Every “It” girl in Hollywood fulfills a certain niche in the entertainment industry. While there are some actresses that are similar in their look and personality, the true standouts are the women that can’t be compared to anyone else and make their own stamp on the world. From Angelina Jolie to Jennifer Lawrence, there is definitely a specific moment in time when an “It” girl finally makes it to ultimate fame in Hollywood.
There have been a number of actresses that have been coined the next big thing onscreen, but for some reason or another they never were able to get passed the hurdle to reach iconic status in film. A lot of this can be attributed to what roles are being offered at any given time. For an actress that thrives in romantic comedies, if there simply aren’t any scripts being offered to fit that genre; the public can tend to forget about them.
Many actresses make the mistake of taking on mediocre roles in order to try and stay current with fickle audiences, but others choose to take a hiatus until the good roles return. Since Hollywood seems to have an ever-changing roster of up-and-coming actresses, it can be hard for a potential “It” girl to maintain her popularity. Since audiences tend to forget about talent once their star begins to fade, it’s interesting how quickly their status can change. Check out our list of 15 ‘It’ girls that were never able to reach ultimate fame, and see how many of these actresses you forgot about in recent years.
15. Heather Graham
There was a time when Heather Graham was considered the epitome of beauty on screen, with film roles that only further helped to put her up on a pedestal for audiences. Included in some hit films like Swingers and Boogie Nights, she showed fans that she wasn’t afraid to delve deep into a character in order to tell the story. Yet, taking roles as an adult star “Rollergirl” and participating in parody-style films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; Graham quickly lost appeal with fans and filmmakers alike. She resorted to television acting in 2014 for Showtime’s Californication, which helped create a little bit of buzz for her fading acting career. Yet, her portrayal in 2016 for the series, Flaked, was strictly for Netflix and went virtually unseen by mainstream audiences. Since neither of these television characters helped to catapult her back to her original status earlier in her career, it remains doubtful that she will ever land those big film roles again.
14. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes started off her career with so much promise, and was even able to land two separate series on Nickelodeon. The television series, All That, was where she gained much of her fan base, but it was The Amanda Show that proved to fans that she was definitely someone to watch for future acting roles. Her hit television shows helped to land her a number of substantial roles on the big screen, including hits like Hairspray and Easy A. She seemed to be transitioning well into film, and many thought her star was just beginning to rise. Yet, in 2012 she announced she was retiring from acting, but she found a new way to stay in the headlines. Arrested on a DUI charge in 2014, detained for a mental health evaluation, and acting erratically in public and through her social media sites; she went from being the next “It” girl to being the latest starlet to descend in a downward spiral in the public eye.
13. Sela Ward
Although Sela Ward has a long list of accolades she has earned through her extensive professional career, ultimate fame has somehow eluded her. Often referred to as “that lady from that one show,” she was never able to become instantly recognizable in the eyes of the public. Since she first gained mainstream fame in the 90’s NBC drama, Sisters, it became difficult for her to transition into a prominent film career even though she was one of the breakout stars of the series. She landed a number of roles in hit films like The Fugitive and The Day After Tomorrow, and even got a spot in the 2014 film, Gone Girl. Yet, her film roles seemed to come a little too late in her career, and she no longer had the youthful look that would allow her to transcend into ultimate fame as the “It” girl she was supposed to be.
12. Ashley Judd
Coming from an ultra talented family, it came as no surprise to fans that Ashley Judd would break out into a sect of the entertainment industry. Choosing acting over any musical inclination, she quickly became a highly sought after actress in Hollywood. With back-to-back film successes in the late 90’s, she proved she could play diversity in a role in Double Jeopardy and stand next to seasoned actors in Kiss the Girls. Yet, her career hit a bit of a snag with film choices like the Dolphin Tale film series, and taking time off to focus on her charity work and furthering her education. Nowadays, she stays pretty low key, and her aging status only helps to land roles like the mother figure in the Divergent film series. Her time seems to have passed as an iconic film star, and even her attempt in returning to television for the 2012 series, Missing, didn’t help to further her celebrity status.
