Hilary Duff (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Hilary Erhard Duff (born September 28, 1987) is an American actress and singer. Duff began her acting career at a young age, and quickly became labeled a teen idol as the title character of the Disney Channel comedy series Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004). The series proved to be a hit, leading to a film adaptation of the series to be released. Duff began working on numerous projects with the Disney Channel, including the film Cadet Kelly (2002). She later began work on an album, releasing the Christmas themed Santa Claus Lane (2002) through Walt Disney Records. Upon signing with Hollywood Records, Duff began working on her second studio album, Metamorphosis (2003). The album achieved critical and commercial success, topping the U.S. Billboard 200 and selling over three million copies in the nation. It also found success in both Canada and Japan. Duff's success in both acting and music led to her becoming a household name, with merchandise such as dolls, clothing, and fragrances being released.
Duff began to expand her career into theatrical films, with leading roles in projects such as Agent Cody Banks (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), A Cinderella Story (2004), and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005). She continued to have success in music, with her albums Hilary Duff (2004) and Most Wanted (2005) achieving Platinum status in the United States. Following the release of her fourth studio album, Dignity (2007), Duff released a greatest hits album and parted ways with Hollywood Records. During this time, she began appearing in independent films such as War, Inc. (2008), According to Greta (2009), and Bloodworth (2010). She later released the novel Elixir (2010), which became a New York Times best seller. The book was followed by the sequels Devoted (2011) and True (2013). She currently stars in the comedy-drama series Younger as Kelsey Peters. She returned to music in 2014, and signed with RCA Records for her fifth studio album Breathe In. Breathe Out. (2015). Duff has worked with numerous charities and organizations throughout her career.
Duff has received much media attention since the beginning of her career, with focuses including her romantic relationships, friendships, and her public image. Her romances with Aaron Carter and Joel Madden were often reported in the media. In 2010, she married former professional hockey player Mike Comrie, with whom she has a son. The two of them finalized their divorce six years later. She has been described by later Disney actresses as an inspiration, with artists such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez claiming they looked up to Duff and emulated her career. Duff has sold an estimated 15 million records since her debut in 2002.
Life and career
1987-2000: Early life and career beginnings
Duff was born on September 28, 1987, in Houston, Texas. Her parents are Robert Erhard Duff, a partner in a chain of convenience stores, and Susan Colleen (ne Cobb), a homemaker turned film and music producer. Duff has one older sister named Haylie. Hilary was raised between Houston and San Antonio, the locations of her father's convenience stores. Encouraged by their mother, both Hilary and her sister enrolled in acting, singing, and ballet classes. The siblings earned roles in local theater productions, and later participated in a touring BalletMet production of The Nutcracker in San Antonio. Increasingly interested in the pursuit of show business, the Duff sisters and their mother moved to California in 1993, while their father stayed in Houston to take care of his business. The sisters auditioned for several years and were cast in many television commercials. Due to her acting career, Duff was home-schooled from the age of eight. The pair also modeled for various clothing brands. Duff stated, "My sister and I really showed an interest in [performing] and dedication, and [our mother] was like, 'How can I tell my kids no?' It's the same as kids that are going into sports. Parents support them and push them."
During her initial acting years, Duff primarily played minor roles, such as her uncredited part in the Hallmark Entertainment western miniseries True Women (1997) and as an uncredited extra in the ensemble comedy-drama Playing by Heart (1998). The same year, Duff landed her first major role as Wendy in Casper Meets Wendy, based on the Harvey Comics characters. After appearing in the supporting role of Ellie in the television film The Soul Collector (1999), Duff received a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress). In March 2000, Duff appeared as a sick child in the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope. She was next cast as one of the children in the pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Daddio. Her Daddio co-star Michael Chiklis stated, "After working with her the first day, I remember saying to my wife, 'This young girl is gonna be a movie star.' She was completely at ease with herself and comfortable in her own skin." However, producers dropped Duff from the cast prior to the airing of the show.
