For the first generation that never knew a world without an easily accessible internet, their childhood in the early days of the new millennium was one where more content was available than ever before. When you’d develop a crush on a particular young woman, it was never easier to follow their career but we’re betting they’ve likely lost track of them, in the intervening years.
The fifteen young ladies we’ve chosen to spotlight here found their greatest fame in between 2000 and 2009 before having their star fade in the intervening years. Angelina Jolie, an actress who was just coming into her own after some well-known nineties work, didn’t fit our criteria for instance as she still garners headlines regularly.
15 Vida Guerra
A Cuban-American glamour model, best known for her ample backside, Vida first came to fame after an appearance in the men’s magazine, FHM. After her first shoot for the mag was published they were reportedly inundated with requests for more, which they were happy to provide. Chosen to be their model of the year in 2004, she took full advantage of her new-found prominence by appearing in many photo shoots, “acting” in movies and on television. Vida also posed as a cover girl for Playboy.
14 Alexis Bledel
Gilmore Girls, a drama series starring Alexis, about a mother-daughter duo that has more of a sisterly relationship, was beloved by very loyal fans over its seven-season run. Taking the acclaim her role gave her and using it to get a leading role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies and Tuck Everlasting, she seemed poised to make a huge impact. After a supporting role in Sin City that saw the actress take on a far darker role than she had before, her film and television roles became less and less impactful.
13 Charisma Carpenter
A member of the core group of friends known as the Scooby Gang on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charisma was cast as the gorgeous popular girl type. After transitioning to the spin-off series Angel, where she appeared for the first several years of the decade, she appeared several times on both Charmed and Veronica Mars.
12 Rachel Bilson
Rachel Bilson's star-making part was that of Summer Roberts, a stuck up popular girl on the surface that soon reveals she has a heart of gold on the inside. Failing to appear in a hit film after her attempt at a blockbuster, Jumper, and a more dramatic role in The Last Kiss, which both failed, she once again found television’s warm embrace.
11 Shiri Appleby
Most famous for her leading role in the sci-fi teen drama Roswell where her character created a believable and enthralling romance with an alien, she earned a rabid fanbase overnight. After taking on important roles in the movies Swimfan and Havoc, before long her roles in major projects became less prominent, like in Charlie Wilson’s War where she was credited simply as Jailbait.
10 Elisha Cuthbert
Appearing on the immensely popular action drama 24 from 2001 until 2010, Elisha became a sex symbol overnight. Playing an adult star in the film The Girls Next Door, only served to remind everyone how seductive she was and she has consistently appeared on lists celebrating the sexiest celebrities ever since.
9 Thandie Newton
An undeniably beautiful and poised actress who took the early 2000s acting scene by storm, her appearances in films alongside stars like Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel took her to the next level. The films Mission: Impossible II, Crash, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Pursuit of Happyness and Run Fatboy Run are just some of the major movies that took full advantage of her immense skills and charm.
8 Sophia Bush
One of the lead actors in the teen drama, One Tree Hill, her role as a cheerleader started out like the trope of the jerky popular girl. As time went on, however, her role expanded into one of the series most beloved and relatable. Branching out into films like The Hitcher and John Tucker Must Die, her film career didn’t take off as she’d hoped.
7 Isla Fisher
After a role in Wedding Crashers, as a woman who was meant to be a one-night stand but manages to comically sink her claws in, Isla’s allure and comedy chops shone through. Taking on lead roles in films like Hot Rod, Definitely Maybe, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Rango, none of her follow-up projects hit the way the actress and her fans would have liked.
6 Nicole Scherzinger
A singer who fully embraced her sultry looks and sexy voice, Nicole took on the lead role in the pop group The Pussycat Dolls, which quickly made her a star. Releasing one sex-drenched song after another, tracks like Don’t’ Cha, Beep and most of all Buttons, combined a pop sound with titillating music videos, the group and Nicole seemed all too sensual.
5 Katherine Heigl
Starring alongside Shiri Appleby in sixty episodes of the series Roswell, Katherine’s old school, grace and elegance soon earned her another popular series, Grey’s Anatomy. Managing to star on television and in film simultaneously, her roles in Knocked Up, 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth made it seem like she could be the latest rom-com queen.
4 Hayden Panettiere
Another actress who we first became aware of when she played a cheerleader on television, Hayden’s character in Heroes was not your typical high schooler right from the start. Blessed with a healing factor, she regularly worked in episodes that put her in front of many people who became instantly infatuated.
3 Eva Mendes
After a relatively minuscule role as Denzel Washington’s girl in Training Day, she seemed to catch the eyes of the public and casting directors. A very sexy woman, who has proven she is happy to show off her body, she got cast in the films 2 Fast 2 Furious, Hitch and Ghost Rider to name just three.
2 Rachael Leigh Cook
A Hollywood it girl, for a very short period of time in the early 2000s, Rachael’s role in the 1999 film She’s All That, as an artist who becomes a real babe, won the hearts and minds of many young people. She was cast in Josie and the Pussycats during that time, a film that was meant to make her an even bigger star but instead was the last time she headlined a major motion picture.
1 Shannon Elizabeth
When her character in American Pie, entered into a young man’s bedroom and began to undress, the actress’ incredible body made her famous overnight, especially to those who were just coming of age. Appearing in Playboy in 1999, the same year American Pie came out, she qualified for our list because the main time period where she was lusted after, took place in the early 2000s
Roles in films that depended on her appearance over her acting ensured she remains employed off and on ever since. Unfortunately, though, the likelihood that you’ve heard of any of her films that were released after 2003, is pretty slim. Most recently she was known for appearing in the World Series of Poker, where she advanced to the semi-finals and competing on Dancing with the Stars. These days her main focus seems to be sticking up for animals as a vegan and animal activist.
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