11. Calista Flockhart
When Calista Flockhart was first introduced to audiences through the television series, Ally McBeal, she was quickly coined the next “It” girl due to the sheer popularity of her character. The show became an instant classic even though it only lasted four years, and created memorable moments like the dancing baby and the girl-on-girl kiss with Lucy Liu and Portia de Rossi. While the show gave rise to her fame, it also became a hindrance since fans couldn’t help but associate Flockhart with her McBeal character. She has since moved on to other hit shows like the ABC series, Brothers & Sisters, and most recently the television series, Supergirl. However, time has not been a friend to Flockhart, and she no longer looks like the fresh-faced young lawyer from her Ally McBeal days. Since she no longer is able to pull off the younger characters, it seems her time has passed in achieving ultimate fame both on the big screen and on television.
10. Anna Camp
Anna Camp is a great example for how sometimes even the best roles can’t help to catapult an actress into ultimate fame, since she has had character portrayals in some of the biggest hit series on television and film. She played memorable characters in True Blood, Mad Men, and The Good Wife, as well as film roles in the Pitch Perfect film series and the acclaimed movie, The Help. While she was first praised for her ability to embody the southern elitist character of Sarah Newlin in True Blood, she seemed to get typecast into similar roles. This didn’t help to prove versatility in her acting skills, and made audiences think of her as a one-note actress. Whether it was the choices she made in acting roles that hurt her ability to reach ultimate fame or that fact that she didn’t seem to have a standout feature to set her apart from other actresses, Camp hasn’t been able to create an ultra memorable persona to get her to the level of a true movie star in Hollywood.
9. Alice Englert
Alice Englert is an Australian-born actress that many likened to other famous Aussies like Nicole Kidman early on in her career. Her breakout role as Lena Duchannes in the 2013 film, Beautiful Creatures, showed the public that she could act alongside heavy hitters like Viola Davis without skipping a beat. With a look of haunted beauty, Englert was well on her way to becoming that standout actress in Hollywood that could find her own niche in acting roles. Yet, even landing a lead role in a hit film wasn’t enough to help further her career in film. After concluding the film, she didn’t have much luck in getting new roles. While she was able to land a few television spots in 2014 and 2015, Englert has pretty much dropped off the radar for the general public. Proving that even young Hollywood starlets can quickly fall off from their rise to fame, Englert needs another breakout role to help fans remember who she is.
8. Emilie de Ravin
Emilie de Ravin first gained mainstream fame through the hit television series, Lost, and was a key part of the storyline for much of the series. Although she was pregnant or acting with-child throughout most of the show, audiences could tell that she was a beautiful actress with a phenomenal body. This landed her spots on Maxim’s Hot 100 list a number of times, and some roles on the big screen as well. While she did manage to land the leading role in The Hills Have Eyes, that didn’t seem like enough to carry her into ultimate fame. Unlike her fellow Lost cast member, Evangeline Lilly, who successfully transitioned into film with a key role in The Hobbit saga, Emilie de Ravin didn’t have the same sort of luck. Instead, she seemed to fizzle out before she could fully partake in the “It” girl status, and even a variety of hair color changes didn’t help to revamp her acting career.
7. Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone started her career in the late 90’s with a few film successes, but it was her role in a variety of Aerosmith music videos that really helped to label her as the next “It” girl. It was unheard of for an artist to use the same girl in a number of their music videos, and the storyline for each video only helped to further her appeal as an actress. She was able to parlay this success into hit films like Clueless and Blast from the Past, but her career became stagnant and quickly forgettable. Fans seem to completely forget about her as an actress, and she only came up again in 2012 when she made headlines for the parenting decisions she made with her then 11-month-old son. Posting a video of her feeding her son by chewing up food and feeding it directly into his mouth, fans wondered what had become of their favorite Clueless actress.
6. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar started her acting career in television and soap operas, but she didn’t gain true mainstream fame until her portrayal as Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series lasted six years, which was pretty substantial for a show that aired on the WB. While it wasn’t exactly True Blood, it had a huge fan base and helped land her a number of roles in film. However, not all of her film choices helped to further her career in acting. While she offered a haunting portrayal in Cruel Intentions, her characters in I Know What You Did Last Summer and the Scooby-Doo series didn’t exactly help to promote her as a serious actress. Instead, she seemed to fall off from being the “It” girl, and became just another television actor trying to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get any kind of acting role in a movie.
