Early CareerDuff was born in Houston, Texas, and started her career at the age of six in the Nutcracker Suite with Columbus Ballet Met in San Antonio with her older sister, ballet dancer Haylie Duff. She decided to pursue an acting career and appeared in a few television commercials.
Her first role was in the TV mini-series True Women in 1996. She appeared as the star of the 1998 video Casper Meets Wendy as the young witch Wendy with the animated character Casper the Friendly Ghost. Her reputation was further enhanced by her appearance as Ellie in the TV Movie The Soul Collector in 1999, winning a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress).
ActingDuff's career breakthrough was as the star of the successful Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire in 2001. Her appearance in this role as a typical teenager led to appearances on the covers of teen magazines and become highly popular among children between the ages of seven and 14. Duff announced in 2003 that she will not act in the Lizzie McGuire show anymore due to a contract dispute with Disney. While she was getting paid $35,000 an episode to appear on the program, by 2003 she was receiving millions of dollars to act in movies.
Following her success in Lizzie McGuire she received offers to appear in movies. Her first movie role was in Human Nature an independent US/French coproduction released in 2001. She starred in television movie Cadet Kelly with Christy Carlson Romano and Gary Cole. Her first hit movie was Agent Cody Banks with Frankie Muniz in the title role in 2003. Duff then reprised the role of Lizzie McGuire in The Lizzie McGuire Movie which was her first million dollar movie role. Her final role of 2003 was costarring in the Disney film Cheaper by the Dozen with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. Her success as a singer led to her being rated as number 96 in the Forbes Top 100 Celebrity List.
In 2004 she appeared in A Cinderella Story, alongside Chad Michael Murray with a salary of $2 million. As at May 2004, forthcoming roles planned are in Raise Your Voice, The Perfect Man and Outward Blonde (2005).
MusicDuff's first recorded singing performance was on the song I Can't Wait which appeared on the Lizzie McGuire Original Television Soundtrack in 2002. She would also sing on several tracks on the soundtrack to The Lizzie McGuire Movie in 2003. One of these tracks "Why Not" was released as a single reaching the top 20 in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Her first album was a 2002 collection of Christmas songs called Santa Clause Lane which made the lower reaches of the Billboard 200 album chart and number 3 on the kids music chart in 2002. The title track also featured on the soundtrack to The Santa Clause 2 starring Tim Allen.
In 2003 she recorded her first album entitled Metamorphosis which was released on August 26 and went to number one of the US and Canadian charts in that year (The Metamorphasis album featured music that would appeal to teenagers as well as the tweens who had supported her to date. The Matrix, who had worked with singers such as Avril Lavigne on her Let Go album and Liz Phair provided three songs on the album. One of these songs So Yesterday was released as the first single reaching number 2 in Canada, top 40 in Australia and just ouside the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
Subsequent singles from the album include:
- "Come Clean" reached the Top 10 in Canada, top 20 in Australia and New Zealand and top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100; and
- "Little Voice" reached the Australian Top 40 in May 2004.
On May 31, 2004, a video of her cover version of "Our Lips are Sealed" by the Go-Gos with her sister Haylie Duff made its MTV debut. The song is from the soundtrack of The Cinderella Story.
Personal lifeDuff has dated singer Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter. There were reports that she had tried to have fellow teen actress Lindsay Lohan banned from the preview of Cheaper by the Dozen because Lohan had previously been dating Carter in late 2003, as well as other reports about a fistfight that supposedly took place between the two actresses. She has most recently (2004) been romantically linked to Jordan Masterson, younger brother of Danny and Chris Masterson.
Duff is involved with many charities, is an animal rights enthusiast, and a member of "Kids With a Cause." She gets up at 4.30 a.m. to allow her to study. One of her nicknames is "Juicy." Other nicknames include Hil, Hilly and Hils.
Duff launched a clothing line, "Stuff" on March 12, 2004 with clothes distributed through Target in the United States.