Haven’t you heard? The 90s are back baby! And what better way to brush up on the time than by looking at the 90s It-girls who defined the decade. We’ve looked back at the starts of their careers, and caught up with where they are now, and these models, actresses, and singers have certainly stayed busy.
1. Pamela Anderson: 1994 – 2019
It seemed as though the moment the clock ticked past midnight on January 1, 1990, Pamela Anderson was everywhere. Kicking off the biggest decade of her career, Anderson was named Playboy magazine’s playmate of the month in February 1990, and all of the acting opportunities came in quick succession.
Having made a name for herself in the 90s with shows such as Home Improvement and of course, most memorably, Baywatch, Anderson has been using all of that accumulated fame for good. Today Anderson is a staunch animal rights activist, appearing in multiple campaigns for PETA.
2. Debbe Dunning: 1995 – 2018
When Pamela Anderson left the ABC sitcom Home Improvement, having played the “Tool Time girl” on the show-within-a-show “Tool Time,” she left some pretty big shoes to fill. But new starlet Debbe Dunning not only made the part her own, she helped catapult the show to the no. 1 in the ratings.
Now, years after hanging up her tool belt on “Tool Time” Dunning has donned a different look and taken on a new venture. Starting in 2017, Dunning has been hosting her own show on DirectTV’s The Cowboy Channel called Debbe Dunning’s Dude Ranch Round-Up, which recently aired its third season.
3. Carmen Electra: 1999 – 2019
Not many people can say they have Prince, one of the greatest musicians of a generation, to thank for their career. Electra first came onto our radar in in 1993, after moving to Minneapolis and meeting Prince, who produced her self-titled debut album.
Moving from the music scene to glamour modeling, Electra’s likeness was all over everyone’s walls throughout the 90s. Electra went on to become a mainstay in the Scary Movie film franchise throughout the early 2000s. Her last known role was an appearance on the TV show Alone Together in 2018.
4. Tiffani Thiessen: 1991 – 2019
One would have been hard-pressed to find a teenager in the 90s who didn’t know up-and-coming actress Tiffani Thiessen. Starting out on the wildly popular high school-set comedy Saved by the Bell, Thiessen played Kelly Kapowski — the stereotypical high school dream girl.
Thiessen graduated from Saved by the Bell and Bayside High and enrolled in a new part, this time in the high school-based dramedy, Beverly Hills, 90210, playing Valerie Malone. Still, her breakout role came back in the form of a reboot, and Thiessen can be seen reprising Kelly Kapowski (now Kapowski-Morris) in the 2020 revival of Saved by the Bell.
5. Erika Eleniak: 1994 – 2017
California native Erika Eleniak has two 90s juggernauts to thank for her career — Playboy and Baywatch. A Playboy Playmate starting in 1989, Eleniak used her popularity to help her land the part of Shauni McClain on the hit series Baywatch that very same year.
Eleniak hung up her iconic red swimsuit when she left the show in 1993, and moved onto a few movie roles throughout the 90s. Although she’s appeared in a smattering of film projects since then, it’s her rumored inclusion in a new Baywatch documentary announced in 2019 that has us most excited to catch up with Erika.
6. Brandy Norwood: 1999 – 2016
Coming from a musical family, it was no surprise when Brandy Nordwood, otherwise known simply as Brandy, was signed by Atlantic Records in 1993. A year later she debuted her self-titled album, quickly showing us all she means business when it sold six million copies worldwide.
Brandy has continued to work in the music industry ever since, and even took on a whole slew of acting roles too. Today, the songstress has sold more than 40 million records, amassed a Grammy Award, American Music Award, and seven Billboard Music Awards.
7. Sarah Michelle Gellar: 1998 – 2019
A role model to 90s teen girls all over the world (and boys for that matter), Sarah Michelle Gellar kicked some serious butt as Buffy Summers on the hit WB drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Seeing a female character take on the role of an action star was still relatively news for the 90s, and Gellar knocked it out of the park.
Gellar’s acting career has stayed steady since her Slayer days, and has starred in numerous TV shows and movies. Most recently she’s been working on the limited series Sometimes I Lie, and has signed on to voice a character on a new Netflix series.
8. Christina Applegate: 1993 – 2019
America got the pleasure of watching actress Christina Applegate grow up before its very eyes. First landing the part of Kelly Bundy on the soon-t0-be wildly popular FOX sitcom Married…with Children in 1987 at the age of 16, Applegate aged into a bona fide star by the time the series went off-air in 1997.
Applegate launched her film career following Married…with Children, and has been appearing in some of the most popular movies of the last 20 years. Today she’s garnered critical acclaim for her starring role on the Netflix dark comedy Dead to Me, earning Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.
