Why Haylie Duff Never Made It As Big As Her Sister

Anyone who's watched Disney's Lizzie McGuire grew up watching a young Hilary Duff quickly become a teen idol. Duff became a household name and would skyrocket to stardom, working as a successful actress and a pop sensation when she released 2003's Metamorphosis, which gave fans hits like "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean," and had Rolling Stone naming her "Teenager of the Year." Duff then went from a bubblegum pop star to landing the cover of Maximwhere she was declared a "breakout sex symbol" (via Today). She was unstoppable in her heyday, even venturing into fashion, movies, and becoming a published author. 

But, why have fans forgotten about Hilary's older sister Haylie Duff? The sisters starred in the same movies together (anyone remember Material Girls?), and who could forget the duo's cover of The Go-Go's song, "Our Lips Are Sealed"? Why didn't Haylie receive the same recognition as Hilary? Taking a look back at both the star's long careers in Hollywood and their net worths, it's easy to see why Hilary has received a lot more praise than Haylie. The eldest Duff has definitely dabbled in the spotlight, but she found a totally different path that would set her aside from her little sister. Still, Haylie has always been given the label as the "lesser-known Duff" and has never made it as big as her sister, despite a switch in her career. 

She worked on smaller roles, while Hilary Duff took on a lead role

Haylie Duff began her acting career in 1997's TV movie Hope, alongside famous actress Catherine O'Hara. She later starred in the 1998 direct-to-video film, Addams Family Reunion, where she portrayed Gina Adams, and who spoke no lines in the movie (via Fandom). Duff would go on to star in several minor television roles, including Chicago Hope, Boston Public, and Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show. While she was hunting down these lesser television and movie roles, her younger sister, Hilary, was becoming a teen sensation after landing the titular role in Disney's television series Lizzie McGuire in 2001. 

Hilary Duff's performance in Lizzie McGuire catapulted her to stardom. She became a role model for tween girls, and the president of the TV Critics Association, Diane Werts, described the success of the Disney series as "akin to a cult," according to Seattle Pi. Her time on the show helped her older sister gain more exposure after she was cast to play Kate's cousin Amy Sanders (via Fandom), but still, Haylie did not get anywhere near the amount of fame Hilary achieved and would continue to get minor roles. 

After appearing in Lizzie McGuire, she took on more small roles on Disney's That's So Raven, Joan of Arcadia, and Third Watch, according to IMDb

Haylie Duff stuck to one career

As Haylie Duff continued to appear in minor roles throughout the 2000s, her younger sister Hilary was shifting her career from actress to pop superstar. In 2003, she released her album Metamorphosis, which sold almost four million copies and gave fans hits like "Come Clean" and "So Yesterday," per MySpace. She would become one of Hollywood's most hard-working teens, with The Oklahoman calling her a "teenage triple threat." With her success as a pop star, she would go back to working as an actress, starring in Agent Cody Banks and A Cinderella Story. 

Duff has even thanked her older sister Haylie for supporting her flourishing career. In an interview with CosmoGirl! magazine, she shared, "I've worked really hard — and it hasn't been just me. It's been a team effort with my entire family, including my sister, Haylie" (via Encyclopedia of World Biography).

While Hilary skyrocketed to fame, she explained to People that she and her sister are never competing against one another for fame. "No, we picked different things to do. And when we were auditioning and stuff, we'd be like, 'If I don't get it, I hope you get it! Or if you don't get it, I hope I get it!' You know? It was never ever like [competition].'" While Haylie accompanied Hilary on the song "Our Lips Are Sealed" for the movie, A Cinderella Story, Haylie's career as a singer was minor compared to that of her younger sister's. 

Napoleon Dynamite is her biggest role to date

Haylie Duff landed her most prominent acting role in 2004's Napoleon Dynamite when she starred as Summer Wheatley. The quirky teen movie did surprisingly well at the box office, grossing $44 million, after only having a $400,000 budget, according to HuffPost. The film was a huge success that developed its own cult following, and while it gave Duff another opportunity to showcase her acting abilities, it would be her only movie that would amass such an amazing response from movie-goers. Most fans would also only recognize Duff from Napoleon Dynamite, even though she acted in several other films and television movie roles. 

