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When Britney Spears burst onto the scene in the late 1990s, she became a teen pop sensation practically overnight. But years before the Grammy-winning singer wore her iconic schoolgirl uniform in the “…Baby One More Time” video, she was a child star who was introduced to audiences everywhere on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.

Britney Spears wearing blue with her arms up
Britney Spears | Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Britney Spears’ first audition for ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’

In a 1999 cover story with Rolling Stone, Spears knew at a young age that music was her calling. She started singing into a hairbrush in the family bathroom at just 2 years old. “I was in my own world,” she reminisced. “I found out what I’m supposed to do at an early age.”

Spears competed in talent shows and competitions throughout the 1980s, and when she was 8 years old, she auditioned for The All-New Mickey Mouse Club — the revival of the iconic children’s variety show. But executives felt that she was too young for the show, and encouraged her to continue studying acting, singing, and dancing.

The young Spears went back to work. She did TV commercials and an off-Broadway play, Ruthless, and attended New York’s Professional Performing Arts School for three summers. While working on Ruthless, Spears shared the same understudy role with another future star: Academy Award-winning actor Natalie Portman.

Spears even appeared on two episodes of the talent show Star Search in 1992. Spears wowed host Ed McMahon and the audience by singing Eva Tanguay’s “I Don’t Care” and edging out the prior champion. On the next episode, filmed that same day, Spears covered something more modern: The Judds’ 1990 country hit “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

Finally, Spears made it to the cast of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 and was a part of the show for two seasons until it went off the air. Spears starred alongside other eventual stars such as Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake, and JC Chasez.


Mariah Carey Was Almost Placed in a Conservatorship Years Before Britney Spears

Britney Spears became a worldwide phenomenon

Of course, Britney Spears would go on to conquer the world in just a few short years. She auditioned for the girl group Innosense in 1997 and eventually secured a recording contract with Jive Records.

In January 1999, Spears released her smash debut single, “…Baby One More Time.” The music video for the song attempted to show Spears as the young girl that she was, but she was — as she stated in her future hit single, “Oops!… I Did It Again” — “not that innocent.”

Spears continued to dominate the world of pop music in the early 2000s. Even after being placed under her restrictive conservatorship that last almost 14 years, Spears continued to work. She returned with her album Circus and an accompanying larger-than-life tour. Her subsequent album, Femme Fatale, showed that Spears could evolve with the times and create on-trend music, rather than the bubblegum pop that she became famous with.