2000-2007: Mainstream success with acting and music
A week after being dropped from Daddio, Duff landed the title role of a newly developed Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire. Lizzie McGuire premiered on January 12, 2001 and became a ratings hit, with an estimated 2.3 million viewers per episode. Duff quickly became labeled as a teen idol and household name, particularly within the show's pre-teen adolescent target demographic. Disney began marketing the series through soundtracks, books, dolls, toys, and video games based on Duff's character; the company reportedly made an estimated $100 million from the show's merchandise alone. That same year, it was confirmed that Duff was in a relationship with fellow teen star Aaron Carter. Carter later guest-starred in an episode of Lizzie McGuire with Duff. The relationship garnered media attention with reports of a love triangle between Duff, Carter, and actress Lindsay Lohan. Duff and Carter continued an on-again-off-again relationship for three years, before ultimately ending their relationship for good. Duff made her feature film debut in Human Nature (2002), in which she portrayed the younger version of Patricia Arquette's character. Duff also starred in the 2002 Disney Channel television film Cadet Kelly, which became the network's most watched program in its 19-year history.
Duff began making appearances on various soundtracks for the Disney channel, recording a cover of the Brooke McClymont song "I Can't Wait" for the soundtrack to Lizzie McGuire. She later recorded a cover of "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" for DisneyMania. Upon expressing interest in a music career, production on Duff's debut Christmas themed album began. Santa Claus Lane was released in October 2002, charting in the lower portion of the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. The album was initially distributed through Walt Disney Records, with Buena Vista later re-releasing the project. It went on to receive a Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments exceeding 500,000 copies. Despite initially only being released in North America, the album received numerous re-releases in the following years. Duff later signed a recording contract with Andre Recke of Hollywood Records to release future recordings. Though her early music recordings garnered much success on Radio Disney, Recke and Buena Vista Records envisioned Duff appealing to a more mature audience.
In 2003, Duff earned a co-starring role in the children's action comedy film Agent Cody Banks with Frankie Muniz. Scott Foundas of Variety called Duff's performance "charming," and thought she was "sidelined with little to do much of the time." The same year, Duff reprised her role as Lizzie McGuire for The Lizzie McGuire Movie. The film saw her also portraying the character of Isabella Parigi, an Italian pop star who McGuire is later mistaken for. Duff recorded the original song "What Dreams Are Made Of" for the film's finale, which was later included on the film's soundtrack. She also recorded the song "Why Not," which released as Duff's debut single, though the song was not released as a single release in North America. The song became a top-twenty hit in Australia and New Zealand, becoming her first song to chart worldwide. The soundtrack to The Lizzie McGuire Movie went on to be certified Platinum in Canada and 2x Platinum by the RIAA.
Duff released her second studio album, Metamorphosis, in August 2003. The album received mixed reviews from contemporary music critics, though it went on to reach the top of the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. The album became a major hit for Duff, going on to sell over five million copies within its first two years of release. The album sold over three million copies in the United States, becoming her highest selling album to date and earning a 3x Platinum certification from the RIAA. The album spawned the successful singles "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean". While "So Yesterday" achieved Platinum status in Australia, "Come Clean" went on to become her first hit in the United States. "Come Clean" was used as the theme song to the popular MTV series Laguna Beach and went on to receive a Gold certification from the RIAA. Metamorphosis earned Duff multiple awards and nominations following its release. Duff further promoted the album with the Metamorphosis Tour that ran from November to December 2003. Later that year, Duff co-starred as one of the twelve children of Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, which remains her highest-grossing film to date. Slant Magazine reviewer Nick Schager wrote that Duff "does nothing more than look perky and stylish."
