There is much to be nostalgic about when it comes to the ‘90s. This was a time before binge-watching on Netflix was a hobby, “Netflix and chill” was a date, and relationships were ended by someone “ghosting” the other. It was before the recession, before 9/11, before Britney Spears’ 2007 breakdown. The ’90s were a nice moment in time, y’know, right before shit hit the fan. When it comes to being nostalgic for the ’90s, though, there may be nothing as nostalgia-inducing as the hotties who starred on ’90s TV.
We are not without our hot TV actresses right now. Kaley Cuoco stars on Big Bang Theory, Sofia Vergara on Modern Family, Sophia Bush on Chicago P.D., Lauren Cohan on The Walking Dead. The list goes on. Basically, if you turn on the TV, you’re bound to see someone attractive, thanks to Hollywood. What was so special about the ‘90s babes of TV? For starters, they weren’t overexposed. If they weren’t on TV that night, you couldn’t see them. Now, you could simply Google Sofia Vergara or look at her Instagram. Bam, there she is. The ’90s were also a simpler time in television. It was slightly more PG-programming, mixing hot actresses with more wholesome storylines. Also, the ‘90s! Let’s all just consider the fact that these actresses were hot, even while rocking some of the biggest fashion misses of the ‘90s. That’s a testament to their appeal.
Below are 15 hot TV actresses of the ‘90s that are sure to make you want to time travel back a decade or two. Ah, nostalgia. It is a powerful emotion.
15. Debbe Dunning on Home Improvement
To be clear, Debbe Dunning wasn’t the first Tool Time Girl and she may not even be the most popular. Pamela Anderson held the role first and many people know her for doing so. However, Dunning appeared in a whopping 137 episodes of the series and, for that, she gets a place on this list.
Unfortunately, Dunning hasn’t done too much else worth noting. Before Home Improvement, she modeled in advertisements for Miller Beer, Foot Locker, and Ford Motors, as well as a series of Taco Bell commercials. The Home Improvement role came and that was supposed to serve as her big break. After Home Improvement, she appeared in a few TV shows and movies, but never achieved great success.
14. Danielle Fishel on Boy Meets World
Topanga Lawrence was everyone’s dream girlfriend. The beautiful Danielle Fishel played the role of Cory Matthews’ long-time girlfriend on Boy Meets World. Both she and Ben Savage (Cory) reprised their roles on Girl Meets World. From what current television programming tells us, everyone is nostalgic for the ‘90s. Boy Meets World is one of the many ’90s hits that’s been given a revival or sequel.
Okay, but more about Fishel. She played Topanga who was perfect. She was a straight-A student, but also very spiritual. She even wrote a poem for Cory. On top of being an overachieving hippie, she was also well-endowed and gorgeous. Every young girl wanted Fishel’s hair and body.
After the show ended, Fishel bounced around a bit, appearing in films like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and promoting the Nutrisystems Diet. It was a sad sight seeing Topanga in such need of cash that she was pushing a diet system.
13. Jessica Biel on 7th Heaven
Jessica Biel is the exception to many women on this list. In most cases, their careers didn’t take off too much since the ‘90s. In fact, many of these television roles were the highlights of their careers. This is not the case for Jessica Biel, aka the wife of Justin friggin’ Timberlake. While she may not be scoring an Oscar any time soon, Biel made the transition into film, appearing in movies such as I Not Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, The Illusionist, and Valentine’s Day.
Biel had been dating Justin since 2007, with the pair finally marrying in 2012. They have one son together. Even though she may not have starred in a huge box office success or received critical acclaim for a role, she is still considered part of Hollywood A-list simply because of her marriage to Justin. Everyone in Hollywood (especially Jimmy Fallon) seems to love Justin.
Biel got her start as Mary Camden on 7th Heaven. In retrospect, it was kind of a weird show. It followed a very religious family with, like, 100 children. Mary started as the good, basketball-playing daughter, but ended up having a rebellious streak on the show. This was more or less a way to write Biel off the show. We don’t blame her for wanting off. Her star was rising way past this weird show.
12. Karyn Parsons on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith may have been the star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but Karyn Parsons was often stealing the scene. She played the role of Hilary Banks on the show from 1990 – 1996. Her character may not have been very intelligent, but girlfriend could deliver a great one-liner.
Her character also knew how to spend money like it was no one’s business. Watching this in the ‘90s, when the economy was booming, was hilarious and fun. Watching this now would be painful. Nowadays, it’s rare that writers will write a stereotypical spoiled, money-spending character since much of America is still reeling from the recession.
