Ah, the 1990s. Few periods in American pop culture will be remembered quite like the 90s. Nearly every aspect of culture that people had just barely became comfortable with started to change suddenly. In just 10 short years, the world began to shift on its axis.
First, how people consume media began to change dramatically. During the 90s, VHS tapes and DVDs were all of the rage, spawning entire industries where small business owners could just simply rent out movies to people for next to nothing. This meant that people could avoid long lines at the movies and watch flicks on their own time.
Second, technology went through serious changes in so many ways that it is impossible to count. One of the most overlooked ways that technology changed in the 90s was that people had access to video cameras, unlike any time previously in history. This meant that they could make their own movies, even dirty movies, without ever having to leave the house.
Finally, of course, there is the internet. With the explosion of internet connectivity, people became involved with one another in ways they could never imagine. For the first time, one Star Wars fan could talk to another Star Wars fan from across the planet without ever having to leave his mom’s basement. You have to love science!
Because media, technology, and the internet all of a sudden became easier to consume, regular actors and singers went from stars to mega stars in just a short time. People from across the globe could watch movies once they hit Blockbuster (remember them?), expanding the reach of so many stars beyond their wildest dreams.
Most stars after a certain age tend to go away from the public eye. Entertainment is an extremely carnivorous culture, chewing up and spitting out young starlets every year. For some, they just decide that it is not worth it and do what any other American would do when they retire: get fat and go on vacation.
But not these stars. These stars can still catch as many camera flashes as Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West combined. At least with these women, through good genes and (probably) good doctors, they have remained smoking hot through several decades.
15. Lisa Loeb
A lot of people probably do not even know where they remember Lisa Loeb from. She was the one that was in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, right? No, that was Janeane Garofalo. Oh okay, she was the one that played Beavis and Butthead’s schoolmate in that 90s television show, correct? Nope, that was Dara. Dara was a cartoon character.
Lisa Loeb is best known for her hit single “Stay” back in the 1990s. The song made it onto the soundtrack of the depressing cult classic Reality Bites. Loeb, a professional and accomplished musician, embodied everything that whiny grunge heads wanted in a woman. She was artsy, attractive, and talented. She had the looks and the skills back in the 90s. And the world at her fingertips.
14. Jennifer Love Hewitt
During the 1990s, everyone wanted a piece of Jennifer Love Hewitt. Who could blame them for thinking that way? On such a small frame, she had curves that many actresses just did not have. This made her an immediate draw at the box office for a long time, churning out films that would otherwise struggle, but became pop culture sensations because of Hewitt’s star power. Her list of films include I Know What You Did Last Summer and Can’t Hardly Wait, both of which went on to significant commercial success.
It would have been easy for Hewitt to just count her money, put on 50 pounds, and forget that she ever wore makeup. But Hewitt knew that she could keep her star power shining right on through the 2000s. The 37-year-old, mother of two is continuing to make a name for herself through shows like Ghost Whisperer and guest appearances on the long-running Criminal Minds.
13. Spice Girls
If someone is following what the Spice Girls have to say literally, to be their lover, a person, presumably a man, would have to get with their friends. To a pervert, this sounds like a challenge because they are insinuating that if he wants to sleep with one of them, he has to sleep with all of them. In reality, their song, “Wannabe,” is all about the strong bonds of friendship. Especially friendship exploited and mass marketed by record companies. Those are the most special kinds of friends.
During the 1990s, there was not a high school dance that did not include a rendition of some Spice Girls song. The Spice Girls, Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Posh, and Baby Spice dominated the airwaves, sold out arenas, and will forever hold a place in pop culture history. It is easy to think that years of traveling and performing would take a toll on their appearance, but the Spice Girls, just like their songs, never get old. Okay, maybe their songs get old, but they do not.
12. Katie Holmes
Most people know that woman who had an extremely unfortunate relationship. Maybe she was in a relationship where her significant other was pushy, disrespectful, mean, or just downright selfish. Chances are her friends were well aware that this guy was bad news, but she loved him and there was nothing that her friends could do about it. They probably just hoped that she would come to her sense, get out of the relationship, and find someone who would treat her well. In the end, she would realize it was just a love mistake.
Then there is Katie Holmes. It is difficult to describe why she would look at Tom Cruise, consider his history, his fame, his money, his height, and his personality and decide, “Yes, I want to marry and have a child with this crazy person.” At the very least, Katie has managed to move on from the relationship and is looking as good now as she did when she was on Dawson’s Creek back in the 1990s.