Lizzie McGuire aired its final episode on February 14, 2004 following the fulfillment of Duff's 65-episode contract. Despite reports that the series was in talks for a second film and further television spin-off, these plans fell through as Duff's salary for the proposal was insufficient. The same year, she starred opposite Chad Michael Murray in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story. The film went on to become a moderate box office hit despite negative reviews. Duff's self-titled third studio album was released in September of that year. Duff was more involved in the production of this album than she had been in the production of her previous record, hoping of departing from the image she had developed during Lizzie McGuire. The album, featuring prominent rock elements and drawing comparison to works from Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell over 1.8 million copies in the United States. The album contained one single released as such in the United States, which failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Later in the year, Duff starred in the musical drama Raise Your Voice. The film, however, was panned by just about everyone and unsuccessful at the box office. Several reviews, however, while indifferent to Duff's acting performance, were critical of her vocals, a number finding fault with what appeared to be her digitally enhanced voice. Her performances in A Cinderella Story and Raise Your Voice earned Duff her first Razzie nomination for Worst Actress in 2004. In July 2004, a 16-year-old Duff began dating Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden, who was then 25 years old. After a long period of tabloid speculation, Duff's mother Susan announced their relationship in a June 2005 interview for Seventeen magazine. Madden worked with Duff on her compilation album, Most Wanted. In November 2006, Duff and Madden broke up. Duff launched her first clothing line, "Stuff by Hilary Duff," in 2004. The line was distributed by Target in the U.S., Kmart in Australia, Zellers in Canada, and Edgars Stores in South Africa from March 2004 onwards.
In 2005, Duff had a starring role in the film The Perfect Man, starring alongside Heather Locklear. The Village Voice's Matt Singer wrote, "Duff plays her standard character"?an introverted romantic who falls for a guy whose hunky exterior belies an artistic soul." That August, Duff released her first compilation album, entitled Most Wanted. The album featured songs from Duff's previous albums, as well as remixes and new material and included the hit single "Wake Up," which went on to become her second single to be certified Gold by the RIAA. The compilation debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and had sold over one million copies a month after its release. Duff later appeared in Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which resulted in her second Razzie nomination for Worst Actress in 2005. Mike Clarke of USA Today said, "Duff just looks like she'd rather be in a different movie."
Duff co-starred with her sister Haylie in the satirical comedy Material Girls (2006). The film earned both sisters a shared Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress, becoming Duff's third consecutive nomination in three years. The sisters were also nominated for Worst Screen Couple. Hilary and Haylie collaborated on a cover of Madonna's single "Material Girl" for the film's soundtrack. Duff released her first perfume, "With Love... Hilary Duff," in September 2006. The line was distributed by the Elizabeth Arden company. Initially only sold in Macy's department stores, the fragrance became available in Europe, Japan, and Canada and was one of the three best-selling fragrances launched in department stores in 2006. That same year, Duff was stalked by a 19-year-old Russian immigrant identified as Max and his 50-year-old roommate David Joseph Klein. She filed for restraining orders against the two men, claiming that Max "threatened to kill himself" to get her attention. She also alleged that he threatened to "remove enemies" who stand in his way, including Duff's boyfriend at the time Joel Madden. Max, later identified as Maksim Myaskovskiy, was sentenced to 117 days in prison. In 2007, it was confirmed that Duff's parents had separated following her father's infidelity.
2007-2010: Dignity, new image and television
In the midst of drama in her personal life, Duff began working on material for her fourth studio album. Duff co-wrote thirteen of the album's fourteen songs, along with writers such as Kara DioGuardi. The finished product, Dignity (2007), featured production from Rhett Lawrence, Tim & Bob, and Richard Vission, resulting in a dance and electropop sound for the record. The album received critical praise, despite some critics noting Duff's "weak" vocals. The album was praised for its lyrical content and new musical direction. The album dealt with topics such as her parents' divorce, her breakup with Joel Madden, and the stalking incident during the prior year. Despite a positive critical reception, Dignity failed to match the commercial success of her previous releases. Debuting at number three on the Billboard 200, the album failed to receive higher than a Gold certification from the RIAA. Despite the album's lackluster performance, it included the single "With Love," which went on to become her highest charting single in the United States. Both "With Love" and the album's third single, "Stranger," topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the United States. A television special titled Hilary Duff: This Is Now was produced to chronicle Duff's return to music. The two-part project aired on MTV before the album's release. The series reportedly took sixty weeks to complete filming, and saw Duff both recording and preparing for the release of Dignity.
