The Awkward Years Project: Ugly Ducklings Blossoming


The Awkward Years Project is an ongoing portrait series by designer Merilee Allred which features people holding up a picture of their past selves as awkward teens with embarrassing hairdos and no fashion sense whatsoever.

According to Allred, “Whether it was braces, big glasses, zits, awfully-styled hair, or victims of terrible fashion, we can all think back to at least one photo that is especially incriminating… I want this blog to show the ‘aftermath’ of my subjects, and how they not only survived their awkward years, but how great of people they turned out to be!” She adds, “To all the nerds, geeks, and fashion victims, past or present, this project is for you!”

1. Becca

Then: 12 years old, Salt Lake City, UT

Now: 29 years old Graphic Designer and Lettering Artist residing in Salt Lake City


 2. David (aka “Guatón”, lit. “Chubby”)

Then: 10-year-old 5th grader, Caburgua, Chile

Now: 30-year-old 5th grader, with a degree in Civil Engineering and I work in the Drinking Water field; residing in Santiago, Chile

David (aka “Guatón”, lit. “Chubby”)


3. Anthony

Then: 14 years old, Cardiff, Wales

Now: 21 years old, Cardiff, Wales (personal trainer, youtuber, actor and amateur model)



4. Leif

Then: 11 years old, 6th grade (first day of school in the US); Maui, Hawaii

Now: 26 years old, dual-degree candidate at Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts



5. Emma

Then: 13 years old, Ontario Canada

Now: 20 years old, Sales Associate going to college, studying Fashion Design



6. Emily

Then: 15 years old, Bay Area, California

Now: 22 years old, Model, residing in Bay Area, California



7. Anna

Then: Grade 8 school photo, Australia

Now: 19 years old, Promotions at a Radio Station, Australia



8. Carousel

Then: 12-14 years old (Junior High School), Hastings, Michigan

Now: 45 years old, Volunteer residing in Middleville, Michigan



9. Korey

Then: 13 years old, Elkhart, Indiana

Now: 28 years old, Data Infrastructure & Visualization Manager residing in Salt Lake City, Utah

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10. Rebecca

Then: 8 years old, Hercules, California

Now: 31 years old, Housewife residing in Vacaville, California



11. David

Then: 6 years old, San Jose, California

Now: I am a 39-year-old tattoo artist and very comfortable with myself now; Modesto, California



12. April

Then: 11 years old, Saint Leon, Indiana

Now: 19 years old, Nomadic Artist residing in Davao City, Philippines



13. Cynthia

Then: 11 years old, Salt Lake City, Utah

Now: 36 years old, Marketing & Web Director residing in Salt Lake City, Utah

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14. Hilary

Then: 13 years old, Cleveland, Ohio

Now: 29 years old, living in Charleston, South Carolina



15. Silvina

Then: 7 years old, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now: 27 years old, Artist/Teacher, residing in Buenos Aires, Argentina



16. SE Cupp

Then: 7 years old, Andover, Massachusetts

Now: 34 years old, Co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, Washington, DC

SE Cupp


17. Christel

Then: 14 years old, student in Katy, Texas

Now: 18 years old, volunteer at Sarre University in Germany



18. Jacquelyn

Then: 14 years old, Brownsville, Texas

Now: 16 years old, Student in Brownsville, Texas


19. Cherise

Then: 6 years old, Bergenfield, NJ

Now: 15 years old, student, Bergenfield, NJ



20. Phoenix

Then: 13 years old, Omaha, Nebraska

Now: 42 years old, Stay-at-home-mom/Artist

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21. Joe

Then: 15 years old, Orem, Utah

Now: 33 years old, Product Manager residing in Lehi, Utah

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22. Heidi

Then: 13 years old, Murray Utah

Now: 31 years old, Marketing, residing in Salt Lake City, Utah



23. Amanda

Then: 17 years old, Spanaway, Washington

Now: 34 years old, Project Management and Engineering Services residing in Salt Lake City, Utah



24. Jeré

Then: 8 years old, Sacramento, California

Now: 30 years old, Engaged mother of three residing in Youngstown, Ohio



25. Stacie

Then: 8 years old, Ikes Fork, West Virginia

Now: 33 years old, Radio Morning Show Host/DJ residing in Elkins, West Virginia



26. Robbie

Then: 15 years old (9th grade), Asbury Park, New Jersey

Now: 49 years old, Artist/Impressionistic Painter/Hair colorist residing in Tijeras, New Mexico



27. Jamie

Then: 13 years old, Ogden, Utah

Now: 29 years old, homemaker residing in North Salt Lake, Utah



28. Christine

Then: 13 years old, 7th grade, living with Grandma in Long Island, New York.

Now: 28 years old, Manager in healthcare, living with my husband in Long Island, New York.



29. Mirror Mirror Team

Then: 8-16 years old, Various Locations

Now: 21-46 years old, Hair Stylists residing in Austin, TX

Mirror Mirror Team


30. Indra

Then: 12 years old, Guadalajara, Mexico

Now: 36 years old, stay-at-home-mom & part time retailer residing in Burbank, California.

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