9. Jennifer Love Hewitt: 1998 – 2019
Growing up in the limelight can be hard, but child actress Jennifer Love Hewitt seemed to handle it all fairly well. Hewitt scored her big breakthrough role playing Sarah Reeves Merrin on Party of Five, but this 90s girl has her sights set on something more — the big screen.
Hewitt really become recognizable after starring in the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer in 1997, and its subsequent sequel. Since then Hewitt has had equal success on the big and small screen, and can currently be found on the FOX police procedural 9-1-1.
10. Lori Loughlin: 1993 – 2019
It’s not easy to act opposite America’s favorite uncle, but Lori Loughlin held her own as Becky Donaldson (and eventually Aunt Becky Donaldson-Katsopolis), the romantic interest to John Stamos’ Uncle Jesse on Full House. But to borrow Uncle Jesse’s famous catchphrase, today Loughlin is in a bit of hot water and probably hoping her fanbase will “have mercy!”
In 2020 Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli pled guilty to charges brought against them in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, otherwise code named “Operation Varsity Blues.” Rumor has it Loughlin plans to relaunch her career after serving her two month sentence. Only time will tell what Loughlin does next.
11. Fran Drescher: 1997 – 2018
As recognizable for her quintessentially 90s fashion as her distinct nasal voice and heavy New York accent, Fran Drescher seemed to practically be playing herself on her hit series The Nanny. The Nanny was a hit with audiences, as was Drescher’s portrayal of Fran Fine, earning her multiple award nominations, including two nods from the Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Comedy Television Series.
As of late, Drescher returned to the small screen in the NBC sitcom Indebted, which ran for twelve episodes. Off-camera Drescher battled cancer, and has since establish the Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit dedicated to the diagnosis of breast cancer at stage 1.
12. Heather Locklear: 1993 – 2016
After landing her first major television role in 1981 playing Sammy Jo Carrington on the Aaron Spelling drama Dynasty, actress Heather Locklear began a wildly successful collaboration with Spelling, launching her career to new heights. Locklear and Spelling continued working together after Dynasty ended in 1989, this time on a new hit show — Melrose Place.
Locklear was initially signed on for a four-year run on Melrose Place, but became a full-time star on the show, sticking with it until it’s last episode in 1999. Since the 90s Locklear has been busy on the small screen, so keep your eyes open, there’s no telling when she’ll appear on your TV.
13. Marisa Tomei: 1993 – 2016
Right out of the gate Marisa Tomei hit Hollywood with a bang, nabbing a role in the 1992 comedy My Cousin Vinny, earning her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. From that first major movie role and on, Tomei has only gone from one success to the next.
Tomei has earned nominations for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards two more times for her work in In the Bedroom and The Wrestler. Most recently the Hollywood veteran has been appearing as Spider-Man’s Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
14. Melissa Joan Hart: 1999 – 2017
90s kids truly grew up alongside actress Melissa Joan Hart, who first appeared on our screens in 1991 as the titular character in the Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All. Once Hart had aged out of playing Clarissa, she starred in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Hart helped guide us all through high school.
Hart hasn’t changed her ways since her heyday in the 90s, and is still interested in providing programming for adolescents. Hart decided to go back to her Nickelodeon roots. Today Hart can be heard as the voice of Becca Chang in the animated series The Casagrandes.
15. Tyra Banks: 1993 – 2018
It’s hard to believe that when Tyra Banks first began her modeling career (at the tender age of 15 no less!) she was passed up by four agencies before getting signed. But, once she was signed by the world renowned Elite Model Management, she booked 25 runway shows during Paris Fashion Week 1991.
If there’s one thing Tyra Banks knows best, it’s the modeling industry. Aside from her impressive and extensive modeling career, both on runways and in print, Banks has served as host of America’s Next Top Model from 2003 to today.
16. Alicia Silverstone: 1995 – 2020
No 90s kid would ever forget Alicia Silverstone’s star-making turn as Cher Horowitz in the eminently quotable teen comedy Clueless. Clueless, and Silverstone, have come to stand for everything the 90s were all about, from the fashion, the music, the slang, it’s got it all.
Silverstone has kept busy since her early years in Hollywood, and has appeared in films for kids and adults. In the mood for family friendly fare? Silverstone can be found in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series. Looking for something a little more adult? Catch the actress in The Killing of a Sacred Deer or Book Club.
17. Denise Richards: 1999 – 2019
Despite starting her career in some small television and movie roles in the early 90s, it wasn’t until 1998 when Denise Richards made a splash in the erotic thriller Wild Things, that everyone knew her name. Only two years later Richards snagged the role of a lifetime, playing Bond girl Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough.