Duff began dating Canadian NHL player Mike Comrie in 2007. Following the release of Dignity and the music videos for "With Love" and "Stranger," Duff began to adapt a more mature image. Duff's new image inspired some to consider her a "sex symbol." This image was reinforced by her appearance in the political satire film War, Inc. (2008), in which Duff portrayed an "oversexed" Central Asian pop star named Yonica Babyyeah. The film received a limited release in the United States, and grossed $580,862 domestically. Duff recorded the songs "Boom Boom Bang Bang" and "I Want to Blow You Up" for the film's soundtrack. Despite initially announcing a deluxe edition of Dignity for a 2008 release, Duff later confirmed that she would release a greatest hits album to fulfill her contract with Hollywood Records. Best of Hilary Duff (2008) received no promotion prior to its release, entering the Billboard 200 at number 125. It became her first album released in the United States to not receive a certification from the RIAA. The compilation included the single "Reach Out," which sampled the Depeche Mode song "Personal Jesus." The song featured provocative lyrics referencing sex, while its music video saw Duff both humping a statue and sucking a man's thumb. The song became her third consecutive single to top the Hot Dance Club Play chart in the United States. She announced to MTV that she would begin writing another album in December 2008, but it was never developed. That same year, Duff ceased to have control over "Stuff by Hilary Duff", thus the line was discontinued.
Duff had a leading role as the title character of the film According to Greta (2009), which chronicled the life of a suicidal and rebellious teen. Her performance received mixed reviews. Andrew Barker of Variety magazine criticized Duff's "child star" approach to acting and wanted her to stay away from teen roles. However, Los Angeles Times critic Robert Abele wrote that her attempt to "transform her bright-eyed wholesomeness into rebellious snark" in Greta "is a valiant one." Later that year, she co-starred as a narcissistic seductress in What Goes Up. Brian Lowry of Variety magazine stated that Duff's performance "amounts to a near-adult role," yet labeled her role and the film "confused." Despite having previously turned down a role in The CW drama 90210 to avoid projects outside of the "teen" genre, it was later confirmed that Duff would appear as a recurring character in the third season of the hit series Gossip Girl. Duff portrayed famous actress Olivia Burke, who enrolled at New York University in search of a traditional college experience. Duff sparked a romantic relationship with male lead Dan Humphrey, and was later the center of controversy when the two had a threesome with female cast member Vanessa Abrams. Enid Portugez of the LA Times praised her performance by giving a positive review to her involvement in this adult role. The following year, she won a Teen Choice Award for Best Female Scene Stealer for her appearance on Gossip Girl. In 2009, Duff collaborated with DKNY Jeans where she co-designed a collection of special pieces. With the objective of designing a clothing line for women her own age, the collaborative apparel line, titled Femme for DKNY Jeans, debuted in the United States in August 2009 and was around for a limited time.
2010-2014: Marriage, motherhood, and other endeavors
Duff continued to appear in film roles, starring in the ABC Family television film Beauty & the Briefcase (2010). The film saw Duff as a fashion magazine columnist who wrote about her dating struggles in the city. The film inexplicably attracted 2.4 million viewers during its premiere. Following this appearance, she showed up in an episode of the NBC sitcom Community. She then co-starred as Raven Halfacre, the teenage daughter of a promiscuous alcoholic, in the drama Bloodworth, in which, despite not warming to the film, Los Angeles Times reviewer Sheri Linden thought she "acquits herself well." The Examiner also wrote that the "biggest surprise performance [in the film] probably belongs to Hilary Duff." Duff and Comrie announced their engagement in February 2010, and married on August 14, 2010 in Santa Barbara, California. In 2010, Duff set up a book-writing deal with Simon & Schuster. Published in October 2010, the first young adult novel to result from her and Elise Allen's collaboration was entitled Elixir. It was subsequently released internationally and became a New York Times best-seller.