11. Heather Locklear on Melrose Place & Spin City
Heather Locklear is one of the most underrated hotties of television. She starred on Melrose Place, a quintessential ’90s show, from 1993 – 1999. Her role as Amanda Woodward on the soapy drama even earned her four Golden Globe nominations. She went on to reprise her role when the show was rebooted in 2009.
Following Melrose Place, Locklear went on to star in Spin City, alongside Michael J. Fox and later Charlie Sheen. This hottie is almost always on a television show, from the 1980s, when she appeared on Dynasty, to now. Her career never translated to the big screen, but that’s okay since she’s had a great run on the small screen. Locklear excelled at looking good while being so very bad. Her Melrose Place character Amanda Woodward was ranked #20 on Rolling Stone’s 40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time.
10. Pamela Anderson on Baywatch
We had to include Pamela Anderson. She was a ‘90s hottie. Of course, she’s known for quite a few things other than Baywatch, but no one can forget how great she looked in that red one-piece bathing suit.
She appeared on the show as C.J. Parker for 111 episodes between the years 1992 – 1997. Like we said earlier, she also appeared as the original Tool Time Girl on Home Improvement between 1991 – 1993. Long story short, she was one of the hottest things on television in the ‘90s. She was also one of the hottest centerfolds in the ‘90s, as she posed for Playboy several times. While she may be known for her heavy makeup now, we’re totally into Pam’s more natural look on Baywatch. She’s a natural beauty.
9. Tie: Jennifer Love Hewitt and Neve Campbell on Party of Five
Part of Five (1994 – 2000) was a show about orphans, more or less. After their parents died, the five Salinger children have to raise themselves. It sounds sad and it was from time to time, but this show was also a launch pad for the hot, young stars of the time.
A young Neve Campbell played Julia, the intelligent teenage sister who struggles with her new found responsibilities. Neve Campbell was hot on the show, then reached new heights as Sidney Prescott in 1996’s Scream. Her co-star on Party of Five also made the transition from TV hottie to horror movie star. Jennifer Love Hewitt appeared in seasons 2 – 6 of the show. This was when the world was like, “Hold on, who is Jennifer Love Hewitt and how is she so hot?” She went on to star in I Know What You Did Last Summer. These ladies proved that you couldn’t go wrong with starring on TV and in teenage horror movies in the ‘90s.
Shout out to Lacy Chabert, who played the youngest sibling on the show. She grew up to be quite the hottie, starring as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls.
8. Christina Applegate on Married… With Children
Can we just all praise Christina Applegate for a moment? She is 45-years-old and looks just as good as she did on Married… With Children. Also, she is genuinely hilarious. She’s the full package and we can’t help but love her.
She first came to prominence while playing Kelly Bundy from 1987 – 1997. Kelly was the promiscuous daughter. With her blonde hair, scantily clad clothing, and low IQ, her character could have easily been a stereotype but Applegate’s performance continued to breathe new life into the character.
Christina Applegate is a queen, who made the leap into film. She’s starred in such hits as Anchorman, The Sweetest Thing, and most recently Bad Moms. Christina Applegate has kept us all laughing for 20 years and we love her that.
7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld
There is a lot to love about Julia Louis-Dreyfus. First of all, her father (Gerard Louis-Dreyfus) is worth billions of dollars, so she really never had to work a day in her life. In fact, she could just have sailed around on one of her family’s yachts forever and that would have been cool. Instead, she decided to be an actress, which can be one of the most difficult careers out there. Sure, it can make you rich and famous, but she was already rich! This is how much she loves acting. She loves it to much that she gives up her yacht time for it.
She appeared as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld from 1990 – 1998. Whether you love it or hate it, Seinfeld is one of the most iconic television shows of our time. Unfortunately, Julia was rocking some rough ‘90s fashion in the show. Between her hair and her pant suits, it’s hard to realize just how stunning she is during her time on the show. Luckily for us, she’s one of the best television actresses of our time and has been on several shows since, most notably Veep.
6. Nikki Cox on Unhappily Ever After
Nikki Cox is sex on a stick, and that was basically the role she played on Unhappily Ever After. The sitcom starred Geoff Pierson (Jack), as a family man with schizophrenia. Throughout the show, he talks to a rabbit called Mr. Floppy. It was as oddly dark sitcom for its time.
Cox’s character was Tiffany Malloy, Jack’s favorite child. Tiffany was perfect: beautiful, intelligent, and popular. Her sex appeal was often a plot on the show, or at the very least used as some kind of a joke in an episode. Nikki Cox is distractingly hot, so we don’t blame them for drawing attention to that on the show.
From there, Cox had several stints on a few shows, never achieving the kind of success as Unhappily Ever After. She did appear in 87 episodes of Las Vegas from 2003 – 2007. Hey Hollywood, we’d like more Nikki Cox in our lives. Thanks.
