5. Katie Ledecky
The world of Olympic sport is notoriously competitive, and it’s essential to start as early as possible. But few expect to win Olympic gold while still in their teens. In fact, Katie Ledecky seemed as surprised as anyone when she won the 800-meter freestyle swim, with the second fastest time ever. She started swimming at the tender age of six, just nine years before the 2012 Olympic event where she won her gold, and her whole career took off very quickly. She recently spoke about her success to swim hopefuls at an event at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Just a year earlier, at a similar event she had been one of those hopefuls. Who knows where she’ll be in a few more years?
4. Tanishq Mathew Abraham
Another child genius, who was accepted into Mensa at the age of four and a half. Two years later, he was writing science essays for the NASA website and applying for American River College, which he started at the age of seven. He completed courses in Astronomy and Geology, coming top of his class in both and now at nine says “I like particle physics, anti-matter, the fate of the universe and the Big Bang.”
Safe to say he’s not your average 9-year-old. He is also interested in music, performing with the San Francisco Boys Chorus as well as the child-prodigy staple of chess. He also struggles to fit in with his peers, saying “I’m not very good because kids and people are kind of rude to me”. Because of that, he is partly home-schooled by his parents who are a software engineer and a doctor of veterinary medicine and insist that they are not pushing him. His mother says “People think we want all these things, but it’s his passion. This is what he loves.” A child genius who doesn’t have pushy parents? Stranger things have happened…
3. Willow Smith
Will Smith’s son Jaden has recently starred with his Dad in sci-fi blockbuster “After Earth” but it’s his daughter Willow who has the real star quality. Inheriting the musical talent from her Dad (of “Wickey-wickey-wild-wild-west” fame), Willow had a hit single with “Whip My Hair” in 2010, which reached no 11 in America and no 2 in Britain, but she has also made an appearance in “I Am Legend”, not-so-co-incidentally starring Will Smith. At the age of 12, she’s already performed at the White House, although the failure of later singles meant that she’s stepped away from the limelight. But she has diva potential and it’s very likely that Willow Smith will be back soon.
2. Romeo Beckham
A friend of Suri Cruise’s and only of the only celebrity children to challenge her for famous parentage, Romeo is the second child of soccer player David Beckham and Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. His entire life has been in the spotlight, so it’s little wonder that no only is he used to it, but he also seems to enjoy it and has started a career modelling for Burberry. According to Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, Romeo has “impeccable taste” and loves fashion, just as both his parents do. Victoria Beckham has her own clothing line, and David Beckham is well known for his unusual fashion choices, most notably a sarong. Somehow, David Beckham still manages to make it onto the “best dressed” lists, and Romeo is following him by appearing at no 26 in GQ’s 2011 list of Britain’s best dressed men.
A best dressed man at only 8? A modelling career at 10? The rest of his life has a lot to live up to…
1. Alana Thompson
The name may not mean much to you, but Alana is better known as “Honey Boo Boo” – beauty queen, breakout star of “Toddlers and Tiaras” and focus of her own show “Here comes Honey Boo Boo“. The shows looks at Alana’s self-confessed redneck family as they fart endlessly, eat cheeseballs off the floor and attend the “Redneck Olympics” featuring delightful sports such as bobbing for pigs’ feet. Highlights of the show include mother June describing a woman’s intimate parts as a “biscuit” and the family acquiring a gay pig as a pet.
And at the center of it all is 7-year-old Alana – she’s a little rounder than some beauty queens, and not the most successful but she certainly has a distinctive personality. She also says some strange things at times – no wonder, given that she chugs “go go juice” (a mix of Mountain Dew and Red Bull) before shows. In some countries, that would be child abuse. Here’s it’s entertainment. The Honey Boo Boo bubble will burst some day, but until then she’s a rightful winner of our Number One Most Precocious Child Award.