The following year, Duff co-starred in the Polish brothers' comedy Stay Cool (2011) to neither much critical nor commercial acclaim or success. The independent film saw Duff in a major role alongside Winona Ryder among others. Devoted, the sequel to Duff's authorial debut, was released in October 2011. Devoted picks up where its predecessor left off and continues the story of the original novel. That same month, Duff alluded to working on her fifth studio album to E!. In January 2012, she confirmed, through her official website and Twitter, that she had again begun recording songs. Throughout the recording sessions in 2012, Duff primarily worked with songwriter Ali Tamposi, musicians Matt Squire and Jason Evigan. However, those songs did not make the final cut on Duff's album. The same year, she co-starred in Rob Margolies' comedy She Wants Me, as a well-known starlet who enters a love triangle. In August 2012, Duff signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to develop and produce a sitcom in which she would star. According to the deal if the thirty-minute sitcom failed to work, Duff would be cast in a different show. However, this plan failed to develop. She appeared as a guest judge in Project Runway that September.
Duff announced her pregnancy in 2011, and gave birth to a son named Luca Cruz Comrie in March 20, 2012. Duff herself announced Luca's birth, tweeting, ""Welcome to the World Luca Cruz Comrie! Tuesday evening, we became proud parents of a healthy 7 pound 6 ounce beautiful boy. We are overjoyed and feel like the luckiest parents in the world.... He is surrounded by so much love!! Mom and baby are both doing extremely well."? In early 2013, Duff guest starred in the Fox sitcom Raising Hope, her first role since the birth of her child. She later guest starred in the tenth season finale of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Duff provided voice work for the animated film Wings, alongside Jesse McCartney and Josh Duhamel; she later appeared in its sequel the following year. By July 2013, Duff had finished filming the independent film Flock of Dudes, which moved into post-production in August 2013. That same year, Duff released the third and final novel in her Elixir trilogy, titled True (2013). The novel serves as her final book release to date.
2014-present: Divorce, Younger, and Breathe In. Breathe Out.
On January 10, 2014, Duff and Comrie announced that they had amicably separated and would continue to co-parent their son. On January 15, 2014 it was announced that Duff had signed on to co-star opposite Sutton Foster in the comedy-drama pilot Younger. The series is based on a Pamela Redmond Satran novel, and created and executive produced by Darren Star for TV Land. Duff was cast as Kelsey Peters, an "ambitious 20-something" who persuades Foster's character to work in a publishing firm. In April 2014, it was announced that the pilot was picked up for a series with a 12-episode deal and would premiere in the fall; the premiere date was later changed to 2015. The show marks Duff's first starring role in a television series since her appearance on Lizzie McGuire. Younger premiered on March 31, 2015. The series has received generally positive reviews from critics and was renewed for a second season in April 2015 and a third season on January 6, 2016. The show was renewed for a fourth season on June 14, 2016.
Duff attended the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards on May 1, 2014, where she confirmed that she was working with songwriter Savan Kotecha and English singer Ed Sheeran. On July 23, 2014, it was revealed that Duff had signed with RCA Records to release her upcoming fifth studio album. She released the album's lead single, "Chasing the Sun" and its accompanying music video on July 29, 2014. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 79, becoming her first song to enter the chart since "Stranger" (2007). The song's music video garnered fourteen million views in its first week of release on popular video sharing website YouTube, making it her fastest viewed music video to date. The album's second single, "All About You," was released as the album's official lead single on August 12. It failed to enter the Hot 100 chart, but became her first song to chart on the Mainstream Top 40 chart since "With Love" (2007). It became a top-twenty hit in Australia, where it later earned a Gold certification from the ARIA. This made it her second song to receive a certification in the country, following "So Yesterday" (2003) eleven years prior. In November 2014, Duff provided voice work for a Dora the Explorer special episode as Ice Witch.
In February 2015, Duff filed for divorce from Comrie, citing irreconcilable differences, and requesting primary physical and legal joint custody of their son. The divorce was finalized in February 2016.