11. Teri Hatcher
A number of women have played Lois Lane in the Superman series. Noel Neill, Phyllis Coates, and Margot Kidder are some women that have given a human face to such an important comic book character. Lane’s character is as smart as she is beautiful. She is as tough as she is feminine. So, playing this role requires producers to find a woman who can embody that on screen with little effort. Over the past 60 years, producers of the various Superman television shows and movies have done an excellent job. Currently, Amy Adams is filling the role at theatres, doing a great job using her considerable acting chops.
But few women will ever be as stunning or as graceful as Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane. Hatcher, known mostly for her role as a depressed wife on Desperate Housewives throughout the 2000s, once played Superman’s love interest in the show Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show ran from 1993 to 1997 and quickly made Hatcher a household name. Even though the show was cancelled nearly 20 years ago, Hatcher continues to do what it takes to stay smoking hot after all this time.
10. Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei shot to fame by playing Vincent “Vinny” LaGuardia’s fiance in the smash hit movie My Cousin Vinnie. Stealing the scenes from A-list actors, Tomei earned herself an Academy Award. Her career gave birth right on the screen.
In the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, Marisa Tomei plays Peter Parker’s way-too-attractive aunt who takes Parker in after his parents are killed. This is a far cry from the original Spider-Man series starring Tobey Maguire, where his aunt was super old. This is even further from the most recent editions where Andrew Garfield’s mother, Sally Field, plays his aunt. Sally Field is almost 70. God bless her.
The reason why Tomei playing Aunt May in the upcoming Spider-Man films is interesting is because she is definitely old enough to be Peter Parker’s aunt. But at 51 years old, Tomei has managed to age very gracefully and God help any real nephews she has because he will undoubtedly have to fight off his creepy friends all of the time who want to come hear her.
9. Naomi Campbell
Today’s models can look to Naomi Campbell for inspiration on how to behave on and off of the runway. On the runway, and in front of the camera as a matter of fact, nobody had the kind of electricity that Campbell generated. During the 1990s, Campbell went from local talent shows to absolute, unbridled international success as a model. She even appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine, a very special feat for anyone in the industry. She has branched out into a number of other entertainment endeavors as well, including singing, to take advantage of her international appeal. If a young model can learn anything, it is do what Naomi does, and do it well.
Naomi has had her share of troubles too that other models can learn from. Naomi has a history of violence against some of her people and she has paid the price personally and financially for it. This is very odd coming from a person who is currently a part of 13 charities to help disadvantaged people across the globe.
8. Christina Applegate
Everybody already knows what Christina Applegate is famous for. The production that she was a part of as a cast member made her one of the most recognizable faces on television. The 1990s were defined by this piece of entertainment and has turned Applegate from a hopeful actor to someone who can write her own ticket. The show in question of course is Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. Maybe that is the wrong show?
She also starred in some crap show called Married…With Children that ran successfully for 11 seasons. Some of the other people on there, including Ed O’Neil and Katey Sagal have found even more success afterward because of the show. Applegate’s on screen brother, Bud, is enjoying life away from the cameras.
Applegate was too hot to trot back in the 1990s and the producers at Fox knew this, taking full advantage of her physique, blonde hair, and sensual features. Even as time has marched on, Christina Applegate could still turn as many heads as Kelly Bundy did way back when.
7. Melissa Joan Hart
Back in the 1990s, ABC had a lineup on Friday night that nobody could compete with. The only exception may have been NBC’s Thursday night lineup and their late night offerings including Seinfeld and Friends. But for young people, mostly tweens and adolescents, ABC’s TGIF lineup is something that will go down in the television history books as one of the most successful runs ever.
There were a variety of shows including Family Matters, featuring the character Steve Urkel creepily annoying his next door neighbors. The show also included the hit Boy Meets World, starring Ben Savage as a young boy trying to understand his place in the world and his family. One of the biggest hits was the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, starring Melissa Joan Hart.
Even though Hart was just a kid herself at the time of the show, Father time has done her extremely well. She just ended a run of a show on ABC called Melissa and Joey, starring Hart and former teen heartthrob, Joey Lawrence. Maybe there was a little magic in that show after all.
6. Alyssa Milano
One of the first things to understand about Alyssa Milano is that she is 43 years old. Despite the billion dollar skincare industry, plastic surgeons, and the whole panoply of all-natural products to keep a woman’s appearance looking young, most women at 43 will never look the way Milano does. To top it all off, Milano has two kids that she has to chase around and still manages to look really good despite approaching middle age.
