Teenage multi-millionaires? How can that be? When I was a teen, I had a paper route, and was mainly paid with change. The following list of under-twenty-year-olds does contain some household name entertainers, but it is topped by an enterprising entrepreneur.
Nick D'Aloisio, born in London on November 1st, 1995, created Summly, a summarization technology, when he was fifteen years old. Not only did he develop his idea from nothing, but also was able to convince grown adults to invest; it is believed that Nick is the youngest person ever to receive venture capital. He sold Summly to Yahoo! when he was just seventeen for a reported $30 million. Then, I guess that he had more a lot more fun at his senior prom than I did.
Abigail, born on April 14th, 1996, started acting at the age of three, and landed her first movie role at the age of five in the Mel Gibson movie Signs. We doubt she spent the intervening time waiting tables. It then took her a whopping five years before she was nominated for an Academy Award as a ten-year-old for her role in Little Miss Sunshine. The star of Kit Kittredge: American Girl reportedly collects $100+ American Girl dolls like her title character; with an estimated net worth of twelve million dollars, she can afford them.
Not everyone with three names in the headlines is a murderer! Chloë Grace Moretz, born on February 10th, 1997, didn’t start her acting career until the ripe old age of 7; by 8, she received her first acting award nomination for her role in The Amityville Horror. She didn’t get to see the R-rated flick when it premiered, though; that’s right, she wasn’t allowed because she was too young. Among her many TV and film credits are Hugo, Desperate Housewives, and, when she was 13, Kick-Ass; when I was 13 and said, “kick ass”, my mom washed my mouth out with soap. Like her friend Abigail Breslin, Chloë is worth about twelve million dollars. I wonder; when the pair goes out, who picks up the check?
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor sounds like the name of an international law firm, but it’s really the birth name of the singer now known as Lorde. Born in New Zealand on November 7th, 1996, Lorde won a middle school talent show and signed a development deal with Universal at 12. (The winner of my middle school talent show belched the alphabet.) At 16, her first record peaked at number two on the New Zealand and Australia record charts, and her single Royals topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks. The youngest solo artist to achieve a number-one single in America took home two Grammy Awards when she was 17; to toast her success at the after-party, I’m guessing she didn’t need a fake ID. She is estimated to be worth nine million dollars, but that’s more than 13 million New Zealand dollars.
How did Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, born July 8th, 1998, accumulate eight million dollars so early in life? Given that his parents are Hollywood heavyweights Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, perhaps he just saved his allowance. Or perhaps his parents jump-started his Hollywood career by casting him in movies; at 8, in The Pursuit of Happyness, produced by (among others) Will Smith and Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith’s production company), Will Smith’s son was cast as Will Smith’s character’s son. In After Earth, a film based on an idea by Will Smith, produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jada’s brother Caleeb, and Will Smith’s production company, Will Smith’s son portrayed Will Smith’s character’s son. But not convincingly; Jaden received a pair of Golden Raspberry Awards for that stinker: one for Worst Actor, and the other for “Worst Screen Combo” with Will. In-between those two films, the songwriter, rapper and dancer flexed his acting muscles by starring as The Karate Kid. Sure, it was produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s production company, but it did not feature Will Smith, nor, in a larger omission, karate.
Not only is it amazing that these kids could make so much money so young in life, but the truly astonishing part is that none of these top earners is named Kardashian or Jenner. But give it a few years…..
Photo of Lorde by Fred von Lohmann (Flickr: Lorde - Coachella 2014) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photos of Abigail Breslin & Jaden Smith ©iStock.com/EdStock.