 20s, and are thus way too old to be playing high school-aged teenagers.
* Lampshaded in the ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' episode "Thirteensomething", where Babs disguises herself to get a role on the titular show(which has a Humans-only cast). Her PaperThinDisguise features [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar a much curvier figure]] than you'd expect for a Human girl of Babs' approximate age.

* [[Literature/TheBible The Virgin Mary]] is usually played by an actress over the age of 20, but historians say she was about 14 when she became pregnant with Jesus. (Obviously there's no evidence for Mary's actual age, but she clearly has the status of a girl who will be married soon, but not yet, and the ancient Jews had pretty strict cultural norms about at what age you went through important milestones in life.)
* It's a common lesson, in art class, that the more lines you add while drawing a face, the more aged your subject will look. Also, the more angular the subject in the picture is, the older they will look. Therefore, most young characters should be drawn with no lines and a rounded face. Some artists don't apply these rules.
** In [[http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012/4/21/2960508/worst-rob-liefeld-drawings this]] analysis of Rob Liefeld's work...
-->In "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way," "Drawing Comics in the Style of Detective Comics Comics," "Aping Shit the Valiant Way," and every other drawing tutorial I've been a part of, it clearly says that every line you draw on a person's face adds to their age. When you're drawing children or sexy young women you give them clean surfaces to suggest youth and a tightness of veins, and when you draw Clint Eastwood in an eyepatch hanging out with Gen 13 you draw all over his face to let people know he's old. Depending on who you talk to, every line can equal a year added onto the life of your character. Shaft, the young leader of rogue operative team "Youngblood," is 900 years old.
** The cover for the [[http://www.comicvine.com/bohos-1-bohos/4000-167848/ first issue of Bohos]]
** [[http://www.comicvine.com/slacker-comics-10/4000-318604/ Slacker Comics]]
** Even [[https://dcomixologyssl.sslcs.cdngc.net/i/8346/38437/58ac9aceca0d414d1a9ba7b03ec98dc5.jpg?h=91d8a1ee1570827750b6db08b5f9130a Archie Comics]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In a rather {{squick}}y and creepy example, a 29-year-old named [[http://swallowingthecamel.me/2010/11/15/fake-teens-part-iii-predatory-fake-teens/#comments Neil Rodreick III]] was found posing as the 7th grader (12 years old) Casey Price, [[http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/us/01predator.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 fooling even the two people he was living with]].
* A woman from Texas, Treva Throneberry (mentioned in the Live-Action TV section), pretended to be a teenager throughout her 20s and early 30s and moved from foster home to foster home. She got a tuition to go to college and was finally arrested for fraud. [[http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/scams/treva_throneberry/index.html Interestingly]], [[https://swallowingthecamel.me/2010/11/15/fake-teens-iv-serial-teen-treva-throneberry/ she didn't look especially youthful.]]
* 31-year-old Patricia Dye posed as a teenage boy so that she could have sex with a teen girl.
** A 29-year-old woman named [[http://swallowingthecamel.me/2010/11/15/fake-teens-part-iii-predatory-fake-teens/#comments Lorelei Corpuz]] did the same, passing herself as a 18-year-old boy named Mark Villaneuva to both couch-surf and hit/date teen girls.
* Adult police officers will often pose as teens to [[Series/{{Dateline}} catch sexual predators]], or [[Series/TwentyOneJumpStreet to catch juvenile offenders]].
* A member of the Hong Kong police force successfully posed as a 15-year-old high school student to uncover Triad recruitment of high school students. [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18562_the-6-most-hilarious-undercover-operations-ever-pulled-off_p2.html He got the idea from a movie.]]
* There was an incident where a client of a prostitution ring requested an underage girl. The owner of the ring contacted the police anonymously and agreed to help set up a sting against the client. The police sent a female officer to him claiming to be 15 years old. [[WhatAnIdiot He believed it and discussed sexual activities with her]] leading to his arrest.
* {{Cosplay}}ers regularly portray characters that are considerably younger than themselves. Characters in their younger to mid-teens are prevalent in many popular series; meanwhile, the skills you need to make your own costumes require time and practice to develop. Even if you opt to buy your costumes, [[CrackIsCheaper cosplaying eats up a LOT of money either way]], so you're generally much better off if you have an income level more typical of an adult.
* Creator/CameronCrowe enrolled as a high school student at age 22, to research his book on teen life, called ''Film/FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh''.
** Creator/KevinBacon enrolled as a high school student prior to filming ''Film/{{Footloose}}'' just to see if he was still believable as a teen at age 25, according to the DVD commentary.
* [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0923005/ Riley Weston]] was born Kimberlee Kramer in 1966. In May 1997, she changed her name and began claiming her date of birth as 1979 in order to be considered for acting roles. The deception was assisted by her small size, with a height of 4' 11" and weight of 93 pounds. In 1998, she began drafting screenplays and marketing herself to television studios as a recent high school graduate. She was soon hired by the WB Network as a writer for the show Felicity after they saw one of her scripts about teenage sisters. Hailed as a child prodigy and "wunderkind," she was featured on Entertainment Weekly's October 1998 list of the "100 Most Creative People in Entertainment," which described her as an up-and-coming 19-year-old, though she was really 31. Shortly thereafter, she was offered a half-million dollar screenwriting deal with Disney. After Entertainment Tonight began working on a segment about Weston, her real identity and age soon emerged. Soon after, her contract with WB expired and was not renewed, and her deal with Disney fell through.
* [[https://swallowingthecamel.me/2010/12/20/fake-teens-part-vii-the-messiah/ Barbora Škrlová]] was a 33-year-old Czech woman suspected with child abuse and cannibalism who fled to Norway and pretended to be a 13-year-old boy named "Adam". It worked for a while, though she was eventually arrested and sent back to the Czech Republic. Before that, she has posed as a 13-year-old girl named Anicka, the supposed "adoptive daughter" of one of her Czech accomplice.
* When Creator/ShirleyTemple was signed with Fox Studios (later part of Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox), the studio shaved a year off her age to make her seem more precocious, even altering her birth certificate. She was initially presented to the public as a four-year-old when she was actually almost six. Shirley didn't learn how old she ''really'' was until she was thirteen.
* Similar to the Shirley Temple example above, Gypsy Rose Lee and her sister June Havoc had years shaved off their ages when they performed as child stars. Their mother, the legendary StageMom Rose Hovick, reportedly had many fake birth certificates for them and they couldn't be sure of their real ages.
* A 34-year-old woman named Charity Johnson pretended to be a 15-year-old high school sophomore for nearly an entire school year at New Life Christian School, fooling teachers, classmates and even the woman who took her in.
* [=KidZania=], an amusement park chain originating from Mexico, basically does this with its visitors. In [=KidZania=] parks, children can pretend to be adults doing various jobs, even getting [=KidZos=] (the park chain's currency) to buy souvenirs with!