Duff released the single "Sparks" from her fifth studio album titled Breathe In. Breathe Out. on April 6, 2015, which debuted and peaked at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her fourth top ten hit on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. Breathe In. Breathe Out was released on June 12, 2015. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, becoming her fifth top five album. Duff had planned to tour in support of the album in early 2016, but announced in February 2016 that she would not be touring. The album was however Duff's first studio effort to not have received any certification from RIAA. On the Billboard 200 charts, it slipped from #5 to #65 in the second week before falling to #134 in its third week.
In June 2016, Duff revealed that she has been working on a new album. In contrast to Breathe In. Breathe Out, she said that the new album has a "darker and heavier tone". She teased a new song via her Snapchat post, which was then confirmed to be titled "Tied to You".
With her debut, Duff's music featured prominent pop and pop rock elements. Duff cited listening to rock music as a child for the main influence behind the theme. She worked heavily with The Matrix for her second studio album, leading critics to compare the effort to releases from artists such as Avril Lavigne, Ashlee Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. These themes were featured more prominently on her third studio album, Hilary Duff. The album makes further use of strong drum and guitar beats. Duff co-wrote multiple songs for the album, with the lyrics speaking on topics such as criticism, following your dreams, and love. The new material featured on her Most Wanted (2005) compilation album began to see Duff transfer towards a more pop and dance friendly sound. This was later expanded upon for her fourth studio album, Dignity (2007). Dignity was heavily influenced by Europop, hip hop, and rock 'n roll. Duff described the music as "dance," "rock," and "electro." Duff co-wrote all but one of the songs on the album, which dealt with topics including her stalker, her breakup with Joel Madden, and her parents' divorce. Following its release, someone said the album was "slightly ahead of its time." Her 2014 releases, featured a more folk influenced, earthy indie pop sound compared to her last release. The album's lead single was planned to be "All About You" (2014) and, among other instruments, it featured a banjo and an acoustic sound. Instead of the original plans, Duff released a dance-pop record which balanced EDM with the folk pop sound originally planned for the record. This album consolidated Duff as a dance-pop singer.
Following the launch of Lizzie McGuire, Duff received a significant amount of fame and media attention. The series proved to be a major hit for the network, and led to a string of merchandising that included Lizzie McGuire dolls, video games, plush figures, and even McDonald's Happy Meal Toys. The success of The Lizzie McGuire Movie "indicated that Duff's television fanbase could be migrated to film." Following her success from her Lizzie McGuire days, Richard Huff of the New York Daily News called Duff "a 2002 version of Annette Funicello" but admitted that the character of Lizzie McGuire was both a blessing and burden for her. In 2003, Huff stated that Duff's public image is "tied" to Lizzie McGuire. In 2005, Katie Long from the Centre of Parent/Youth Understanding wrote an analysis about Duff and her suitability as an idol for young teens. Duff, she wrote, "is not like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera... yet," celebrities who seem to use their sex appeal to sell albums, but remains "someone that adolescent girls can relate to." However, while Duff is a "positive role model" who has a "close relationship" with her family, the writer acknowledged that as Duff matures, "her looks and message will most likely mature as well."
Duff was credited with the revival of Hollywood Records following the release of Metamorphosis (2003). The San Fernando Valley Business Journal wrote that the album was "giving Hollywood Records a needed shot in the arm" after a decline in CD sales during the previous two years had forced the label to reduce costs and alter its operation. Hilliard Lyons analyst Jeffrey Thomison cited Metamorphosis as a reflection of Disney's ability to develop "great synergy between their cable, film and music segments" Duff's transition from Disney star to successful singer became a formula that Hollywood Records tried to implement with future acts such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Jesse McCartney among others. Artists such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and Keke Palmer have all cited Duff as influences on their careers.
Her song "Come Clean" (2003) was used as the theme song to the MTV reality series Laguna Beach, which is in turn credited with helping promote the song in the United States. Her song "Sweet Sixteen" (2003) was used as the theme for the MTV reality series of the same name. Multiple dates on her Most Wanted Tour to promote Hilary Duff (2004) sold out in minutes. Her success with music led to her selling over fifteen million albums by 2014.