Back in the 1990s, Milano was a huge television star. She starred in a variety of television film roles including Spin City and even Melrose Place, mostly as recurring characters. She hit her stride in 1998 when she starred in the long-running, critically acclaimed show Charmed on what was then the WB network (currently the CW). Milano played one of three sisters on the show who had magical powers and her girl-gang defeated baddies all across the natural and supernatural world.
The power of a sex tape is incalculable, especially for Brandy Norwood‘s brother, Ray J. Now, it must be made clear that Ray J, the infamous star of Kim K’s sex tape, was no slouch in the music industry himself at the time. He acted, sang, danced, and toured very well even before the sex tape. Regardless, he was always still known as “Brandy’s Little Brother.”
Even though Ray J is arguably more popular, nobody was more popular than his older sister Brandy back in the 1990’s. As a teenage super star, Brandy dominated shows like Total Request Live and partnered with some of the biggest acts, including Boyz II Men, to raise her star power to another level. She even had a hit show called Moesha that made her from “star” to “superstar.” Her career hit some roadblocks and she has worked hard to keep a low profile as of late.
4. Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone broke out into the 1990s with a loud bang. Her first starring role in the movie The Crush put her on the map as a teenage heartthrob. In that movie, made back in 1993, the younger Silverstone played a teenage girl who developed an intense, and extremely creepy, crush on her much older neighbor. Even though the movie was panned by critics, it set the stage for the step in Silverstone’s career.
Her next feature film was a movie called Clueless. The movie was about high school girls at Bronson Alcott High School out in Beverly Hills. The movie explored how teenagers of that generation tried hard to act like adults, but had no idea what it meant to actually be an adult. Regardless, it shot Silverstone on her path to fame.
3. Shania Twain
Shania Twain has been a country music legend for a generation now. She has sold millions of records, toured all across the world, and is a household name. Although fame has kind of taken a back seat, back in the 1990s, there were few bigger stars than Twain.
What makes Twain so interesting is that she was a part of a new wave of country music artists that were taking the music world like a bull by the horns. With fans that normally had some way of relating to country music, the genre never gained mainstream appeal until Twain hit the scene. Twain’s charm, talent, and looks helped her take this niche piece of the industry onto a much larger stage.
Also, what made Twain more appealing was that she did not fit the archetype of a typical country singer. For one, she is Canadian, giving her an edge no one else had. In addition, Twain was raised with Native American traditions by her stepfather. This makes her a little more worldly and cultured than most other country music stars, broadening her appeal. In essence, her upbringing was more than trucks cowboy boots.
2. Mariah Carey
It is kind of annoying that there are some people in this world who are simply just not like everyone else. There are some people who are so beautiful, so talented, and so rich that they could literally punch the Pope in the face and people would say, “Well, the Pope had it coming.” Mariah Carey is one of those people. In the 1990s, she was so smoking hot she could have probably been the Pope and people would have likely just looked the other way.
It is difficult for anyone to try to still look as good as they did 20 years ago. Just look around at most moms and dads. 20 years ago, most dads had a full head of hair and most moms still enjoyed dressing up and going out every once in awhile. Now, getting gussied up really just means that dad will not wear the same underwear for a fourth day in a row. However, Mariah Carey still holds the title of being one of the most smoking hot celebrities from the 1990s, who has stayed pipping hot even as the clock ticks on.
1. Tyra Banks
In the modeling industry, having dark skin can be a liability. Without getting too deep into the world’s racial politics, there is a European-centric ideal of beauty that permeates the modeling industry. Most models, and certainly most “supermodels,” often have features that are Euro-centric features. This means that they have the blond hair, blue, hazel, or green eyes, of course. But most importantly there is the fair skin. Basically, darker girls of any ethnicity, Latino, African, or Asian, hardly get any love.
This is what made Tyra Banks so amazing back in the 1990s. Not only was she black, she was also so stunningly, incredibly beautiful that smart fashion experts knew that they could sell whatever they wanted if Tyra was promoting it. Tyra took this all the way to the bank, becoming a major star in the process.
Now, Tyra is in her 40s and is definitely transitioning in a life away from modeling. After a string of successful television and film roles, Tyra has taken the term “MILF” to a whole new level, being the mother of a young child, Yorks Banks Asia.