5. Maggie Grace
Maggie Grace is an actress that was first introduced to audiences through the hit television series, Lost. The show was such a hit that it helped launch the careers of more than one breakout star from the series. She was able to land a number of roles on the big screen, including a character portrayal in the hit film series The Twilight Saga and the Taken film series. While both of these film choices might seem like great decisions that should have helped to catapult her celebrity status, she also had some equally poor choices in film. Starring as the lead in Malice in Wonderland, a failed film that paled in comparison to Tim Burton’s version of Lewis Carroll’s novel, Grace still isn’t instantly recognizable just by name. Fans often associate her with whatever characters she’s played, and so she hasn’t yet been able to solidify herself as a movie star in Hollywood.
4. Nikki Reed
Nikki Reed first gained commercial appeal through her portrayal as Rosalie Hale in The Twilight Saga, and she was even given some great backstory on screen time so fans could delve deeper into her character. Her vampire character had quite a cold and austere persona that didn’t really help to ingratiate herself to create a fan base, and it didn’t help that her character had a defining look that was a huge departure from her natural appearance. Reed tried to convey her warm and endearing personality on a few television appearances while she was promoting The Twilight Saga, and she even gave a friendship necklace to Ellen DeGeneres on an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also became engaged and married, but even a celebrity wedding didn’t help to boost her star power, and she quickly became forgotten as soon the last film in the series was concluded in The Twilight Saga.
3. Ashley Greene
Ashley Greene was first introduced to audiences through her role as Alice Cullen in The Twilight Saga, and was a huge character in the series. While she had to maintain the pixie hairstyle to adhere to the character description based on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels, it was her offscreen look that had many people coining her the next “It” girl in film. While Bella Swan may have been the standout beauty in the film series, Ashley Greene certainly gave Kristen Stewart a run for her money on the red carpet. With sparkling light eyes, long auburn hair, and a healthy glowing skin, Greene looks far from her Cullen character offscreen. Although Greene has starred in a few thriller films after The Twilight Saga concluded, she was never able to reach the celebrity status akin to her Twilight co-star. Now that some time has passed since her memorable vampire role, it is questionable whether or not she will be able to continue to ride the coattails in this earlier film success to finally reach that ultimate fame in film.
2. Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan first gained commercial fame through her portrayal of Amy Pond in the BBC hit series, Doctor Who. As a Scottish actress and former model, audiences fell in love with her signature red-haired look, and quickly named her the next “It” girl to keep an eye out for onscreen. While she did land one of the leading roles in the hottest film at the time, Guardians of the Galaxy, she wasn’t exactly instantly recognizable by fans. Having to shave off all of her hair to play the Nebula character in the film, her heavily disguised look didn’t help to increase her celebrity status in Hollywood. Although there were some that were able to see beyond the bald head and blue skin, the majority of fans couldn’t even tell that Gillan was the actress that played that role. Since her character is going to be reprised for the sequel to the Guardians of the Galaxy film, Gillan has another chance to reach ultimate fame in Hollywood but as of yet, she is on the road to being just another forgettable face in the entertainment industry.
1. Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike is an actress that suffered a huge setback in her career early on, that seems to still affect her ability to reach that leading lady status. Other actors choose to take roles that portray them as much younger than they actually are, which helps to prolong their career and give opportunities for a wider range of roles. Yet, Pike was offered the role of a Bond girl in Die Another Day, and she played the character even though she was only 21 years old at the time. Although it may have seemed like a chance in a lifetime decision to be in a Bond film, this actually hurt her opportunities later on in her career because filmmakers weren’t sure she could play younger characters. There was a huge amount of media attention surrounding her character portrayal in Gone Girl, with many proclaiming her the new “It” girl in Hollywood. Yet, while the film was thought of as a success, she has again fallen back in the race to become an iconic movie star.