[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' had an actual four year old play Boo, including all of the laughter. During the door system roller coaster ride, they actually had her on their knee, bouncing her up and down.

[[folder: Film - Live-Action]]
* For his 1968 production of Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet, Creator/FrancoZeffirelli engaged in a worldwide search for unknown actors of close to the right age for the leads. He ultimately chose 17-year-old Leonard Whiting for Romeo and 15-year-old Creator/OliviaHussey for Juliet. Because of their age and inexperience, Zeffirelli made minor changes to the play, mostly trimming of some of the longer speeches.
** This actually created an odd situation where Hussey couldn't even attend the premiere because the movie was rated R due to scene where you can briefly see Juliet's breasts. [[LogicBomb They didn't want her seeing her own naked body.]]

* Both ''Theatre/{{Thirteen}}'' and the recent revival of ''Theatre/ByeByeBirdie'' averted this, casting real teens to play the teen characters. Ditto for certain stage productions of ''Film/HighSchoolMusical'', notably those by real high school theatre departments.
* Amy Nuttall was 16 when playing Christine in ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' on the West End, and to date is the youngest leading actress ever featured in the London production. Christine is almost always played by an actress in her mid- to late 20s, because most younger singers don't have the training needed for the demanding numbers.
* The cast of ''Newsies''. Neil Patrick Harris made a joke at the Tonys about the "hyper-acrobatic 35-year-old 15-year-olds" in the show.
* The 1991 Broadway production of ''Theatre/TheSecretGarden'' cast then 11-year-old Daisy Eagan, the youngest female recipient of a Tony Award, as 10-year-old Mary Lennox.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* At the insistence of Charles Schulz, all of the ''Peanuts'' animated films & specials have used children to voice the characters (save for Snoopy & Woodstock, whose chatter was provided by lead animator Bill Melendez) for the sake of authenticity. Since many of the kids used weren't professional actors, this led to the specials' iconically stiff manner of speaking, with quick pauses every now and then. The simple concept of averting this trope is often credited with popularizing ''WesternAnimation/ACharlieBrownChristmas'' in the first place.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' had child characters like Aang, Toph and Katara played by child voice actors. Effects of this trope came into play, Aang's voice deepened over the course of the show because of his actor. The line producers played around to ensure the contrast wasn't too great.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{ReBoot}}'' actually changed the voice actor for their child character Enzo several times over the course of production to ensure he kept a little kid voice. Including a separate actor for flashbacks in season four and a PlotRelevantAgeUp for the adult version, they ended up with ''six'' different voice actors over four seasons. One early kid returned later in the series voicing a one-off character.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' used older actors for the teenaged Jack and Miko, but had an age appropriate actor for the adolescent Rafael. Like other examples, a few years into production his voice started to deepen and they had to pitch shift it accordingly.
* ''The New Archies'' had the middle schooler characters all voiced by children.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'' used a real kid for Chowder's voice (his actor being 9, precisely, at the outset). ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' follows suit (even opting for TheOtherDarrin when their first actors age up too much to voice Gumball and Darwin convincingly ''and'' giving it an in-universe explanation, no less).
* All of the child characters in ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' were voiced by children and many were replaced when their voices broke. However, in ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnoldTheJungleMovie'', a few of the original actors [[note]]Creator/FrancescaMarieSmith (Helga), Anndi L. [=McAfee=] (Phoebe), Justin Shenkarow (Harold), Olivia Hack (Rhonda), Creator/CraigBartlett (Brainy), Creator/DanielleJudovits (Big Patty), and Danny Cooksey (Stoop Kid)[[/note]] reprised their roles despite being well into adulthood now (and Bartlett having always been an adult). We also have Hope Levy, who's 46 years old, voicing the queen of the green eyed people, who's at least 9 years old.
* Lincoln and Clyde from ''Series/TheLoudHouse'' are voiced by actual children.
* The titular character of ''WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer'' has been voiced by three different girls who were around Dora's age when they started recording.
* ''WesternAnimation/PeppaPig'' has gone through two child voice actresses, with the second one remaining her voice actor to the present day, even after she was no longer a child.

