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The Disney Channel original film franchise The Cheetah Girls debuted 20 years ago. The film’s impact lives on through the millennial generation, who still cherish it. Its’ influence lives on today, and fans recall just how wondrous the franchise made them feel. Check out 10 facts about the film fans may not have known inside.

The Cheetah Girls is a 2003 American musical television film based on the book series of the same name by Deborah Gregory. The film starred Raven-Symoné, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, Sabrina Bryan and Lynne Whitfield. Though some may remember the massive High School Musical franchise as Disney’s first venture into the world of movie musicals, it was not the original. The Cheetah Girls was the first Disney Channel Original Movie produced as a musical.

Learning that the film was released 20 years ago on August 15, 2003, fans flood the Internet recounting their favorite moments from the film franchise. The original film did so well that it went on to have two more films to follow and a world tour where the girls performed across the world.

The Cheetah Girls left a major imprint amongst the millennial generation and pop culture as a whole. The phenomenal cast has gone on to appear and perform in TV, film, music and network television. They have since shared some lesser known facts about the film like who was really supposed to star alongside them and the incredible talent that pitched in to make this entire franchise a reality.

To celebrate 20 years, check out 10 facts about The Cheetah Girls film franchise below:

1. Whitney Houston Was Involved



The Grammy award-winning entertainer was a producer of the film. 

2. The Film Was Adapted From A Book Series

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The film was an adaptation of the book series by Deborah Gregory.

3. The OG Girl Group

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Adrienne and Kiely were in the girl group 3LW alongside “Power” star Naturi Naughton before the film franchise.

4. Solange Could Have Been Aqua

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Solange was up for the role of Aquafina before it was given to Kiely.

5. Limited Filming Time

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The actors rehearsed for three weeks in Toronto before filming the movie in six weeks.

6. A Different Cast

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The late entertainer Naya Rivera revealed in her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up, that she auditioned and nearly landed a role in the movie.

7. Rookie Mistake

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Bailon’s Cheetah Girls audition was her first time ever reading a script, and she read the action lines aloud as she performed.

8. “Cinderella” Was Originally Performed By Another Group

The Cheetah Girls Performing In Concert


The girl group i5 first released the song in 2000. Another band, Play, then covered “Cinderella” in 2001. Two years later, the track was again covered by the stars of The Cheetah Girls. It’s since been sung by S.H.E, Tata Young, Kidz Bop Kids, and the Gardiner Sisters.

9. Bailon Was “In Awe” of Lynne Whitfield

Stars Attend Premiere of The Cheetah Girls


“We would be in the makeup trailer, and I was, and still am, obsessed with this woman,” Adrienne said of Lynn when Lynn stopped by The Real in 2016.

She then said to Lynn, who played Galleria’s mom, Dorothea, “You are so graceful and classy and elegant, and I would just watch you, in awe of you.”

Furthermore, Adrienne shared that she’d “ask [Lynn] a million questions,” and she “wanted to be [her].”

10. The Cheetah Girls Paved The Way

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The Cheetah Girls was the first Disney Channel movie musical, laying the foundation for future DCOM musicals like High School Musical, Camp Rock, Teen Beach Movie, and more.