Duff's role as the stuck-up popular student in the flick earned her a Teen Choice Award for Breakout Female Star, and it would lead the actress to star in 7th Heaven, coming onto the teen drama series for its 10th season, according to MTV. Her role as a pregnant college student would also earn her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award in 2006. That same year, she and her sister, Hilary Duff, teamed up for their movie Material Girls, but both stars would get nominated for Razzie Awards in 2007, for Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple, according to IMDb.

She appeared in various made-for-television films that flopped

Haylie Duff took on roles in made-for-television and straight-to-DVD movies that really did nothing for her career. She starred in several Hallmark TV movies, including 2009's Love Takes Wing and Love Finds a Home and Christmas films like 2013's Christmas Belle and 2014's Naughty & Nice. She earned not-so-favorable comments from critics who called her Christmas films "predictable" and "unlikely to engage the kids," according to a Rotten Tomatoes review. 

Duff would also enter the world of horror and thriller when she starred in 2007's TV movie Nightmare, 2008's TV movie Backwoods and 2009's direct-to-video film Fear Island, which also starred Lucy Hale and Aaron Ashmore. Critics ripped the cast's acting abilities apart, stating, "Poorly acted, poorly presented, and completely telegraphed, Fear Island has extremely little to offer, in line with every other bottom barrel horror B-movie being squeezed out these days. Haylie Duff shows zero control of her emotions and flails through the laughable direction that is thrown her way."

Her television movie roles may have won the hearts of Hallmark Channel viewers, with Distractify calling her the "Hallmark Channel goddess," but it wouldn't propel her to the same fame as her younger sister, Hilary, who by 2015, had five studio albums under her belt and was hailed an inspiration to other Disney stars including Miley Cyrus, according to People

She tried to make it as a Broadway star

Two years after she appeared in the box office hit movie Napoleon Dynamite, Haylie Duff added a new title to her resume: Broadway star. In 2006, the actress made her Broadway debut in the remake of Hairspray, where she portrayed Amber von Tussle, the archenemy of main character, Tracy Turnblad, according to MTV. In July 2006, Duff made her debut performance at New York's Neil Simon Theatre with her younger sister Hilary Duff along with other family members attending Haylie's first show. "It was my first time seeing anything she's done for this, and I was bawling," Hilary shared (via MTV).

Haylie's performance as the "mean girl" garnered praise from The Daily News, who spoke to the actress about her performance and if her sister Hilary was an inspiration. "Absolutely. My sister inspires me just about every time I think about her. I want to work harder, and I am so fortunate to have her as my sister." However, her Broadway career was cut short and she only starred in Hairspray for just under four months, according to Playbill. Haylie returned to her role as Sandy Jameson in 7th Heaven and continued to find acting gigs for the Hallmark Channel with 2009's Love Takes Wing and Love Finds a Home, according to IMDb

She focused on her blog more than her acting career

Haylie Duff made a big transition in her career when she started blogging at Real Girl's Kitchen in 2012, according to Tulsa World. Duff's food blog, which was created as a guide for grown-ups in the kitchen, did better than Duff expected. The actress told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she started blogging about cooking when she wanted to share her turkey meatball recipe. "It happened by chance," Duff shared, adding, "The universe was pushing me in another direction. I thought OK, I'll put the meatballs on there and see if anyone reads it. It has turned into this awesome creative outlet for me."

Her blog became bigger than her acting career, and just one year later, she released her own cookbook, rightfully titled, Real Girl's Kitchen. She told E! that her cookbook was made to help people not feel intimidated with cooking, "I try to really make sure the ingredients, most of them are already in your pantry or fridge." Choosing to focus on her blog and cookbook really helped Duff set herself apart from her younger sister Hilary, who was busy starring in TV Land's Younger, her first television series since her appearance on Lizzie McGuire, according to CheatSheet

Her Cooking Channel show only lasted two seasons

With the success of her cooking blog, Real Girl's Kitchen, and a cookbook in her name, Haylie Duff continued to see her career as a chef grow when she landed her own Cooking Channel show in 2014, according to The Hollywood ReporterThe 10-episode series was based on her blog-turned-cookbook with Duff sharing that "Each episode is different, and a love letter to Los Angeles." 