* Teen/18 Porn sites often feature women in their 20's who look young.
* Incredibly, Maria Callas began her opera career at the age of 15, as the leading lady in ''Cavallera rusticana'', which is about a young, knocked-up village girl, probably about 15-16. Since it requires performers who can sing over an orchestra, this trope doesn't have many opera exceptions, folks.
* Although there is one other noticeable aversion in the field of opera -- Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin. Tchaikovsky felt that older singers playing young, passionate lovers would cause people to be unable to take his opera seriously. He had students at the Moscow Conservatory put on the first performance of Eugene Onegin.
* Lampshaded by the Creator/TheFiresignTheatre on their album ''Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers''; High school student Porgie Tirebiter's best friend Mudhead is in court, and the prosecutor (Porgie's dad) says "So you don't go to school?" to which Mudhead replies, "Hell, no! I'm thirty years old!"
* This one is in "Other" because it derives from Theatre, Live-Action Film, ''and'' Television: Creator/PattyDuke in three separate productions of ''The Miracle Worker''. Duke was able to play Helen Keller on Broadway well into her teens, and played her again in the 1962 film adaptation, partly because she was very small: even in adulthood she has never grown taller than five feet. Her height presented a particular challenge to the producers of the 1979 TV remake, in which she played Annie Sullivan, because she was cast opposite fifteen-year-old Melissa Gilbert -- confronting audiences with a seven-year-old Helen Keller who was ''[[TeensAreShort taller than her teacher]]''.
* The Full Cast Audio book recordings, which was founded by Bruce Coville, ''always'' uses age-appropriate voice actors for every book they record.
* In the notorious "Music/{{Friday}}" video, 13-year-old Rebecca Black and her real-life friends (who are presumably in the 12-14 range) play characters who are at least 16, as ''one of them is driving a car''. This has been observed and {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in many parodies.
* In the music video for Music/{{Aerosmith}}'s song "Crazy", 17-year-old Alicia Silverstone and 16-year-old Creator/LivTyler play two students who skip class and go on a road trip together. The fact that this is an exception is surprising because the video is {{fanservice}}-heavy and even features Liv doing a striptease at one point. Not to mention the fact that Liv is lead singer Steven Tyler's ''daughter''.
* Lots of examples posted on [[http://actualteenadultteen.tumblr.com this tumblr]], with comparison photos of the actors when they were actually teenagers.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* School plays and musicals usually invert or avert this. Well... ''mostly''. A high school theatrical production will of course have all the roles played by high school students, so if they're supposed to ''be'' high school students it's an aversion (or inversion if they're supposed to be older). However, it's not uncommon for there to be a younger brother or sister in the play who's supposed to be a pre-teen, who's usually played by the shortest/youngest-looking person who tries out. If they're supposed to be 12, this can work okay; if they're supposed to be 6, it's less believable.
* Traci Lords did adult entertainment when she was a minor. She did (and does) look older than most people who were born in 1968. When the feds tried to bust the pornographers for hiring someone underage, the case fell apart when the government admitted that it, too, had been fooled when Lords traveled to Europe on a fake passport.
** Which is all true, but there are some 'verts going on. One being that she often played teen characters, for instance a girl skipping school and having sex with her teen lover. Another being that her teen lover was often played by someone who wasn't a teen, or at least 18 or 19. Another is that, when Lords "came out" as underaged, some of her scenes were re-shot with an adult body double, so that the character is being played by both a minor and major. Another is that she was a teen who would occasionally play an adult who was pretending to be a teen.
--->"I've been 17 for the last 6 summers. And the rest of the time, I sell real estate." -- Bad Girls III [[note]]High school drop-out Lords owned her own porn production company that was so successful that it bought other production companies or put them out of business, forcing the employees to work for Lords.[[/note]]
* One of Jeffrey Dahmer's victims, Konerak Sinthasomphone, escaped and ran down the street, drugged, suffering brain damage, and only fluent in Loatian. His nudity attracted the police, who brought him back to Dahmer's home, where Dahmer convinced them that Konerak was 19 instead of 14, despite looking more like 10.