Richards has more recently taken to the small screen, starring in the long-running soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in 2019. But if you really want a look into the life of Denise Richards, we recommend watching her in the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
18. Tia Carrere: 1998 – 2019
Originally hailing from Hawaii, Althea Rae Duhinio Janairo, professionally known as Tia Carrere, has been in Hollywood since signing onto the daytime soap opera General Hospital. Carrere graduated from daytime TV to major motion pictures playing Cassandra in Wayne’s World (1992), and it’s subsequent sequel.
Carrere went on to appear in countless guest roles and a few reality TV shows throughout the 2000s – 2010s. As of 2020 Carrere was cast in the series regular role of Lady Danger in the Netflix original series AJ and the Queen opposite the iconic Ru Paul.
19. Eva LaRue: 1991 – 2019
Who remembers Candid Camera? The precursor to shows like Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d, Eva LaRue started her career as co-host of the hidden camera reality show in 1991. By 1993 LaRue had made the leap from unscripted series to the long-running daytime soap opera All My Children.
LaRue’s first run on All My Children ended in 1997, but the actress reprised her role as Dr. Maria Santos from 2002 to 2005. More than a decade later and this 90s star is still happy to be a part of the soap opera world, this time in the role of Celeste Rosales on The Young and the Restless.
20. Shannon Elizabeth: 1999 – 2017
Although actress Shannon Elizabeth appeared in quite a few films and TV shows throughout the 90s, it was her role as Nadia in the 1999 raunchy comedy American Pie that really made Elizabeth a hot commodity in Hollywood. Shannon then snatched roles in Scary Movie and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back soon after.
Shannon has continued to appear on the big and small screen since first snapping attention in the 90s, and can be seen in the 2019 revival Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Off-camera the actress is also an animal rights activist, and runs the non-profit animal rescue organization she co-founded, Animal Avengers.
21. Demi Moore: 1992 – 2019
A bona fide member of the Brat Pack throughout the 80s, actress Demi Moore kept amazing audiences all throughout the 90s. Moore boasts starring roles in some of the most critically acclaimed films of the decade, such as A Few Good Men, Indecent Proposal, and Disclosure.
Moore’s career in movies has yet to slow down, and the veteran Hollywood star can be seen in the Michael Bay thriller Songbird set to be released in 2020. Also in the works for the actress is an Amazon drama series, Dirty Diana. And as if that wasn’t enough, Moore’s 2019 memoir “Inside Out” debuted on a New York Times best-sellers list.
22. Stacey Dash: 1995 – 2020
When young actress Stacey Dash got her first big break after being cast as the best friend in everyone’s favorite teen comedy film Clueless, her career trajectory might have seemed pretty predictable – more movies and TV shows, right? Well, Dash has since gone down a different path.
Dash has pivoted into a career in politics and political commentary. FOX News hired the former 90s starlet as a contributor for “cultural analysis and commentary” in 2014, a role she held through 2017. After exiting FOX News, Dash took her political career one step further by filing to run for Congress in California as a Republican.
23. Cindy Crawford: 1990 – 2017
The 90s saw the rise of the supermodel, and leading the way was Cindy Crawford. Crawford was one of, if not the most popular supermodel internationally, with an estimated 500 appearances on magazine covers, fashion campaigns and runways by 1998.
Although Crawford technically quit modeling in 2000, she still appears in the occasional fashion magazine or walks down a runway or two. Nowadays Crawford can still be seen all around the fashion world, only this time it’s to cheer on her daughter Kaia Gerber, who followed in her mother’s footsteps down the catwalk and into modeling.
24. Michelle Pfeiffer: 1994 – 2019
Although we’ve all watched Michelle Pfeiffer appear on screen as early as the 80s, we could swear the actress hasn’t aged a bit. Pfeiffer first broke out as Elvira Hancock in Scarface and has been delivering critically acclaimed performances ever since.
From her Academy Award nominated turns in Dangerous Liaisons and The Fabulous Baker Boys, to her iconic take on Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, Pfeiffer has a knack for picking prime projects. A superstar in real life, Pfeiffer joined the superhero film franchise Ant-Man and the Wasp as the original Wasp in 2018.
25. Kate Moss: 1997 – 2019
Sneaking in just under the wire of what has since become known as the “supermodel era,” Kate Moss has come to represent the quintessential distressed fashion trend that has come to define the 90s. Specifically, it was her collaborations with Calvin Klein that made her into the icon she is today.
Moss has been named one of Time’s most influential people in the world, and has a British Fashion Award honoring her 25 years in the fashion world. Moss has been known to design the occasional capsule collection for Topshop, and is a contributing editor for British Vogue.
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