While she was still continuing to appear in Hallmark movies throughout 2014 and 2015, she found that working on her blog and her new cooking show were her true passions in life. "It's funny the way life works," Duff told B, adding, "Sometimes you go around in a weird path to find out exactly what it is that you love to do and I'm happy that I've sort of discovered something that makes me really happy." After her second season in 2015, which comprised of 13 episodes, Duff decided to take a break from her series after she gave birth to her daughter, Ryan Rosenberg (via E!), who she shares with her fiancé Matt Rosenberg, according to Distractify. As of this writing, she has yet to return to the network. 

Haylie Duff focused on motherhood

Haylie Duff took time off of her Cooking Channel show after only two seasons to focus on motherhood after giving birth to her first daughter, Ryan, in 2015 and welcoming her second daughter in 2018, named Lulu Gray, according to Us Weekly. At the time, Duff shared with Distractify that she was focusing on raising her family, stating, "I've mostly stepped away from everything a little bit because I was having a baby. Knock on wood it'll be my last ... I think so! I really wanted to enjoy that time with them."

Talking to the New Jersey Digest in 2017, Duff confessed that she struggled with balancing her career with motherhood, sharing, "Well honestly, the biggest challenge with balancing is balancing. I'm not always great at it, but I really try to separate the two ... It's hard for me to blend the two ... [Ryan's] always going to be the one that I choose, so sometimes that balancing isn't that simple." 

Duff and her sister, Hilary, have been supportive of one another more than ever since both sisters have welcomed children into their lives. Hilary is mother to her son Luca, who she shares with ex-husband Mike Comrie, a daughter named Banks, who she shares with current husband Matthew Koma, and, as of this writing, is currently expecting her third child in 2021, according to Us Weekly

She opened up a children's boutique, furthering herself from acting roles

Furthering herself from the Hollywood spotlight, Haylie Duff launched a children's clothing brand called Little Moon Society in 2017, according to People. After having her daughter Ryan in 2015, Duff shared that she wanted to make clothing more comfortable for children. "I really wanted to find things that fit really well and were meant for unlimited play, but also things that were made really well and last well, and were still really quality pieces," she explained to People

After selling her children's clothing to stores and showrooms, Duff and her business partner, Jessica Frank, opened up their very own boutique in Studio City, California, according to VoyageLA. The boutique has now grown to carry more than just children's clothing, with their website selling home goods, candles, jewelry, and women's clothing. Duff seems extremely passionate about her brand, stating, "We have spent countless hours discovering small, independently owned brands from all over the country. We are obsessed [with] finding really unique items we've never seen before and bringing them into our shop for our customers to fall in love with as well." 

Her growing brand even has its own Instagram account with over 63,000 followers as of this writing.

Her net worth is much smaller than that of Hilary Duff's

Even with Haylie Duff making a switch in her career, from actress to chef and then clothing store owner, her net worth is much smaller than that of her younger sister, Hilary Duff. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Haylie has a net worth of $4 million, which is thanks to her work in various made-for-television movies, tv show appearances, her role in Napoleon Dynamite, her cookbook, as well as her Cooking Channel show. 

Hilary, on the other hand, has a net worth of $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which she raked in thanks to her extensive resume in Hollywood, including the show that would make her a teen idol, Lizzie McGuire, where she earned $15,000 an episode. She has earned millions for her movie roles, making $2 million apiece for The Perfect Man, Raise Your Voice, and Material Girls. And, let's not forget her successful career as a pop star, where she has sold an estimated 15 million albums worldwide, which has also played a huge role in her current net worth. Duff has also continued to work in Hollywood, starring as Kelsey Peters in the TV series Younger.

She may find herself back in the spotlight

Haylie Duff isn't finished with Hollywood just yet. During an interview with Distractify, Duff confessed that after having her two daughters, she's ready to get back into the spotlight. "I will do [movie acting] again. I just needed to take time to be a mom and have my family, and I feel very fortunate that I've been able to do that... Now I'm ready to get back to work again."

There is also a chance that fans will see Duff in a potential sequel to the hit movie Napoleon Dynamite. Its main star, John Heder, explained during a panel in 2020 that he was keen on working on a sequel, but it would be "a lot more raw and edgy." Actor Efren Ramirez, who starred as Napoleon's sidekick Pedro in the film, shared an idea where his character ends up married to Duff's character, Summer Wheatley, and has five children. At the time of this writing, this definitely gives fans hope for a continuation of this cult classic and also might give Duff a chance to make a comeback in Hollywood.