5. Jamie-Lynn Sigler on The Sopranos
If you didn’t have a crush on Meadow Soprano, you’re just crazy. Jamie-Lynn Sigler played the daughter of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) throughout the entirety of the series (1999 – 2007). Her character was smart, rebellious and beautiful. She also dealt with a lot of shit, with her dad being a crime boss and all.
Since this show came in at the very end of the ‘90s, we included her and thought we’d give a shout out to other late ‘90s hotties. Debra Messing played Grace on Will and Grace from 1998 – 2006. She was a neurotic redhead, always trying to find the right man. Messing hit her mark perfectly on the show, being both beautiful and hilarious. While Sex and the City is often thought of as vintage ‘90s, it only premiered in 1998 and ran until 2004. In that regard, it’s actually more of a ’00s show. Let’s give a shout out to the SATC Ladies, but especially Kim Cattrall. She played Samantha Jones, the most sexually forward and sexually open on the show.
4. Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy The Vampire Slayer
If you had your sexual awakening with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we don’t blame you. Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in the title role. She was a vampire slayer, who was also obsessed with shopping and worried about her grades. You know, the teenage stuff on top of vampires. Buffy not only slayed vampires, she did so while wearing tight leather pants and backless shirts. She was hot, and her relationships with vampires Angel and Spike were even hotter.
Gellar went on to star in I Know What You Did Last Summer with Jennifer Love Hewitt. She also played a sexually manipulative villain in Cruel Intentions, which may be her hottest role to date. After marrying Freddie Prinze, Jr. and having two children with him, she now lives a much more low-key life. We’ll still always be thankful for leather pants, wooden stakes, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
We couldn’t not give a special shout out to Charisma Carpenter. She played Cordelia Chase, the resident mean girl, and gave Sarah Michelle Gellar a run for her money.
3. Jennifer Aniston on Friends
Duh, guys. Jennifer Aniston on Friends was hot, which is impressive because it was a show that didn’t particularly sexualize the women. Sure, they looked sexy as hell, but the show often focused on their inability to find a guy. They were clumsy and said all the wrong things. This was endearing in a way, since they looked so good while doing it. It made America feel better. If Jennifer Aniston, hottest café waitress ever, can’t find a man, it’s okay that we can’t either.
In real life, Jen has had no problem finding a man. She was married to Brad Pitt for five years. BRAD PITT. He even looks hot when he has so much facial hair you can only see his eyes.
Jen has also went on to have a wildly successful career with comedy hits such as Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers, Just Go With It and The Break-Up. She also received critical acclaim, many awards, and award nominations for her performance in Cake.
2. Tiffani Thiessen on Saved by the Bell
Here is what everyone needs to know about Tiffani Thiessen – she has been hot for, like, 100 years. She has always been hot. She will always be hot. This is a fact and there is no way around that. Accept her hotness and appreciate her hotness.
Tiffani Thiessen is now 42 years old. She doesn’t work all that much anymore, which is fine. She’s still insanely gorgeous. Actually, do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram. You’ll see a daily reminder that Kelly Kapowski is still every bit as hot as she was in the ’90s.
Okay, on to her role as Kelly Kapowski. She starred as Kelly on Saved by the Bell from 1989 to 1993. Kelly was a cheerleader and the girl that everyone wanted. By everyone, we really mean everyone. Audiences wanted to date her. A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) and Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) fought over her. Literally everyone wanted Kelly Kapowski.
1. Lori Loughlin on Full House
Why is Lori Loughlin, aka Aunt Becky, our #1 TV hottie from the ‘90s? Well, quite a few reasons. First of all, Lori Loughlin, much like Tiffani Thiessen, is hot and will always be hot. She was hot as Aunt Becky on Full House from 1988 – 1995, and she’s even hotter on Fuller House. She’s 52-years-old and looks better than most 20 somethings. She is fire. In fact, she is so hot that she was hot on the most wholesome show in TV history. Full House didn’t do much to push the envelope. Yeah, someone wore a crop top from time to time, but the female characters were never too sexualized. No one was in overly tight or revealing clothing. No one wore a sexy cheerleader uniform. No one wore leather pants while killing vampires. Aunt Becky was in ‘90s suits and still looked like a goddess. She brought sexuality to a show that was anything but sexual. That’s how hot Lori Loughlin is.
We truly miss our ladies of the ’90s – Aunt Becky, Kelly Kapowski, Rachel Green, Buffy Summers, and all the rest. We may be able to binge-watch almost anything on Netflix, but there was something special about the routine of sitting down at a certain time every Thursday night to watch Jennifer Aniston on Friends. We miss the ’90s, guys!