Her transition from teenage star to adult actress has been praised by critics, while her transition is often compared to the less successful transitions of her peers. In 2007, Duff's appearance on the cover of Maxim was accompanied by the declaration that she had gone "from the queen of teen to breakout sex symbol." Following this, Duff placed at #23 on the annual Hot 100 Women list compiled by Maxim. She has remained on the list ever since in addition to being regularly listed on the annual FHM list of the 100 Sexiest Women (she peaked at #8 in 2008). The Associated Press wrote that this sudden provocativeness was representative of "a clear move [on Duff's part] to put her Lizzie McGuire past behind her," and that more provocative imaging of her would help her singles to garner mainstream radio play: "Ultimately, nature, time and genetics may help Duff in a way Disney, despite all its might, cannot." However, despite "the fact that she is grown up," Duff "has managed to maintain her sweet persona," wrote Young Hollywood.
Following the birth of her son, Duff was the center of criticism for her post-pregnancy body. In 2013, Duff revealed that it took her a year for her to lose her baby weight and that she lost nearly 50 pounds since the birth of her son. Duff stated that she revamped her diet and hired a personal trainer to train her in boxing, which was one of the ways she lost her weight other than piloxing and spin cycling. Duff's slow but healthy method in shedding off her post-pregnancy weight was praised by health experts and was looked up by actress Tia Mowry, who cited Duff as her idol in taking up a healthy and safer way to lose the excess weight gained during pregnancy. Duff is very vocal about her disapproval of paparazzi photographing children. In 2014, Duff expressed her anger on Twitter regarding two paparazzi who were taking pictures of her son without her consent. She tweeted, "I chose to let them off with a stern warning, next time I will not be so nice. #NoKidsPolicy" The hashtag refers to a bill that was pushed by actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner, which prohibits paparazzi from taking pictures of celebrities' children.
Duff has involved herself with various philanthropic activities. For natural disasters, she donated $250,000 to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in addition to donating over 2.5 million meals to Hurricane Katrina victims in southern US in 2005. In August 2006, Duff traveled to a New Orleans elementary school and worked with USA Harvest to distribute meals.
She also has helped various youth charities and is a member of Kids with a Cause. Duff has also served on the Advisory Board of the Audrey Hepburn Child Benefit Fund and the Celebrity Council of Kids with a Cause. In October 2008, Duff starred in a public service announcement for The Think Before You Speak Campaign by Ad Council and GLSEN to prevent youth from using anti-LGBT vocabulary, such as the phrase "That's So Gay." In July 2009, Duff was named as a Youth Ambassador to the children of the Colombian capital, Bogot. As a Youth Ambassador, she spent five days in the country, distributing backpacks filled with food to needy children.
Duff is a strong animal rights supporter and commented when asked what she would do if she was not a celebrity, "I always wanted to be a veterinarian when I was younger, but then I figured out that animals actually die there, so that was not the job for me. Definitely something with kids or animals or something like that."
In 2012, a few months after giving birth to her son, Duff was actively involved in the Johnson's Baby Cares campaign. The campaign included activities such as sending care kits and care cards to new mothers across the U.S. as a motivation. It also raises funds for children and poor families together with Save The Children.
Towards the start of the Christmas shopping season in November 2013, Duff teamed up with Duracell in Canada for a campaign especially for kids in hospitals. The campaign called Powering Holiday Smiles donated 20,000 batteries to hospitals across Canada in order to power lifesaving medical devices and the thousands of playroom toys and games that children and their families will be using the holiday season of 2013 and beyond. The campaign encourages Canadians to buy Duracell Quantum AA-16 batteries, in which for every packet sold, one dollar will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network. The campaign began on November 22 and commenced on December 27, 2013. In order to promote the campaign, Duff paid a visit to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario to hand out brand new toys supplied by Hasbro. She has discussed the campaign on Breakfast Television Toronto, a radio show and in numerous magazine interviews.