See The Cheetah Girls Then and Now

On the 17th anniversary of The Cheetah Girls, we're checking in on the stars of the beloved Disney Channel Original Movie.

By Billy Nilles Aug 12, 2020 7:00 AMTags
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The Cheetah Girls starring...Solange Knowles?!

It almost happened.

While all good Disney Channel Original Movie fans know that the empowering musical film franchise starred Raven-Symoné, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams and Sabrina Bryan as the BFFs-turned-pop stars, it may come as a surprise to learn that Beyoncé's kid sister reportedly came close to making a big splash as Aquanetta "Aqua" Walker. 

As Sabrina told International Business Times in 2018, "The auditions were long. They auditioned hundreds of girls for the four roles… I went to a couple more callbacks, and then the last and final callback, they had Raven there. She was being brought on as Galleria. And Adrienne came in, and I was a fan of 3LW…Raven I knew. I had already heard talks about That's So Raven. I had already seen some of the audition calls for it. So, I knew that show was being filmed. So, that wasn't a surprise. But also, Solange Knowles was there. And she was originally booked as Aqua."

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As executive producer Debra Martin Chase told the outlet, a pushed-up release date for Solange's debut album Solo Star—dropped first in Japan in December 2002 before arriving stateside in January 2003—left her dad/manager Mathew Knowles concerned about the stress of promo duties on top of filming a movie, prompting Solange to pull out of the project. That decision, of course, paved the way for Kiely to join her 3LW group mate in the film. (Don't feel too bad for Solange. She'd go on to make her film debut in 2004's Johnson Family Vacation.)

While we ponder what might've been as The Cheetah Girls celebrates its 17th anniversary on Aug. 15, we thought we'd take a look at what the actual cast has been up to since they roared their way into the DCOM hall of fame.

Raven-Symoné

Already a Disney Channel star when she made her debut as Galleria Garibaldi, thanks to the premiere of That's So Raven seven months earlier, Raven would only return for the film's first sequel in 2006, opting to sit of 2008's The Cheetah Girls: One World. (Her absence was explained away by Galleria's relocation to England for college.) After That's So Raven went off the air in 2008, she went on to star in the short-lived ABC Family series State of Georgia in 2011; joined The View as an official co-host from 2015 to 2016 after frequent guest host appearances; began recurring on Black-ish in 2015 as Rhonda, sister to Anthony Anderson's Dre; and returned to Disney Channel in 2017 to executive-produce and star in the That's So Raven sequel series Raven's Home. Already an accomplished recording artist with two albums to her name, she's since released two more solo studio albums and, most recently, a trio of EPs. After dating actress and model Az-Marie Livingston from 2012 to 2015, Raven married Miranda Maday in June 2020.

Adrienne Bailon

While playing Chanel Simmons wasn't the 3LW singer's acting debut—that would be a 2001 episode of the Nickelodeon series Taina—it was the breakthrough role that led to appearances in feature films (Coach Carter, I'm in Love with a Church Girl), TV films (Lovestruck: The Musical) and two more Cheetah Girls films. After a relationship with Rob Kardashian from 2007 to 2009 led to a handful of appearances on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Adrienne went down the reality TV path, starring in 2012's Empire Girls and hosting the short-lived 2014 competition series Nail'd It. In 2013, she began her current job as co-host of The Real. She also competed in the second season of The Masked Singer in 2019, placing third as the Flamingo. After 3LW disbanded in 2007 and The Cheetah Girls parted ways in 2008, Adrienne took her time working on a solo album, eventually releasing New Tradiciones in 2017. After dating Rob, she was briefly engaged to boyfriend of six years, Roc Nation executive Lenny Santiago, in 2015. Nearly a year after calling that off, she and musician Israel Houghton announced their engagement. They were married in November 2016.

Kiely Williams

After saying goodbye to Aquanetta Walker in 2008 with the disbandment of The Cheetah Girls, Kiely made her feature film debut in Anna Faris' The House Bunny, released that same year. Since then, she's appeared in the films Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale and Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. She's released a handful of solo singles over the years, while also co-starring in a trio of web series with fellow Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan. In December 2016, she married Brandon "BJ" Cox with Sabrina serving as a bridesmaid. The couple welcomed daughter Rowan in March 2018.

Sabrina Bryan

Since making her breakthrough as Dorinda Thomas, Sabrina has competed on Dancing With the Stars twice—once in 2007 and again in season 15—where she was eliminated shockingly early both times despite receiving high scores from the judges. She's also released a pair of workout DVDs (Byou and Byou 2) and co-starred in a trio of web series that reunited her with Kiely Williams. In 2008, she became an author after releasing the book Princess of Gossip with co-writer Julia DeVillers. In October 2018, she married longtime boyfriend Jordan Lundberg. The couple is expecting their first child, a daughter, in September 2020.

Lynn Whitfield

After playing Galleria's mother Dorothea in The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2, the Emmy and NAACP Image Award-winning actress went on to appear in several films, including Madea's Family Reunion and The Women, as well as TV shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Mistresses and The Resident. Since 2016, she's starred on the OWN original series Greenleaf, which wrapped its five-season run on Aug. 11.

Lori Anne Alter

Since playing Chanel's mother Juanita Simmons in both The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2, Lori has appeared in the 2012 horror film House at the End of the Street while popping up on Canadian series like Degrassi: The Next Generation, Kenny vs. Spenny, Being Erica and Private Eyes. After marrying William Laurin days before The Cheetah Girls' premiere, she's welcomed two children whose names have not been made public.

Vince Corazza

After playing villainous record producer Jackal Johnson, the Canadian actor made guest appearances on shows like 24, NYPD Blue, Entourage and CSI, while also lending his voice to animated series Braceface and several video games.

Kyle Schmid

Since playing Galleria's love interest Derek, Kyle has appeared in films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Covenant; TV films like Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life and Patsy & Loretta; and TV shows like CSI: Miami and Arrow. Outside of guest appearances, he's starred on the TV shows Copper, Six, and The I-Land.

Ennis Esmer

Since appearing as a comedian in the film, Ennis has starred in the shows The Listener, Red Oaks, and Blindspot, while recurring on Dark Matter, Private Eyes and Schitt's Creek. He's also appeared in the films Welcome to Mooseport, The Rocker and Clara.

Kim Roberts

After playing Dorinda's foster mother Mrs. Bosco, Kim has appeared in films like Dawn of the Dead, Saw III, Saw IV, and Carrie; and TV shows including Suits, Schitt's Creek, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Sandra Caldwell

Since playing the delightfully named Drinka Champagne, Sandra has appeared in the films Shall We Dance and Ben Is Back, as well as TV shows like Wonderfalls, Law & Order: SVU, and Murdoch Mysteries. In 2017, while playing transgender character Mama Darleena Andrews in the play Charm, Sandra revealed that she was transgender herself. In the 2020 Netflix documentary Disclosure, she discusses undergoing gender-affirming surgery in her early 20s and keeping it private for nearly 40 years.

The Cheetah Girls is available to stream on Disney+.