Can you believe it? One of America’s favorite “child stars” is a lil-kiddie-no-more. Dakota Fanning celebrated her 17th birthday on February 23. The gorgeous teen’s entry into the acting world happened at the tender age of five, when she appeared in a commercial for Tide laundry detergent. That led to a guest-starring role in the hit NBC prime-time drama ER and several other established TV shows– CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Practice, and Spin City for starters. Dakota even played the title characters of Ally McBeal and Ellen as young girls.

Her movie breakthrough was 2001’s I Am Sam and she had roles in 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama, 2003’s The Cat in the Hat, 2005’s War of the Worlds, Charlotte’s Web in 2006 and The Secret Life of Bees in 2007 …. and those are just a few of her many hit flicks. The list goes on and on … and on …

These days, Dakota’s got a slew of new movies in the works. She’s tackling the role of a young Princess Margaret in Girl’s Night Out and playing the girlfriend of a teen that steals diamonds belonging the a local gangster in Mississippi Wild. She’s also starring alongside Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff in Motel Life, and let’s not forget The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Seen here in a cute belted mini dress and some stylish Marc Jacobs sunglasses, it’s easy to see that our lil girl Dakota really is all grown up.

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